12 – Thriving as an Artist with Trupti Karjinni
Trupti Karjinni

Nikki and Laura are excited to introduce you to startist, Trupti Karjinni!

Trupti Karjinni is an internationally-recognized artist and creative entrepreneur from Belgaum, India. She wears the hats of a painter, paintmaker and educator. She is the creator of Thrive With Trupti, a membership and community where she teaches watercolor enthusiasts the skills and mindset they need to create confidently. Trupti is also the founder and owner of Blue Pine Arts, a small-batch company where she and her team make their world-renowned handmade watercolor paints, sketchbooks and other art materials.

Since she began painting with watercolors in 2017 on the side, she quickly grew her art practice to build a multi-faceted six-figure business. Her mission is to show artists they can live an abundant life doing what they love.

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Topics discussed

  • Trupti shares her transition from software engineer to artist and creative entrepreneur (2:06)
  • Trupti’s 31-day painting project that helped grow her Instagram and make friends across the ocean (7:33)
  • Finding her purpose in painting and making watercolors (9:31)
  • Birth of Blue Pine Arts (13:21)
  • Quitting her day job (15:02)
  • Trupti’s first experience teaching (18:30)
  • How she grew engagement on Instagram and how it led to incredible opportunities (20:57)
  • Trupti gives us some great advice about vulnerability (23:46)

  • Trupti’s experience with teaching on Skillshare (29:07)
  • Getting past fear of failure and being open to abundance (30:50)
  • Advice for just getting started (32:07)
  • Resources she’s found helpful along the way (35:44)
  • Experiencing and getting through burnout (35:56)
  • Dealing with growing pains (39:39)
  • Growing a team  (41:40)
  • Trupti’s watercolor membership, Thrive with Trupti (43:47)
  • Working with her spouse (50:32)
  • Plans for a new course and mastermind on creating art courses (53:54)
  • Finding balance and gratitude (56:50)

Laura

0:07
Hi, this is Laura.

Nikki

0:08
And this is Nikki with the Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting in your own way and start building an art biz and life that you love.

Laura

0:17
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.

Nikki

0:31
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours.

Nikki

0:41
Who are we talking to today, Laura?

Laura

0:43
Well, today we’re talking to Trupti Karjinni, who is an international recognized artist and creative entrepreneur from Belgaum, India. She wears the hats of a painter, paint maker and an educator. She’s the creator of Thrive With Trupti, a membership and community where she teaches watercolor enthusiasts the skills and mindset that they need to create competently. Trupti, is also the founder and owner of Blue Pine Arts, a small batch company, where she and her team make their world-renowned handmade artisanal watercolor paints, sketchbooks, and other art materials.

Nikki

1:23
Trupti, welcome to the Startist Society.

Trupti

1:26
Thank you so much for having me on guys. This is worth waking up at seven in the morning for.

Nikki

1:32
I’m not sure anything’s worth waking up that early, but I’m glad you think we are. So Trupti, we think you are an amazing example of a startist and we’ve coined the term startist for somebody who doesn’t let fear and procrastination keep them from starting an art career, creative business that they love. So why don’t you share a little bit with us about how you got started as an artist and how your love of watercolor turned into Blue Pine Arts?

Trupti

2:06
Oh, man, I’m never gonna get tired of telling this story. Well, it was almost exactly three years ago, I just celebrated three years of being a full time artist. So I think it’s a great time to pick this story up. So it started when I just got engaged to my now husband, and my cousin was visiting me from Canada and she had a set of watercolors. And just one day we were just sitting bored and I decided to just try out watercolors. I had never tried it before. This is 2016. And as soon as I felt the color just burst in the water, something happened. I was like, what is this magic, you know? Which is weird because I never painted before, I never thought of myself as an artist. I didn’t think of myself as an artist for a very, very long time. Fast forward to May of 2017, I was newly married, I was in my new home, I had a new job, everything was new. And I just one day randomly decided to start an Instagram account. And just said that, you know, I just need something to keep me accountable because I want to make this magic a part of my daily life. It was just as simple as that. I did not have dreams of being an artist. It was never on the horizon, that’s the funniest part of this. It was just for pure joy…

Nikki

3:36
Let me interrupt you for just a second. Before you discovered watercolor, what was the job you were doing? And what did you think you were going to do with your life?

Trupti

3:45
That’s a good question. I was working as a software engineer, and I was deeply unhappy with it. And I always thought, you know, since the age of 12, I always thought I was going to be a writer. I think I’m going to be a writer someday. But I quit my job in software and I studied creative writing in English. And then I took up a marketing job, you know, that was my new job. And I was very happy that I got this job because I was like, oh, I get to write because I need to write the company newsletters. And that was the job that I was excited about. Which then turned out to be, you know, hellish and I hated it. Thank god, because it made me want to quit the job and take my creativity up full time. But that was the job I was at – marketing.

Nikki

4:35
Okay, so you had already made a switch from the technical, the software engineer to something that was a bit more creative. Marketing is definitely more creative than software engineering. Sorry. I mean, I know. I’m also a web developer. So I get that there’s creativity in the technical side, but… So you had already made that switch to marketing, which was a great leap. So then you made the switch from that to writing and then art. So tell us more about that.

Trupti

5:15
I’ve always been able to switch and just like move and like shed an old identity, because I am always aware of what makes me unhappy. And being in software just made me unhappy all the time. And I knew that I can’t live my life like that. Because I am someone who really values my happiness. I mean, I know that it’s seen as selfish. But that’s what it is, I’m just so clear on just being happy. I just want to be that in my life, and I was so unhappy at my job. And you know, it’s a marketing job just because I had a title of a marketing associate, but I had to write the company newsletter. So I was, I was just really happy that I get to write, even if the pay was like less than $325 a month, that is like, really really less, considering I was in a metro city then.

Nikki

6:06
But writing words is so much better than writing code, isn’t it?

