Fika podcast episode 5On this episode of the Fika podcast, I talk with DD Lecky about how she managed to hone in on her passion when she had so many interests to distract her from her true path, how she has faced her fears and what it’s really like to quit your day-job and just ‘go for it’ with your creative self. What does she miss from her steady income, and what is it like running a study/art gallery?

Topics:

  1. Who is DD Lecky and how did she nail down her passion? [1:23]
  2. The journey of taking the passion to the next level [10:26]
  3. Embracing failure and facing your fear [18:29]
  4. After the fear: things DD misses from a steady income  [23:35]
  5. Budgeting and making it happen [27:50]
  6. Running an art gallery and studio [30:30]
  7. The path to pottery [34:35]
  8. Small Business Tips [38:12]

Links and Show Notes:


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FIKA PODCAST EPISODE 005: DD Passion, Pottery and LibertyTown Arts with DD Lecky

Erica Eriksdotter: Hi lovelies!  It’s time for FIKA!  The Swedish word that means bonding and connecting with friends over coffee or tea. This is the place to be for real talks and discussions about everything from healing, fine arts, motherhood and entrepreneurship to health and fitness. The focus is connecting the dots through consciousness and elevating how consciousness is directed through each guest’s career and life path. My name is Erica Eriksdotter, fine arts painter and owner of Studio Eriksdotter. I’m a certified Intra-Dimensional Healer and PR and Social Media Strategist. I’m a modern woman, connected to Self who brings meaning to life through an earth centered truth.

Today, we’re having fika with DD Lecky of LibertyTown Arts Workshop in Fredericksburg, VA and DD Lecky Pottery.  You can find her at Facebook.com/ddleckypottery.

Erica Eriksdotter: Hi DD!

DD Lecky: Hello Erica!

Erica Eriksdotter: How are you?

DD Lecky: I’m doing good, how are you doing?

Erica Eriksdotter: Fantastic! We should probably tell our listeners that we’re actually recording this from the beach.

DD Lecky: We are.

Erica Eriksdotter: We’re in the Outer Banks.

DD Lecky: We’re in a beach house.

Erica Eriksdotter: In North Carolina. And, we’re just about to head down to the beach. But, first we wanted to check in.

DD Lecky: Difficult Life.

1. Who is DD Lecky and how did she nail down her passion? [1:23]

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing] To give our listeners a little bit of your bio before we actually jump in and have a fantastic discussion about small business and arts. DD was a property manager of several properties in Fredericksburg, VA, which is about an hour south of Washington, DC.  Her and her husband bought the largest art gallery and studio in their town in 2013.  And, since then, she has left the corporate world to focus all of her time on LibertyTown and her pottery business, DD Lecky Pottery.  As if that wasn’t enough…

DD Lecky: [laughing]  GAWD

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing] she also sits on the board of Fredericksburg, VA Main Street and was voted Top Ten of Next Gen in Fredericksburg last year.  And for those listening outside of the US, Next Gen means Next Generation. She’s also the adorable mom of three dogs, Ellie, Ernie and Gordon.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah, So, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about, I think many listeners struggle with finding their passions. It’s so easy for us as artists to go like, follow your passion and everyone’s telling you to follow your passion.  It’s like, well, what if you don’t know what your passion is? I think it very much feels like you can represent that. Because you’ve kind of come full circle…

DD Lecky: Mmm hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: with not only finding your passion but merging your corporate experience with your passion. So, you’ve, kind of merged, In the path of merging all those experiences.  The road has been kind of interesting to watch and since you know you are one of my close friends, its been interesting to watch you evolve through the, what, 15 years I’ve known you.

DD Lecky: God, yeah, it’s been that long?

Erica Eriksdotter: Before you got there, though.  So, can you share a little bit about that?

DD Lecky: Yeah, I mean, I think we have this idea of, you know, this dichotomy, you either have passion or you don’t. And, I think that’s one of the biggest things that I personally had to overcome. Was this idea of like you have to it’s all or nothing and it’s a black and white situation.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: And, I think the real truth of it is, is that there’s passion every day.  If you’re really kind of looking at how you’re living your life. Like, you know, even if it is something as simple as you really love washing your hair and taking a hot shower. There’s a passion there and like that relaxation, that moment of being true and with yourself and only yourself.  For me, I’ve always had a passion for art.  I’ve always had a passion for creating and I think that is very common among women.  Like, a lot of women love to create.  Whether it’s cooking or creating a beautiful home or…

Erica Eriksdotter: Cooking is very creative.

DD Lecky: Yeah. Or making children.  I mean, that’s the ultimate creative experience, right?  You’re growing a human being.

Erica Eriksdotter: Absolutely.

DD Lecky: Um, I think a lot of times woman as we became and I think it’s a grand endeavor for us to become more equal with men.  I think we absolutely should be more equal with men and part of that we try reject what is feminine about ourselves, right? What is womanhood in this pursuit of being equal to men? I think that’s, that’s where we kind of fail ourselves. Cause, I think if you reject what’s beautiful and creative about being a woman, you’re not being the powerful woman that you can be right?

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky:  You don’t need to reject that in order to equal.

Erica Eriksdotter: Correct.  And creative energy is a female energy.

DD Lecky: Yeah, it really is. I mean, there are a lot of creative men in the world.

Erica Eriksdotter: Absolutely.

DD Lecky: And, I think that’s their truth and their passion is being creative. But, I think women as a whole, this idea like I’ve got to be corporate.

Erica Eriksdotter: Right.

