We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsay Droter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lindsay, what role has risk played in your life or career?

I’ve been told many times that I’m a risk-taker. But I’ve never seen myself as one. Risk means exposing yourself to danger or harm. And I love safety. Masks? Yes please. Seat belts? Definitely. Packing enough water for a hike? Arguably, too much. But when it comes to my life and career, I have a different take.

My husband (then boyfriend) and I moved to Colorado in 2015 with one car, no house, no jobs, and barely any money just because we wanted to be close to the mountains. People kept telling us how brave we were, but it never felt daring or risky. I knew we were competent adults who were already comfortable living paycheck to paycheck. And if, for some reason, we had to move back east, or back in with our parents, I knew we had that option. So instead it just felt exciting.

As for my career, I was teaching art in a private school when the pandemic hit. Summer of 2020, the school decided to go back in-person, full-time, full-staff, and over-enrolled. And I said no thank you. That felt too risky to me. I had already been thinking of moving on from that school, and this was the sign I needed to quit. Leaving a stable job with health insurance and a 403b definitely seemed risky to some. But my mental and emotional health was already quickly declining at that job, so when they asked me to put my physical health at risk, it became imperative to move on. What some people saw as a risky choice, was actually a decision made out of self-preservation to remove myself from a risky situation.

Thankfully, what made this decision easier was that my husband had a new job that could support both of us. We’d have to cut back on some things, but the pandemic really did that for us. We couldn’t travel, we couldn’t go out, so it was the perfect time to reassess my career and experiment with something new.

See, I think risk is in the eye of the beholder. When you think someone has made brave choices, you’re assuming that they were scared to make that choice in the first place. Remember that what you perceive as risk may just be someone having different priorities than you. If you know what you’re doing is best for you, then your choices will never feel risky. They’ll feel right.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

My business, The Goodest Girl, provides people with custom watercolor portraits of their (or their loved ones) pets! I started painting people’s pets on commission nearly a decade ago, but started doing it consistently in March of 2020 as a way to destress during the initial months of the pandemic. I got to combine my love for watercolors, animals, and gift-giving into one fulfilling activity. Soon, people started commissioning me to paint their pets. It started with my coworkers, but soon branched out to other family and friends. Because I was getting so many commissions, I decided to not apply for new jobs when I left teaching, and instead invested in a business coach, and got my small business up and running!

I’ve been doing art in some form, my whole life. And one of the best and hardest things is that, the more you do it, the better you get. So, even looking back at portraits from two years ago, I can’t help but cringe a little because I’ve improved since then! I want to go back and redo all of the paintings from 2020, but that’s just not possible. I have to remember, my clients still love them, so I can too. One of the things that I’m proudest of in my work, is being able to portray a subject’s personality and spirit. And that’s the feedback I get most often from clients, that I’ve, “really captured [their] dog’s character.” That has been a strength of mine since school- giving my work a sense of life, usually through whimsy or humor. Also, it’s a good reminder that this is one of the reasons why I’ve increased my prices!

Speaking of pricing! Pricing art is one of the hardest parts of this job and something I’ve learned a lot about. You have to take a hard look at your time, your value, and put a number on it. That number has to be reasonable enough that people actually buy your work, and enough that you don’t feel shorted.

One of the core values of my business is that I want to be accessible. Art should be available to everybody, and I’ll work with clients to come up with a price and payment plan that works for them. And I give educators a discount, because boy do they deserve it!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

This is one of my absolute favorite lists to make! It’s mostly centered around food.

First off, I live in Longmont so most of my answers are Longmont-centric. We bought a house two years ago because we love it here and don’t plan on leaving any time soon.

If you come to visit me, we’re walking to Pistachio for a breakfast of the best spinach chorizo waffles. Then we’d head up to the mountains for a hike with the dogs in Roosevelt National Forest by way of Allenspark. On the way back we’d stop for soft serve at The Dairy Bar in Lyons.

Other days we could walk around Longmont’s Main St, wandering into Barbed Wire Books, Quarters Arcade Bar and all the other shops. One day we’re definitely driving down to Louisville to get BBQ at Lulu’s and Hawaiian shave ice at Punch Buggy. And another day we’re inflating our tubes and floating down the St. Vrain Creek, or paddle boarding on Macintosh Lake if the creek is too low or still too cold.

Next, I have to hype our local theater scene! We’d go see a show at Jesters Dinner Theater or the Longmont Theater after dinner and drinks at The Roost. Maybe the next morning we’d treat ourselves to dreamy beignets at Lucille’s Creole Cafe. Finally, we’d head to Denver to go to my favorite place, possibly in the world, Meow Wolf. I could spend an entire day there, so that’s what I’m dragging all my friends to.

Wow I really want to live out this itinerary!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My biggest shoutout goes to my incredible husband, Rob. He is my biggest cheerleader, my financial backer, and my best friend. He has invested in me emotionally and financially, helping me talk through challenges, and setting me up with my business coach, Lindsey Lathrop. Lindsey deserves a part in this shoutout for teaching me business basics and lingo, helping me get my business online, and showing me that just because I don’t know something, doesn’t mean it’s scary. The past two years would be unrecognizable without these two excellent humans.

Website: https://www.thegoodestgirlportraits.com/

Instagram: @http://www.instagram.com/thegoodestgirlportraits

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thegoodestgirlportraits

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.