Who Could Help You in Your Business? (Curious Monday)

Painting of Grizzly Bear by Rosemary Conroy
©Rosemary G. Conroy, Gratitude Series: Grizzly Bear II. Acrylic on yupor paper, 35 x 23 inches.

Artists tell me there is too much work to be the creative director, CEO, chief marketer, and social media manager of their businesses.

Soooooo …

If you could wave a magic wand and have help in your art business, who would you hire?

What would their responsibilities be?

Would they help you in the office or in your studio?

Is it a single person? Or multiple people?

Do they need to work in your space or can they work virtually?

Since you'll never get help until you define the parameters of the job, let's start with those questions.

Please leave a comment below.

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69 thoughts on “Who Could Help You in Your Business? (Curious Monday)”

  1. If you could wave a magic wand and have help in your art business, who would you hire?
    –I’ve already hired out, recently, a few things: Google Analytics help and associated reports; taking payments at open studio; curating/hanging open studio; next is posting social media while I’m on wifi vacation. Ones I wish are add hanging hardware to finished paintings, track accounting….

    What would their responsibilities be?
    –See above, lol!

    Would they help you in the office or in your studio?
    —Mixed bag! I’ve used Fiverr (& a referral) for the virtual stuff. Andy (my Better Half) is an intuitive curator/hanger so he’s doing that again, and in my studio I’ve not hired out (yet).

    Is it a single person? Or multiple people?
    —Multiple. I find that I’m weird that I can do many things. It’s just I don’t want to do them.

    Do they need to work in your space or can they work virtually?
    –I prefer not in my space, other than Andy and the person who will eventually add hanging hardware….

    I’m still a 1-Artist-Show…but I am gradually getting more and more help as I realize my time is worth WAY MORE than a few dollars spent on what I want/need. The help will be sporadic, but it’s better than never~!

  2. Honestly, I’d hire a full-time housekeeper and cook. I enjoy all the aspects of my art business, including the bookwork and marketing, but my house is my biggest distraction. 🙂 I feel like it’s always a mess, and just when I get in the groove of painting or working on my business in other ways, I need to stop and think about preparing a meal for my family. I enjoy those things, too, but find I’m not doing any of it as well as I’d like to.

    1. Ditto to the housekeeping help! Feel the same. Like doing all of the art business related stuff. But the house is my biggest distraction too. My recent dream is to downsize house considerably including purging most possessions and scale up the studio! ????. A work in process, lol.

    2. I recently hired a friend whose hours at work had been cut to come in and help me do a big deep cleaning of my house. I do a quick touch up daily and a bit more one day per week. When I get to the point when it needs more, I’ll hire her again. It really helped with my sanity and now I have a short morning routine that doesn’t leave me drained. Totally worth it.

    3. Housework was not an issue when we worked conventional jobs. Now since we both work out of the house running our own businesses it seems to over take us MORE than when we were not home (I think we just lived with the dust and clutter back then). We have to schedule times to work, he in his studio and I in my art studio by 9 a.m. housework gets done on a schedule.
      We are our own managers and support system. I handle his marketing, admin, social media, research, as well as my own. I also assist in his audio editing and engineering. He handles my hardware and show setup, matting and framing. I solely create the art–he solely is the voice talent. We support each other in all phases of business. We do, however, work with a CPA for taxes but that is it. Would we outsource more? Hard to say. Keeping it simple and being lucky enough to handle things internally is really a benefit — you have more control. You have to schedule your day like a normal work environment when you are doing it all so there is time to create and produce. Sorry this reply is late — we were dealing with post-hurricane clean-up (no damage thank goodness). And thanks to everyone for the great posts!

  3. Well, I would hire out for things others can do better or things I enjoy least or simply things I don’t have enough time to do. Definitely a marketer though of course I would still pay attention to what that person is doing. Then I’d hire folks for grunt work.

