Episode 271 – New Markets for Artists / Your First Day

Your First Day

So, it is your first day on this schedule, what do you do? You can begin by doing a little research on artists like Abbey Ryan or TMNK (The Me Nobody Knows) to see how they promote themselves. A good first step is beginning a blog on your cur- rent activities and projects. If you want to post art every day, you can declare your intentions to the world, and you can include a picture of yourself and your artwork. That might be enough for your first day, and on future days when you can’t think of what to do, you can add another entry describing your process so far. You’ll also want to open an eBay account if you don’t have one already. When you look at the artists I mentioned who are selling on the web, you can see selling strategies you might want to use. TMNK and Abbey Ryan have very different approaches, and you might like one over another, or you may find your personality needs to be represented in a different way altogether. But the daily grind of those thirty minutes must be adhered to for it to pay off.

Stick to a Schedule

There will be days you don’t feel like doing your thirty minutes. On those days, it is important to do it anyway. Even if you get distracted and check your email instead of doing your work, finish at the same time and do your best not to do unrelated tasks during that time period again. They don’t call it the daily grind for nothing! Some days will be fun and inspiring, other days less so, but stay the course and you will see progress. This could be called time management, but really it is something else. It is managing your behavior, and even more, changing your behavior, which is one of the hardest things to do. But it can also be one of the most rewarding. We often feel trapped by our compulsions (smoking, procrastinating, etc.), but history has shown that we can overcome these powerful habits, and once we do, we will feel inspired in ways we never thought possible.

Consistency over Time

The trick is to stay consistent. When Abbey Ryan started selling her work online it took almost two years before she was making close to $100,000 a year. Can you wait that long, or perhaps longer? Sometimes life leads us to unexpected places. The last time I checked Ryan’s page she was getting more and more publicity, and it looked like galleries were handling many of her sales now. That may have not been her original intention, but her persistence and hard work got her there. Another important daily task that will make the transition into your new life and new way of thinking easier is to create a statement of intent that you read to yourself daily.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 270 – New Markets for Artists / Making the System Work for You

Making the System Work for You

That should be enough to convince you that an electronic calendar is far superior to a traditional paper calendar. Next, you must figure out how to make the system help you get more work done. First, set aside a time of day to work on a new project. If, for example, you are going to work on selling your art online the way Abbey Ryan did in chapter 5, you can start the process by devoting thirty minutes a day, four days a week to the effort. It is easy to mark the exact time in your calendar and stick to it.

Start with Only 30 Minutes Per Day on Business

The reason you are choosing only 30 minutes a day for four days a week instead of five is because your likelihood to succeed is better if you start with a short, realistic time frame.    I am a morning person, so I would begin around eight or eight-thirty. Input the date and time in your calendar and set it to repeat every week. Now, you are committed to adhering to this schedule for a predetermined period of time.

Let’s say it is the first day of your new schedule and you have decided to do a painting and post it on eBay. In that thirty minutes you have set aside, you can do anything except paint. You are taking time to address business aspects, which might be the most difficult or least exciting parts, but doing so will make you feel good about what you’ve accomplished as you move on to the artistic matters. If you fail to do this, you risk feeling as though you have not done enough. And though a half hour may not seem like much time, it does add up if just spend 30 minutes working on it, which might mean just looking at eBay and what other artists have done for one session, your first perhaps.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 269 – New Markets for Artists / The Daily Grind

Chapter 10

The Daily Grind: Managing Time and the Dream of Art

As you use this book to supplement your personal strategies and advance your career, you may find that it is difficult to efficiently manage your time. As you develop new markets and further develop ones that already exist, you run into the problem that all entrepreneurs run into—how to get more time out of your already full day. In this chapter, I will present some techniques that can help you manage your time so that you feel good about what you have accomplished by the end of each day.

Daily Calendar

Using a daily calendar is a good place to start. In the age of smartphones and computers, online calendars have several advantages. I use Google Calendar as well as iCal, which is the calendar application that comes pre-installed on Mac computers. If you have a Mac and an iPhone, you might also consider using the Apple service Mobileme, or the latest version of it, which allows you to easily sync up all of your contacts so that if you type an event or contact into your calendar from your computer, it automatically goes into your phone as well, and vice versa.

