Object Dar't

October 27, 2011

The Business of Art: Don't work harder, work smarter!

The "goods" - a variety of gift items

I've always had a little saying. "The point is to work smarter, not harder." I'm not afraid of hard work, in fact I think I have a damn good work ethic. But the point of my little adage is to remind myself to analyze the things I do to ensure that I see the maximum return on my investment of "time".
Traveling advertising!

So for instance, this past week I have been preparing inventory for 3 consecutive events that I have coming up. November and December are typically "gift buying" times and NOT "fine art buying" times. So if I'm to stay in the financial gains arena AND remain high profile, I've had to diversify by adapting my work into gifts. According to Wealthy Mind, I instinctively went with the trend of selling. Since these events are all within a week of each other, I know I won't have time to replenish the inventory which I'm to sell. Which means I've spent the last week kicking out a variety of small, time consuming products.
DARing Reflections - mirrors with my favorite quotes!

And you can't imagine how terribly this goes against my grain! Because this IS in fact working harder, not  smarter. There's a great quote book in the book You2  by Price Pritchett that illustrates the trap I'm in :

"I’m sitting in a quiet room at the Millcroft Inn, a peaceful little place hidden back among the pine trees about an hour out of Toronto.  It’s just past noon, late July, and I’m listening to the desperate sounds of a life-or-death struggle going on a few feet away. There’s a small fly burning out the last of its short life’s energies in a futile attempt to fly through the glass of the windowpane.The whining wings tell the poignant story of the fly’s strategy—try harder. But it’s not working.

The frenzied effort offers no hope for survival.  Ironically, the struggle is part of the trap.  It is impossible for the fly to try hard enough to succeed at breaking through the glass.  Nevertheless, this little insect has staked its life on reaching its goal through raw effort and determination. This fly is doomed.  It will die there on the window sill.

Across the room, ten steps away, the door is open.  Ten seconds of flying time and this small creature could reach the outside world it seeks.  With only a fraction of the effort now being wasted, it could be free of this self-imposed trap.  The breakthrough possibility is there.  It would be so easy. Why doesn’t the fly try another approach, something dramatically different? How did it get so locked in on the idea that this particular route, and determined effort, offer the most promise for success?  What logic is there in continuing, until death, to seek a breakthrough with “more of the same”?

No doubt this approach makes sense to the fly.  Regrettably, it’s an idea that will kill.
“Trying harder” isn’t necessarily the solution to achieving more. It may not offer any real promise for getting what you want out of life.  Sometimes, in fact, it’s a big part of the problem. If you stake your hopes for a breakthrough on trying harder than ever, you may kill your chances for success."
Calendars - not terribly creative but a consumer FAV

And so with my product line, I have been getting hands-on manufacturing experience which is great experience for me in product development, all the while giving great thought to how I can solve the problem of achieving my goal (to have a product line in conjunction with my fine art) more efficiently. Unlike the fly - I don't enjoy banging my head against the glass over and over. So I have identified that SHOULD MY PRODUCT SALES BE HEALTHY this season (ya gotta do your market research) then the next step to avoid the trap: I'll have to outsource this function! Either I'll have to hire someone or look for a manufacturer. Because simply put, if I'm busy making products, I'm NOT busy making new art. If that continues then my business will soon run out of steam. My images ARE my business. So when I'm over this hump, I will be aggressively looking for that open door; ways to outsource my products so that I can get back to work and take my business to the next level.
A new spin on Family Photos

Try to apply this strategy in the things you do. It doesn't matter if it's related specifically to "business". It works on all levels and I find myself applying it to silly things like raking the yard and even grocery shopping. Because in the end - TIME IS MONEY! Resource Nation has a great list on Working Smarter. Give it a read.
I'm hoping these will be popular!