    As I become more successful, I suspect there will be more grunt work. Packing, inventorying, adding to my contacts list and so forth and whatever else is background support for art creation. Probably at some point I’d have someone else updating my website, too, but I do enjoy a bit of coding and like keeping my hand in.

    Finally, I’d hire a green cleaning service because I do not like housecleaning.

    1. I was thinking “Marketer” also. What I mean is someone who would develop and implement a marketing plan both for online exposure and to get me connected with potential galleries. Also, I’d want the person to do marketing — i.e. update website, post regularly to Facebook, whatever else that person thinks is important to getting my work out into the public eye.

      After that, it would be the grunt: Photographing work, Packing art, organizing my art supplies (I use found objects.)

  4. My number one most “I wish someone else would do this” chore is packing up work to ship to shows. This includes a lot of elaborate “how to” labeling and a booklet for the other end. How to unpack, how to hang, how to pack back up and return ship. My work is fragile. And while I have several methods of hanging that are simple, how to make use of all I have sent is not intuitive. Added to this, a somewhat fluctuating work size. Such a pain, and labor intensive.

  5. I have a friend who is a successful, nationally known artist. She hires out yard care, housekeeping and has a personal assistant. The assistant deals with correspondence, updating her FB posts, basically keeping her business and personal life picked up and organized, and many other odd jobs. The artist encourages all her artist friends to get an assistant, even if it’s just for a few hours a week. However, she is also single, childless and teaches at a prestigious university.

    1. That’s inspiring. She encourages ALL artists to do so? Used t the idea that you don’t get help til you are “successful” and the lack of help put that farther away for me! Even single and childfree! ….not that single is always better, many tales in art history of the wife who makes the career part happen, right?

  6. Trust is a huge issue for me.
    I would have an honest loyal accountant and marketing rep, I need an expert in a certain field to help me test a world changing invention, an art studio provider to feed my need for a big affordable efficient studio space, a home where I can test fire suppression invention ideas. That is a small start on hires that will themselves lead to more needs and creative challenges.

    Please send my magic wand to Templeton California.

    Stephen e Price

  7. Danelle Kraszewski

    I was going to say “Manager” but, then I realized that you are my manager Alyson! I just need to work on taking direction and follow thru…Great topic. It is helping me see that my own blocks in work flow and creative cash flow are in my mind and that all the resources for success are right here!

  8. I’d love to hire out framing! That said, it doesn’t really take that much of my time on a constant basis, and I save so much by doing it myself. Maybe yard-work! Though my husband is taking on more responsibility with that.

    I recently got help with curating for open studio and it made me feel so confident about the presentation. It also helped me stay calm and productive, since it took one worry off my mind. I do get help with housekeeping every other week, and asked for extra hours right before open studio, so I could concentrate on preparation. Having an assistant each day also really helped.

  9. I have multiple people I’d like to hire. The first would be a bookkeeper (I’m able to do it myself, but I don’t like it), then someone to help with copywriting (not my strongest suit), then someone to help with art marketing, then a VA to take care of some of the less fun administrative tasks and make sure follow-up is done.

    Outside the business, I’d love a housekeeper since housework is insanely boring, plus it wreaks havoc on my body (I live with chronic pain).

  10. I’d hire out a cook and a marketer. I need someone else to do the constant social media and I’d really like to learn how to start and maintain an email/contact list and then know what to do with it after it’s set up. If I had that magic wand, I’d totally delegate that. [That said, I do have a blog, which I love and update regularly. I just need help with some of the other stuff that’s falling through the cracks.]

    Mostly I find myself wanting a mentor. Someone who’s been-there-done-that. Who likes me and my work. Who I can ask questions of, bounce ideas off of, brag to. Someone honest and gentle at the same time. [….or maybe a really fabulous crit group?]

    1. Thanks for the link! It’s what I needed to think about next. Timing isn’t right quite yet, but it gives me some concrete things to think about, a timeline, and another few months to get some more paintings done so when I come back to you, I’ll have a good foundation of work to market. Thank you!

