The Art Biz ep. 45: The Impatient Artist: How Much Time Will Your Art Career Take? (encore)

Back in 2016 I sat down with Cynthia Morris to discuss an affliction many of our artist-clients suffer from: Impatience. Especially around making money.

This was the first episode of what became the Art Biz Podcast.

I originally started noticing this almost desperate desire for artists to make fast money at the height of the recession. Artists lost day jobs and, while they were excited to be able to focus on their art, they needed income to start rolling in much more quickly than was reasonable.

©Cynthia Morris, Pattern 2 from her 100 Days of Patterns.

Nobody should cultivate a small business this way. It's unrealistic to put that kind of pressure on yourself and on your art.

As Cynthia put it in our conversation: You wouldn't decide to be an architect and think you can finish a building by the end of the year, so why would you think an art career would take off so quickly?

The hard truth is that your art career needs time to develop.

A lot of time. An unbearable amount of time for some people. In my experience, patient artists who are committed to their careers for the long haul are the ones who enjoy the ride, have a much healthier outlook, and, ultimately, reach their goals. They understand that there is no such thing as fast fame.

Today I'm republishing an encore of that original episode because Cynthia and I talked about things we need to be reminded of frequently.

We started by considering the pitfalls of impatience, and quickly launched into a variety of topics that all have to do with what it takes to be a professional artist.

Listen Now

Music by Wildermiss.


  • The unrealistic expectations many artists have on how long it takes to build a career. (1:25)
  • The difficulty creatives have with prioritizing and saying No. (3:30)
  • Without a longterm vision (your “what” and “why”), you won't get very far in your career. (8:35)
  • Short term thinking doesn't get you anywhere, and degrades your confidence. (9:30)
  • The importance of breaking down projects into actionable steps. (10:40)
  • Why social media won't help you if your foundation isn't in place. (11:15)
  • The Art Career Success System (previously a 5 month program, now a year) that Alyson designed to help artists build their foundational systems. (11:50)
  • Systems are comforting—but they take time and consistency to build. (14:00)
  •  The 5(ish) foundational pieces of a professional art career. (17:15)
  • The milestones that motivate Cynthia to keep working at her business. (21:50)
  • The challenges of running a business weighed against being someone's employee. (23:00)
  • The satisfaction that comes with getting the difficult things done. (25:20)
  • How batching tasks can help artists switch from making to marketing. (27:30)
  • Honoring your natural rhythms vs procrastinating. (30:30)
  • The integrity gap—how to be honest with yourself about why you're avoiding something. (32:30)
  • Why seeing your career as a long and difficult journey can actually empower you. (33:40)
  • “If you're looking for instant gratification, go get ice cream.” (35:35)


Art Career Success System
Cynthia's Podcast, Stumbling Toward Genius

About My Guest

Cynthia Morris helps writers, artists and entrepreneurs make their big dreams a powerful reality. Cynthia is a certified coach, teacher, author and artist. In 1999, she founded Original Impulse, a boutique coaching company that empowers creative people to focus, follow through and finish projects that matter.

The author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Writing a World-Changing Book, Cynthia has published seven e-books on writing and creative travel as well as the Paris historical novel, Chasing Sylvia Beach. She is a watercolor artist and visual journal keeper who uses art as a way to express joy and consistently access inspiration.

Follow Cynthia on Instagram.


Music by Wildermiss.

Recommended Art Biz Action

This episode is sponsored my signature business-building program, the Art Career Success System.

All of the lessons you learn in the Art Career Success System are tasks you will do repeatedly throughout your art business and career. That’s why it’s a SYSTEM.

In the ACSS you will build a strong foundation using my video and audio lessons, worksheets, and transcripts. And you will be part of a community of artists who are forward-thinking and forward-moving.

Oh, yeah, and it's a whole year long because … as I say above … it's going to take time. We'll be here for you!

Join us now and start putting your system in place.

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6 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 45: The Impatient Artist: How Much Time Will Your Art Career Take? (encore)”

  1. Thanks for this interesting and helpful post. Two additional thoughts:
    1) We always discourage people who tell us they are going to quit their jobs to become a full-time artist. Try working part-time for a couple of years to see if it’s a good fit. Wanting to rush right into a full-time career can be crushing.

    2) Creating – and regularly reviewing – an annual budget supports long-term thinking. For instance, we know summers tend to be quieter, so we plan accordingly and don’t freak out when they are.

    I hope these add to your wonderful advice.

  2. So good. really respond to point that without a system one can always feel behind, at loose ends. Good reminders re what is necessary to slowly build a solid foundation upon which to build a functioning successful career. Thank you!

  3. I love listening to your interviews with artists, Alyson, but this interview is probably my favourite of all!

    Because you and Cynthia Morris obviously know each other so well, the conversation was so fluid and relaxed that I felt I was there in the room with the two of you chatting.

    I’m just finishing up the third part of a mega-article about finishing so this episode was right on target for me in more ways than one!

    Be well!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Cherry: This means a lot coming from you. Thank you for listening. Oooo. I think we have a whole other episdoe about finishing.

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