Trupti

6:13
100% like, that wasn’t even my jam. And I’m really happy that I did that. Because it still comes in such use today. Because my audience really connects with how I write, it’s not just my art, but it’s also my art and my heart. And my heart just really comes out to my writing as well. So that’s really come in useful. So I just started painting on the side. And, you know, I went my whole life feeling so lost, like being the odd one out, never really fitting in my circle, in the society. And when I started my Instagram account and started painting something and putting it on there just so I could have accountability. I didn’t want followers. I didn’t care about any of that stuff. I was welcomed by the creative community with wide arms. And that’s what really shocked me, I was like, what is happening, because I go through the corporate board, but it’s like tear each other down, rat race, competitiveness, especially here in India, and I was welcomed by the community. And I was really surprised to find that people really wanted me to win.

Nikki

7:26
Isn’t that amazing.

Trupti

7:27
Yes, it is. It’s so incredible.

Laura

7:31
There’s room for everybody.

Trupti

7:33
Exactly. You know, like, and when, when my students come to me, and they say, you know, why wouldn’t even care about my art and, you know, I’m really scared to put myself out there. And I just say, you would be surprised at just how welcoming this community is, this is so different from any other industry. And I really love that. And I finally found my tribe. I finally felt like I belong somewhere, which is what kept me going. And weirdly, you know, I just, I made a lot of friendships across, like people from the US who are like oceans across from me. I made such beautiful friendships, they really wanted me to win. And I just kept on painting. And I don’t know, it just, I did a 31 days of mini paintings project inspired by a friend who was doing the 100 day project. And that just changed everything for me, like painting every single day just changed everything for me. People reached out to me to buy my artwork. In just a few months, I had more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, and I was like, what is happening? Like, this is so unplanned for I mean, it wasn’t even on my horizon, you see what I mean? See, when you don’t know the concept, you can’t even comprehend what’s there for you. So for that to happen in my world, and just change everything about me. It’s just something that I will never ever forget. That’s why I never take this for granted.

Nikki

8:59
So, that’s amazing. But tell us how you went from doing your marketing job and painting in watercolor on the side, posting on Instagram, to the total badass that you have become now.

Trupti

9:21
I will take that compliment because I really do feel like I’m a badass right now.

Nikki

9:27
You’re a badass.

Trupti

9:28
Thank you.

Nikki

9:29
So how did that transition happen?

Trupti

9:31
Because I have always been ambitious and driven. It just feels weird to even say this now, but it’s an identity that I totally own. But I’ve always been ambitious ever since I was a child. I love doing new things and being really good at it. So when I took up watercolors, I became really good at it in a very short time because I invested in my learning and I was driven by deep passion. It’s so different for a person who just feels lost their whole life and they finally find that one thing, that one spark that just drives them. And I was like, I’m going all the way in. And this was working for me. And I finally found purpose, there were people who were wanting to buy my artwork. There was also money in it. And I really genuinely believe that money is really good. And for someone, I was four years in the industry, I was still earning very, very less. And to find that I get to do what I love, that I’m so passionate about, and I’m getting paid for it. Hell yeah, why wouldn’t I do?

Nikki

10:36
Why are you going to keep writing a newsletter for some other company? Right?

Trupti

10:40
Yeah. And so I was like, Okay, I’m going fully into this. And the universe was really rewarding me. And I just knew that, if I played full out, it’s just gonna be so much fun. And I was so much happier. I was happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. So it was all just like, why wouldn’t I do any of that stuff, you know, and that’s when, you know, I got 10,000 followers by October of 2017. I started my Instagram account on May 10, which is crazy. Wow. And things were really working out and people were reaching me out to projects and collaborations. And very quickly, I found out that with my job, I’m not able to give a lot of time for this thing that was really rewarding. Like I was attracting opportunities like left, right and center. And I really wanted to take part in all of them. And at the same time, I also was fascinated by the art of making things. Because it’s a very, very old tradition, there were a couple of handmade paint makers on the market already and I found their journey so inspiring. And, it’s the way they made the paint is a technique that is like more than 3000 years old. It’s a millennia old tradition. And I love, I’m all about keeping the old traditions alive. So that part really, you know, I really connected to that. And so I decided that it would be a great idea because I’m well known for my watercolor art. So why not start making paints? Because it just fits so perfectly and I was really passionate about it. And that’s how Blue Pine Arts was born in December that year?

Nikki

12:17
Did you start out just making paints for yourself to to use, and then you figured out that this would be a great way to add to your business?

Trupti

12:28
Absolutely. That’s how it all started. Because back then in India, it was really hard to get your hands on quality art supplies. And I’m all about like really good quality art supplies, because they just make everything, the whole process so much easier. And I was really frustrated because if I wanted to paint I had to order them in the US. And you know, beg a friend. If you’re coming to India, could you please bring some of my paints? And then wait for two months

Nikki

12:55
I’m sure it was expensive and took forever to get there.

Trupti

12:59
Yeah, two months. I mean, a new artist who is like so in love with watercolors and crazy about art supplies, the two months of waiting was torture me. So I was like, You know what, I’m just gonna do it myself. I’m not gonna wait anymore.

Laura

13:16
And how long did it was it from when you started painting to when you created Blue Pine Arts.

Trupti

13:21
So I started painting regularly in May. Actually, you know what, I started painting regularly in July of 2017. And I had the idea of Blue Pine Arts in November that same year, and I researched, I studied a lot. And I was like doing a lot of research on the side. And I knew that this is what I wanted to do. So in December Blue Pine Arts was born, I sold my first set of calendars, you know, I put my art on my calendars. And it was crazy, because I had to reprint them three times. I just did it, just because someone else was doing it. And I was like, Okay, this is a great idea. I want to try this out. And I launched my calendars after mid November, which is really, really late, by I didn’t let that bother me, you know, I was like, I just want to do it. Let’s see how it goes. And it was a sellout thing. Like, I ended up selling out of calendars, even though it was just 75 characters, but that was a big deal for me, you know.

Nikki

14:20
Still it’s great. It’s fantastic. And calendars are a huge seller. In fact, I do a calendar every year I have for the past three years. It’s my biggest seller ever.

Trupti

14:30
Exactly. So I was you know, I made a good amount of money. It was like what $1,400 $1,600 which is like a lot of money for someone who is only getting paid..

