MEMBER SPOTLIGHT | Ceilon Aspensen – Ceilon Aspensen Fine Art, Happy Art Teacher, Twenty-First Century Teacher

Ceilon has been an artist her entire life. She owns several art related businesses, is a professional independent artist, a writer, a teacher, and a visual storyteller. While maintaining her businesses, she received her PhD in American Studies. Ceilon continues to teach art classes at Laurel High School.

We asked Ceilon to answer a few questions to help us get to know her better.

What inspired you to start your own business and what was your biggest challenge? I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and have owned many businesses. How I got to the businesses I’m launching now has been a long circuitous route that involves the synthesis of all the education and skills I’ve accumulated over the decades. My primary motivation for the businesses I’m building right now is to help others by passing on the skills I possess and creating a fun, fulfilling retirement job for myself. My biggest challenge has been shedding the golden handcuffs of a stressful job. I make reasonably good money as a teacher with a PhD, but the job becomes more and more stressful every year. I am self-funded and must work while I’m building my business, and that also takes time away from my creative efforts at building the business. As a teacher I have summers off, but the last four summers have been taken up with illnesses and deaths in the family. This summer I am doing my best to leverage my time off to build a launch pad to retirement from my day job as fast as I can.

What are some of the most important skills you’ve developed as a business owner?  Resiliency, resourcefulness, and extreme DIY ingenuity. I was an early adopter of the Internet and bought my first domain name (my name) in 1998. I taught myself how to build and design websites when we were still coding at the command prompt. That opened all kinds of doors for me, including my own web design firm, and it made me very techy, which is something that most artists and teachers really struggle with. Having built those skill sets, I am now in a position to create a business helping artists and teachers with a variety of services that involve tech.

What is your best advice for someone starting a new business? The best time to build a business was last year. The next best time is right now. Don’t put off your goals and dreams. It’s never too late, but it’s harder to do as you get older and have grown-up obligations. I wish I had done this decades ago.

What is most important to you about your business?  Helping artists and teachers discover their own creativity and confidence and having the freedom and flexibility (financially and otherwise) to spend more time with my grandchildren.

Is there anything else you would like to mention about your business? I offer art classes right in the Rock31 building. I also offer private lessons, take commissions, love doing pet portraits, and take the phrase, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body” as a personal challenge–you DO have creativity and I will help you find it!

You can find her online at (art classes), (art for sale), and (her writing).

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