I just had what I like to dramatically refer to as ‘the mother of all colds’. You’ve probably had one before – your head feels 5 times as large and heavy as usual because your sinuses are so congested.
If you have children who tend to mumble – you REALLY can’t figure out what they are saying and have very little patience for the situation. (I was kind and warned my son quickly so he knew to expect a change in behavior: “I feel horrible and can’t hear you – please speak up or expect me to be cranky – I’m doing the best I can!”)
You lose the will to … anything. Get up. Move. Paint. Think. Talk. It’s not a good time.
But as I am apt to do, I can find a silver lining in some of the most unpleasant experiences and I found one in this mother of all colds.
As I sat, barely able to push the buttons on my remote, I discovered there was a “Super Nanny” marathon on. Horray! This would entertain, talk little energy and quite frankly – JoJo makes me feel like a good mom. (Kids will try and convince you you resemble a prison guard when you instill boundaries, are consistent in ways they would prefer you not be – like enforcing curfews, making sure they are where they say they are, etc.)
I watched a few episodes then TiVo’d the rest in case I felt bad the next day. Which I did. A little better, not still not great. So “Super Nanny” to the rescue!
Day 2 must have been better because my brain went into business analogy mode – always a sign of recovery for me.
1. Have a routine. If you have an idea of what needs to be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, you are more likely to make progress. It is inevitable that there will be something you need to do that won’t have you jumping for joy to get started. For some it is making phone calls. For others, getting sales materials ready for a trade show. Each person is different but I bet you can think of something. Without routine and recognition that it needs to get done, you may never get started. Not a good idea!
2. Be consistent. Consistent effort towards a goal does a few things. First, it moves you forward instead of staying still and busy in circles. Second, if manufacturers see consistent effort and new artwork, they learn what to expect from you. Who would you rather work with – someone who you can count on to act in the future as they have in the past or someone who comes through with flying colors on one project and gets distracted by video games and misses deadlines on the next?
3. Set boundaries.
a) How do you work. (do you license? Do you sell? Will you do flat-fee licenses? Will you do spec work in the hopes of getting a deal or just offer what is already in your portfolio… etc.)
b) What do you create. (Don’t try to be all things to all people. Although many artists are quite prolific there are certain things you will be better at and enjoy more – focus on them. They will be the designs that sell anyway. If you don’t do pets, just say no if asked. Don’t give in to the temptation to try and be a “Jack or Jill of all arts”.)
c) When and where do you work. (Setting a routine and boundaries with yourself, your friends and family will help you get the time you need to build your business. Many artists, myself included, work at home. It is easier for people to think they can call, drop in or expect you to do their bidding at any time. Think about what will work for you for your art, your business and of course your sanity.)
4. Have fun. Don’t get so laser-focused on your goals that you can’t enjoy getting there. Celebrate the little accomplishments along the way. Share your passion with others. Enjoy the ride!
5. Keep your cool. If you get too emotionally charged (in a negative way) – no good will come of it. So if you have those days where you feel out of control, despondent and have the “I’ll-never-make-it-anyway-so-why-am-I-even-trying?” mindset – STEP BACK. Take a breather and do something else for the day. (Watch “Super Nanny”!) You will do your best work when you are focused, calm and inspired. Give yourself permission to take a ‘time out’. (But there is no need to put yourself in a corner, you aren’t a 3 year old who just hit his sister.)
Thank you “Super Nanny” and Jo Frost for your help in surviving my cold and the ‘tell it like it is’ way of helping families. I wonder if you have any idea that you are inspiring people to think about their businesses as well? (If you see this, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT so I know you’ve been here – it would make my day!)
Here’s to a happy home, happy artist and the business you always dreamed of!
P.S. If you need help with Goal Setting and getting organized, check out my site www.TheGoalWheelForArtists.com
P.P.S. For great parenting resources or to apply to be on “Super Nanny” – go to www.SuperNanny.com