Guest Post by Julie Morris

The 4 Best Characteristics a Business Owner Should Have

Photo credit:  Pixabay

Photo credit: Pixabay

While just about anyone can dream about starting a business, not everyone does so successfully. In fact, while about 80 percent of businesses survive their first year, half fold after five years, and only 33 percent survive to see ten years. The high percentage rate of failed businesses is due to several factors, but some businesses fail because the owners lack the characteristics needed to succeed. We explore some of those characteristics here, to help you decide whether you should attempt to run your own business.

1. You Are a Risk Taker

Business, by nature, is risky. There are no guarantees, especially as technology, markets, and the role of the customer evolve. Many new business owners leave lucrative positions, make financial sacrifices, and put everything on the line to get off the ground. You have to be willing to put your security, relationships, and pride on the line when you venture into business ownership.

Still not convinced that you need to be willing to take risks when you start a business? The Houston Chronicle highlights the most common risks you will have to be willing to take:

●      Financial risk - You will have to invest some of your own money and other people's.

●      Legal risk - The rules and regulations regarding business change rapidly, and it's your responsibility to stay on top of them.

●      Personal risk - There are no guarantees that you will hire the right people, that you will be a capable leader, or that your relationships and mental health can withstand the stress of starting a new business.

●      Market risk - Your business plan is not a guarantee of consumer interest, and markets change all the time.

2. You Have Tenacity

Many characteristics of successful business owners are traits that exasperated their parents and teachers when they were young. Thankfully, those characteristics that tend to be challenging in childhood help you remain strong in adulthood. For example, to succeed in business, you must have spunk, determination, stubbornness, and tenacity.

Why do you need to be tenacious when you decide to go into business for yourself? At times, it will seem as though the world is against you, and you will have to buckle down, keep your eye on the prize, and make it through if you want to be one of the few that remains in business at the five- and ten-year marks. As Freedom Fast Lane puts it, you have to be more than persistent to succeed; you must be tenacious so you don't stop when things are just good enough.

3. You Can Adapt

One reason that people want to go into business for themselves is that things never get stale. Indeed, each day brings new challenges and opportunities when you are a business owner, so you need to be adaptable. Responding to change is a must, as markets, technology, and customer needs change. You must be flexible and prepared to handle whatever business throws your way if you hope to succeed.

Adaptable people also are better leaders. You don't get bogged down when change occurs, but you see it as an opportunity and capitalize on it. You lead by example and show that you can make decisions no matter the situation.

4. You Are a Problem Solver

Starting a business is, in itself, solving a problem. Businesses only succeed when they address a need, so starting a business begins with solving a problem. As a business owner, you need to continue to find ways to address problems and solve them cost-effectively. You also will need to solve challenges caused by vendors, regulations and requirements, employees, and customers.

To be the best problem solver you can be, you should define the problem, consider it from every angle, select the best solution, delegate to solve it, and evaluate your success in doing so.

If starting a lasting business were easy, everyone would do it. The best way to become a successful business owner is to take stock of your personal traits and determine if you have what it takes. At the very least, you should be a risk taker, tenacious, adaptable, and a problem solver.

Newsletter updates

Social media is an amazing venue for promoting anything, including art. In this time when brick and mortar art galleries are closing, social media is becoming an interesting alternative to showcase work far and wide. For example, I've started creating a newsletter detailing recent paintings and events, and sharing ideas and other artists' work through Mail Chimp. My first newsletter went out last week and I hope to continue it biannually. (Anyone wishing to sign up, please let me know through my contact page.) I'm still trying to figure out how to configure my blog to allow me to post each campaign here on my website. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, check out a quick video I compiled of recent works!


American Watercolor Society 151st Annual International Exhibition

"Hydrangeas in Glass Pitcher" been accepted into the 151st Annual International Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society! Awards will be decided in February, and the Exhibition will be held April 9-28, 2018 at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.

Hydrangeas in Glass with Pears_KMeuse copy.jpg

Guest post by Julie Morris

How You Can Turn Your Holiday Wish List into a Self-Improvement Blueprint




It’s not a coincidence that the biggest gift-getting season of the year comes right before New Year’s. This is the universe telling you that your holiday wish list should be filled with things to help you kickstart a new you this new year. If you want to tailor your wish list to net items and services that can be used for self-improvement, here’s where to begin.

Think about asking for something that gives you more free time

The more free time you have, the more time you have to focus on self-improvement. If you’re swamped with work, family, and other obligations, then it’s really hard to take time to take care of you - diet, exercise, meditation, mindfulness, etc.

Consider asking for a subscription to a meal kit delivery service. There are tons of options available, all of which deliver fresh ingredients (often pre-portioned) that are ready to hit your skillet. If you take away the pain of recipe hunting and grocery shopping, cooking can take little to no time at all. Cooking at home helps keeps you healthy, and these food delivery services are a true time-saver.

Focus on your sleep

If there were a wellness pyramid, sleep would likely rest near the top. That’s because good sleep can trickle down and positively affect almost every other aspect of your life. For a better you, focus on getting better sleep. One item to add to your wish list should be a smart alarm clock. There are various types of these devices, but most use some sort of tech that wakes you via light, pleasant sound, and based on your natural sleep rhythms. Also good ideas: a sensor-less sleep monitor, quality sleep earbuds, and a sleep mask. Check out more cool gadgets to boost your sleep quality here.

