It's pretty overwhelming and can leave you doing NOTHING - trust me I know. So I went to the expert - Alyson Stanfield, author of I'd Rather Be in the Studio -The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. Today Alyson is here as part of her blog tour to help promote the book and is also giving away a free copy. She’s invited me to ask a question related to the book, so here goes . . .
Alyson, I've been a successful artist, teacher and author for several years. I am taking this year off to get back in the studio to do some art just for ME. I thought that was my #1 priority, but after years of neglect, I also need to update my website, as well as redesign my blog, design a marketing campaign for my next book and a new product, continue to create art and articles for a magazine I contribute to AND spend time with my grandchildren. My question is - what do I do first? I can't seem to get my priorities straight with so much to do. HELP!
Lesley, I can certainly understand your frustrations. As a solo entrepreneur, you must wear a variety hats. And there are so many different tasks to stay on top of. I can’t tell you what to do first. Only you can set your priorities. I can, however, give you a series of steps that will help you and others set those priorities.
1. Be very clear on what you want and what you need. I mean crystal clear. Is it immediate sales? Is it recognition by someone or some place new? Is it self-discovery time? Only you can answer this. (See pages 9-12 in the book.)
2. Write down everything you need to achieve what you want: time, skills, equipment, etc.
3. Make a list of everything you do that someone else could be doing. List the value or cost of each. I’m not asking if you have the money to pay someone else. Just make the list. What can you let go of? Every time you think you’re saving money doing something yourself, consider what your time is worth. When the stars are aligned you will find the means to turn over those tasks to someone else. I’m also asking that you prepare to release control over every aspect of your art career and accept that things might not be done exactly as you would have done them, but that they’ll get done to your satisfaction. Having someone else on your team will make you a stronger artist and businesswoman. There should be no shame or guilt in asking for help. We don’t get far when we consistently work alone.
By the way, after you make your list of the tasks you can let go of, be sure to keep a running description of the type of person you would like to assist you with each job. Send it out to the universe and I’ll bet you trip over the right people just when you need them.
4. I mentioned this in this week’s Art Marketing Action newsletter and it’s worth repeating. I think it’s critical to keep a list of everything you need to do. Keep it constantly and look at it in the morning before you start to work and in the evening in order to set your priorities for the day. (See Action 3 in the book.)
5. When you set your priorities for the day, keep the list of must-dos to 3-5 items. Tackle those things first. You’ll be tempted to check your inbox, but don’t. Take pride in the fact that you are 100% responsible for your actions (that’s one of the 6 Principles in the book) and that means paying attention to what is most important.
Having said all of this and looking at your list--which I know is much longer than your question reveals--I would ask you to consider getting help with your website and blog. I would also remind you that art should always come first for the artist (above the marketing). But family trumps both.
Thanks, Alyson. My first reaction is that the remedy (listing and prioritizing) will take up my precious time, but I didn't really think you were going to offer me a quick-fix or some well-kept secret to expand time and energy. It's clear to me that family is #1 on my list right now, so it's #2, 3 and 4 and so on that I will have to figure out. I could start by asking what my dear readers are interested in?
So, readers, do you have a similar problem, or need to devote some attention to the business side of your art? I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of the book. Or even better...how about a chance to WIN A FREE BOOK? If you are interested in winning a free copy of I’d Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion? Visit this site, read the instructions, and enter. Your odds are good as Alyson's giving away a free copy on most of the blog tour stops. You can increase your odds by visiting the other blog tour stops and entering on those sites as well.