Laura

14:40
That’s like four months of your pay.

Nikki

14:42
Yeah, you were making what? $325 a month.

Trupti

14:46
Yes, exactly.

Nikki

14:47
Yeah. Amazing.

Trupti

14:48
Yeah. So that was…

Nikki

14:51
When did you quit your marketing job?

Trupti

14:53
December 6. I still remember that. I went to office and I said…

Nikki

14:59
I’m out!

Trupti

15:02
But this is funny, like in November, I was talking to my best friend and I was telling him about how all of this was going on. And he told me a very simple thing. He said, Listen, if you’re earning more than or at least $325 a month from your art, why would you want to continue your job? Just quit it.

Nikki

15:21
Absolutely.

Trupti

15:22
It was such a simple thing for me, it still rings in my head, you know his voice. And I was like, Alright, actually, that makes sense. And I wanted to, I have big visions for Blue Pine Arts. And what panned out turned out to be much bigger than my big vision. So, but I had big dreams…

Nikki

15:43
Yeah, tell us what your original big dreams are that now it turns out to be so much smaller, what was your original thought.

Trupti

15:50
I just thought I would, you know, just said things just make things for myself was because I really wanted them for my painting, and then market them and just sell handmade paints. That’s all my big vision was, and be a full time artist and paint every day and I had an Instagram following. I was kind of entering the influencer market at that time. So it was really good. That was my big dream. But then, as soon as we made sketchbooks into Blue Pine Arts, using, you know, Indian handmade paper that is made very close to my hometown, and they just went wild. I don’t even know how to describe it. It was so crazy.

Nikki

16:31
I need one of those. I need one of those for sure.

Trupti

16:34
And it was incredible, that the sketchbooks turned out to be just as big, if not bigger, of you know, bestsellers than my paints. And I was like, Okay, what is happening? This is really interesting. And at the same time, I was also contacted by the creator of Art Summit to be a teacher on Watercolor Summit. So all of these things happen at the same time in January of 2017. So this is like almost exactly three years ago. I quit my job, I got invited to be a teacher on Watercolor Summit, which I didn’t know, by the way back when I was quitting my job, which is why I’m such a believer in manifestation. Because just that one courageous act of saying that I want to do this full time, I feel like attracted all these wonderful opportunities to me.

Laura

17:21
And so much of that is mindset, isn’t it? It is having that growth mindset that says this, seeing what’s possible for yourself, right. Like being able to manifest something beyond your your dreams and just taking it’s also being a stardust.

Trupti

17:40
I love that term, by the way.

Nikki

17:42
Thank you, thank you.

Laura

17:43
I think you’re a great one. Just saying, you know what, this is an idea I have, I’m going to go out and do it. I’m going to give it a try, because it’s that action, we stop ourselves so much. And so being able to just take action towards those goals and see where it takes you. And it’s taken you some amazing places. I know, I took your Art Summit course, I joined that Art Summit. You had the misty pines lesson. And I remember doing that lesson and going oh, my gosh, this is so stinking cool. Like, it just turned out amazing. I think I used indigo and with one color created this beautiful scene. And it was really, really fun and inspiring. So seeing that you could create that for other people. And I think that was kind of your signature style to begin with. That might be where Blue Pine Arts came from? Indigo and pines.

Trupti

18:30
Yeah, because I mean, I got very well known for my misty pines series, really early in the journey, because I just hit that and that’s what grew my brand and just, you know, my presence as an artist in the community. That’s what just like put me out there, you know, put me on the map. And it was all this just happening at the same time, it was so incredible to be invited to teach on Watercolor Summit alongside artists who I admired for a long time, like Ashley Prejoles, who is one of my best friends, and Jenna Rainey and Louise De Masi. All these guys have been in the industry for like, then back then they were in the industry for like three to five years, at least. And to be invited to teach alongside them on the same platform was huge for me. And you’re right about, you know, saying that I had an idea and I decided to just go for it. Because it’s incredible how all the fear and everything came to me like I started being in a slightly fearful state after all of this happened. Because back then, I was just curious, like a child with a sandbox and it just very curious about…

Nikki

19:42
You were just playing and learning and experimenting.

Trupti

19:45
Exactly. Yeah. And so it wasn’t so much as conquering fear, it was so much as being in a state of just happily exploring things. And I think that’s when the fear was absent. The fear came much later when I already had like an established business, and I had to turn on the role and the mindset of a business owner. That’s when the fear came. I know, most people don’t want to hear this. But it was I was in a very different stage back then.

Nikki

20:17
Okay, so it sounds like from what you’ve said, that all of this happened for you, because you really just got seen and popular on Instagram. Is that right?

Trupti

20:29
Yes. I mean, that was like, obviously a big driving force. Because I wasn’t a part of an artist community here in India, right.

Nikki

20:37
Obviously, you did the work and you put yourself out there. I’m not saying you know, but Instagram is how you got found?

Trupti

20:47
Absolutely.

Nikki

20:47
Yes?

Trupti

20:48
Yeah.

Nikki

20:48
So what did you do on Instagram that you think is different from what some other people do?

Trupti

20:57
I feel like Instagram was a bit different back then. All I did was really, Nikki, it was ever so simple. I just did two things. You know, like people think that they need all these, like fancy strategies and all that sort of stuff. But it was just two things, really. I painted it every single day, because I freaking love doing that. It was like, you know, drinking water when you’ve been parched, wandering the desert for years and years. And I put it out there every single day. So I had consistency going on for me. And that is so important. You just, I don’t think, you don’t need like a magic wand or magic formula. You just need consistency. And the other thing that I did, which I feel like a lot of people forget, these days when they approach Instagram, it’s called social media for a reason. You have to be social on it. And I I commented it on other people’s posts, I made genuine connections, I made friendships with other artists. And I just shared my expertise. Like whatever I knew about watercolors, I knew I was like really good at it. I invested in my learning, I learned from other teachers. And whatever growth I found, new discoveries, aha moments, I shared all of that on my Instagram account every single day. When I discovered stories, I showed behind the scenes stuff so people could connect with me as a person and not just like to the pictures that I’m posting on my feed, just my art. So it was really it was my art plus my heart that’s all what I tell my membership students, like when you’re putting it out there, you have to put both out there, you can’t just like put your art and expect people to connect with you and you have to participate. You have to be an audience to someone else, you have to comment on another artists posts you, have to DM and them, you have to form relationships, like authentic real relationships. And all that sort of stuff is what brought these incredible opportunities my way because I just put myself out there, that’s it.

