Each week our network of art business expert answer your questions about growing an art business. This week they speak to artists about how to balance studio time and art business time. Subscribe here to be notified every time a new Q&A is published. Have an art business question? Ask here and we’ll send it over to the people who have spent years growing their own art business and helping other artists do the same.

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David from New York asks: “Do you have any advice or tactics for managing the business side of being an artist while not letting my creative studio time fall by the wayside? Any organization, time management, prioritization advice or tools would be very helpful?”


Cory Huff, founder of The Abundant Artist

cory-huff-the-abundant-artist“Most artists we’ve interviewed on our podcast and in our case studies divide their business and studio time up 50/50. In a 40 hour week, half your time should be marketing and sales time. When professional artists are in sales mode with lots of inventory built up, it can often creep up to 75% or even 90% of your time if its a big sale or exhibition.

That’s just life, and the reality of making a living from your art.

That said, its important to maintain a studio practice. You need to keep producing and keep tapping back in to the creative well. Melissa Dinwiddie’s 10 Rules for the Creative Sandbox are a great set of guidelines for how to keep producing when things are busy or difficult.

It really comes down to keeping a calendar and scheduling your priorities in advance. Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit, is one example of how extremely successful artists build habits and rituals into their lives that make them more productive. My good friend Charlie Gilkey writes about productivity and time management for creatives at Productive Flourishing, and his post about priorities is a great primer.  Since you asked for resources, I’ll also mention that they also publish free and paid planners that are designed for creative people.

See more from The Abundant Artist

Laura George, artist consultant at LauraCGeorge.com


“Most artists I talk to have issues with balance, David. But doesn’t everyone? I sure do!

Artists tend to be inclined to spend all their time on business or all their time on art, depending on which makes them feel more guilty to not be doing. So once you recognize which one you tend to give more of your time to, you want to specifically schedule dedicated time for it that happens every week.

For instance, if you feel awful because you spend all your time on business trying to hustle your way to success and never actually get to create anymore, you might decide that Tuesdays are studio days. You get to spend the whole day in the studio if you want, and you’re not allowed to work on business.

And then you might also block out 3 hours on Saturday afternoon for studio time too. Suddenly you’ve got like 10 hours in the studio every week, minimum. Then of course if you feel compelled on other days/times you can jump in. But at least you know there’s a bare minimum of time for creating.

See more from Laura George here

Carolyn Edlund, founder of ArtsyShark

carolyn-edlund-artsy-shark-artist-advice“Hi David, I think you have hit upon a key point that many artists struggle with, which is how to balance your studio time with the other tasks involved in a business.

Realistically, artists will spend 30% – 50% of their time on marketing and sales. I suggest that you block periods of time to be in the studio without interruption, like phones, email, social media, etc, especially if you are working with a medium that takes a while to set up and clean up, so you have the ability to do your most important work, which is making art.

One of my clients decided to do business activities in the morning and late afternoon only, allowing her not only time to paint, but to exercise and also spend with her family. That seemed to work well for her.

Time management also involves saying “No” to some activities. You don’t have to be on every social media platform. You can delegate work to people who are more skilled than you are at certain things, such as a webmaster, an accountant or social media assistant, or someone to pack and ship your work. This allows you to spend your time on high-level work that only you can do and that will enable you to produce and earn more.

See more from ArtsyShark here

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