Shift Your Art-Business Mindset

Solo business owners of any type have to wear a lot of hats.

Sales, Marketing, Promotions, Finance, Budgets, Graphics, Goals, Inventory, Website, Social Media, etc. etc.

It can be overwhelming.

When I started selling my art and calling it a “business”—meaning, I actually got a business license and all that—I realized that some days I’d have to buckle down and put on my “finance” hat, whether I wanted to or not, just to keep the lights on.

The Hat Shifts the Mindset

After I got a little coaching on what I needed to do to set up my business foundations—and realized what a mindset shift I was going to have to make to go from considering myself a “real artist,” to considering myself a “real artist in business”—it became an ongoing process of looking at how I was thinking about having a business, as much as how I was actually doing it.

It felt like that episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy & Ethel are in the chocolate factory and end up eating more than they produce.


4 Hats are ENOUGH

I needed to find a way to think about my art that would help me create a sustainable business venture. So after studying several different models and observing myself and how I envisioned my life, I created a little matrix that works for me.

If I could keep it simple, these four parts of my business could be manageable:

  • making art—creative process, time to create, schedule, mindset, etc.
  • envisioning the business and setting goals for the future
  • creating systems to manage it all—the nuts & bolts, money, inventory, sales, etc.
  • promoting and selling

I created the 4-Hats of Artists in Business Matrix to help me—and now my artist clients, keep our heads on straight about what it actually takes to run a business, but more importantly, how to think about it.

In my Thriving Tuesdays™ conversation with Daniel DiGriz on September 13th (I’ve been listening to his podcast The Thriving Artist™ for years), I tell some of my story about how I became an artist and art & business coach (what a journey!). It will be available as a podcast episode as well.

4 Hats of Artists In Business

Tune in to hear more about the 4 Hats of Artists in Business class I have created for The Clark Hulings Foundation—it’s brand-new content for their Virtual Campus—(plus a discount code—WOOT!).

Pretty cool!

I know these concepts can help you feel more confident as you create your art business. I hope you join us!

A couple of points we cover in the FB Live:

From Foundation to Future

It’s important to always be thinking from your Foundation to your Future:

  • The Creator is essential and foundational, actually making the art.
  • The Leader looks to the future, envisions and sets goals.
  • The Operator creates a FOUNDATION of systems.
  • The Promoter takes the foundation and shares it with the world, in order to grow into the future.

From Inner to Outer

Also, keep in mind the transition from Inner to Outer work:

  • The Creator makes meaning through an inward creative process that starts in our minds and body.
  • The Operator takes our work out into the world of business systems (selling, website, budgets, inventory, etc.)
  • The Leader spends a lot of time looking INWARD – envisioning a future that you really want, getting centered and in touch with your values, and creating a mission and goals from that essential place.
  • The Promoter takes that inner vision out into the world to share and teach it to those who will connect and resonate with that vision.

This little matrix allowed me to see my business from a distance—without becoming the Mad Hatter!

Each hat we wear has its traps and solutions.

When we are in a certain mindset, or place in our own particular Hero’s Journey, there is always something we can’t see clearly.

These traps can keep us spinning in circles, keep us stagnant, or fearful of moving past obstacles.

But if we can look at each part of ourselves from a distance (like the Leader does), then we can see potential traps, be aware of what keeps us in stagnation, and find tools to help us overcome them.

We’ll talk about the traps and solutions on Facebook Live, September 13th (and in the podcast version afterwards).

The Creator’s Trap is Perfectionism
The Leader’s Trap is Abdication of Decision-Making
The Operator’s Trap is Procrastination
The Promoter’s Trap is Avoidance

Sound familiar? It does to me!

If you can be aware of these traps—and the solutions connected to them, you can:

  • Start to progress along your path
  • Set up systems that work
  • Find ways that work for you – to stop procrastinating, be calmer in your process

“If a man is not playing any of his usual roles, he feels undressed.
If he wants to work on himself, he must destroy his peace. ”
— George Gurdjieff

Just the Beginning

When you can identify these different areas of your business, then you can see where you need help, guidance, or just need to dig in and do the work.

This makes is a LOT easier to feel like you are making progress. There’s more to learn about the 4 Hats and how this mindset shift can help you stay sane and finish what you need to accomplish to create a sustainable art business.

It takes time.

Be PATIENT with yourself.

My mantra is: Baby Steps AND Breakthroughs

Sometimes, we are just taking baby steps. Sometimes we make breakthroughs, then go back to baby steps in a new area. That’s ok! Remember: It’s a Process!

Join Daniel and me on FB Live for our 4-Hats discussion here.

Hope to see you there.

I’ll be there with bells on (my hat!)

Shannon Borg painting

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Shannon Borg
Shannon Borg is an artist and art & business coach. She helps artists master their business and transform their mindset so they can share their gifts with the world - and make money doing it. Shannon has an MFA Poetry (UW) and a PhD in Poetry (UHouston). She is the author of 3 books: Corset (poems), Chefs on the Farm and The Green Vine: A Guide to West Coast Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable Wines. She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State where she paints the strange creatures, colors and shapes of the littoral zone.

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