Laura

23:02
And it’s a circular thing. You know, you’re giving as much as you’re receiving in that social aspect. So it’s not just one way, so I think that’s really important.

Trupti

23:10
So important, right? I mean, it’s you have to give first before you expect anything out of anyone. I feel like this is such a …people flip that so much these days, they want followers they want more likes, they want want want, but I’m like are you giving? Are you giving freely in your, you know, whatever expertise, you have your 10% edge Are you giving in your Instagram stories and posts? Are you giving likes and saves and shares and encouragement to someone else in the community? Because it all comes back? I mean by the algorithm, but also I feel like in a very universal woo woo way. It all comes back.

Laura

23:46
I agree completely. I’m still working on the showing my face on Instagram. I’m gonna get there, a little nervous about that.

Nikki

23:54
Yeah, Laura and I have that in common. We’re a little reluctant to show our face as much as you and some other people do. And I think that actually might have something, I’m sorry to say this Laura, it might have something to do with… our age.

Trupti

24:11
I didn’t mean that!

Nikki

24:13
No, I know you didn’t mean that. You know, we’re okay, so I happened to be like 10 years older than Laura. And you know, I did not grow up with there was no internet until I was even out of graduate school.

Trupti

24:32
Wow.

Nikki

24:33
Yeah, I’m old. But um, so I think there’s a difference there where I’m fine with sharing my work online but I’m not as comfortable talking to the camera and I feel like that’s really really important, like I want to share, but that’s so hard for me. So you seem to be like so good at it and so comfortable with it

Trupti

24:58
Oh but that came with practice though. I’ll tell you like two things with this. Before I showed my face on camera, I was like, behind the camera and I just started speaking to the camera, just by doing some live videos and just doing some live demos. That’s how I got comfortable with speaking. And as to, you know, showing my face, I do like three or four takes because English is still my second language. And I just like record and I’m like, What did I just say? That doesn’t make any sense. Okay, delete and then record. But I want to share something, you know, in times like this, if I if I doubt myself, then I put myself in the shoes of a consumer, of an audience. And then I see some artists, you know, even like, hesitantly come on their Instagram stories if English is their second language and is speaking slowly and hesitantly, but they’re still doing it and I find myself being very compassionate. And I love seeing other artists put themselves out there. So I’m like, you know, if I’m feeling this way about this artist, who is you know, still finding the courage to come on her Instagram stories, speak hesitantly, but still, she’s speaking. I love that vulnerability. I connect with that vulnerability more than polished people just effortlessly speaking with, you know, like full makeup on and everything. And I’m like, how good is that human vulnerability and the connection that I feel. So if I’m feeling that for another artist, there are 100 people waiting out there to see their connection with me when I put myself out there. So…

Laura

26:36
100%

Nikki

26:37
That is a beautiful way to feel. And I think you’re so right. And I have so much admiration for you to be able to do that, in not your first language, where I’m trying to do it in my first language, and I still feel that hesitation.

Trupti

26:56
But think about it, like if I see you tomorrow on Instagram, without your makeup on. And if you just falter a few words, I’m not gonna judge you. I’m not gonna be like, what the hell if she just missed a few words, I’m gonna unfollow her and block her or something. People don’t give a shit about these things. Oh, I’m sorry!

Laura

27:13
It’s okay, you’re allowed to say that word.

Nikki

27:15
It’s fine. And I’m the one who’s judging me. I don’t judge other people. I judge myself.

Trupti

27:24
Yes, exactly. So it’s really just, you know, just getting out of our self-judging selves for a moment and just, you know, one of my mentors shared this like, really good tip about me, which has been really helping me this, last year, and this year. It’s like, you know, like, in these moments, it’s not about you, it’s about the people who you’re serving. So when I feel like I don’t have makeup on, but I really need to get something out there to help someone in my audience through one of my programs, or live videos or my membership or anything, I think about, you know, this person needs to hear this because I need to help this person with the specific problem and give them progress and help you solve them. And it’s not about me, or my appearance, or the way I’m speaking, it’s about them. And when I shift the focus from me to my audience, that’s when I get out of my head and get into the game.

Nikki

28:21
That’s beautiful.

Laura

28:22
That’s how everything should be, I think the moment that we get out of our own head, everything gets clear, right? That’s when clarity seems to happen. Yeah, I used to run a charity project called Brimming With Love that made hats for cancer patients, I would go spend a day serving at the local hospital, and I would come home and like, everything else in my life would have shifted already, just by having that stepping outside of what my own head was saying and being of service to other people. And that’s what it sounds like you’re doing with your programs that you offer. So I know you went from teaching in the Art Summit, we talked about that. And then I know, you also went to Skillshare, you have some classes on Skillshare, right?

Trupti

29:02
Yeah.

Laura

29:03
Tell us a little bit about that. And then how your teaching has kind of progressed.

Trupti

29:07
Um, so I found out that I actually love teaching online. And I have a preference to it, because I was invited to teach on Watercolor Summit. And I said yes to that opportunity and we filmed, you know, the class and I found out that oh, I did it in one take. And this is actually really good. I really enjoy doing this reaching a lot of people through online teaching. So Skillshare had reached out to me to be the ambassador where you can share the link and you earn an affiliate commission. And I did that for a couple of months. And I was like, you know what I’m seeing a couple artists teach on Skillshare. I’ve already taught on Watercolor Summit, so why don’t I just put one class on Skillshare and see how it goes. And I also taught a misty landscape painting over there as well. And it was madness, like I published the class in the evening and I said, You know what, I’m so tired with doing all of that. I’m just gonna go to sleep. The next morning, I wake up and I see 300 people have joined the class and I’m like, What is even happening? This is crazy, like, I was not expecting this. And that kind of, you know, spurred me on to create more classes for my audience, I asked them what they wanted. I created classes for them. And in a few short months, Skillshare also promoted me to be a top teacher on the platform. And I was like, this is working out really well. So that’s how, you know, I became well known for my Skillshare classes as well.

