Monday, August 11, 2008

The CEO and Janitor

[I have this art business cartoon posted in my studio]

Like many artists I know, I tend to do everything myself. Maybe it's a control thing. Maybe it's a budget thing. But when people sing the praises of the "easy" life of being self-employed vs. a traditional 9-5, I jokingly explain to them how I am both the CEO and Janitor of my business. I make the big decisions (with the help of my amazingly supportive husband), and I sweep the floors (also with the help of my amazingly supportive husband).

This can be both a blessing and a curse. Some days I absolutely love working for myself!! Some days I'm so frustrated and overwhelmed, I'm ready to throw in the towel. I've been alternating between the two quite frequently lately.

After 18 months of planning and construction, I have the new fantastic studio! But I feel like I have 18 months of artwork ideas, internet marketing needs, gallery research, studio organizing, ware-cart building, portfolio photo projects, PR packets, etc that I need to "catch up" on. And I don't always know where to start, or how I'm going to be able to do it without employing a crew of 100s! One day, though, I will be able to hire a staff to take care of the tasks I find the least enjoyable.

My latest business task has been to tackle the online world of internet marketing. This is all extremely new to me. Even blogging. I had been wondering how to increase my web traffic when I read a post by Emily Murphy about Site Engine Optimization. If you don't follow Emily's posts, I highly recommend them. She has a wealth of helpful information.

It does help to know that other artists have similar feelings. I had a fantastic conversation with my good friend and fabulous potter, Joy Tanner this morning about these very topics. What about you? How do you balance all the tasks of being a working artist? I'd love to hear any advice you have on time management!

Thanks!
Meagan

5 comments:

Brian said...

Meagan,

I did a quick post to my blog, http://bfpottery.blogspot.com/ but in a nutshell, I try to use David Allen's 'Getting Things Done' method.
The day planners and endless todo lists just weren't cutting it and actually made me feel worse than ever. Part of his magic is only looking at the 'next action', not the whole overwhelming project.

Emily Murphy said...

Meagan-
Thanks for this post and the great cartoon. I have gotten many comments by students at the art center where I teach who say "oh, I would just love to quit my job and make pots all day." I have to bite my tongue a little when I hear something like this. I know I am extremely lucky to do what I love as my profession, but it's also a lot of hard work. And making the pots is really only a small % of total time. You're right, we're CEO's and janitors, laborers and artists.

Your work is beautiful! Thanks for the shout-out.

BTW, I love the slide show on your blog- how's it done?

www.jeffmartinceramics.blogspot.com said...

just linked to your blog from rons...great work!..i am glad to hear all these post about working for oneself and the struggles and joys..it feels good to know i am not alone, even though i work alone mostly..i am still trying to get organized, i have better days than others! i have found that writing goals down and keeping a daily planner are priceless..even though working for myself is a seven day job, i don't ever want to go back to the 9-5...also, your link is a liitle off, you repeated the http..twice,..

www.jeffmartinceramics.blogspot.com said...

just linked to your blog from rons...great work!..i am glad to hear all these post about working for oneself and the struggles and joys..it feels good to know i am not alone, even though i work alone mostly..i am still trying to get organized, i have better days than others! i have found that writing goals down and keeping a daily planner are priceless..even though working for myself is a seven day job, i don't ever want to go back to the 9-5...also, your link is a liitle off, you repeated the http..twice,..

Meagan Chaney said...

Hi Jeff, Thanks for the encouragement!

And for letting me know about the link. Not sure how to fix it though since its on Ron's blog...