DD Lecky: I’ve gotta, you know, do the same things men do. Act the same way a man does in order to be equal. It’s a real challenge and I battled that challenge and um, it made me pretty sad. To deny who I was as a person and to deny that creativity and those things that made me happy.

Erica Eriksdotter: And, if you weren’t consciously aware that you were denying it, you were kind of suffocating a little bit. [laughing]

DD Lecky: Yeah. But, I think you’re giving me too much credit for like not knowing.  I think I knew I was doing it.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing]

DD Lecky: And I was sort of like, “But this is how it has to be.”  Like, I can’t be soft, I can’t be kind, I can’t be creative.  I can’t, you and, then when I broke down that barrier, so let me back up a little bit.  Like, probably…

Erica Eriksdotter: You’re probably like way ahead.

DD Lecky: I know, that’s my problem.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing]

DD Lecky: 2010 actually at the beach was when I, what was that? About 5 years ago?

Erica Eriksdotter: Yep, 5 years ago.

DD Lecky: I had kind of what, you know, would be deemed, it’s like a sort of an awakening, right?  So, I was laying on the beach kinda laying on my belly and kind of playing with sand and I was watching the sand kind of go through my hand. Looking at all the little crystals in the sand and I started remembering how glaze was made. Which is made with silica, which is sand.  And sort of thinking…

Erica Eriksdotter: Pottery glaze

DD Lecky: Yes, pottery glazes.

DD Lecky: And, so I was sort of thinking about it, thinking about glass and I don’t know, this thought just crossed my mind.  Why did I move away from art?  You know, why did I move away from being involved in this and making pottery.  This is some of the most joyful moments I’ve ever had in my life were making art.  I’ve always had this little corner of my house my whole life dedicated to art since I graduated from college in 2002.  It was always, it got smaller and smaller and sort of metaphorically like, the little aspect of art until we moved to our house, got pushed into a room and then literally covered up with like crap.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yes, I remember your crap room.

DD Lecky: [laughing] It’s still a crap room.

Erica Eriksdotter: It was a craft room at one point, and you definitely tried over and over and over to make room and you had…

DD Lecky: Yep

DD Lecky: But, I didn’t prioritize it and that’s part of the problem. It’s like kind of thought of it as like this, “silly, girly thing”, that was not valued.

Erica Eriksdotter: So, let’s talk a little bit about the ventures that actually you did

DD Lecky:  Okay.

Erica Eriksdotter: So, you had, I remember them being like 10 different small business opportunities.

DD Lecky: Probably

Erica Eriksdotter: But, I remember, the beautiful thing is, which is probably so annoying to most people, is that you were actually really good at all of them. They were great small business ventures.  You could have made a success…

DD Lecky: Well, I’m glad you think so.  [laughing] I don’t share always share those opinions, but that’s awesome.

Erica Eriksdotter: However, I think, when you were still seeking. So, when it’s not authentic, when it’s not necessarily completely the truth…

DD Lecky: Yea, I think …

Erica Eriksdotter: A centered truth, it’s not maybe meant to be.

DD Lecky: Yeah…

Erica Eriksdotter: Okay, so let’s list them.  You had a fantastic cookie venture.

DD Lecky: Yes.

Erica Eriksdotter:  I hired you to make baby shower cookies and they were phenomenal.  You had decorated them so beautifully.

DD Lecky: Yep.

Erica Eriksdotter: You had, like, socks, You had bottles.

DD Lecky: I still have those cookie cutters.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing] Yeah. The stork, I mean it was great.  Fantastic things.  You were knitting or crocheting.

DD Lecky: Crocheting. Hmmm.  Yeah, made scarves for people

Erica Eriksdotter: You wanted to own dog fostering.

DD Lecky: I did do dog fostering for a little while.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yep, um. I mean, you had a fantastic garden.  Not that that was ever going to be a business venture but you went full…

DD Lecky: No, but it’s a creative venture.  I never do anything small. I do it ridiculously huge..

Erica Eriksdotter: Full garden became a garden.

DD Lecky: Yep.

Erica Eriksdotter: Backyard became a garden, I should say. Umm, what else?

DD Lecky: Um, I think that’s probably the big ones.  Those are the big ones. I mean, yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head.  I was always grasping for some sort of creative energy.   And I think, you know, what I love about all those things is that they all kind of lead me to where I am now.

Erica Eriksdotter: And, they were all fantastic at the time.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: They were all feeding you.

DD Lecky: And, I still do all those things, I just realized I didn’t love all those things enough to make them into a daily business and that’s sort of what is important about finding your passion. Is something that you love, that you love deeply and you were willing to bleed for every day.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

DD Lecky: No.

Erica Eriksdotter: It doesn’t have to be that you do your passion 100%, but to find your passion, not what you were saying earlier, not to ignore it.

DD Lecky: Correct.

Erica Eriksdotter: Not to deny yourself of it.

DD Lecky: Yep.

Erica Eriksdotter: Even if you just carve out 10 minutes a day.

DD Lecky: Oh, for sure.

Erica Eriksdotter: For a normal person, if they are not in that place where they can umm…

DD Lecky: Yeah, most people don’t have the luxury of doing what I’ve done. Which, I mean,  I think embracing how lucky I am that I got to where I am and that I have the life that I have is important too.  But, there was a period of time where all I had sometimes was an hour a week to do art in some capacity.  And, just embracing that hour and being appreciative of it and not being angry that you don’t have more time.  I think that blocks your creative juices a little bit and kind of creates like a really negative feedback loop when it comes to doing your creative venture. I think if you really enjoy every minute you have with it, that really helps.