Nikki

30:40
How many classes do you have on Skillshare,

Trupti

30:42
I have 12 classes on there. And over 20,000 students now on Skillshare.

Nikki

30:47
That’s fantastic.

Laura

30:49
That’s amazing.

Trupti

30:50
I mean, I don’t even have the words for that. Thank you so much. It’s crazy how when you start these things, you never know what’s in store for you. People always get scared that, you know, if I do this, I’m gonna fail, this might not pan out. And I get that it’s so natural to feel that. But I feel like what really happens with all of us who do things like this is, you get rewarded in so many more like bigger, bigger ways than you can ever envision. So I would say, you know, just do that thing, do that thing and be open to more things happen to you more abundance, more good things, more opportunities. And isn’t that an incredible way to have to live? To have that mindset of being open to more than just failure.

Nikki

31:39
That’s amazing. It’s a great mindset to have. And along those lines, what other kind of advice would you give to people who are just getting started? What do you wish you had known before you got started? Or when you were just getting started?

Trupti

31:55
In terms of art, or in terms of business?

Nikki

31:58
Yes. It’s, it’s all important. It all feeds into each other.

Trupti

32:07
With art, I don’t have I wish I had known because somehow I ended up doing the right thing, so to say, even though I know that there is no right things, but for me, like couple of things at work, were just experimenting and doing things in your voice than being inspired by another artist. Because that’s how my misty pines series came, it wasn’t based off of another artist, it wasn’t based off what I was seeing another artist do. Which is it’s just going to be so contradictory when I say this. But there are times when you don’t look at another artists work, you don’t get inspired by them. It has to come from the inside. I mean, I always, you know, I admire artists for the stuff that they do, their spirit, their mindset, but I make sure that I’m not inspired by their artwork, because I don’t want that to read through in my artwork, because it’s so easy that to happen. And that’s that’s what you know, that’s how you don’t end up copying someone or stepping on someone’s toes. So really, something that works so well for me is to do 30 days of daily painting project, or at least a 10 day daily painting project where you just decide to do it just based on reference pictures, or you know, your own pictures and not based on anything or anybody, any other artists in terms of that inspiration source. That works really well. Second thing that really worked really well for me as an artist was to investing in, in my art journey. So I made it a point to take other artists courses, to learn techniques to really find quick growth in my artwork at the same time also experimenting. So having an artist teach you something and having a mentor does like some different kind of magic too, you know. Yes, you should, you know, discover yourself but having a teacher just showing you the path and you know imbibe those mindsets in you just really accelerates your growth. That’s what really worked well for me in the art thing and in the business. I forgot what I was going to say what worked for me. Oh wait, I remember. Start an email list if you want to have any sort of business from your creative venture, whether you’re a maker, or a painter or a ceramicist or whatever it is, please please please start an email list because I wish that was the one thing I wish I knew how to, how to start an email list and nurture my email list because that is so key.

Nikki

34:41
When in your journey did you start your email list?

Trupti

34:45
I actually started it pretty soon to be very honest. I started for Blue Pine Arts, for my handmade paints business but I also wish I had started, you know created a lead magnet and started an email list for my online education thing. I started that last year before I launched my membership. And I really wish I had started sooner and learned how to nurture my list. Because you’ll find out it was just to announce when the shop updates were. But I wish I had learned how to nurture this, how to share stories, something that I do on Instagram anyway, but just my email list as well. So I really just honed in on the process and learned all the mechanisms of it and the importance of it last year in the middle of the pandemic.

Laura

35:31
And what other resources have kind of helped you along the way, when you’ve looked at business resources and things that have really helped you along your journey, that that might be something that our listeners would find helpful as well.

Trupti

35:44
I joined a membership. I think that’s why I really love the membership model because I joined Emily Jefford’s membership, her membership is called The Collective and I joined it in August of 2019.

Nikki

35:56
I’m in there too.

Trupti

35:56
Okay, cool. And she just started her membership. And I was at that stage, I was pretty lost with my business, I was highly burnt out, I was, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was in some sort of a fog, and being in a membership and being a part of, you know, this community of artists, where they’re all focused on just one thing. So her membership is focused on creative business growth. It just had me refocus. You know, being in a group of like-minded people is so important. Because I feel like it keeps you on track, it inspires you and it got me out of my funk. Just seeing someone, I mean, I’m in the Facebook group. And I haven’t, honestly, I haven’t really even watch any of our classes. I get most of, you know, my returns from a membership by being in the Facebook group, and seeing other artists crush their business goals. And when I see other artists do that, and I’m like, I can do that as well. Because I’ve always found other artists’ growth so inspiring to me, because it shows me what possibilities can lie ahead of me. And just getting my mojo back, you know what I mean? I was just so lost. And so her membership and being in a membership really got me moving again. So that is one thing that I would say just join a relevant membership, be in that, you know, space of like-minded people.

Nikki

37:19
So do you mind sharing a little bit about that, that burnout and fog that you were feeling before you pick that back up? Like, because it seems like you were on a really good trajectory, you were growing on Instagram and Skillshare and selling your work. And then what happened that you felt kind of lost?

Trupti

37:42
I feel like it was the growth itself that sort of led to the burnout, because I had a very accelerated growth in my membership. Like my business did six figures last year, it was just, you know, my business is just what, less than three years old. And so the growth was always there, it was always on an upward trajectory. But I feel like it was the pressure of keeping it upward that led me to burnout. Because you see, I had like two pillars to my businesses, one was online education, on Skillshare. The other one was Blue Pine Arts, which is a product based company. And this is, you know, teaching online is service-based. And both of them grew really, really fast. They grew much faster than I had expected. And it was the growth of both of them that sort of slowly started pulling me apart because I also had to run up the Blue Pines Arts Instagram account, I had to run my own Instagram account. I had to create both of the things and market all of that. So it was just…

Laura

38:47
And somewhere in there you had to sleep, right?

