The new ravenous internet integrated world has made us mad working fanatics with growing OCD tendencies. The clicking of the keys and the artificial glow of the screen jarring our loved ones awake as we peck away on our smartphones and laptops. Piles of papers sit across the dinner tables, paints splatter still all over our hands as we run errands, we are running through project ideas in our minds. Vacations are mostly spent checking our emails or updating our Facebooks at the pool. While Katie is showing you her new diving trick.
While Billy is handing you his latest drawing he just put his heart and soul into.
God forbid if we leave our work at home. “It’s important to update!” you tell yourself. “My buyers will get upset if they don’t hear from me in 24 hours!”
We attempt to multitask our art career and our personal life. A 24/7 business. Not 8 hour workdays. Not 40 hour workweeks. ALL hour work weeks.
We’ve become more connected and simultaneously disconnected. With ourselves, and with others. With our lives.
You say to me, “You don’t what I’m going through! I have to do EVERYTHING in this business?”
I think I just heard a wife groan.
I hear you. I really do.
On top of creating the art, you are taking the photos, preparing the photos for the web, taking care of your website, blog, social profiles, running contests, getting back to print buyers, answering questions to company inquiries, working on campaigns, marketing the print sale for the week, blogging, packaging and shipping, bookkeeping, handing complaining customers, AHHHHHHHH! The requirement list is endless.
Most artists handle all aspects of their career. On their own. WITHOUT an assistant. For those with family or spouse to help, they are the lucky ones. And even then, you hear they never stop working.
As many entrepreneurs may tell you, owning your own business is one of the move overrated, over-romanticized lifestyles you could choose. And I say lifestyle, because it’s not a job you can simply shut off. There’s no checking out for the day. It’s tough. Sweat, tears, blood and all of your life savings (if you even have any) has been put back into this baby, hoping it will grow and become sustainable.
Now, let’s add onto it web savvy and social media skills. You can’t just Tweet something out. There’s a whole strategy and system to how to promote via the web successfully, genuinely and with consistency. Social web is real time, which means you must constantly update. Constantly engage. Constantly be involved.
“Goodbye, mother! Have fun online! See ya….next year!”, Your kids are saying.
We must possess great creative mental and physical energy as well as a good working ethic to run an art business. To grow your art career. And your work must be good! Your products and efforts must be high-quality, unique, attractive and sellable. All while keeping yourself and your work genuine and true. (Did I lose you guys yet?)
It’s not as simple and lovely as people make it out to be. But it CAN produce a lovely outcome in the end.
So, you may have a lot on your plate:
- home responsiblities/chores
Add to that these new jobs:
- business management/bookkeeping
- website/brand management
- customer service/social engagement
Is there any time left in the day to paint!?
Finding our peaceful balance between work and home, art and life is an important key to being a successful and healthy artist. We must find the energy, inspiration and emotion to create the art we are selling. Just as well, we must be truly present in our life and the lives of those we love and live with. We aren’t a factory popping out paintings everyday. We are creating art that is going to last. That has meaning. In whatever form or function that it is meant for, we want it to have meaning.
So, how do we remain true to our art?
To remain inspired to create amidst all the new positions we hold?
To be available and present in our personal lives?
4 KEYS TO FINDING YOUR CENTER
1. RELAX. Go to your peaceful place. Take a bath. Go to the gym. Have your “you” time but make sure you are doing something that relaxes you and eases the stress of your responsibilities. I would avoid doing things that require you to really work harder. If you love watching movies, then do that. If you prefer reading your favorite book, please do that!
2. HAVE FUN. Do something that doesn’t make you mentally lethargic. Surround yourself with the things that you love. Hopefully you have other hobbies. I love golfing, baking or riding my motorcycle.
3. RECONNECT. Turn off that iPhone and close down that laptop. Spend time with the people that make you happy, encourage you and inspire you. Really spend time playing with your kids. Not just watching them play. Really find something to do with your spouse/love that you two really enjoy. Keep connected to the human race and humanity amidst this new, technologically powered world.
4. FORGET. Answer emails once or twice a day. Stop checking your phone every hour. Leave that paperwork on the desk. Your art will be there when you are ready. People can honestly wait another day for that shipment. You are not McDonald’s. You are not your business.
The reason many of us chose to own a business rather than a 9-5 was for that freedom to enjoy all of these things that truly matter. And to do work that is meaningful. Don’t lose sight of that.