2. The journey of taking the passion to the next level [10:26]

Erica Eriksdotter: Why was it important for you to evolve your passion and take it to the next level and not continue doing it hobby?

DD Lecky: For me, it was more about the fact that I just did not want to do what I was doing as a job anymore.  It was sort of thinking about monetizing this thing that I did love doing.  You know, life is really short, and I’ve always thought of life as being very, we don’t have a guarantee for tomorrow and the level of take that occurred every day in my daily job and in so many people’s daily jobs.  It wasn’t a bad job. Like, I didn’t have to dig ditches, I didn’t have to do anything horrific, it wasn’t like you know autopsying bodies or something [laughing]. I was just property managing, um, and doing commercial property management. I was being very well paid for it.  But, it was a job that took from me every day and did not give back.  And, so I was, I felt diminished in that role.

Erica Eriksdotter: Drained.

DD Lecky: Drained. Very drained and very burnt out.  Very burnt out.  I had climbed the corporate ladder and I was in charge of my whole office and had a bunch of employees.  They were great employees. There was no, I don’t have any like…

Erica Eriksdotter: Horror stories.

DD Lecky: Yeah! I don’t have any ah-ha moment where I’m like, my boss didn’t appreciate me as a woman.  My bosses were great. Like, they were very appreciative of women.  And, like didn’t treat me as less than and I got paid just as much as a man did in that role.  But it was really like the whole job itself and I think that’s really what hit is like, I always thought well let me get to the next place, let me get. It will be better when I get to this little ladder.  It will be better when I get to this little ladder.  And, the further I went up, the less and less fulfilled I felt and the more and more I felt fulfilled doing pottery.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky:  And, I was selling it.  And selling it for a good amount of money.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: And making a good amount of money enough to pay for my hobby. And, I kept thinking, gosh, if I just had more time to do this.  I would be able to do more things.  I’d be able to show these things that are going on my head, these sketches that I have written down.

Erica Eriksdotter: So, it started with the sand.

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: That was like the seed that got planted, right?

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: And, that was 5 years ago.  Let’s talk about the path it took you on. So, ten years, I mean sorry, 5 years, in 2010 and then tell me your next ah-ha moment.

DD Lecky: Um, I think going like, last year, I was in the midst of probably a pretty large interpersonal crisis.

Erica Eriksdotter: 2014?

DD Lecky: 2014.   We had already bought LibertyTown in the fall of that year, so September 2013.  And, I thought, that will be it.  Like, that will be where my creative juices will go and what it did is actually sucked away all the time that I could spend on pottery.  Like, I went from having a little bit of time every week to do pottery to like now I’m running this business and working a full time job and my husband was working a full time job. So, even the artistic business to give back a little bit there was still outpouring for me.  And, I think you recognized in me that I was flailing a little bit, um, and invited me to one of your workshops, your healing workshops.

Erica Eriksdotter: Psychic Awareness and Opening that I was sponsoring that Cherie Young.

DD Lecky: Yeah

Erica Eriksdotter: Was teaching.

DD Lecky: So, I went.  Not really expecting to find…

Erica Eriksdotter: Not to plug!

DD Lecky: [laughing] No

Erica Eriksdotter: Not to plug anything.

DD Lecky: I didn’t know that, you know, I’m not particularly spiritual person.  I’m not religious in any regard at all.  So for me, I was like, alright, I’ll go and I’ll have fun and I’ll be hanging out with a bunch of really cool women and it’ll  be a nice experience.

Erica Eriksdotter: There are also men attending, but not at that workshop.

DD Lecky: Yes, there no men at this particular workshop.  I wasn’t thinking about men, let me just be frank.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing]

DD Lecky: I was like, I didn’t think there’d be dudes there, I thought it would be chicks. But, you know, I went there with pretty low expectations to how I was going to be able relate to the process.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: And, what I found was it was just a really warm environment in order to be honest and to feel more connected to women and to the environment, to the world.  And, sort of, you know, be honest with what I wanted, what I actually wanted, and it sort of enabled me and opened me up to the idea of that there’s not just what’s tangible sitting there.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah. In a workshop like that you’re connecting to all your guides and resources.

DD Lecky: Right.

Erica Eriksdotter: Which you may have been connected from before so you’re getting, it’s so much easier to find that truth, it’s easier because you’re being supported by so many other aspects.

DD Lecky: Yeah, Yeah.  It was a safe environment in which to sort of give myself permission to actually, you know, feel what I was feeling.

Erica Eriksdotter: And maybe find what you were feeling was you know?

DD Lecky: Was legit! Yeah

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: Yeah, totally legit and something that somebody else was feeling and these other people were feeling, sort of similar.  I mean it was kind of amazing going around that room like, yeah, it was really amazing.  It was really nice.  It’s nice knowing that you can connect with people like that and connect with you know a higher sense of self and higher sense of consciousness in those kind of environments, it’s safe.

Erica Eriksdotter: So, that took you to the next path of like, how do we make this work.?

DD Lecky: Right, so then it sort of opened me up and then I wasn’t satisfied anymore.  I think that’s really what it did for me, was it created this dissatisfaction with my current state.

Erica Eriksdotter: When you finally see, you see.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: Right.

DD Lecky: exactly. I got really dissatisfied with like how I was.  But knowing me, I’m like such a bulldog, I stuck with the corporate pattern for a while after that. And I…

Erica Eriksdotter: Things take time.

