Hello! After a crazy, busy month I’ve finally had some time to sit down and blog again. Usually I just show you pretty pictures of things I find on the internet (helloooo Pinterest, where have you been all my life…), but today I want talk about art, business and balance. This may end up being more therapeutic for me than anything, but I’m hoping it might help some of you small business owners who are struggling with balance and what to do next with your business.
The reason I’m doing this crazy thing called self-employment. I just want to draw pretty things.
Graphic Design wasn’t something I wanted to do since I was a little girl or something I went to school for. I’m mostly self-taught – figuring things out along the way as are many artistic business owners. You’ll read more about this below in the balance section, but when you own a business you need to be prepared to do a lot of the business related work yourself, or spend a lot of money to hire someone to do it for you. The art become a much smaller amount of your day the larger you grow.
I did not go to business school, I don’t have an MBA and I’ve never taken an accounting class in my life. Why oh why did I think I could run my own business?! Guess what? Most small business owners don’t have a business degree either. Here are some things I wish I knew when I started…
Since the day I decided to be a small business owner, I’ve struggled with balance.
98% Design, 2% Business :: When I first started to design, the most “business-y” thing I did was send out invoices. I had one excel spreadsheet with an INCOME column and an EXPENSE column. What more did I need?
60% Design, 40% Business :: Now that I’m 3 years into this endeavor, the business part has crept up to 40%. Managing my accounting/forms/taxes, Etsy shop, communications, shipping packages, ordering supplies, photographing pieces, and marketing/social networking leaves me less time in the day to actual design. And if you break it up further, my “design time” consists of 65% text edits, 30% new projects and 5% creating new art.
The last one is particularly fitting today. I’m at a point in my business where I no longer take every job that comes my way. I don’t mean for that to sound like bragging; I’m blessed to have these opportunities, BUT (and there’s a big but here) taking on a project where I’ll see little to no profit is just not an option anymore. I’m not just starting out or building my client base. I am a business owner who depends on my work to pay my mortgage. Now there are exceptions to the rule. I adore producing free designs for a local children arts organization. I wish I had more time to commit to them, but again…the pesky balance thing gets in the way.
To help with the balance, I keep lots of To Do Lists, and try to keep a schedule of how much time I’m spending on each project. I feel more relaxed at the end of the day if I’ve completed everything on my list so I don’t overdo it by adding 600 things to one day. It helps me switch into the “Life” side of things and not keep running back to my home office to do “just one more edit” and inevitably turned into 45 minutes of tweaks. There is always tomorrow…
Small disclaimer: I know nothing about nothing – do not take these ramblings as legal or business advice. :)