Trupti

38:49
Yes. Which I didn’t

Nikki

38:52
And make your own art.

Trupti

38:54
Yeah, I feel like that’s…

Nikki

38:56
So it was overwhelm. It was much too fast.

Trupti

39:02
Yes.

Nikki

39:02
All of it brilliant and beautiful and amazing. But just so much of it that you can’t juggle it all.

Trupti

39:09
Yes!

Nikki

39:10
I can relate to that, for sure.

Trupti

39:12
Oh, yeah. No, I mean, you’re so right, Nikki, it was too much too fast. And it was, I’m still super grateful for all of it. You know, none of it was bad. It’s always brought in a lot of abundance and a kind of lifestyle that I never thought was possible for me before. But it also led to me not having like a balance. I was completely off balance.

Nikki

39:38
Growing pains.

Trupti

39:39
Absolutely. Big growing pains. But also more than that. I feel like we always have growing pains, especially if you’re a creative business owner, the pain is always there. Your muscles are always, your creative muscles are always going to hurt because you’re always doing new things. I just say that, you know, I have a huge mansion in my uncomfortable zone. And I just I to the set up camp and that’s where I live now. And I’m okay with that. It was just the fact that I was doing it all myself. And I wasn’t asking for help, I could have taught my team some of the skills and I could have like, unloaded some of that stuff onto them, and all that sort of stuff. So it was too much too fast. And I did not have a balance. There was a time when I was working more in my business than even making art, which just completely threw me off because I started getting these, this imposter syndrome thoughts. I was like, I’m not making any art, yet I’m running a creative business. What does that make me? You know, what kind of a fraud am I? So that was when I…

Nikki

40:44
I so relate to that, for sure.

Laura

40:46
Me too.

Nikki

40:47
So what got you past that?

Trupti

40:49
Um, being in the membership definitely got me past that. And then just realizing that I have a team of people, and I need to rely on them. This happened actually, very recently, in 2020. I stepped out of my burnout, what do you call it, the burnout cycle where I was like, burnout, rest, confident and burnt out again. Because I was working so hard on my business. I finally realized that I need to teach these skills to my team members and have them do some of that work. So I’m in my zone of genius and creating, and everything stems from my creativity. You know, it’s not just a business that’s just running by itself. It comes from me as an artist. So it was reconnecting with my identity as an artist that really helped bring the balance.

Nikki

41:32
So you already had a team, but you weren’t delegating properly? Is that what I’m hearing?

Trupti

41:37
I had a team.

Nikki

41:38
Or how did you grow a team?

Trupti

41:40
Oh, well, they started making the paint. So I had a team for Blue Pine Arts, I didn’t necessarily have a team for my online classes business. So I a beautiful team of four people actually in Blue Pine Arts, which is really good. And I, it’s not that I didn’t delegate work to them, I did, they were taking care of the operations, the production. I trained my operations manager how to respond to customer care emails, and all of that. But that was still not enough for me, because I was still handling the Instagram account and replying to all the messages and that sort of stuff. And even in my online courses thing, I was still editing all of my classes myself. So you see how I was working in my business and not really on my business? So I was just, you know, constantly running on the hamster wheel just to keep it moving. Not necessarily just like growing it, but just to keep it moving. And so I realized that, okay, my team is eager to learn. And I can actually teach them how to take beautiful flatlay pictures, how to do beautiful product pictures, how to exactly handle the website, because I had already created the website, and I was like, I can trust them to put up listings, to change stuff, you know. And so I did that. And you know, what was so wonderful, they were so excited. The moment I said that, you know, I’m going to give more responsibilities to you. They were excited for it, which means, you know, they were hungering for it. And me thinking that I can do it all myself and I have to do it all by myself, I was depriving them of that sort of ownership in the businesses well. And then when I did that, they just completely blew my mind. I mean, they’ve been doing so well into fine arts. And now I have an assistant who does some of the work for me, and she is doing it really beautifully as well. So I’m finally in that rhythm, you know, having a supportive team. And then me working in my zone of genius.

Nikki

43:37
That’s fantastic.

Laura

43:38
That’s beautiful.

Trupti

43:40
Thank you

Laura

43:41
Hashtag goals.

Nikki

43:45
Yeah, absolutely.

Laura

43:47
So you talked about the importance of memberships, and what that membership that you participated in and what that meant for you. And I know, recently, you launched your own membership, Thrive With Trupti. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that membership that you offer and the experience of being in that.

Nikki

44:07
And how it came about?

Trupti

44:08
Yeah, so first of all, I also want to say that another tip would be to also invest in courses. Because this is like something that I think is really important because there are artists who are willing to teach you this stuff. For example, if you want to go into licensing they’re going to teach you like I mean, there are multiple artists who have course on that process on licensing.

Nikki

44:29
We’ve signed up for probably all of them.

Trupti

44:31
Exactly. Course junkies, right. ,

Nikki

44:36
We are, we are.

Laura

44:39
We’re procrasti-learners.

Trupti

44:39
Yes, and that’s a good word. But I joined Stu McLaren’s Tribe course, because I knew that I, and all of this sort of came from sort of from the ashes of my Blue Pine Arts company shutting down because of the pandemic. And it was because I diversified my business. Even though my company got a pause during, we had to completely shut down for six months, we lost that many months of business, I still had my online classes on Skillshare still bringing in a good stream of income. And that’s when I realized that, gosh, it’s so important to first of all diversify your streams of income, it’s so important to have multiple streams of income. And it was at that time, we had to shut down blue Pine Arts in April, just the beginning of April.

Nikki

45:31
Why did you have to shut it down?