DD Lecky: Yeah.  I got a really severe back injury right after that and I think you and I were talking about this the other day, but, I so won’t go into details because it’s super boring, got a back injury, my back ouchie, for a very long time. Finally got better and during that process I had a lot of time to lay on the couch and think about what was going on in my life.  I ended up going into therapy pretty soon after that, like after I was done with physical therapy for my back and got my physical body well.  I went and worked on my mental self.  Going to therapy really, really helped.  And I think we have this big taboo in this country talking about spirituality or mental health or being healthy and we think you know, if I just keep moving forward, everything will get better.  If you don’t take time to take care of yourself and take care what’s going on in your head and how you’re thinking about things and bad thinking patterns and bad like, relationship patterns.

Erica Eriksdotter: Breaking the patterns.

DD Lecky: Exactly!

Erica Eriksdotter: Letting go of patterns…

DD Lecky: Absolutely.

Erica Eriksdotter: That no longer serve you.

DD Lecky: Yeah, I think going to a healing workshop, or learning how to heal yourself or going to like a therapist, going to your priest, or going to a psychologist.  Whatever works for you, do it and take care of yourself. And, don’t be ashamed about it.

Erica Eriksdotter: Ask for help.

DD Lecky: Yeah, and I really and I think if you want to keep it private, you can keep it private.

Erica Eriksdotter: Journaling is fantastic.

DD Lecky: Journaling is huge.  And, that was one of the things my therapist had me do, was journal. It was like, think about like writing things down  and sort of like, when you write them down and then you can go back and read them later.  You’re like, whoa, like I’m thinking about this so destructively versus you know productive thinking.  Worked through a lot of issues with my personal life and with things that I was doing and by that time, I was ready.  Like, I had gotten to a place that I wasn’t running away, I was running towards something now. I don’t think anybody’s story is typical. Right?  I’ve seen people start businesses and it’s easy from day one and they just get stuff done and it’s easy peasy and that’s totally legitimate.

Erica Eriksdotter: I choose, these days, to do it easy.

DD Lecky: And that’s great.  And then there are people who struggle and it takes them forever and that’s legitimate too. And, I think whatever is, whatever your journey is, just accept that’s how your journey is going to go.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: And, when it gets to a point where, and I think that the difficulty is knowing how is this journey going to end well?  [laughing] Am I actually heading towards something productive or am I just like spinning my wheels.  And, that’s the difficult part that I don’t have…

Erica Eriksdotter: But, knowing that, that is might be your purposes.  That you might…

DD Lecky: Oh, absolutely.

Erica Eriksdotter: If it goes to…

3. Embracing failure and facing your fear [18:29]

DD Lecky:  It doesn’t have to be successful in order for it to be important, right?  So, you can fail catastrophically and but the, you have to understand that failure is a part of the story.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: You have to learn how to fail and I think that’s where pottery has really taught me. And people, might not value art, but art is incredibly important for teaching people how to fail and fail well.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: You know, because you’re not going to be prefect every time you pick up that paintbrush or you get on the potter’s wheel.  It’s just never gonna happen. But you have to learn how to struggle through the difficulties and to have a goal and an endpoint.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: You might not get there for a hundred thousand hours, but once you get to that point, there’s such a beauty in that triumph of getting ….

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: Making your hands do things and your hands and your brains and your eyes all work together and they’re smart and they’re making things that are beautiful that other people will want to buy or want to look at.

Erica Eriksdotter: When, um, the Christmas before my dad passed away, so we’re talking probably ’99, I gave him a paperweight that said, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” And, then when he passed away, it’s now my paperweight.  Sits on my desk But, these days, I don’t believe in failure.  There is, no, to me at least, there is no such thing as failure.

DD Lecky: Mmm, Hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: However, I felt failure many, many times where you spend you know, $600 on an art show. You spend a weekend away and…

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: Uhh, it’s a huge physical endeavor to put up your tent, put everything up, and then you barely sell anything.  And you definitely don’t recuperate the money.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: And, then you come home and you’re not just emotionally drained, you’re physically exhausted and then you’re more broke. [laughing] Right?

DD Lecky: [laughing]

Erica Eriksdotter: And, you feel like a fat failure.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: However, that, [laughing] I have to say, is a fantastic lesson in most things.

DD Lecky: Yes, absolutely.

Erica Eriksdotter: And, it makes you who you are and also it makes you understand a couple years later down the road, that that isn’t a failure.

DD Lecky: No.

Erica Eriksdotter: It is a wonderful experience that you can embrace, but when you’re in it and your knee deep in that.

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: It is the most uncomfortable you’ve ever been.  It is the most scared you’ve ever been and I think we talked about this, the other day, about fear.

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: Uh, about many people are making assumptions.  There may be listeners out there who maybe know their passion already…

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: Maybe know, but they are scared.

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: They’re scared! Which is totally understandable of not doing that and I think once you’ve done it, you understand that.  You’ve just got to face your fears. That’s the only way to manage fear.  You’ve got to face it.

DD Lecky: Well, yeah.  Putting yourself out there is fearful experience when you first do it because, you know, when you’re creative and you create art, or you create pies, or you create a child, you’re putting this part of yourself out in the rest of the world and it’s a judgmental world.  There’s no doubt about it. People will judge your art and judge your pies and judge your child.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: And, judge everything that you do.  And, where you have to get is a place where you don’t allow that judgement to color your behavior.  You cannot allow someone else’s unconstructive opinion about what you do to color how you operate.  Constructive criticism is fantastic.  By someone you respect or someone you

Erica Eriksdotter: Neutral critic.  Neutral feedback.

DD Lecky: Absolutely.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yep.

