This is essentially the question I had to ask myself as I began this project. With so many people that have been successful in this stratosphere, what is special about me? Let me be perfectly honest...There isn't much that sets me apart. Right now, I'm sitting at roughly 2 years into the hobby, with 6 paid commissions under my belt. I paint miniatures in a relatively small cluster of cities. The miniature market isn't huge here, and the demand is a little scarce. I have a very young and small YouTube channel, and I currently have zero patrons. I have a very weird agreement with the ONE store in my city that sells miniatures. I have just reached the point where my hobby income has surpassed my expenses.
(sounds like a perfect way to start a compelling argument eh?)
All that being said....That is EXACTLY what sets me apart. I don't have a massive market around me, flooding me with boxes and boxes of yardsale plastic. I don't have people banging down my door for work. I don't have years of experience, or a mass following of subscribers to carry my content.
Essentially, I am fighting against the current, but, I'm making ground.
Simply put, my love for the hobby is enough to sustain me. I would be building, converting, and painting miniatures whether I get paid or not. As I watch big channels like Miniac, Goobertown, Squidmar, Darren Latham and the like, I have so much respect for them, because they've been through the grind and come out on top. I have the determination and focus required. As time marches on, my skills, speed and comfort grows, while my fear slowly fades.
If nothing else is gained from reading this, understand that this little project of mine may fail, or I might not amount to much of anything in comparison to the greats. However, someone with no prior experience, in a location of no real significance, with no deals or handouts, and only basic tools is able to thoroughly enjoy all aspects of this hobby. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing. This hobby is very time and finance consuming. The games can last for hours, and painting can take exponentially longer. Don't lose sight of the love of the hobby.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, step away. My personal rule is, after every commission, I take a week off entirely. This gives me an opportunity to rest and reconnect with my wife. It also lets me reset my mind, allowing for new ideas or schemes, without being locked in to a particular method or approach to painting. I've also noticed, by the time the week is up, I'm refreshed and my desire to sit at the painting table is rekindled.
So, this is me. I'm a 30 year old married father of three amazing kids. I have an absolutely mind-blowingly awesome wife, who supports me in everything, from work, to online school, to this new side-job. I have some terrific friends that encourage me along the process, and I have a few customers that have earned my undying gratitude, because they trusted me to paint their minis when I was an absolute nobody in this field.
Thank you all for reading this, and supporting me in the various ways you have. Either by helping me figure out a schedule, or work through a color scheme, or bouncing ideas back and forth through social media. You are all amazing, and there's no way I could do any of this without you.