Trupti

45:33
Because most of our customers are from the US. I mean, most of our customers are from outside of India, and the whole country was in a lockdown. The Postal Service did not resume…

Nikki

45:43
It was the shipping issues

Trupti

45:45
The shipping issue. So because we couldn’t ship any products, that was really nothing we can do. We could even visit our studio, my team couldn’t meet up over there and work. And even if we wanted to work from home, just the shipping was completely shut down. There was nothing that we could do. But I saw that as a blessing. Because remember how I was burnt out. It gave me a respite from running Blue Pine Arts. So I took it as a respites from running in the hamster wheel. It really just gave me some time to just chill out and really think about where I wanted to take my business. And I’ve known for a while that I wanted to have my own online school because I knew I had an audience. I knew I had more to give. So why not do it on my own platform? And at the time, you know, synchronicity, right. That’s when Stu McLaren launched his Tribe course. You know, he’s gonna do it again in April, and I took his course on how to have your own membership. And I took really fast action on it, I started the course, I made it a point to relly commit to it, study all of that, and just implement all of that, because it just seemed like the perfect fit, to have my own online membership, and to teach the same stuff that I’m teaching on Skillshare, but a lot more than that, as well. So that’s how Thrive With Trupti was born.

Nikki

47:03
Which is great, because Skillshare is a brilliant platform. We love it. We’ve learned a lot of things on there. Yeah. But it’s kind of a jumping off point.

Trupti

47:11
It is it really is.

Nikki

47:13
Yeah, with your own membership, you have so much more control over what you do. And it’s your own platform, you can get so much deeper.

Trupti

47:23
Yeah.

Laura

47:24
And I think it’s beyond just the watercolor, I know that it’s a watercolor membership, right? But there are other elements to that. Like, like the mindset element and other things that I think you bring in your personality and your passions into that. Right?

Trupti

47:40
Yeah, so I wanted to give my students a community. I felt like that’s what they were lacking in Skillshare. I told you, right, it’s so important to be a part of the community of like-minded people. I had experienced it firsthand what can happen to your mindset, and how you show up for your artwork and your business because I was a part of membership. And I knew how amazing having a community was. And it’s also, I feel like this comparison is similar to having an Etsy store compared to having your own website, because you can always sell things on Etsy, but you know, it’s still subject to the algorithm, whatever changes that they want to do. And it’s always such a good idea to have your own website, to sell your artwork on, to have complete control over how everything looks, how you want to serve people, your own personalization. So it was the same thing with Skillshare and my membership. I still continue to teach on Skillshare I love it. I love all my students there. But I knew that I wanted to offer them a community, like mindset trainings, which is a huge part of my membership. And it’s what makes it really stand out from any other online education resource for watercolors. So I had a vision. So in my watercolor membership Thrive With Trupti I teach people, not only the skills that they need to paint effortlessly with watercolors, but I also give them the mindset that they need to progress really quickly as an artist, because I have been through so many, you know, obstacles and difficulties and just being stuck for such a long time. And if I can help my students just dodge all of those things, and just become a better artist and find ease and joy in that process than being burnt out and lost and having imposter syndrome and all those limiting beliefs. Why wouldn’t I do that? Right? And that’s what I really love about membership.

Laura

49:33
I love that.

Nikki

49:34
That’s beautiful. So do you also go into any of the business side of being an artist or is it more mindset and technique.

Trupti

49:45
For now it’s my mindset and technique. This year as a jumping off point for members in Thrive With Trupti who want to you know, take up creative business, because not everyone in my membership wants to learn business. A lot of them are just doing it just so they can find that extra spark of joy in their life. And I respect that. So I want to keep…

Nikki

50:07
Which is really how you got started, too, right?

Trupti

50:09
Exactly, exactly, you know. So I want to keep that environment for them. And this will be launching a mastermind for people who want to pursue creative business. And that’s where I’ll be offering my business courses. And on my podcast as well. Yeah.

Nikki

50:24
Nice. I want to talk about the podcast, but a couple more questions about your membership. When did you first launch it?

Trupti

50:32
I launched it in July last year, which is crazy. Ah, so July, Blue Pine Arts was still shut down. And I just , so my husband also walked with me on the membership, which was really, really cool. That’s how he sort of became, he took on the role of being my business integrator, because he…

Nikki

50:51
He does ceramics, right?

Trupti

50:52
Yes. So he’s a ceramicist, he started sending his ceramic watercolor palettes and everything in conjunction with Blue Pine Arts, because that was like a really natural fit with him.

Nikki

51:03
It’s a perfect pairing.

Trupti

51:05
Yeah. But again, his stuff was also halted because he couldn’t ship anything out, and so it gave us this nice window of time to work together as something new on a membership. And so he was also fully invested in it. And then he helped me create the website, just really took all the work off of my shoulders, because he knew that I would…

Nikki

51:28
Does he also have a technical background.

Trupti

51:30
He studied civil engineering, and he’s, you know, a construction manager. But he’s very adept at the online stuff. We both are, because we just learned really quickly if I have to, like create a Shopify website, I can just like pick up on stuff, because it’s so easy to do it these days. We built a membership on Kajabi. And it’s literally all like, drag and drop, step by step stuff, no coding required. And so he’s like this unique, brilliant, smart guy who can just really pick up on things. And that’s his zone of genius. He loves doing that sort of stuff. And that’s the stuff that I don’t necessarily enjoy, because I have other stuff to work on. So it was such a perfect marriage of responsibilities in work as well, apart from us having an actual marriage, where he is working on the technical side of, you know, establishing and updating the website and all that sort of stuff. And I’m working with the creative side of it, but with the classes and all that sort of stuff. So we launched in July, and it was just all organic. And it just launched basically to my email list and on my Instagram, and we ended up getting 185 members in that first launch, which is…

Nikki

52:41
That’s great. And have you had a second launch with it yet?

Trupti

52:46
Yes. So we just I just dropped my second launch in Jan, which was crazy. It was so energetic, it was in the first weekend of Jan. So it was such an energetic start, because I did a masterclass before I opened the doors to my membership. And it was incredible to have these people come in and experience such quick growth in watercolors because, you know, this medium is so finicky, people can get so easily frustrated with it and give up before finding that sort of, that flow where they finally start getting how to use it. And if I can give them that aha moment, those like those quick breakthroughs in just one weekend, there are higher chances that these people are gonna stick with this and just find a lot of joy in their daily life and just enjoying this road. And I love doing that. So we just wrapped up a launch in Jan, and now we have 260 members. And I think we’re gonna open

Nikki

53:43
Wow, that’s fantastic.