  11. I’ve had a cleaning lady for several years so I don’t worry about the house. I have an “Executive Assistant” who does my website and helps with computer problems. (Since 2003) I have a list here on my desk called “Tasks that an Assistant could do”. It currently has about 16 items on it. Alas, I still don’t have enough hours to paint nor can I afford to hire an Assistant! I think I’m just slowing down physically at this old age!

  12. 1. Bookkeeping
    2. Cleaning my studio
    3. Cleaning my home bathrooms and kitchen
    4. Help bunging out my home and finding places to donate/recycle a lot of my possessions.
    5. Stretching and framing – it takes so much time and strength

  13. I think all jobs these days contain the work of three or four people, and artists are no different.

    For me, my priorities are a person Friday who was multi-functional and could handle social media, workshop coodination, email as well as assist in shooting videos, editing and promotion. And in slower times, do a little light housework!

  14. Thanks for using my grizzly bear painting Alyson!

    The best thing I ever did was hire a housekeeper who comes every other week– its made such a difference and alleviates the guilt. I have a big show coming up next year and am trying to figure out what else I can delegate…

  15. A seamstress and an accountant. They could work in my space or theirs, doesn’t matter to me. I have said from day 1 that those are the people I’d bring on board and it’s still true.

    A seamstress would take my pieces and press them, finish the edges, add linings, etc and then press and store them to go out as merch.

    The bookkeeper would follow me around and make sure my receipts are tracked, invoices are sent, bills are paid and budgeted for….

    Sigh. Someday.

    Right now I am toying with hiring a VA to help with my web design and marmeting company. Maybe I can split their time between art biz and web biz. 🙂

  16. I would click my heels together and find someone to list product on my Amazon Etsy and my website with keywords that would draw in the customers. Some designs fly and some don’t get a hit. It’s the words. I would also like help with social media.

  17. -Definitely the housekeeping, shopping and yard work.
    -someone to scan the various sites for exhibition possibilities, opportunities and show openings and to keep an eye on deadlines, projects and people I need to stay in touch with
    -someone to organize my files and photos.
    I can do all these things myself but they eat up so much painting time.

  18. I would hire somebody to pick up supplies, order supplies, do inventory after big shows, shipping and mailing. I had a cleaning lady for over a year, after my leg and ankle was broken into places. My hubby will be retired in two years and four months. He’s offered to take up this chore for me. Stay tuned! Having studio hours, assign days to do certain things, like Friday I take pictures and post to my Etsy site, my website, and my Facebook group. I always work “Overtime”, especially getting ready for a major art show like this past weekend. As for the inventory, I write the contents of each box with the date, updating after all is repackaged after each show. As of updating each one of the cards, I have a separate notebook that I write down what I need to replenish and that particular product line. Right now I can’t afford to hire anybody, but your workshop really helped me a lot!

  19. Housekeeping would be my #1 hire.
    I am in the process of evaluating my time management and what takes the most most time away from my easel. That will show me what my next need would be if money was not an issue.

  20. Updating the website and putting products onto my Etsy shop, these would be the tasks I would delegate. I find them so time consuming, and it’s really not my forte. They go on my list each week, and always get shunted along as other tasks crop up. I already have a studio assistant that comes three hours a day, but I think I’m nearly at the stage of being able to take someone on to do the rest of the tasks that I just can’t get around to. I’ve never had a cleaner, but maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. Most of my friends have one so I just need to get my head around the fact that hiring a cleaner somehow doesn’t feel like me. Perhaps that could be the new me?

    Excellent curious monday question.

  21. The best money I’m spending right now is for my house cleaner. Invaluable for keeping my house in order – at least once a week!
    As my business grows (& there will be a point I will know) I would also hire a person to package up products/items/art (& fill orders) and post them out & (it could be the same person) to keep my mailing list up to date and perhaps upload images & details to my website.
    Someone to come and help with sales at my open studio might be beneficial – I have one coming up in November and I might just do that!

