The Secret to Becoming a Profitable Artist
There are many, many secrets to becoming more profitable as an artist but a big (and often overlooked one) is your productivity. How much do you actually get done in a day? Or is your time mostly spent spinning your wheels and not really getting focused.
And please don’t get the idea that I know something you don’t. I have been one of the biggest time-wasters ever so I know all too much about this. However, I did become more aware of this over the years and now I actually DO get things accomplished and out the door.
Before I discuss the main idea of this article I did want to mention something that has shifted my thinking about productivity and that is the idea of “doing” versus “learning”
Many of us (of course, me included) spend a lot of out time learning, studying, trying, attempting but at the end of the day what do we have to show for it? Sometimes nothing. But when I started to perceive myself AS a doer, as someone who does accomplish and finish things, it almost magically became easier to BECOME that kind of person.
Amazingly, all the learning, trying to become better at, taking courses, etc. just sort of fell by the wayside. I now happily live in the land of “doing.” It’s all about completing and finishing projects – which, of course, leads to making more money.
But back to the main idea of this article and that is to become more profitable you need to become a better planner of your time. What does that mean? it means you need to PLAN high priority activities and schedule them on your calendar. I don’t care what system you use – doesn’t matter – you can you a notebook, a leather bound planner, a software program, your iPhone, whatever.
But you have to get into the habit of planning your day, your week, your month, your year. For now start planning your week. And to do this the secret is to block your time. It’s certainly not a mind-blowing secret but it’s just so happens to be the one principle highly successful people (like YOU) use to accomplish great things.
It’s easy to say, “yeah, yeah, time-blocking on my calendar – big deal” but look at your last week. Did you actually time-block those activities that were important? How many deliverables did you produce? How many blocks of time did you devote to your art marketing? Keep in mind, this is NOT an exercise in trying to make you or anyone else feel badly. We all start fresh and anew everyday. I find Sunday day or evening to work best for me as far as planning the week goes. It is typically a pretty calm day and allows me to “see” the week ahead and what I want to accomplish or what project I want to work on.
You can simply start with a sheet of paper and make a list of some projects or tasks you would like to complete or begin. The next step is to try to break break down those bigger projects into steps. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the steps in advance, by beginning you figure them out as you get into action and start moving.
Next, time-block those activities into whatever scheduling system works best for you. Most importantly, you need to honor those time blocks. If someone asks you out for coffee the day you have an important activity scheduled you simply say, “I would love to but I cannot at that time. Can we re-schedule for later in the day, say around 4pm?”
It’s important to keep this commitments and the more you do it the easily it becomes. Give it a try. It will soon become the habitual way you work and you won’t be distracted by a million little things. You will be focusing on those things most important to you and your art business.