Ask for a little bit of mindfulness

What is mindfulness, you may ask? Mindfulness, simply put, is the state of being mindful of your present. You could call it living in the moment. You become aware of you, your own thoughts, and by this process the world around you. There’s no time to regret the past or worry about the future when you live a present-focused life. Sounds nice, right? Well, practicing mindfulness can be your ticket to better overall mental health.

One easy gift idea that could help you out with this is a handful of coloring books and some great coloring implements. Coloring is more than a kid’s activity. It has some serious meditative and stress-relieving benefits. Check out this list for more gift ideas from

Art, journals, candles, beads, and indoor plants also help those looking to focus on being mindful. Check here for more ideas.

Go high-tech with your fitness

It’s kind of hard for some people to justify spending $100 or more on a smart fitness tracker, even if they like the idea of it. That’s what the holidays are for - getting gifts that you would probably not buy yourself. Fitness trackers like the Fitbit aren’t miracle workers - you have to put in the work. But they do make fitness an ever-present part of your daily routine and can provide that little bit of motivation you need to get off the couch and get moving. Think about adding one of these top-rated trackers to your wish list.

Don’t waste the holiday gift-giving season. Make it count and turn your wish list into a blueprint for your own self-improvement.


You can read more posts by Julie Morris by visiting her website here.

Photo Credit:







Summer News!!

**Great Art News Update**


I'm very excited to announce that I will be showing my work at a local studio in the heart of Portsmouth this summer!


Through July (and tentatively at least the first week or so in August) I will be working and showing at Studio51Ceres, 51 Ceres Street, Portsmouth, NH, with the hosting studio artists Judy Gordon Schubert and Christy Hegarty. It will be a great change from my studio on Sagamore Creek - I'll be downtown amongst the bustle of summer tourism and a very different kind of energy. Plus a view of the tug boats and ships!

Please come visit me and the studio artists to see beautiful work both in progress and on show.

Upcoming events

This is the busy season for artists - plein air painting is everywhere on the seacoast (so many paint-worthy places to set up shop!) - and a lot of shows on the docket. 

I had two paintings on show in the Robert Lincoln Levy gallery this month in downtown Portsmouth (May). Coming up: My painting, "Cream Peonies" will be one of 126 watercolor paintings from all over the globe to be featured in the watercolor journal "SPLASH 19". 

"Cream Peonies" - watercolor

"Cream Peonies" - watercolor

The month of June-July, "Hydrangeas in Glass" will be on show at The Beauty of New Hampshire | The Fells Historic Estate, Newbury, NH | May 26th - Jul. 9th. This is a gorgeous estate and gallery - a great destination for a day trip, check out there website here:

I will be showing "Black Tulips" and "Purple Hydrangeas and Plums" at the upcoming Women's Caucus for the Arts (WCA/NH) Inspiration show "Works we love and why they are special" at the Pease Public Library in Plymouth, NH, from June 6 - August 24. 

"Black Tulips" - watercolor

"Black Tulips" - watercolor

"Purple Hydrangeas & Plums" - watercolor

"Purple Hydrangeas & Plums" - watercolor

Throughout July and August I will look towards showing at the Sheafe Gallery at Prescott Park in Portsmouth. I always love this venue right on the water in a 200 year old warehouse that once made large ropes for seafaring ships.

In September-October I will have a one-person show of work at the Concord, NH Chamber of Commerce.

I've started a Facebook page for NH watercolor painters with the future intent of creating a NH watercolor society, and we are looking at showing a few of our collected works at Breaking New Grounds cafe in Portsmouth. A small, but very busy venue in the summer months especially, so a good choice for our first foray as a group! 


Getting ready for spring

Can spring come soon enough? Here it is, two days after the official first day of spring and it's cold, with a week's worth of new snow on the ground! I long for the new buds of spring and summer - the tulip bulbs still lying dormant under the snow and hyacinth waiting to crack the surface. I'm getting ramped up now. I know that warmth is coming and my still life set-ups can be arranged in a lingering pool of sunlight in my studio with the angle of the sun moving in a more amenable pattern across my easterly-facing windows. Yes, I'm inspired! Yes, I am ready to forge forward with my paint brush in hand! I do owe some of this renewal of spirit to the two workshops I attended last weekend. Just being around other artists and talking the business of art was inspiration. Such enthusiasm and passion for our shared artistry - it's wonderful to see how eager this community is to create and share their passion.

So, perhaps I'm wrong about the winter chill. Spring has landed, creatively, figuratively, if not literally.


I love everything about horses from an artist's point of view. Tess is my cousin, Janet's horse - a beautiful Morgan with a peaceful demeanor. Her quiet, sweet presence shows in her soft brown eyes, captured here in watercolor. 

Tess in the works

Tess in the works

Tess in full

Tess in full

Newburyport Art Association "8 Cubed" Show

I'm entered in an art show in Newburyport, MA where the artwork had to be created on 8x8 stretched canvases. Any medium is accepted. This meant for me that my watercolor paper had to be adhered to the canvas and painted on in that form and shape. These pieces can't be framed (which works well for oil and acrylics, but not so much for pastel and watercolor). I found that working outside my usual routine of painting on paper and framing under glass, I could paint on the canvas, spray the work with an archival protective coat and have my work ready for the wall without frame and glass.

These are the two works I'm submitting today. The archival coating has not affected the color of the work. I'm really quite happy with the new option.