Guardia Sanframondi, Italy
Artist, Writer and Visionary
Tell us a bit about the business that you are creating?
I’m a painter with a unique visual language, primarily concerned with creative transformation: how we use creative thinking and being in every moment, to bring more colour, depth, meaning and happiness into our lives.
What are your three core values in your working life right now?
Truth. Depth. Love.
What’s the hardest part of running a business from home?
Compartmentalising work - keeping the workspace clear and uncluttered. The house distracting me – needing attention because there is still work to be finished on it (it is a medieval abode in an ancient citadel, which had been almost 20 yrs abandoned when I took it on). Otherwise, I love and much prefer working from home.
What’s the most rewarding part of running a business from home?
Not having to waste time or energy travelling to a workplace! Having everything I need right next door to my studio so I can take a break to eat, bathe, do some housework or gardening to stay grounded, etc, etc. Keeping overheads to a minimum. Feeling in a space, a protected space, which is entirely under my control: I own my home, and this is vital to building up the energy in the place.
What fears did you have about starting your business?
I never had fears particularly: I set out from an early age with a determination to paint first, worry about money last. But since buying my own home, there have been several moments of significant stress about not having an income, and having no money to move forward with improving my (partly very rough state) home and no money to invest in new materials, etc.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running your home based business?
To be true to myself, in the deepest of senses.
On a scale of 1-10 how much does your business light you up?
What do you wish you had in your business that you are still seeking?
Someone to do my marketing.
In moments of doubt, how do you overcome it and lift yourself back up?
I do some wild, happy dancing or walk in nature if things are really stagnant/ heavy. Or write stream of consciousness thoughts to get all the doubts out where I can see them.
But mostly, I simply go back to the easel, if there is any sense of not being aligned I tend not to get in the state where doubts reign.
Who is your support crew if you have one?
I have a fabulous network of likeminded entrepreneurs, visionaries and creatives, around the world. Sometimes we meet in real time, and this is a vital link for me in keeping my biz dynamic and focussed!
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
Just, being organised, and knowing what you want and working towards it without giving up.
What’s a brief summary of the pathway it took to get to where you are now?
Graduated from a prestigious art school – worked in galleries in London – got very ill, started studying permaculture, homoeopathy, organics and healing, deeper things - moved near a spiritual community in Scotland. – started painting more intuitively and exhibiting extensively won some prizes – looked for meaningful work where I could share my ideas about creative expansion and visionary thinking – worked in food growing, community transformation, political transformation, studied the abundance of local economics – looked for the ideal location for longterm project, but struggled with rent, landlord restrictions – eventually found a 10K euro house in an abandoned Italian medieval hill town – set up permanently and started flourishing on all levels - gained a great following and profile in Italy and beyond - inspired a new international community to grow up here - started creating my online Real School of Art.
How important is grit, determination and persistence to you in growing your business?
It is everything.
Which of your personal traits are you most proud of?
My tenacious belief in living truth in BEING it, integrating it into all areas of life.
What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss?
Doing the multitasking: having to be in several different areas of one’s brain at once and also be photographer, publicist, exhibition coordinator, etc, etc, etc – I really dislike how little people appreciate this - how the artist works so hard and folks see the final product and think ‘oh, they have such an easy life, just fiddling around with colours on canvas’. That can rile me at times!
What sacrifices have you made starting a business?
Um, where do I begin? I sacrificed everything: I gambled my small inheritance on a house in an abandoned town, following a vision and sense of purposefulness inside me. I lived for several years with literally no income - chopping wood and carrying cement, fixing my house up on a sometimes nonexistent budget. I sacrificed comfort, dignity at times, safety even - as I delved into this adventure. I certainly sacrificed modern trappings, but this, in the end, has been a blessing! :D
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
From within: from my – connection - with – all things, from nature, from energy and people, from relationship and connectedness of people.
Who’s a woman you deeply admire?
Frida Kahlo comes to mind - for her time, she really made a lot out of her life: she was an immense presence, and she charged on even when everything around her and within her was crumbling. She made deep, meaningful connections with people, and she expressed herself from the deepest of places.
What do you still want to achieve on a personal level?
I would love to have a family.
Name one thing you can’t live without each day.