  22. I’m in the process of hiring a chef to cook for us several nights a week. That will be such a wonderful thing—not to have to think about cooking! Next I’m thinking I need a cleaning person because cleaning is just one more thing that takes a lot of time and regularly needs re-doing. For the business itself, I’d love to have someone manage marketing:
    – check out shows that are appropriate for my work and fill out apps
    – check out galleries where my work would fit
    – keep up with daily social media postings (facebook, linkedin, instagram, google +, pinterest)
    – help prepare for my annual open house
    – check out publications where my work might fit
    – do a lot of the set-up for my monthly newsletter etc

  23. Terrific question!

    I have a housekeeper and she is priceless. Comes in every two weeks and does regular cleaning, and I hire her a few time a year to do deep cleaning. This is some of the best money I have ever spent. We are friends and have 20 year relationship. I can’t recommend this enough.

    I also hired a young college graduate to help me learn Facebook and Instagram and to tweak my website. That was money well spent. She is available for hire for special, time-limited projects like that. Using someone that young and hip gave me a lot insight into what appeals to that group. I think I might like to hire her to find blogs and other sites that relate to my potential collectors. Then, I could try to develop some relationships there.

    I would like a book keeper. I can do it, but UGH! I think I may hire one just to input all my financial info and then come in once a month to catch up the system. Hmmm…now this is a good idea.

    I would like to hire someone to do my e-mail campaigns and FB business page. Today I have spent 3 hours setting up a way to collect email information on my site. And I am not done yet. Really? I would much rather have been spending the time on my blogs (which I love doing) or starting my new painting series. I am here on this blog while I am waiting for customer support to e-mail me back with answers to all my questions on how to do this.

    Oh, and I would like someone to grocery shop and cook for me…oh wait…that’s my retired husband! ( although I do have to step up once in a while).

  24. What I would love is a cook for healthy dinners and physical trainer, because I work so hard during the day that dinner is sometimes not as relaxing as I would like it to be and I love to cook for others when I’m relaxed. I would like a trainer because I put so much pressure on productivity that exercise takes a back seat sometimes, but it’s so important to my body, soul and mindset for the day.
    I feel so good about the changes that I’ve made to help my business because I’ve had a apprentice for over a year now and those extra pair of hands have been so important. I recently hired a social media person to push my work out and she’s done incredible work for me, she also has designed my new b-cards and post cards. My sign up rate has gone up for my newsletter and also my likes on my professional Facebook page, she comes every other week and photos what I’m doing. I have a house cleaner every other week which has been a huge load off with all the caregiving that I have on my plate.

  25. I would like:
    1) someone who is familiar with social media marketing to help me develop and implement a better system for using Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I have many ideas from Content Camp, but I get bogged down in the technical aspects. This person could work off-site.
    2) a general studio assistant who would photograph, inventory, and frame finished work and then post it to my website. This person would also do other administrative tasks such as mailing post cards, updating contacts, making labels, helping with transporting and hanging work.

    It seems necessary to split up tasks among different people because they require different skill sets. Isn’t that where we artists run into problems…trying to do everything ourselves regardless of whether we’re good at everything?

    This is an interesting topic. Alyson’s question was “If you could wave a magic wand and have help IN YOUR ART BUSINESS [my emphasis], who would you hire?

    Most of the responses are from women and many of them wish for help with housekeeping and cooking. Really? Is this a women’s issue? Do we feel so much responsibility for household management that it has to be handled before we can focus on our art business? Or is it a more general artist’s issue? Is it because many artists have studios at home and it’s hard to compartmentalize? I’d like to hear some responses from male artists. Men, do you put housekeeping and cooking help at the top of your wish list for your ART BUSINESS? If not, what kind of staff would you hire?