DD Lecky: And most of the time when you get good feedback, it is neutral, because those people have kindness in their heart when they’re speaking to you.  They’re not coming from a place of wanting to hurt you. But, we also have to understand that when people judge us and they judge cruelly, their judging from their own place of fear and their own sense of failure and their own sense of lack of expression of their passion.  So, how I counter when I see somebody who is judgmental about me leaving a corporate job and going into an artistic one is in they, they judge.  Oh, how’s retirement? is what I get a lot.

Erica Eriksdotter: Do you really?

DD Lecky: Yeah. Um, and, my comment to them is, “Hey, I’m busier now than I have ever been and I’m getting paid a lot less but I tell you what I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. You should try it!”  It starts a conversation with them about what they love and what they’re into. And they’re like, “Yeah, if I could golf all day, I’d totally do it” and I was like, “Why don’t you try to do that?  Why don’t you try to be a golf pro?”

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing]

DD Lecky: And, we start a conversation about, like, what and it always…

Erica Eriksdotter: Opening up the possibilities…

DD Lecky: Yeah!

Erica Eriksdotter: Instead of focusing on the…

DD Lecky: Exactly.  Talk to them about, you know, and that’s where I got rid of the fear is when I realized everybody’s afraid. Everybody’s afraid. The difference is people who are, you know, pushing past that fear, running hard against it or the people that hit that fear wall and then back away from it.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah

DD Lecky: You have to run through it. It’s like fire.  You just, the faster you run through it, the less burns you’re gonna get by the fear. And, uh, yeah, it takes a while though.

4. After the fear: things DD misses from a steady income  [23:35]

Erica Eriksdotter: So, things you thought you were going to miss after pushing through that fear…

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: Umm, you know?  I remember….

DD Lecky: I miss nothing. [laughing]

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing] I mean; I remember…

DD Lecky: I miss, I miss expensive haircuts and really nice shoes.  But, I can get those someday again. Like, those are not big deals.  Those are like, really silly things.  Like, I miss sitting in a salon and like, drinking a glass of white wine and having the lady do my hair and like brush it out, fuss over me.

Erica Eriksdotter: You have long curly hair.

DD Lecky: And, I have long curly hair.  So, it takes a lot.  It was always really expensive to do anything with it.

Erica Eriksdotter: I mean, it’s…let’s face it.  It’s a little bit…

DD Lecky: Out of control?

Erica Eriksdotter: It’s a little your own world at the moment.

DD Lecky: [laughing] Right! But, um, you know and doing things like you know going buying expensive, fancy shoes and things.  But, I don’t have any need for those things.  Those were like power items that were indicative of my position and my job and if I wanted to do those things, I could make time and money for them but I clearly don’t want to because I’m not making that type of money.

Erica Eriksdotter: I remember when I was a full-time artist as well. I’m always a 100% artist, I’m always 100% healer, I’m always 100% PR and Social Media Strategist. But, I remember when I became a full-time artist. I was like, I don’t care when I buy my next clothes. Why would you want to go and buy clothes? I don’t care if I have these shoes until the rest of my life.  It’s hard to describe.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: But, the material stuff suddenly doesn’t matter at all. To me, it was at all.  I was feeding myself so much.  And, then when I went back into the corporate world, because frankly, Northern Virginia is the most expensive county to live in in the US.

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: In 2015.  And, I went back to choose also, PR, Social Media is my passion as well.

DD Lecky: Mmm, hmm.

Erica Eriksdotter: So, it was a natural step. And, then, I now am addicted to buying dresses from Anthroplogie.

DD Lecky: [laughing]  Right.

Erica Eriksdotter: There’s a like, you know, the balance there it’s quite interesting.  We make it work, no matter what.  You make it work…

DD Lecky: I mean, I know, if you have a legitimate passion for collecting shoes is just as legitimate as throwing pottery.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing]

DD Lecky: Honestly.  I think it is.  You know?  It’s a beautiful object that you love and you want to have more of.  I don’t disagree with that idea if you can afford it and if it doesn’t put you in debt.

Erica Eriksdotter: And, can you count how many pairs of high heels you have right now?  Cuz, I have one.

DD Lecky: I have like, yeah, I have probably about twenty.  But, they are leftovers.  Like, I was up to eighty at one point.

Erica Eriksdotter: EIGHTY PAIRS!

DD Lecky: Yeah!

Erica Eriksdotter: Of high heels!!

DD Lecky: Yeah. Oh my god, yeah. That’s pretty bad. But, they’re gone now.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing] I like how we’ve turned to shoes.

DD Lecky: They got worn out.  As they got worn out, I stopped buying them and that’s where I kind of knew where I was going. Is cause, i just really, Ughhh, I’m not buying another pair of shoes.

Erica Eriksdotter: Okay, so let’s be all psychology here. Was that directly related to trying to find your passion?

DD Lecky: Related to my back injury. [laughing]

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing]

DD Lecky:  You know me, I used to be fantastically in shape and like worked all the time, and like, you know, had all these really cute outfits and the shoes and they showed off my legs and that’s really what it was about.  It’s like this expression of beauty that I was putting out there as my physical self.  And, so that’s what the shoes were about. They were sort of like an extension of like my artistic mind.  You saw some of my shoes, they’re bananas! Ike, some of them were really bananas, high heels.  They weren’t like, you know, the normal typical like just…

Erica Eriksdotter: Black heels.

DD Lecky: Yeah. Weird prints, weird patterns, sequins, strange stuff on them. And, that’s really what it was about for me.  It was like, that was I think my…

Erica Eriksdotter: It was your crafty person coming out, even though you weren’t making the shoes.

DD Lecky: Yeah , It was like, corporate, corporate, corporate, corporate, get down to my shoes, artist.

Erica Eriksdotter:  [laughing]

DD Lecky: I think was how I was expressing myself.

