How to Artist Part 2: How to Spend Time

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I can’t tell any artist what is best for them, their unique life situations or their business. As an artist running a small business I can tell you where I spend my time. Last week I discussed representation and teased out the differences and pros and cons to be a self-represented artist, read that here in order to catch up: How to be a self represented artist.

Here’s how I spend my time during the week: I work on my computer Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday are half computer days/creative days. Saturdays and Sundays I always try and do something fun and relaxing just so I don’t get through the weekend and feel still burned out on Monday, but yes I do work through the weekends. Saturdays and Sundays are usually 5 hour days instead of 10-14-hour work days. I usually end up working around 75 hours a week.

Good heavens what am I doing that whole time? Well it’s not always necessarily behind the computer, sometimes it is also client meetings and coaching sessions. But when I’m on my computer running my business you can probably find me do any one of the following things: writing or responding to emails, drafting contracts for commissions or licensing deals, blogging, updating my website, photographing  products, editing product photos, writing product descriptions, uploading and SEO optimizing all of my products and blog posts, editing and uploading files for licensing partners, restocking (canvas, stretcher bars, wire, screws, paint sealer, packaging material, boxes and a billion other things) paying taxes, paying sales taxes, making thousands of Pinterest pins (I use Tailwind, it’s a lifesaver), planning and scheduling social media posts across 6 different platforms, making marketing materials (I usually use Indesign for the design, and Moo for printing them), marketing, targeted advertising, reaching out for collaboration, researching potential collaborators or licensing opportunities, shipping art, writing email newsletters, coaching other artists on how to run their businesses, doing interviews, planning/scheduling/running sales, troubleshooting shipping problems, meeting with collectors, interior designers and architects to discuss their specific vision, writing gallery show submissions, uploading new prints and products to the print shop.There are probably a bunch of other things I’m doing on my computer too, but those are the main things that came to mind as I wrote that of a stream of consciousness.

Yes, that whole paragraph was one sentence and I’m not going to apologize for it. Deal with it. I have too much to do, to make a perfect paragraph.

On my creative half days, I’m painting, I’m usually working on several commissions at a time, I also like to work on collections even while I’m working on commissions, so those days are full on messy painting days washed in music, audio books, and paint. When I’m in the studio, you can find me painting, stretching canvases, framing art, wiring pieces, and lots of cleaning.  I’m working on anywhere from 2-30 pieces at once, it just depends on what’s going on in the studio and what my project deadlines look like that week. I also do shipping on my creative days, cause usually that’s when I have time to do it and sometimes I need to take a break from painting if I’ve been at it too many hours in a row.

None of that probably made any sense, but all of that actually takes up quite a bit of time so, there you have it, and now you know how I run my business and my life for about 75 hours a week. Do I need to outsource? Yes, I do. Have I found the right people to help me with these tasks? No, I have not.

That is a little bit about how I spend my time as a self-represented artist running my own small business. What does your small business time look like? I want to know comment below or send me an email telling me about your experience.

Last week was all about representation as an artist see that post HERE  Next week I’m discussing where I spend my money as a small business owner. Like or share this article with your friend who is an artist, submit any questions to me below, or at my email [email protected] 

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  1. Girl – yes! It is amazing how much work small business owners accomplish in a day. Outsourcing is definitely helpful but so hard to take the plunge to do. Keep up the hard work! 🙂

  2. Pingback: How to Artist Part 3: Business Expenses - Christine Olmstead

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