Online Calendar-Sync Services

The Mobileme service is $99 per year as of this writing, but the Google equivalent is free. With Google Calendar, one of the many features that come with a Gmail account, you can also sync events and contacts to your mobile device. What I find handy about Google Calendar is that I can also sync my daily work schedule and events with other computers, so if my wife has Google Calendar on her computer, I can access and update my information there as well so she sees it when I enter in a new meeting. This versatility makes planning and changing schedules on the go much easier. If I am out at a meeting and someone asks when we can set up another meet- ing, I can use my phone calendar to pick a time that works with my schedule. That’s why I strongly suggest using a calendar system like this of some kind to keep times and tasks organized.

Using Other Calendars

You can even import other peoples’ calendars into yours, which can be helpful in planning your own daily or weekly activities. For example, I am currently writing this book in one of the libraries at Yale University. On the Yale website they list their operating hours and the days they are closed. I downloaded this information directly to my personal calendar, so now I always know when I can do my work at the library. And if I find that the new information looks too messy or confusing on top of my own, I can turn the library calendar off with a single click. And even though I have one calendar for work, I keep another calendar that I share with my wife, which includes more activities. In this home calendar, I list my son’s special classes, and any of his upcoming events that I should attend. As I said earlier, all of these events sync up with my phone right away. When I am at an art opening and I meet someone who invites me to their opening, I just enter it into my calendar, and I will never forget it.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 136 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / It Is about Changing Behavior

It Is about Changing Behavior

Before you embark on the workbook section next, keep in mind what this is all about. Time management is not exactly the right term; it is more like behavioral reprogramming or simply changing your behavior. It is about the way you act or react to certain stimuli. For some reason, changing our behavior seems like the hardest thing to do. Addictions of all kinds run through our lives, and in fact, we are being introduced to new ones all the time. The iPad, smartphones, new sweet foods, caffeinated beverages, apps, and the list will continue to grow. Like all good things, they are fine in moderation, but if they are taking over precious time that you could be using for something else, then change must come. I have a friend who wrote a book that turned out to be a bestselling diet book. It wasn’t just luck though; she is a very hard worker who is aware of her habits.

We were discussing effective work habits one evening when she confessed that there were some web games that she really liked to play in the evening, after work. She said at first, she was aware she was playing the games, but didn’t think much of it. As it grew more regular, and she checked in on her game each evening, she realized that the time she spent on the game was significantly adding up and it might be better spent on something else. Every day she is either writing, reading, or setting aside time to go out and play with her husband. To recognize that we are the masters of our time is powerful. Depending on your age, your perspective will shift on this issue. If you are over thirty years old, you already have some habits of living and relation- ships that you might think you can’t change because they are too established.

Behavioral Modification

Only experimenting and doing everything possible to change your behavior will tell you how much you resist or embrace certain techniques, but there are many behavioral programs that show us how effective it can be at changing your behavior at any age. The example that comes to mind is the very popular international program called Alcoholics Anonymous. As you may know, it is a program designed to change behavior. It also has a lot of support built in from others who are in the group. However, you are asked to change one behavior—you stop drinking. You may relapse or even start the group while you are still drinking, but the goal is to change your behavior. They don’t say for how long, just one day at a time. Also, you are not asked why you are drinking or what it is you are afraid of or anything else that has to do with the mind and what it is you believe about yourself. You are asked only to change the behavior of drinking. And as you may already know, this can start at a very young age, but many who are in AA start when they are over forty and make changes that last for a lifetime.

This is a good model to think about, because people are not only changing their behavior when they are older, they are also changing a very addictive behavior that sets a pattern for everything you do. So when you do something like stop drinking, it shifts everything in your life because now not only is there time for other things, but you see all those other things quite differently. You also see the value and possibilities in change itself. So this may be the beginning or middle of your journey in the art world, but you can always change the game plan no matter what age you are or what has happened in your  career.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 135 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Make a Daily Contract

Make a Daily Contract

This was one of the first and most effective techniques I have used and still do. At the beginning of each day, start out by writing down a contract with yourself that is simple and doable. Write down a short list of things that if you accomplished, then you will feel good about yourself. There are a few stipulations to this contract that you are writing daily:

  1. Make your to-do list small—no more than four things on it!
  2. Agree that you will feel good if you accomplish those tasks.
  3. Put up the list where you can see it, like on the refrigerator or the computer.

At the end of the day, look at your list and tell yourself you did what you said you were going to do, and you feel good about that. Then write down a few thoughts about how you are feeling on a page, calling it your “time diary.” At the end of your first two-week period of managing your time this way, stop and look back at what has happened. Read over your daily diary about it. What worked?

