Art, Work, & Business

April 19, 2009 at 10:34 pm (Uncategorized)

 I recently took a new job and surprisingly enough, I’m really liking it.  The time had come to bring in some steady income until there seems to be some clear signal that the economy is picking up. While I considered the job as a temporary gig,  I can already see many lessons to be learned on management, budgets and business. They are lessons that are not only NOT taught in art school, but lessons that we feel are not necessary to artists and how we do business.

 Maybe it’s the fact that it is so opposite is why I am enjoying it, and seeing it all as a new challenge. Pushing me onto a conservative business model is the polar opposite of where I have been the last few years, and working within  very strict parameters doesn’t seem as confining as I thought it would. In fact, it feels quite cozy at least for now.

I have to admit that as I am looking over spreadsheets, sales reports, and the proper way to set budgets, I am staring at all this information thinking “Shit, had I put these types of procedures into place, my life would have been a hell of a lot easier”.  The paper and forms in front of me seem to come to life with the names of art clients screaming at me saying:

 “If you did this, you could have made an additional $800 off the Collins job”

 “Didn’t you realize that the large job that sent you out of town would cost you an additional $900 in marketing since those three weeks out of town you were not able to market and were required to take two full days to catch up with bill paying and paperwork? You never calculated the true cost of your lost time”.

What I am seeing is a distinct difference between how the rest of the world does business, and how the artists do business.  As artists we are great justifiers, and can easily create a thousand reasons why we need to have a new set of brushes or a new brand of paint, an how our work will suffer without it. If the money is available, we feel we need it and buy it. After all, it’s professional development.

 Art schools should include business school with classes on maximizing profits, reducing costs, projecting budgets and payroll. We might think that a program like Quickbooks is effective, but it is only as effective as the information we plug into it.Most of us have found ourselves on large jobs with large price tags, and at the end of the job looked at the total profit only to find that the profit was far less than we had anticipated. Somewhere along the line, through labor costs, materials, job time, or another reason, something ate into the profit of the job and left us with the same amount of money as a smaller job would have but with much less aggravation. 

I’m not saying that my life would be much different if I had all those business skills, but more than likely, I would have received much more sleep, and been able to effectively charge my clients based off the true cost of doing business, not simply what the square foot price seemed to be.

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1 Comment

  1. Cre8Tiva/Rebecca E. Parsons said,

    hey then people like me would be irrevelant…i have been teaching the business of being an artist for years…business has picked up since the economy has gone down…better to learn business before you open…but now is a great time to do it while you have the time…good luck and may you be wiser afterall…blessings, rebecca

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