Erica Eriksdotter: Squeezing it in.

DD Lecky: Squeezing in that little, like…

Erica Eriksdotter: And earrings, I would say. Squeezing it in with your earrings.

DD Lecky: Yeah, definitely weird earrings and weird shoes. And, that was how I was, I a little like subversive in the corporate world. It was sort of like, yeah, I’ll wear your three-piece suit that I’m required to wear and get my hair done professionally and straightened professionally and wear make-up. But, I am going to wear weird heels, I’m going to wear weird earrings and you’re just going to have to deal with it.

5. Budgeting and making it happen [27:50]

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah, so now, what did you think giving up a full time corporate salary. What did you think you were going to miss?

DD Lecky: Well, being the analytical person that I am, um, I ran budgets and numbers for probably a year like, kept running them over and over and over again with different scenarios.  Like, umm, before I left, so I knew exactly what the picture was going to look like before I left. I wouldn’t have left had not been a positive picture. That’s just who I am. Like I wasn’t about to leave my husband high and dry with not being able to pay all of our bills because I didn’t want to like, take the stress on my plate and put it on his plate and just be like, here you go! Now you have to figure out how to make more money.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing]

DD Lecky: And, I wanted to be in a position where I did not feel like I absolutely had to make money with my pottery right off the bat.

Erica Eriksdotter: That’s a lot of pressure.

DD Lecky: It’s a lot of pressure and putting that stress on yourself can, again, reduce the creativity, like.  You don’t take risks when you have that fear.  And, I know myself well enough to know, that if I was fearful about paying my bills, then I would run up against that brick wall of fear again.  And, I would just start, you know, doubting it and eventually leave. I wanted to be in a position where I was not tempted to get behind the wall of fear again and get back into a corporate job.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: So, yeah, I think if somebody is thinking about going into a creative endeavor do it smartly.  Don’t do it in way that you’re setting yourself up for disaster.

Erica Eriksdotter: Well, maybe not, like gone impulse.  Maybe, actually check that you’re getting a steady monthly income.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: And what that income is

DD Lecky: Exactly. And, don’t be afraid of the numbers. Like, so many people are like, oh, creative, I don’t know how to do math.  I can’t do numbers.  LEARN!

Erica Eriksdotter: Do this simple math.

DD Lecky: You gotta…

Erica Eriksdotter: Everyone can do that.  People have a lot fear

DD Lecky: They do.  They block. They’re like, I’m creative, therefore I cannot do x, right?  You can be creative and organized.

Erica Eriksdotter: You can replace that math word with budget.

DD Lecky: Right. Exactly, Excel is your friend.

Erica Eriksdotter: Budget is just a balancing.  What’s going in, what’s going out.

DD Lecky: And, if you really can’t do it, honestly, find somebody who can and you know, have them help you.  Like, I have a really great accountant that you know, is fantastic.  She’s been huge for me.  Because, she’s been sort of like, ewww, you don’t want to do that. [laughing] Things that I don’t think about because I’m not an accountant.  I’m good at running spreadsheets, but I’m not really great at like, tax planning.  Um, and that sort of stuff. So, it’s really important…

Erica Eriksdotter: Setting it up legal and clean.

DD Lecky: Yeah, absolutely.

Erica Eriksdotter: That’s always helpful.

6. Running an art gallery and studio [30:30]

Erica Eriksdotter: What are your current responsibilities at LibertyTown? Um, what entails running an art gallery and studio?

DD Lecky: Yeah, I mean, LibertyTown’s thirteen thousand square feet, about 27 different art studios with multiple artists and I think we have little over 40 full time artists in the studio spaces actually creating within those spaces. And, then we have probably another 10 that are like part-time you know you burning the monthly out of the pottery room.  We teach classes.  We have concerts, we have shows, we have all sorts of stuff that goes on there all the time.  Um, and basically, every single month we’ve got at least one event. Yeah, on a day to day basis, we have seven employees, all of them are part-time.  And, we have a gallery manager who is there three to four days a week and she’s really, really instrumental.  I think one of the key things I always tell people when you start a business is surround yourself with good people. You know, don’t let people be, don’t let nepotism get in the way of success, right.  Just hire Cousin Larry because like your mom told you to hire cousin Larry. Like, hire people who are really good at what they do and really respect you and that you really respect them.  And, it makes everything ten time easier. Where it stands right now, is Kenneth and I both sort of run the business equally. I probably do a little bit more of the legwork these days because I’m there, I’m more present. But, you know, in terms of brainpower and skill set it’s pretty equal partnership.

Erica Eriksdotter: What kind of classes do you offer?

DD Lecky: Umm, we do pottery, painting, weaving, glass, um, blacksmithing, all sorts of things. Our class schedule is generally about four pages long.

Erica Eriksdotter: Do you have a program of new classes going up in January?

DD Lecky: Published a class schedule for the next two to three months at one time.  It will be a brand new schedule starting at the end of December for January, February, March.  We typically do like a 3 month look out ahead in January.  And, some of our most popular classes are usually the painting and the pottery classes in January.  Where people are trying something new.  They are kind of feeling their oats a little bit and they want to kind of experiment with something after being cooped up all winter or their New year’s resolution to be more creative or to like, experience art.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah, I recently took a pottery class. I, of course had, you were my teacher.

DD Lecky: You were an awesome student.

