Even if you work with a bookkeeper and accountant, as I do, there’s still much work to be done this time of year.
Every year I learn something new at tax time that I wish I had known in advance – insights that would have made the filing process much easier.
These three actions are a compilation of what I’ve learned from my experiences and those of my clients, which should eliminate some of the crazies around tax time.
1. Take charge of your business finances.
Don’t rely on a spouse to take care of your business finances. You, as CEO and CFO of your art career, need to know how to manage the money. You must take 100% responsibility for your future.
As sad as it is, I’ve heard many stories about people being duped out of their life savings by spouses who made poor financial decisions. These weren’t features in the paper or characters in a television exposé. These were artists and clients.
At the same time,
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could call up your genius whenever you needed it?
Hey, genius! Help me out with writing this article, please.
What would be even more amazing is if Genius would come running whenever you issued this command.
But Genius runs on its own time and has a pretty smart mouth.
My Genius lets me know who is boss:
- I’m tired. Leave me alone.
- You really should have used me when I was in better form. You know … like 6:00 a.m. That’s my power hour.
- Are you kidding me? You spend the last four hours doing diddly-squat and now you expect me to drop everything and run to your rescue?
- Hey, lady! I worked hard for you today. I’m entitled to stupid time.
Stupid time. That’s what I call the hours when my brain can’t make sense out of words or come up with a single creative idea.
I imagine Genius is taking a hike, sweating it out at hot yoga, or gulping down a green smoothie. You know, because Genius is Genius. She doesn’t need naps. She only needs to refuel.
Whatever happened to Genius, I’m left alone to endure stupid time.
And then there is someone else’s time. This becomes an issue when
It’s hard to keep up with weekly emails about your art business, so I thought I’d point out some things that you might have missed or forgotten about this past year.
These are 12 valuable actions, from 12 different Art Biz Blog posts in 2015, to help you grow your art career while staying sane.
Marketing Your Art
1. Reduce the Boring Factor: Add Variety to Your Marketing Message
Why it’s on the list: Please, for the love of Pete, read this before you send another email.
Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send the same emails and social media posts for your promotions. They get a little stale after a while.
I have some ideas for you.
I thought I could get by without a personal review for one year. Or at least I thought I would skip mine.
Then I thought that you probably don’t need a reminder either. Who will notice if I don’t send? Who has time to do a personal review anyway?
Then I thought again. (There’s been a lot of thinking going on.) It’s a terrible idea to skip the personal review. And it’s a worse idea to let you think it’s okay to skip it.
As an entrepreneur, it’s critical to review actions and to celebrate accomplishments before moving on to the next phase. We’ll never improve our results until we understand where we are and how we got here.
So, it’s time to look back on your year and assess your progress.
This year, try using the elements of The See Plan – the 8 C’s – to structure your questions: creativity, commitment, clarity, community, connection, confidence, completion, and celebration.
Grab a notebook and a pen and get started.
External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.
– Jack Canfield
It was in Jack Canfield’s seminal book, The Success Principles, where I first read about the necessity of taking 100% responsibility for your life. In fact, it’s no lower on the list than Principle #1 in the book of 64 principles.
He’s pretty clear. It’s not 100% responsibility for this or that. It’s 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING. This means:
- You have to give up all of your excuses.
- You have to give up blaming.
- You have to give up complaining.
Here’s the thing about taking 100% responsibility: It puts you in charge.
I understand that this amount of control can be daunting for a new business owner, but wouldn’t you rather have control than to cede it to others?
Embrace this power!
If you’re frustrated by your results, or lack thereof, don’t blame the economy, the online platform, the weather, other artists/people, or the venue.
Instead, consider the things you can control. This is taking responsibility and being a savvy businessperson and more enlightened human being.
How much time do the lessons take? How much time should I spend on social media? How much time on marketing vs. making art?
©2013 John Salvest, Forever. Secondhand romance novels on metal armature. Courtesy of the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery.
These are questions I’m often asked to which there are no easy answers (except maybe the last one, and I take a stab at that below).
Everyone wants to know “how much time?” because time is sacred, and we should be choosy with how we spend our time.
There is a better question than “How much time?” Ask yourself: How much time and effort am I willing to invest?
The key word is “willing.”
When you’re committed, you don’t care how much time something takes. [Tweet this] You’ll find a way to get it done because it
There comes a point in every artist’s (every entrepreneur’s) business where you can’t grow without hiring someone.
It might be a paid intern, your kid, a website helper, or a bookkeeper, but you need the extra hands if you want to expand.
Who do you hire?
What will they do?
Your primary focus as an artist is on making art. That’s when you are in what Gay Hendricks calls your “Zone of Genius.” In his book, The Big Leap, Hendricks writes:
In your Zone of Genius, though the time you spend there produces great financial abundance, you do not feel that you are expending effort to produce it. In your Zone of Genius, work doesn’t feel like work.
I’m certain you know what that feels like. Bliss.
Your goal is to take those tasks off your plate that aren’t in your Zone of Genius – the tasks that keep you from making your best work. It’s the art you produce in the studio that nobody else could do.
For example, you might be competent at updating your WordPress template, but it’s not your best work. It takes you away from your best work.
Consider how lovely life would be if you could dwell in your Zone of Genius most of the time. How would that feel?
You might be making mistakes in your art business that are holding you back from big growth.
Mistakes aren’t bad, and I don’t want you to feel like you have to be perfect in everything you do because seeking perfection is a sure way to be paralyzed by fear. We have to make mistakes in order to learn and to grow.
Mistakes are only detrimental if you keep repeating them without learning and correcting your ways.
Are you making any of these mistakes?
1. Not knowing where you want to go with your career.
I’m not talking about the need to have a specific plan, but I’ve noticed how few artists, especially when they’re just starting out, don’t “get” that running a business is serious stuff. You’re no longer making art for pure pleasure.
Everything changes when you start asking for money in return for your talents. For some artists, it changes for the better and you’re fired up to get your art out there. Other artists can’t stomach the pressure and lose all interest in making art. They can’t seem to get into the studio.
I am not immune to unproductive days, and I’ve had more than my fair share of them recently.
In order to get back on track, I’ve regrouped and, with the help of a coach, reminded myself of these principles. They really work – when you do them.
Start The Day With 3 Intentional Steps
I swear by the importance of these first three steps. When I don’t do them, I am significantly more overwhelmed and stressed out. Doing them brings peace of mind and helps me start my day on my terms rather than diving in and responding to everything being pushed at me.