Running a business based on the pursuit of your passion is a daunting task. Not only have you decided to go after something that will bring you closer to your truest self; but you are also seeking to make income from this pursuit. No matter what your artistic pursuit is, once you make the decision to start a business there are necessary things to consider. If you are missing any important task or step, you may find yourself failing to keep your dream afloat.
Here are my…
5 Ways you might be failing in your artistic practice
1. Not completing your work
I have known a few artists that give immense attention and energy to new projects at their inception, then after a few days their dedication feigns because they have lost all interest in their work. That spark will not re-appear until they discover a new project, and fall in love with that new idea. This cycle is dangerous in my humble opinion because unfinished projects nag away at you until they become finished.
Unfinished work cannot be sold, documented, exhibited, or given away…the list goes on. The end result of an unfinished project is something that the artist cannot be completely proud of, and cannot show off in any meaningful way.
By finishing your projects, you can better understand what did or did not work, so that you may apply this learning to your next project. Imperfections be damned, I will take a finished project with many flaws over an almost perfect one that still needs to meet completion, any day of the week.
2. Not keeping records of your costs
This point is crucial for the running of a business. While pursuing your artistic passion, you need to know if you’re turning a profit, or hemorrhaging money. Keeping track of materials, bank account levels, and other financial records will help you to maintain your longevity in order to support your success for years to come.
3. Burning bridges
I have been guilty of this from time to time. Sometimes it feels like there are people that do nothing but steal your time away. They may make promises to you and half-way deliver (or not deliver at all) leaving you to feel frustrated and resentful. In the past I have been guilty of having a slow simmering anger when I let my emotions take over. In my mind, all I want to do is lead the person (or persons) into a fiery confrontation where I burn every bridge that connects us. In these moments I think that it would be better to never see or speak to that person again because I want to avoid feeling vulnerable. I am sure that this reaction is not unique to me, and that other people have experienced something similar.
Burning bridges is an easy way out of dealing with emotions in a positive way. It does not solve as much as it creates new problems. At the end, burning bridges often results in a need to build new bridges to replace the ones so consistently being burned.
To avoid the need to constantly rebuild your infrastructure, and for the sake of your new business endeavours, take care in the beginning of new relationships to establish healthy boundaries. Establishing healthy boundaries at the outset will usually prevent awkward interactions, or other problems that lead to the resentment and frustration that makes you want to cut the person off later on.
4. Not approaching your new pursuit in a workmanlike manner
At my old job, our hourly pay could be broken down to the quarter hour- this is not unlike many jobs in the workforce today. With the hours calculated to the 15 minute mark, the result is a narrow mindset of the scope of each work task by the employer. In a 15 minute block of time, each employee should be able to demonstrate the value they have provided, and that value should always be worth more than the amount the employer pays the employee.
Since the business model can be broken down into such sterile chunks to ensure profits are maintained, then why shouldn’t you do the same for your business? Keeping track of how long projects take, the cost of gas to transport your finished projects and pick up materials are all things that you should be keeping track of. If you can push yourself to work an extra hour past midnight to get the job done, you may be better off putting in the work rather than leaving it for another day.
5. Not promoting your success enough
Did you win an award? Did your work get exhibited somewhere? If so, you should tell people about it! That is the best thing about social media- you create the news you want to share. How can you expect people to become more interested in your work if you do not take the time to share it with the wold?
You have to be your biggest cheerleader in this new chapter of your life. Some people may consider you as arrogant, but what you are really doing is to promote your livelihood in a way that attracts more clients.
Did any of these points resonate with you? Leave a comment and subscribe to get weekly updates. Thanks for reading.