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Monday, July 22, 2013

Seven Days, Seven Jobs

For me, one of the hardest things about running a creative business is finding the most productive way to manage my time.  I have a lot going on.  And there are only seven days in a week. 

I am realizing that lately I have let myself get confused about the difference between being productive and bringing in an income.  It's easy to look at these two things as one and the same, but in reality, when you're running a creative business, being productive may not necessarily mean bringing in immediate revenue.  A lot of the time, it actually means setting yourself up to bring in future revenue while you work diligently with no immediate payoff. 

Ideally, if I could spend my whole week making jewelry with occasional teaching thrown in, I would be a happy girl.  But right now, I have 7 jobs.  Yes, SEVEN.

1. Making my own artwork/portfolio/gallery pieces. 
2. CopperTide (production jewelry work)
3. CopperDog Studio (etched copper dog tags, ornaments, etc. with 10% of proceeds going to animal rescue groups.)
(And let's not forget the marketing of all of the above, but we'll just include that as part of each of those jobs.)
4. Teaching (regular weekly classes at Sawtooth School for Visual Art and occasional weekend workshops traveling elsewhere.)
5. NC Black Co. (tool fabrication and design, and sometimes I teach with them as well)
6. Apprenticeship/Assistant to Betty Helen Longhi
7. Helping unpack/organize art, ship orders, refurbish machines for Art-o-Mat

While the last four provide more predictable and immediate income, it's the first four that are the most important to me and make the me the happiest.  Not that I don't enjoy the others or appreciate the opportunities afforded from each one.  It's just too much.  On top of the new-old-house that we bought a couple of months ago, with all of its new-old-house issues that must be dealt with, mostly by me, plus home chores, cooking, etc.  I don't get a lot of studio time to work on those first three.  So I know I need to adjust and not overextend myself into these other jobs that aren't focusing on my work.  But can I afford to lose the immediate income?  Will it pay off in the end if I can focus my energies properly on my work and marketing it well?  I'd like to think so.  But right now, I have bills that don't really want to wait for future payoff. 

So what to do? 

Well, leave it to Megan Auman at 'Designing an MBA' to have the perfect post!  "Making Multiple Revenue Streams Work for Your Business."  She's a clever girl, that one. Her first piece of advice in this post is to think of yourself as one business with multiple components.  Even though you may have very different facets of your work, if you think of them all as one package, or your one brand, it becomes easier to work with the natural ebb and flow of the business(es) and focus on the aspect of the business that needs the most attention at the time rather than trying to fit it all in and do everything at once.  Seriously, go read her post if you can relate to anything I'm talking about here today.  It's amazing how much you can change just by changing the way you look at things.

So I'm going to try to consolidate the way I am thinking about my jobs to :

1. My work
2. Teaching
3. Working for other people

And maybe if it's a little easier to wrap my brain around it like this, it will be easier for me to make time to do what I need to do. 

Now... off to the studio!  (And I've got a pretty sweet new space!)


  1. Wow you have me beat Annie, I thought I was juggling a million things but seven jobs is cray cray, I currently have 4 jobs: Eilisain Jewelry, assistant at the repair shop, work at a law firm two days a week and volunteer at ARt Avenue. You are right about everything, it can be mind boggling to think of all the million things one has to do but compartmentalizing it into smaller jobs is much easier to stomach. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Lisette! I'm actually down to 5 jobs now - yay! Still crazy busy, but a little less insane. The things we do to live this artful life! Good luck with all of your ventures, too!