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,
When you are ready to be proactive instead of reactive in your art career, look at the naked truth about where you are now.
You improve your chances for big business growth when you track your numbers, which isn’t always a pleasant task.
While it’s difficult to confront low numbers in any category, insist that it’s absolutely necessary when you want to expand.
Your Monthly Business Checkup
For many years at Art Biz Coach, I had a simple Word document that I used to record my numbers. I made a bunch of copies and kept them in a notebook. At the beginning of a new month, I completed the form with the previous month’s results.
My business grew by 25-40% every year as a result! I contribute much of that growth to this tracking procedure.
I didn’t do it when I felt like it. I committed to doing it every month.
I called it my Monthly Business Checkup, and you can easily implement a version of it for your art business.
When you own your own business, it’s important to look at expenses as well as income in order to remain profitable.
I looked into various (not all – not even education or supplies and materials!) expenses for artists and thought it might be interesting to share the results. Feel free to add to our completely unscientific list in a comment on the Art Biz Blog.
Maggie Ruley’s Key West studio. Used with permission.
These numbers are based on responses I received through Twitter and Facebook. (sf = square feet)
Central Virginia (476sf): $355/month Key West, FL (750sf – 3 rooms): $1600 for studio + store front
Ravenswood, Chicago, IL (600+ sf): $540/month Downtown Chicago, IL (sf n/a): $485/month Gages Lake, IL (1200sf): $500/month with utilities
Albuquerque, NM (175sf): $200/mo in nonprofit art center, includes utilities, not air-conditioned
An anonymous artist sent me an email with these stats. The painting she is sending to a juried art exhibition sells for $1200. Other fees involved – which don’t include material, labor, or office time – are:
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to update your files to 2013. I thought I’d share how I organize my finances electronically to avoid finding more space for paper files. Here’s how my Finances e-file looked a couple of days ago.
Decide now that you will make more money in 2013. You with me so far? Okay, so how are you going to do it? Let’s think through this. It’s never a bad idea to make more money, but your idea has more of a chance to become reality if you create a plan.
Change helps us innovate and become better leaders. I understand that change can be debilitating for many people. If you are open to change, there are two criteria I advise you to use when deciding whether change is necessary.
Yesterday I encouraged you to track your business growth. Presumably, you’ve been doing some of this already. Deep Thought Thursday: What has surprised you in your tracking?
You are the CEO of your art business. The CEO is the person at the top of a company’s hierarchy. The buck stops, ultimately, with the CEO. Start acting like the CEO of your art business with these 5 tips.