Are you someone that other artists naturally trust?
Are you being peppered with questions about how to do this or that—whether it’s an art technique or business practice?
Questions about how to do something usually come from someone with good intentions. You want to help—of course! The problem is that the people who are asking questions don’t realize that you have 14 other people asking the same thing.
Being the Go-To Answer Guy/Gal can be exhausting. The Internet has made it uber easy for us to shoot our questions to anyone . . . So we do! And now your Go-To Answer Guy/Gal inbox is overflowing. These questions can suck the energy right out of you! You don’t mind sharing, but you don’t have time to answer everyone.
You need a policy for these situations.
Being the Go-To Answer Gal that I am, I’ve been using just such a policy for years. When I’m faced with such questions in my inbox or on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook—and it’s pretty clear that they’re not looking for or needing a paid consultation—I share my policy in a personal message.
Wow, Sarah! That’s a great question. I have a policy that I will consider such questions for future newsletters and blog posts so that everyone can benefit. Should I use your name, or would you prefer to remain anonymous?
I make no promises that it will appear or when it might appear. I only promise that I’ll consider it. And the last question in my message (Should I use your name?) is critical. Some people are angry if they’re not given credit, and others have good reason to remain anonymous. See the policy in place.
Don’t think of a policy as a wall that is erected between you and those who trust you. Instead, consider its benefits. A policy like the one I’ve implemented can do the following:
- It allows you to be helpful to one person.
- It benefits more than one person.
- It provides you with content for your website or blog.
- It creates boundaries and honors your most important priorities.
FINAL WORD: If you’ve become a Go-To Answer Guy or Gal, it’s time to implement a policy that will preserve your sanity. Consider using my example as a starting point and creating your own. Perhaps you can adapt it for in-person situations like open studios and festival booths.
The podcast is an audio version of this article.