Trupti

53:44
Thank you. I think we’re gonna open the doors again in April for our next launch. So yeah.

Nikki

53:50
So are you thinking three times a year or?

Trupti

53:54
Three times a year, I think I want to launch before… I think I want my last launch to be in August this year. Because after that, I want to work on my big course. Because I’m pivoting and establishing myself as an art courses expert in this industry. Having, you know, just found so much abundance and basically just a lot of freedom in my life because of art courses. I mean, it started with Watercolor Summit, and then Skillshare and our membership. So I want to create a course for artists on how they can go from you know, having an idea to actually launching their course like a to z with an art course, how to film, what equipment to use, how to break down your class in a way to make your students want to come back to you for more and more because I know that you know, everyone has an audience, their art needs to be out there. And if they want to teach someone their art, I want to help them do that as quickly as possible. So I want to work on that course. So I want to wrap up the launches before…

Laura

54:58
That sounds like a class I’d wanna take.

Nikki

55:01
That sounds like one you need right now.

Laura

55:03
Yeah, actually, I do. I’m working on my first Skillshare class right now. So…

Trupti

55:09
Yay! Let me know if you need any help, I’d be happy to.

Nikki

55:13
Perfect. Well and let us know if you need any advice on starting a podcast.

Trupti

55:18
You know I’m going to reach out to you…

Nikki

55:22
Perfect. Perfect.

Laura

55:24
How can our listeners find you online and learn more about potentially joining your membership come April, when that’s available and open again?

Trupti

55:33
Sure, they can find me on www.thrivewithtrupti.com. And I think the best way for them to get started is to read this beautiful ebook that I made, it’s called The Thriving Artists Roadmap. And it lays down the five stages of creative growth that an artist goes through. And what I really love about it is it not only gives you identifiers to see where you are, at which stage, it also gives you the exact steps you need to take to go to the next stage to evolve as an artist, and as a business owner, and they can find it on my website as well. I’ll give you the link. It’s called The Thriving Artists Roadmap. There’s also a five part miniseries, each of the videos is just 10 minutes, to help people walk through that roadmap. And this is a resource that helped a lot of people in my audience. So it’s a free ebook, and you can find it on https://www.thrivewithtrupti.com/tar-mini-course

Laura

56:32
Awesome

Nikki

56:33
Perfect. And we will include all of these links in our show notes. There’s just one more thing I want to ask you. So if you were interviewing yourself, what would you have asked yourself that we did not ask you?

Trupti

56:50
Oh, man, um, I would ask myself, how to find balance. And why do we even do all of this stuff? Which are two very different questions, I know. But it’s not specifically a question, but something that I do when I talk to people about, you know, whether they want to just make art or they want to create business from it. I want to let them know that, please do it, please. I mean, the world needs, the world needs your art, it needs your voice, it needs whatever it is that you have to offer. And if you know, perfection is standing in your way, or just you’re thinking that I need to have everything together before I launch. Most of us didn’t have our stuff together when we launched any of the stuff that we did. So don’t let that stop in your way. And I sort of say, just find lightness in everything that you do. You know, I know that my pattern like the reason why is to get burned out is because I used to make everything so heavy. I used to be like, Oh, I have to work on this, I have to work on that. And blah blah blah. And now I just make everything light and easy. I just think what’s the lightest and easiest way that I can do this and I find joy in it. And it all stems from gratitude, right? No matter how hard it gets, I am never ever going to go back to you know, a corporate job or anything else. Because I noticed how much the sense of fulfillment it gives me, how much joy it brings into my life. So it’s all worth it. So just being in a state of gratitude and just making everything light, light.

Laura

58:31
I mean, instead of saying I have to, it’s I get to.

Trupti

58:34
I get to, exactly. So what an honor it is to get to do this and to live the life of my dreams and to just find happiness every day. Right? I mean, that’s my top course agenda is to be happy every day. I love being happy. I also love prioritizing my happiness. So I, you know, when I started my own way, I get in my own head, I’m just standing in the way of my happiness. So yeah, just please, please, please make your art and offer your courses or you know, whatever offering that you have, offer it to the world.

Nikki

59:06
That’s beautiful. Thank you.

Trupti

59:08
Thank you.

Laura

59:10 

Trupti, thank you so much for being with us today. It’s been our honor to have you on the podcast, it’s been super fun talking to you. And I know that everybody’s really going to enjoy listening.

Trupti

59:22
Thank you. I mean, I’m so grateful for you guys for having me on this podcast because I haven’t stopped smiling the whole time we’ve been looking at each other and recording

Nikki

59:32
We all have been. One last thing. Blue Pine Arts is back up and running correct?

Trupti

59:40
Yes, it is back up and running. And we’ve found more growth than we ever did before. I did a rebranding when we came back. I decided to do just a little rebranding and just really find more groundedness in the brand. And now it’s just taken off and I think we might soon be starting a subscription box for Blue Pine Arts.

Nikki

1:00:06
Oooh… I love that I can’t wait.

Laura

1:00:08
Beautiful watercolors on your doorstep every month.

Trupti

1:00:10
Exactly.

Nikki

1:00:11
When you’re ready to launch that, we will definitely share that with our audience.

Trupti

1:00:14
Thank you so much. Yeah. So if someone is interested in collecting, you know, handcrafted artisanal watercolors, all handmade by my team, I mean, in the beautiful western parts of India. It’s such a, I love my team and the work that we do, so they can find out more about us on www.bluepinearts.com. Thanks for reminding me, Nikki.

Nikki

1:00:35
Absolutely. And thank you so much.

Trupti

1:00:38
Thank you.

Laura

1:00:41
If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and leave us a review. Visit startistsociety.com/trupti to read today’s show notes, where you’ll find links to all of the resources mentioned in this episode. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.

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