You love making art.
You probably think it would be great if you could just make art all of the time and do nothing else.
The title of my book on self-promotion for artists didn’t come out of thin air. It came from hearing artists whine about not wanting to do the business stuff: I’d Rather Be in the Studio.
Yeah, the studio is a great place for you to hang out and be creative, but two things cannot happen if you stay holed up in the studio:
1. You cannot be financially viable by hiding out in the studio.
2. You cannot be emotionally or professionally fulfilled by keeping your art to yourself.
For these two things to happen, you have to embrace your role as the leader of your business. This doesn’t sit well with many artists who prefer pretending that they can ignore the business stuff.
There are ways to be happier about running a business, but first you must decide that this is what you want. As part of that decision, you can decide to be pouty and grumble about all of the hard work, or you can decide that you’ll find ways to enjoy the ride.
Which way would you rather go through life?
What Makes Me Happy About Running My Business
Running a successful business means long hours and many sacrifices. But if I had known about the deep satisfaction that results, I might have explored the options much sooner.
I love that …
I can work anywhere in the world and at any time of my choosing.
I am over-the-moon ecstatic when …
Clients have Aha! moments. When they really get what I’m encouraging them to do or try.
Clients implement and see results.
I connect two clients together who can benefit from collaboration, inspiration, or motivation.
I am blown away when …
I receive an email or card full of gratitude from a client who took the time to write.
I could go almost anywhere in the U.S., and almost anywhere in the world, and meet up with someone who has bought my book, is on my email list, or has been in one of my online programs.
You Should Be Happy
You should be happy that you’re an artist who can express yourself freely. Millions of people in the world can’t do this without fear of going to jail or worse.
If you have already created a business from the art, you should be happy that you took this initiative and built it from scratch. You’re not just making money. You’re building a legacy.
Many people will never have the guts to do what you’re doing. [Tweet this.]
Yes, there are things you have to do in your business that you won’t love, but avoiding them will only hold you back. Try to have fun along the way. Try to smile more.
Make a game of being in business if you need to. Discover the little things that bring you joy, and do more of them.
Because I’ve been working with artists like you for so long, I have an idea or two to share with you. See if any of these might put a smile on your face.
8 Ways To Be Even Happier
1. Collaborate with more people.
The artist’s life can be solitary, so make a point of connecting with people that you can collaborate with. Yes, it can be frustrating working with other people, but the potential reward is too promising to overlook.
Not only will you be happier when you collaborate, you will also stretch your business muscles and expand your audience when you bring more people in on what you’re doing. You could:
- Collaborate on the art itself.
- Schedule joint exhibitions and open studios.
- Work with dancers, musicians, and writers to expand the impact of your art.
2. Raise your prices.
There are few things more dispiriting than to sell your art for prices lower than what it’s worth.
Raise your prices if and when the situation merits. Money isn’t always part of the happiness equation, but it doesn’t hurt.
You’ll be happier if you make more money from your art or are at least getting what it’s worth.
3. Help another artist solve a problem.
There is something deeply gratifying about helping people. It takes the focus off of us and puts it on someone else.
Maybe you can respond to a question online or in a class you’re teaching. Pat yourself on the back for making someone’s life easier.
4. Stop complaining.Stop complaining about being so busy or about doing work that you don’t like. It’s exhausting to be on the receiving end of this, and it feeds a negative mindset. It’s an enormous waste of energy (yours and that of those around you).
Stop complaining about other artists, politicians, or …
Just stop complaining. Period. Then get to work.
5. Exert self-control on social media.
By self-control, I mean controlling not just what you post, but what you consume.
Refuse to participate in negativity. Negativity breeds negativity. When you see it online, run the other way.
People post all kinds of crazy things on social media. Some are happy and inspiring, while others are depressing. Why gamble when you’re trying to stay positive and happy?
6. Make someone smile.
Be happier by making a fellow human happy. Brighten someone’s inbox, Facebook page, or mailbox with your art.
I’m not encouraging you to spam people with your art, but if you make uplifting art, send images of it along with sincere love and gratitude to your friends and family. Imagine their delight when they receive your message.
7. Get your art out of the studio.
Remember that two things cannot happen in the studio:
- You cannot be financially viable by hiding out in the studio.
- You cannot be emotionally or professionally fulfilled by keeping your art to yourself.
Getting your art out of the studio and in front of people gives you a greater chance of selling it. (Smile!) The circle of creation is complete because people are viewing and responding to it, and you are connecting with those people. Which brings me to …
8. Get thee out of the studio.
Too much time alone in the studio isn’t good for your mental health, your creativity, or your prosperity.
Visit art museums with the highest quality of art on the planet. There, you’ll be reminded of your connection to art history. Revel in the tradition you share with these brilliant men and women.
What makes you happy about running an art business?