  26. Great topic!! I really like Leslie’s idea of someone to help around the house to free me up to attend to my art business! I would love someone to assist with marketing and social media. I love doing facebook and twitter myself, but am so lax with the rest!

    Also I really need a new website and would love someone to build me a new one on a platform that I can easily maintain!

  27. Well, a housekeeper and someone to assemble a database on my art and to update my website. Also, someone to shop my art around to galleries. I’d hire Crista Cloutier and Danielle Krysa.

  28. I have a huge list. What does that say!?
    Marketing guru. Finding where is most beneficial & to the type clientele I’m seeking. Newspaper. Does anyone read this anymore!? Running Ads? Magazine articles. Flyers in high-end stores such as specialty grocery stores, boutiques, offices. Phone calls, cold calls for new connections. Email. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Instagram. Searching for show opportunities

    Sales!!! Cold calls. Contacting current clients. Looking for new ways to sell!

    House cleaning (kitchen – stove, sink, counters, dishes!!, baths – toilets, floors, shower, sinks, emptying trash & recycle, sweeping & vacuuming floors, dusting, tidying). Laundry.

    Grocery shopping once per week, delivery or cooking of meals a few times per week

    I may be asking for a lot but you said Dream List right?

    I forgot nanny for like 20 hours a week!

  29. Right now I’d like a consultant who could help me bring together all the bits and pieces of social media, display at art shows, help select what to sell where (functional ceramics/craft-fine art sculpture/ it’s all art, but works in different venues). Consult on one good bookkeeping system and help with pricing. Best way to ship ceramics and best/most cost-effective way to ship. I want a small, but dynamic business and I agree, doing it all seems both a bit daunting and curiously inefficient. (P.S. I do have help with the housework and when my recently retired husband suggested we cut back and do more ourselves I said “no” and I seriously mean it. Not going back on that one–it makes life so much easier.)

  30. So, I did it!!!!.. I finally hired a Social Media partner..its still the first month and we are still in the setting up phase…but my Fb, twitter, instagram, mail chip and blog will be taken care off…. of course under my watch… its just been like 10 days now…and I feel so much better… and not guilty, I have time to make art and not worry about the marketing part…
    Unlike other artists here… I am thankful to have domestic helps…who come in everyday to help me with the house and cut veggies and basic pepping for the meals…which cuts down my cooking time drastically and have a clean house.

  31. I have such a backlog of drawings of all sorts….I don’t have a business per se but want to start one . the person would simply be able to perceive the pattern and brand I am too close to see, and show me how! I know I have the talent. I guess it would be an ADD coach.When I look at advice for neurotypicals I feel like I “know” it already- the pep talks, the exhortation to commit, all the stuff I know is right but I CANT IMPLEMENT IT LIKE THEY SAY.
    I need a person who knows ADHD creatives really well. The first dismissal that “everybody is scattered in this day and age” means I will not share one more insight about it with that person. And pay them? nuh uh. Really need an insightful person to go into the notes and ideas, listen to the possible plans, help me prioritize and be there to check in.
    Regular minded people don’t see why I can’t “just do it”. Art is something much different, subverts logic, and I often just wish I had a second me! Coaching is too expensive at this point so I make slow progress and the work gets better but no one sees it. sigh.

  32. Sorry I did not answer the actual question which is much more fun-we are waving a magic wand, no why-nots! ……Magic wand, send someone who would show up and actually be open to what the inspiration of the day might be. They could take care of errands or cook, but also be a collaborator. I wouldnt have to write a bullet point list but if that was needed they could do things without making twice the work explaining!
    or I could say, what do you think about this bunch of drawings I found in a box? could they be combined? Is there a story? and when I got a vision of where the work needs to go, keep track of it for me and help me hands-on. Then help me get it out there.They could model a quick pose…help build a shelf…burn a screen for printing…
    Someone positive and very quick minded. Someone with a foot in imagination and business both. 30 hours a week, as long as we are dreaming.

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Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

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