I created this little infographic for you because I see a lot of artists struggling with what to spend their time on. Often, they’re missing big portions of the puzzle.
What’s It Mean?
So let me explain what’s going on here. Those wedges are not meant to reflect the exact amount of time you should spend on any section of your business – as you might notice, they are all equal. Do not spend equal amounts of time on each of these things. BUT do develop a habit of visiting each of these wedges at least once a month.
You’ll start to notice which things you need to dedicate more time to if you take some notes and stay honest with yourself about where your business is lacking.
You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
I also want to note that you don’t have to do it all yourself. This wheel is for your “biz” not for you. So it’s about SOMEONE (read: not necessarily you) taking on these tasks to keep the balance in your business. This means you can hire someone to help you with your finances or pack up orders or set up your new payment processing system.
I do recommend Fiverr as a good resource for one-off tasks that can be done remotely like website fixes or adding new systems to your order process. I’ve also heard good things about FancyHands and HireMyMom lately. For other things, you’ll have to go local. But it’s easy to ask around for people looking for a little extra work or people who actually do this work for a living. And don’t be nervous to go to a local college or high school and see if they can get you in touch with students who could benefit from some work.
If you do hire out the work, be sure to consult with an attorney if the potential employee does not know how you should pay them and whether they need to be included on your taxes (and in what way) or you need to send them a form for their taxes.
1. Creating – I’m starting with the favorite and the obvious one. This is your happy, soulful work.
2. Filling Orders – Packaging, boxing up, shipping out, letting the customer know it’s in the mail, etc.
3. Planning – This is the business strategy bit. Deciding which product concepts you’ll release next, working on your pricing strategy, developing a marketing calendar, etc.
4. Design – This is fuzzy, but I really wanted it in here to remind you of work that’s often forgotten. Design can be sketches for new products or developing marketing graphics or spiffing up your website. Anything that isn’t actually in your medium, but is creative and visual, totally counts but often surprises us. “Oh crap! I need to put together a banner for my new product line because that guest post pitch can’t get sent without it!”
5. Finances – Ugh. But they’re important. And when you learn how they work and which numbers to pay attention to (and maybe get a pretty tool to help you out) they become less daunting and can even be fun if you’re making money!
6. Infrastructure – The systems you use to get things done. How do you list products online? How do you track which galleries your paintings are hanging in? How do you followup with a customer after an order? Luckily there are plenty of tools to help you develop excellent systems.
7. Building Awareness – Simply put: marketing. But this encompasses any time you are talking about your business or gently putting your business out in the world (even if you’re not talking). Social media is just the beginning here. Most artists do not spend enough time Building Awareness. Remember that as you’re checking things off your wheel.
8. Connecting – This one is a little fuzzy too, but I like to think that the best marketing isn’t really marketing. It’s subtly building connections and relationships. It takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. but it works so well. To do it, you find people who seem like you’d like to get to know them and then you do. You don’t talk about your business unless they ask (and then you don’t yammer on and on unless they prod for it). You build that relationship with them and eventually they start to notice your business and either purchase or become an “evangelist” of your work, telling everyone about it. It sounds far fetched, but it truly works. People love to promote people they like. So if you make friends, genuine friends, those friends are going to want to tell everyone they know about your art. Probably because being an artist is pretty cool…