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Why Artists Must Say No
by Carolyn Edlund of Artsy-Sharky

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As a business owner, you need to keep the big picture in mind. What is the vision you have for your business? Have you created a road map to get there? Break down the steps to reach your goals into manageable bite-sized pieces and prioritize them in a logical fashion. Then, execute. Keep your eye on the prize and refuse to get derailed by distractions!

"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything." --Warren Buffet

Say No to:

Doing what could easily be delegated to others.

As the CEO of your art business, you are top management. As such, you should be working at your highest possible level as often as possible. You make the major decisions that impact everything – where you sell, how you market, who you seek out as part of your network.

What you don't need to be doing is posting on social media for two hours a day, because someone else can handle those tasks (and they might do it better!) It’s easy to lapse into mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, and avoid the hard work of managing things. Are you spending most of your time on making a difference in your business, or holding yourself back?

Another aspect of your job is creating art, which requires your vision, your talent and your individual skills. Name those things that only you can do. Then take a look at other tasks. Sanding, assembly, packing and shipping are lower level skills that you can pay someone else to do for you.

Entrepreneurs who cannot let go of micromanaging every detail won’t have time for the important stuff. Deciding to hire help can be stressful. It means you’ve made the commitment to work at the top of your game, and you’ll need to earn income to pay for assistance. But almost every artist I’ve spoken to who took this step was happy they did.

Taking on projects to please other people.

It’s easy to be pulled off task because someone else wants you to spend your time doing something else for them. This usually involves money. You might be approached to teach a summer class rather than working on an inspired new body of work. Should you take the job, or Say "No"?

It can be hard to turn down cash in favor of pursuing your dream and fulfilling your business vision. But will it mean you are spending your time helping someone else fulfill their vision instead? Which is more important?

Say "No" to those distractions (even when they come with a paycheck) that will send you off course, eat up your time or take you away from reaching your own goals.

Changing the focus of your work to fit requirements.

An artist I know recently mentioned that she was pursuing a grant opportunity. As we discussed the details, it turned out that she would have to seriously compromise her artistic vision and even change her usual materials to meet the grant requirements. She ultimately realized that it’s more important to find opportunities that align with her vision than twist herself into a pretzel to accommodate something that’s not a perfect fit.

Once you've made a commitment to pursue what really interests and inspires you, vet any opportunities that come along to make sure they will help you move forward and not become a distraction. When you have clarity on your concept and the purpose of your work, you can more easily make those decisions.

What have you said "No" to lately?


by peggles7, posted 02/21/19 07:47:41

Love this advice! I ve heard and read the same thing in business books but this says it succinctly. One, ill say no to people who think i shuld be doing this or that rather than my hearts calling..two, i need to bite the bullet and hire website and sicial media.. i hate it and is a time waster in my eyes.. thanks for the article!

by lndkrzr, posted 02/21/19 04:44:47

I price my works to compensate me for my time and materials. The compensation for time is good but not great. I have learned to say No to those people whom ask for a discount on my pricing. I have found that 90% of the time they will purchase it anyway.

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