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 134 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Find the Problem, Fix It

Find the Problem, Fix It

This is another technique that will give you more control to design your time. Carry around a small pad with you from when you wake until you go to sleep. On this pad, write down the activities you have done and how much time you spent on them. Make it very brief. Like for what I am doing now—writing this book—I would say, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, writing the book; 2:00 to 3:00 pm, lunch; etc. Then do it for the entire day. There will be times when you are at the computer and you are supposed to be working and instead are doing several tasks, like checking email and looking at social networking sites like Facebook. Rather than write down the time as “work on the computer 2:00 to 6:00 pm,” try to be more specific. If you were web surfing, mention what sites you went to roughly and if you checked your email. If after doing this for a day you feel that it wasn’t accurate, do it for another day, even two days. Then look back on your notes and find where there are leaks. You know, like checking to see where the money is being spent? Check to see where you could have more time if an activity were changed. What is taking up most of your time? Write down those answers and it will help you to decide what to change next or what time slots are free.

Draw Anything Here

Don’t Answer the Phone

During one or more of your scheduled work periods, make an agreement with yourself not to answer the phone! The reason is probably obvious (it is a time waster), but it also is about behavior. All these time management techniques are for is change your behavior. That is why they are hard for most people, because even if we want to change our behavior, it isn’t always easy, and we need reminders, rewards, and proof that it is working and is also in our best interest. In this case, try not answering the phone during your thirty-minute work periods. You might hear the phone ring or see it, but ignore it, let it go to voicemail and call them back as soon as your session is over. This is easy and also a big relief once you get used to it.

There is nothing worse then getting all set up, ready to do your work, and then a phone call interrupts it all because someone needs to talk or someone needs something from you. Whatever it is, it can wait thirty minutes! As I was saying, all these ideas should feel new. If they are uncomfortable to do or you are resisting them, then we are right on track. That means we are going against the grain of learned behavior, and that is what we want to do in order to change.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 133 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Take Time Off

Take Time Off

This one may seem easy, but for most, it is not. Especially if you are living a freelance lifestyle or if you have different jobs or even if you are a full-time artist. When do you take time off? You might think that you are always off because you can choose when you work, but that is not the same as taking time off regularly. A comparison that comes to mind is what sex therapists tell their clients. When a man and a woman go to a sex therapist and tell them that they are not having sex because of mutual resentment or something, there is one interesting suggestion  that the therapist usually tries. The method is to tell the couple that they must both abstain from sex for a week or until they see the therapist again. Of course the couple protests, saying that they were already doing that, and that is not why they came to therapy. But the therapist counters by explaining that if they agreed not to have sex, it would at least be something they agreed upon! The couple is still unsure, but the therapist continues to talk, explaining that if they take time off, consciously, from having sex, they can stop beating themselves up about it. Then after the next session, they can all evaluate what happened and decide how to move on.

That’s a strange method, isn’t it? When I first heard that, I was amazed, but it makes sense. The person who told me about it was the husband in the couple. He said it really irritated him. But he also said it was nice not to argue about it and lay down all weapons for once. Amazing, isn’t it? Simple exercises that we can do can teach us profound things about how we function in this world and how to do it more effectively.

The Time-Off Plan

Taking time off is the perfect solution for the too-busy person who is trying to get more done than is possible or at least thinks there is not enough time in the day. I would take off one entire day if possible. How about Sunday? If you must, choose half a day. Then do the following on that day:

  1. Make a promise not to check email or look at a computer for that entire day (or half day).
  2. Do something you enjoy for the sake of it: read a book, take a walk, or play a game.
  3. Be aware that this is your day off; you earned it and are fulfilling an exercise as well.

That’s it. Keep it simple, unplugged, and mindful. This is another technique in time management because it teaches you how to relax and that makes you refreshed when you go back to work, not just more of the same. It is also a lesson in enjoying yourself! When I am stressed, I always remind myself of this thought: “Why am I doing this if it is not fun?” That usually calms me down because why would we get stressed out over something we have chosen to do? The ups and downs are part of any process.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 132 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Book-Ending Technique with a Friend

Book-Ending Technique with a Friend

This is a classic technique where you check in with someone regularly. It could be a friend or someone you hire, like a coach. But you have an agreement with this person that goes something like this: “I will write to you every weekday before 6:00 pm, reporting on the work I did that day.” Then you design your new schedule as we have before. You choose one thirty-minute period, not much longer or shorter, and you do your work in that period and send it to your friend or coach.

