New Year, New....nevermind.
Ahhhh, a New Year, a new blank page of possibilities. New goals, carefully written in new planners, with a new determination and wide eyes. If you're anything like me, that crap lasts about 3 weeks. Then the realization sets in that your new agenda is going to end up on a shelf untouched and your outrageously high set of self expectations already likely have you feeling defeated - not to mention the fact that on top of that SADD is totally kicking in and sucking the life from your heart and soul. Okay, so maybe that was a bit on the dramatic side, but here is that will hopefully help. These are my 3 fool-proof, completely realistic (cause ain't nobody got time for that) business-based resolutions that you can do ONCE a year that will actually really help you keep yourself and your business in check all year long.
1. The price is right. If you don't have a price list, make one. If you have one, it's time to put on some slow jams and have an intimate evening with it. You need to know your worth to understand your business. Inflation, time, general supply costs, materials, supply and demand, experience: all these factors build the basis of your pricing and if you don't know what your overhead looks like you'll never understand how to make your time profitable. If you don't know where to start, do yourself a huge favour and invest in Panic Free Pricing. Becca and Joanne put together this guide full of information on not only how to price your projects and time, but they've also included standard industry pricing with lots of examples to give you a confidence boost when you're creating your own. Why is it worth the effort? * It will hold you accountable throughout the year * It will make it a breeze to quote clients * It provides consistency to your clients, which will make you come across as a more reliable, professional artist 2. Narrow your scope. When I first started lettering, my list of services was longer than Santa's naughty list. It included every possible thing I could think of. I rarely turned down jobs and was spreading myself thin between watercolours and wood signs. Year 2 was easier. I dropped a few things that didn't bring me as much joy, and altered a few of my staple services. Year 3 was a breeze. I cut my list in half and focused on the things that I really had a passion for. This brings me to today, the start of year 4. My original mile-long list is now down to a few choice services and MAN does it feel good. Having a focus doesn't mean you need to turn down projects that aren't on your ‘list,' but it will make you think twice before blindly saying yes. Be open to new ideas, but don't lose yourself by trying to people-please outside of your comfort zone. When you take the time to really reflect on the projects that are making you happy, it will allow you to produce more of the types of pieces you want to work on, and in turn put you in front of your ideal clients more often. This also goes hand-in-hand with purging old art supplies. It's a lot easier to say no to that fricken birthday board if you don't have the materials on hand to complete it. #tossedoutfasterthanyourex Why is it worth the effort? * Frees up more time to work on what you love * Cuts down on supply costs and studio clutter * Creates a better atmosphere for your ideal client 3. Streamline your process. Back to the shelved agendas. I'm a letterer, so naturally I always have a pen in my hand, which you think would make an old school planner my go-to. Oh HELL to the NO. If you're getting started in lettering as a potential revenue stream, you've gotta be organized from day one. Using a bullet journal is cute, and totally fine for personal deets, but introduce client details and jobs into that sucker and you aren't going to wonder why it's really called a bullet journal. It’s time to move up in the world with a CRM (customer relationship management) system. Dubsado, 17 Hats, and Honeybook are the best of the best when it comes to an all-in-one platform for creative entrepreneurs (Calligra-business babe Jodi over at @SomedayArtCo dives deeper into this topic here). I'm on Team Dubsado and let me tell ya, this thing saved my fucking life! Dubsado allows me to generate quotes in hyperspeed with pre-made templates. It allows me to keep all my invoices, schedules, forms and proposals in one gorgeous, user-friendly place and frees up SO much of my time. It's not free, but for the same price as a few Starbucks lattes, you'll thank the digital gods, and yourself, for taking my advice. #youcanthankmelater 📷 Why is it worth the effort? * Keeps all your shit together * Invoices your clients and connects to your payment devices seamlessly * Eliminates unnecessary e-mail communication That's it. I could continue, but it would just be a long list of made-up stuff that you'd start and stop, and that won't offer you much validation come next December. Try these three suggestions on for size and I promise you won't be disappointed.