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My Secret? You Don't Have to Do it ALL.

Uncategorized Jan 09, 2024

I frequently get asked by students and artists alike..."how do you do it all, Sarah?" And I'm all too happy to tell you...I don't! In fact, I want to pull back the curtain and take you behind the scenes today, because I think the most important advice I have for people who are starting out in this career is: you don't have to do everything alone

I think a super relatable thing about being a professional artist is getting overwhelmed by all the invisible work out there that is necessary to run a creative business. There's all sorts of tasky-tasks that aren't immediately apparent. My business needs webspace and someone to run it. There's surface design and product deadlines for Ruby Star Society. Newsletters go out weekly. My classes need teaching support, technical support, and community support. Oh what about social media? Don't forget managing a tangled web of automation to make sure everything runs smooth-ish. And let's not even mention returning emails or accounting.

The only way I've been able to manage all of that above was by starting slowly, paying attention to my workload, and getting help when I needed it. 

And that formula has worked for my business! In 2020, right after I finished up with my very first edition of From Paint to Pattern, it should come as no surprised that I was TIRED. I already had some big projects going on and I was managing them mostly on my own (that whole list up above? Yeah, all that). That's where Jane Youn came in. ‚ÄčJane attended my very first FP2P class and afterwards sent me an email with a resume and list of things that she could do to help me with my business. I knew I *really* needed to hire soon, and the timing was perfect. I quickly accepted, knowing that there was something magical about Jane. Jane’s position grew from 5 hours a week to full time within 6 months. And having her on the team opened so many doors for me once I freed up some time. 

And the thing about time is, there's only so much of it for anyone. See how Jane's schedule filled right up? That's when we decided to grow the team again in 2023! We hired Whitney Marshall as our resident customer success person. And she's also a BRILLIANT organizer and scheduler. We also have Olivia Alaniz who is so incredibly skilled in keeping my social media in order. I have an accountant for business stuff (that took no arm twisting to hire at all). 

Before it sounds like I'm bragging, I want to point out that delegating tasks to a team is a whole new set of skills. It's hard to let go of parts of your business, especially if you've been doing it on your own for long enough. But it's so incredibly worth it, and has been the key to my growth. Realizing that I can now focus on creating art has opened so many doors for me once I freed up some time. I honestly can't imagine doing any of this without my team. 

I think the biggest takeaway I can give you, if you're starting out in a creative business, is don't wait as long as I did to outsource the parts of your business that you're struggling with. 

 

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