This is an exercise that works for me. Also, if you ask this of a friend, you are asking them to help you, to help you accomplish a goal, and if all they have to do is receive your emails once a day, five days a week, why not? Wouldn’t you help someone wanting the same thing? Offering an exchange like that with someone can work very well. This can be done with a family member, old friend, or someone you hire like a coach or an assistant. For the sake of experimenting here, you could ask a friend or someone very close to you. Tell them that you need their support and are doing an experiment to see if you can reach a particular goal. Tell them your plan: you will work thirty minutes a day on it and email them every weekday to state your progress. That is all. They have to read it but do not have to respond if they don’t want to. Chances are, they will respond a little, and you will have a relationship over just this issue.

The main issue is that you hold yourself accountable by writing that check-in report every weekday. Also, you are reaching out to someone and telling someone what it is you are reaching for, and when you begin telling the world that you will do something, it tends to get done.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 131 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Using Timers

Using Timers

Techniques like this are important to know of because one of them will stick with you and be very effective. And then you have a better chance of using your time in the same way, repeatedly. Try them all a few times and see what feels comfortable. Using an analog timer is simple and in some ways like a game. Go to the store and buy yourself an egg timer. I know you could use your phone or computer, but an old analog or even digital egg timer is better because it won’t distract you or take time to figure out. Set the time for thirty minutes when you are ready to do your daily amount of time. While the timer is going, you can work on only things related to your goals in the calendar for that time. No email or Facebook or anything else. The purpose of having a timer is also to prevent you from extending your thirty-minute slot because you were looking at email or something else. When the thirty minutes are over, they’re over—that’s it. It is worth trying this technique because, as I said, it will either work for you or not.

Managing Anger and Sadness

Your Own Patterns

As you begin to manage your time, you may encounter resistance on several levels depending on your personality and past patterns. The first thing that I encountered when I was starting to manage my time was that I felt I wanted to be free to do whatever I wanted and resisted the notion that I had to treat my life like it was a job, checking in and out. What I was thinking was that I felt that life on the default mode of just doing what I could to make a living and enjoying myself was the ideal way to live and would make me happiest because I saw that as freedom. However, when I experimented (which I am asking you to do), I found that I certainly did get more done, even if it irritated me a little. But what was more profound was that I was enjoying life more through the feeling of getting something done; even if it was through a regimented schedule, it had tremendous pleasure associated with it. This is why you are reading the chapter you are, and it is the best possible scenario when you have finished the exercises and workbook section. The idea is that you will have a similar feeling. You will experiment with several time management techniques, and one will work and, it will give you more pleasure than you imagined. Then even though you might resist doing it again, if you can remember the pleasure you got from achieving so much, you will go back to it.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 130 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Small Steps Get You Very Far

 Small Steps Get You Very Far

This is the beginning of a big step because if you can get used to managing thirty minutes of your time, five days a week, you can begin to manage other portions of your time as well. And soon, decisions you make in your daily life will be adjusted according to the schedule in your head that you are always looking forward to. Managing your time this way gives you more energy because you are excited about what is happening and there is literally more time in the day to do what you want. When it comes to inspiring stories on time management, just look to people who seem to be doing the impossible.

Not long ago, I was reading the obituary of Rosetta Reitz; do you know who she is? She died at eighty-four years of age in New York City and had a remarkable life. She raised three children as a single mother, and at the same time pursued her career as a jazz historian, writing about women in jazz. She also wrote the first book by a woman on the subject of menopause and, as an entrepreneur, opened a small bookstore and started a record label, and kept working her day jobs to pay bills. Her day jobs were answering calls in a classified advertising department and waiting on tables. Her list of accomplishments actually goes on quite a bit more, but this is enough to seem extraordinary, don’t you think? How is it that she raised three children on her own with side jobs and at the same time wrote books, had meetings with all kinds of people, went to jazz clubs, made new friends constantly, and hatched new entrepreneurial ideas that worked?

Being Passionate Helps

Certainly, her passion is the greatest factor since, in general, everything else was against her! After she had decided what she was going to do with her life, or even if she just decided one project at a time like, “I will write a book,” she then had to carry through on her promise to herself, in whatever form. Her given task was to raise these kids, make money, and do a lot more things. So she had to make time on a regular basis to do all of this. The method she used was the same that people have been using for centuries when they need to get something done: She dedicated a particular time every day to the task. Take weekends off, but stay the course, stick to the path, and complete it! There are several methods to try, but here are a few to get you going.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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