There’s a certain point in your business when you can’t grow without hiring someone.
Your work is in demand, and you sell the work as fast as you make it. This is a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem because you can’t keep up by yourself.
You’re creator, packer, shipper, marketer, janitor, and warrior rolled into one. You spend as much time in the studio as you can and perform ninja maneuvers to get all of the business stuff taken care of.
You don’t watch television, your family barely sees you, and you’re not getting enough sleep.
You’re maxed out! But you don’t feel like you can afford to hire help.
Here’s the thing: You can’t afford not to hire someone.
It’s not just you who hesitates to get help. Very rarely does an entrepreneur feel like it’s the right time to hire new people because there’s never “extra” cash lying around. It’s a catch 22: you don’t have surplus funds, but you’ve reached your limit on what you can accomplish alone.
If you believe in your work, it’s time to take risks.
When my clients reach this point of frustration, I encourage them to start keeping a list of everything they do in their businesses that someone else could do.
It’s even better if you start this list before you reach this point. You don’t have to go out and find someone right away. Just start the list. I’ll help.
Professional services are usually contracted out in a small business. You’re hiring these people for their expertise, not to instruct them on how to do the work as you would like to have it done.
Someone else should do these things for you …
- Design brochures, postcards, and invitations
- Create and maintain a website or blog
- Handle legal matters, accounting, and bookkeeping
- Photograph your art
- Clean your house
In contrast to some of the tasks you’re competent doing, professional services are usually far removed from your zone of genius.
Now let’s get to those tasks you’re comfortable with but no longer need to be spending quality time on. These are things that you can train someone else to help you with. I’ve broken down these tasks into eight possible areas: Studio, Administration, Social Media, Teaching, Photography/Video, Writing, Events, and Personal.
Of course, you won’t find someone who is gifted in every area that you need help with. Likewise, you don’t want candidates to bend themselves into a position for which they are ill-fitted. Hire to people’s strengths.
Here we go.
It’s fairly easy for someone else to assist with certain studio tasks if you are willing to relinquish control. Someone else could …
- Prepare your material, prime your canvases, mix your glazes, etc.
- Install the art
- Adjust lighting in an exhibition space
- Create and hang gallery labels and signage
- Pack, crate, and ship artwork
- Assist in aspects of production work
- Order art supplies
Imagine breathing a sigh of relief when you have the support of an office assistant who loves to take care of details for you, and whose zone of genius is doing exactly this. Someone else could …
- Enter data and light bookkeeping
- Send invoices and receipts
- Maintain your schedule and correspondence
- Label and stamp postcards and invitations
- Maintain an inventory of artwork, and create inventory sheets for exhibitions as needed
- Order office supplies
- Clean, dust, water plants, empty trash
I don’t believe in outsourcing social media because it should be personal in order to be effective. However, you could get help with the preparation of your posts. Someone else could …
- Schedule approved posts
- Crop images
- Research helpful posts to share
You, of course, are the expert at the front of the classroom, but much of the burden could be lifted from you. Someone else could …
- Research content for a new class
- Register students and serve as their liaison
- Prepare class materials
- Handle payment issues
- Respond to technical concerns
- Send email reminders
- Monitor an online forum
Photography and Video
While you should hire a professional photographer for publicity photos and the slick images you need of your art, someone else could …
- Record video clips of people saying nice things about your art
- Edit informal videos and post them online
- Photograph events and daily studio work for your newsletter, website, and social media posts
- Resize images for the website, publicity, and exhibition submissions
There is so much writing that must be done in a professional artist’s career. Most of it will require your expert input, but someone else could …
- Take your articles and create drafts for blog posts, brochure text, or wall labels
- Write and distribute press releases
- Proofread your writing (you shouldn’t be the final proofreader of your writing)
- Format and send emails to people on your list
It’s important that you are free at your events to connect with your guests. Someone else could …
- Greet guests
- Cater the shindig and replenish food and beverages
- Process sales
- Photograph you with guests
- Invite people to sign up for your list
It seems like an extravagance to have a personal assistant, but Christine Kane says this is the first person you should hire after the accountant and bookkeeper. Someone else could …
- Shop for groceries
- Prepare food for cooking
- Pick up mail and dry cleaning
- Keep house tidy
I have lots of questions that I'd love your responses to.
Who helps you with your art business? What do they do for you?
Who was the first person you hired?
What hiring mistakes have you made?