After 25 years with a career as a studio potter and teaching workshops, Sarah Wells Rolland felt it was time to give back. Establishing a creative community became a challenging and exciting next step in her journey as a ceramic artist. "Every success I have experienced has come out of collaboration with wise counsel from professionals who shared their knowledge, experience and personally mentored me. It was a natural progression to do the same. Creating a creative community, The Village Potters ,that nurtures a culture of mentoring, sharing and encouragement was a natural progression."
"I measure success four ways. Are we fulfilling our mission statement? Are we all operating in our core values? Are we prospering financially? Are we growing? Our greatest success is that we are fulfilling our mission statement: to inspire a passion for ceramic art and nurture creative exploration through education, experience, relationship and community. In our sixth year we can say "yes" to all these questions. We have achieved this through hard work, being flexible to change, and seeking professional counsel.
We have expanded every year but one and we are expanding again this year . Our goal is to do it without borrowing and work for a smooth transition. Our longer range goal is: We hope to create e-courses in ceramic art and travel to teach "Creating Creative Community Workshops" in other cities around the world."
"I went from a sole proprietorship working. by myself to operating an S corporation with 6 areas of income. I work directly with 5 resident potters, have permanant and sub contracted employees, and we have over 50 people studying with us at anytime. Management, accounting, and communication were and continue to be my 3 main challenges.
I have worked now with more than one SCORE mentor. Moving into a season of working with other potters meant I needed help in leadership and interviewing. I have also received help with accounting and cash flow. It is so critical to have a strong understanding of the fiscal condition of your business and SCORE has been a great resource for me."
"I have now worked with two SCORE mentors. Both asked me very pointed questions that made it possible for them to speak directly to my situation and concerns. Not only did they take the time to listen carefully but upon giving counsel shared relevant examples to be sure I was clearly understanding. To date I have implemented their suggestions and have seen immediate benefit. I also was encouraged that I am "on track" and that is so reassuring when you are in new territory in your business."
Sarah shared this bit of advice as someone who has lived the process of owning and growing a business, "Get wise counsel. Partner with people that are experienced and of like mind. Create a budget and be disciplined. Hire your weakness. Even if you think you are on track with your business let experienced SCORE mentors give input. You will gain insight and tools you didn't know you didn't have."