Erica Eriksdotter:   It was one on one, so I was spoiled. That was fun to do something different, but also be umm, for me, it was important to, I do paintings. I do painting classes but I do paintings. For you guys you can go to StudioEriksdotter.com/events page to see ongoing events for painting and healing, etcetera. Um, but for me, it was interesting, because I am always the painter.  So, I paint commissions on a regular basis, pet portraits, bridal bouquets. you know, I paint.  But, it was an interesting, wonderful experience to be a student again. To completely open up and say, you are the teacher, you are the master of your craft and I’m gonna be the student here.  It’s a wonderful, liberating thing to be a student.

DD Lecky: Oh, it is. And, I still consider myself a student. I still look to learn and grow pretty much every day in art.  And, look for things that challenge me or I probably will not be good at the first time.

Erica Eriksdotter: Well, you were a wonderful teacher.

DD Lecky: Thank you!

Erica Eriksdotter: You’re welcome.

DD Lecky: I think being a student makes you…

Erica Eriksdotter: And, a year later you brought me my pots.

DD Lecky: It was a year later. Yeah, it took me a while, sorry about that.  We haven’t seen each other in a while. [laughing] I held onto them, I didn’t sell them.

Erica Eriksdotter: Compared to what’s DD’s pottery looks like, they are.

DD Lecky: Their so good for a first time pottering on a wheel, it’s just a pile of mush. Seriously. You actually made physical objects that can hold things.  That great, that’s huge.

7. The path to pottery [34:35]

Erica Eriksdotter: So, um, tell, us a little bit. So, ok you went from having so many various different things.

DD Lecky: Yeah.

Erica Eriksdotter: It felt a little..

DD Lecky: Distilled it down to like

Erica Eriksdotter: And then it became pottery,

DD Lecky: Yep.

Erica Eriksdotter: You focused, you honed in finally on pottery.

DD Lecky: Yep.

Erica Eriksdotter: Which you had already done as a child.

DD Lecky: Yes, I had done it in high school in America, anybody listening internationally.  Like, that’s you know, around 16 – 17, my senior year of high school.  Took an independent study. They didn’t offer it as an actual class, I had more credits than I needed, I could have graduated as a junior but I decided to stay as a senior and took like 90% art classes and like one calculus class. Pretty typical of me.  I think I took 3 AP classes and then all art and drama classes.  Like everything else. I don’t know why I ever thought I wasn’t creative. And, then, I did this independent study and I sat in a back room, had books on pottery and taught myself how to throw. I had one teacher who showed me how to center. So, I learned ‘how to center. You know, I went to University of Virginia where they don’t have a ceramics program.  I took art classes all through college. Drawing classes, sculpture classes, all kinds of different things. Umm, but they don’t have a ceramics program, so I didn’t get to practice. So, yeah, I eventually came back to it after finding LibertyTown.  I actually took my classes at the place I ended up buying and it was like riding a bike.  It was crazy.  The first time I sat at the wheel, it felt so natural and perfect and normal. I came home that night and I remember telling Ken, I found my home. I found it.  This is what I really love doing.  I wasn’t good at it, but I didn’t care.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah, you just wanted to be in it.

DD Lecky: Yeah, I just wanted to do it all the time. And, by doing it all the time, I got good at it.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah. It’s a lot of work.

DD Lecky: And, I’m still getting better and I’m still getting to where I want to be and I think that’s important to when you have a passion. You’re always in the moment, but you’re also pushing towards that next hurdle that you want to get over.  Like, you see something, Oh, I want to learn to throw that thin.  Or, I want to learn how to do something taller.  Or, I want to throw more clay or I want to decorate a different way. That’s where I’m always looking now.

Erica Eriksdotter: So, um, DD is actually going to be back on the podcast and if you have any questions for DD about small business or if you have any comments or if this has inspired you in some way, we would love to hear from you.  You can use #fikapodcast or you can use the link in the show notes that takes you to a form. An easy quick form that you can fill out.  If the link, in the show notes is not working, you can look up in the blog post at Studioeriksdotter.com for this episode and it will be right there. So, I want to come back in your next episode and talk more specifically about your pottery.

DD Lecky: Okay, absolutely.

Erica Eriksdotter: About your goals with your pottery and I assume there’s a structure to it or there are names that we need to name.

DD Lecky: Oh yes, we can name names [laughing]

8. Small Business Tips [38:12]

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing] And, stuff like that.  To round out as a small business owner, to be honest, it’s not such a small business.

DD Lecky: It’s still pretty small, It’s just medium-small.

Erica Eriksdotter: [laughing] It’s a medium-small one.

DD Lecky: [laughing] Medium small.

Erica Eriksdotter: It’s not like…

DD Lecky: Physically, it’s very large.

Erica Eriksdotter: You have many people there.  But, as a small business owner, you wear different hats.  Not just for LibertyTown Arts but also for your own company, DD Lecky Pottery, right.  Ah, what, do you have five or any number in tips that you can share with everyone to keep in mind when you run your own business.  Like, just, if there, if the passion is to knit scarves or have a food truck or, you know, just…

DD Lecky: Well, I’d say the first time would be find something that holds your interest.  I think that’s the biggest problem is that people have a great idea and they start a business and then they get bored.  And, I think that’s totally fine but, if you find something that holds your interest for longer than a conversation or longer than it takes you to register an LLC, then you’re in good shape.  The second thing would be surround yourself with really good people.  Find yourself a good partner in crime.  I think having two people helping out to run a business. I think it’s great to do everything on your own and I think it’s completely legitimate but I think it’s also really fantastic, even if it’s a best friend to your mom that you talk to.  To bounce ideas off of and to have them be a good sounding board.

Erica Eriksdotter: I definitely felt very alone, but it was because I like to do it my way.  I didn’t, at the time, like to ask for help. I definitely have missed that and seeked out that community of other small business owners and women which is part of this podcast right?  Where merging that network and spreading that network, that was huge.

