The business side of any endeavor can send chills down the spine of the most talented artist or creator. You long to be “in the zone,” just you and your art, but you also need to eat. Or recoup the money spent on supplies or tools. Spreadsheets, taxes, and marketing content? Not so much.
With the new year barreling down on us, now is the perfect time to pause, evaluate, and reset our mental energy compass to benefit our artistic endeavors — and our bottom lines. Check out these tips for creatives to help focus on that business mindset.
Upgrade the Windshield Wipers
In other words… have a clear vision of the road ahead. At least as much as you can, given the state of the world and your own circumstances. Before setting goals for 2022, find a favorite spot, pour a favorite beverage, and clear your mind. Focus on where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’d like to be this time next year. What’s within your control? What obstacles must you work around to achieve your dreams? Get inspired by other artists’ success stories, and bring in your family, a close friend, or partner to discuss strategy. Your goals should be specific and based on measurable, attainable action steps.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
In other words… have a worth ethic. Map out the time you currently spend on daily tasks — from childcare, chores, “day job,” Netflixing, etc. What’s left? How can you use that “found” time to your business’s advantage? Most creatives work solo or with a few partners — they don’t have a time clock or supervisor to check in with to ensure productivity boxes get checked. Career artists with great work ethics work through their tasks whether they feel like it or not – focusing on that business mindset.
The Certainty of Uncertainty
In other words… nothing stays the same. Folks with “day job” hours and job descriptions and regular paychecks basically know what to expect from day to day — and some people thrive within this structure. In a creative business or hobby, though, income may ebb and flow, family crises can push the “side gig” all the way to the side, and economic hardships (or pandemics) can tank your sales. When mapping out your upcoming year, expect that something will happen. Schedule in some “buffer” days, grab a friend to vent with, then roll your sleeves back up and go at it again.
Get Out Your Stretchy-Pants
In other words… prepare for growth. Many creatives and artists don’t see success overnight. Most work day by day, client by client, sale by sale. And that’s where the business mindset stops — at a one-day-at-a-time business plan. Having a growth mindset requires a different kind of thinking. Can you level up your skills with a course or internship? Would bringing in a partner with a unique skillset or a virtual assistant adept at bookkeeping help free your time to add value to your art? Can you partner with another company to provide unique experiences to your customers? The goal here is not to let your business go stale. Stretch it out and see what happens.
Hopefully, this list can spark further ideas as you plan for the upcoming year and prepare for success. In other words… go make great art!