DD Lecky: That’s totally legit.

Erica Eriksdotter: It’s interesting, because, yes it’s great that my mom was very supportive, my sisters are always supportive, my husband is amazing and yet, when it’s, unless you have your own small business it is hard to understand the ups and downs with that.

DD Lecky: Oh yeah.  It always looks so romantic from the outside.  Like, Oh my god, I can do whatever I want with my time.  And, that’s true, it’s very true.  But, then you always have like, yes, you can do whatever you want with your time, but you’re also deciding when you’re not doing something for your small business.

Erica Eriksdotter: Yeah.

DD Lecky: You are actually making the decision not to do something for your business.  It’s not like your boss told you, okay, time’s up you can go for the day.

Erica Eriksdotter: You can go home now. Or, golden star, you get a new title change or you get a raise.

DD Lecky: The only gold stars you get are the ones you buy yourself.

Erica Eriksdotter: You’ve go to love yourself so much as a small business owner and allow yourself to take time off.  I didn’t at the time.

DD Lecky: And that was going to be tip #3, take time for yourself.

Erica Eriksdotter: I do now.

DD Lecky: And, I have small business owner friends and family who I am constantly arguing with to take time off.  You know exactly who I am talking about.

Erica Eriksdotter: She’s having a baby.

DD Lecky: My little sister, Bri, is terrible at taking time off. Bree, you’re terrible.

Erica Eriksdotter: Let’s just little parentheses, they own IttyBittyPress out of Richmond, VA.  They are a fantastic…

DD Lecky: Super busy, Screen printing yep, graphic design.

Erica Eriksdotter: Screen printing, t-shirts, posters, they are amazing.  They are hired all over RVA.

DD Lecky: The world.

Erica Eriksdotter: Oh, yeah.

DD Lecky: Um, but no.  She’s you know, I think getting yourself and I’ve been there.  You get yourself, work yourself into a tizzy where you’re like, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. You absolutely can, you plan for it. You just have to plan for it and you have to take that time for yourself.  Even, now, she gotten better about taking two days off a week and that is enough for me for her.  It’s like, great.  She wasn’t doing that for years, for years.

Erica Eriksdotter: I did, I was a full time artist for a year.  So, let’s say, I mean, I was a corporate PR and Social Media person for many years and then I had an opportunity to be full time for a year.  And, then went back into full time corporate world in 2012, end of 2011 and continued running my own business at the same speed.  So, full time at work, come home every night, I inhaled my food. Six o’clock, if not earlier, I was in my studio painting until 10 every single night and then on the weekends at least eight hours every single day.  My husband did not see me.  I turned down birthday parties.

DD Lecky: Oh, I know.

Erica Eriksdotter: Oh, yeah, you’re right.

DD Lecky: I was a friend with you during that period of time.

Erica Eriksdotter: I did everything because I felt that if I was anything less than that, if I allowed myself to take time off, if I allowed myself to have fun, i would have failed as a business owner.  And that’s just…

DD Lecky: I completely understand that.

Erica Eriksdotter: That was in the past.  I don’t do that anymore.

DD Lecky: I think it’s part of your Sweden, but you probably absorbed some of that American culture of like,

Erica Eriksdotter: My Swedes, I know you’re listening, they call me the American over there.

DD Lecky: Okay, well, their right. [laughing] Because, that’s a pretty American perspective on business. It really is. I think we, in this country, have this notion that the longer the hours you work and the harder work and…

Erica Eriksdotter: The struggle…

DD Lecky: And the more blood that’s physically pouring out of your body, the better job you’re doing. Right, it’s this weird quantitative idea if success…

Erica Eriksdotter: [singing] I’m a maniac! maniac! [laughing]

DD Lecky: It’s exactly it.  And I think, I you know, I fight that all the time.  But, I think taking a day off or two days off and having legitimate day off.  I’m not talking like…

Erica Eriksdotter: She is throwing her fist on her…

DD Lecky: On my knee! It is so important to take time to just space out.  Whether that’s watching a marathon of Walking Dead or gardening in your garden, or taking a walk or exercising.  Exercise is huge.

Erica Eriksdotter:  Alright, so that’s it for this episode.  Where else can they find you, DD?

DD Lecky: Um, a million different places.  I’m at potterynerd.com and that’s you heard that correctly, potterynerd because I am a nerd.

Erica Eriksdotter: Alright, thanks for joining me DD.  The next episode will feature another guest, but DD will be back, like I said, so please if you have any questions, if you want to give DD a shoutout, please do so by using #fikapodcast on social or use the link in the show notes, we’d love to hear from you. You can find me, Erica at studioeriksdotter.com and DD Lecky as she said, at facebook.com/ddleckypottery and million other places.  We’ll put all of them in the show notes, not the million, but a few of them. Please join my email list if you want to stay up to date. You can access it at the bottom of my website. Uh, just a heads up, the frustration as a small business owner and using Facebook, it drives me bananas because we don’t reach any one of you guys.  Sign up for the email list, I would love to have you receive information that way.  And, while you’re on the interenet, I would love for you to leave the fika podcast an iTunes review.  This is how people know and find us.  That way we know the topics that you enjoy and that you like listening to us.  So, don’t forget to subscribe to an iTunes, because apparently you get them much earlier than the rest and that way you don’t miss an episode.

Erica Eriksdotter: Thank you DD!

DD Lecky: Thank you!

Erica Eriksdotter: Thanks for listening everyone. BYE!

DD Lecky: Bye!