If you are like me; you probably feel like you're never getting everything done. You know that to have a thriving artistic business; you need to promote your art, follow up with contacts and clients, update your website, budget....Oh yeah, and if you have time: Make Art.
It is easy to feel like everyone else has their shit together and you are just some big loser who is too lazy to put in the work to follow your dreams; but that is...
Do you think Tom Hanks spends his time actively looking for jobs? Do you think Benedict Cumberbach does his own accounting?
Of course not.
But talking about all those assistants isn't really of interest to your average audience unless it's couched in a funny anecdote. So no one mentions it. But there is a ton of behind the scenes work needed in any career in the arts.
Here are the Seven Jobs that need to be done for your career:
I don't care how much you "Hustle"; it is impossible to do all of these jobs consistently for any extended period of time.
So, you need to break down what jobs need to be done for you, figure out what each job entails, and outsource the majority of it as soon as you can.
I'll use Acting as an example, but these terms are applicable across most arts (and most small businesses).
For an ACTOR
Production : Making stuff. Yes Acting gigs, but also taping auditions, doing readings, self created content. Anything creative.
Prospecting: Looking for work. This is the one task that actors understand can be delegated to agents and managers; but many still do it anyway, not trusting their team to get it right. Maybe they have heard the advice that agents only get 10% so you have to do the 90%. This advice is bullshit! You have a finite amount of time and energy; so if you hire someone to do a job, you need to trust them and let them do it. And if you can't trust them, get a new team that you do.
Maintenance : Keeping websites up to date, getting new headshots, updating reels and resumes, making sure union dues are paid, etc. This is the section that is ignored, only to become all consuming when you find out that you lost a job because of outdated materials. This should not take up all of your time, but it does need to be done consistently.
Tech : Editing reels, audition tapes., and self produced projects. Learning to use various casting sites. Knowing your lighting and sound. Making your website mobile friendly. All of the unglamorous stuff that you only notice when it's bad. You have to learn to do this efficiently, or hire someone who can.
Promotions : Press releases, Social Media, Follow up cards, creating promotional content. Also, using a scheduler to release your posts consistently.
Negotiation : Asking for money. Also, credits, scheduling, logistics, and making sure you have a place to stay for out of town jobs.
Accounting :You need to know how much you spend and how much you make. You need to pay agents and managers and unions, and you need to make sure you earn more than you spend. (Also helpful if you work out of state, but don't factor in the costs of travel and hotel)
Now obviously there is some overlap, but knowing what job is being done and what mode you are in if you are doing multiple jobs gives you a sense of clarity. You can look at these jobs and note that Prospecting probably needs to be done daily, whereas Maintenance can be done every couple of weeks.
Also, some people on your team will do more than one of these jobs. An actor's agent is usually responsible for both Prospecting and Negotiations. But some people have business managers to deal with the latter.
And here is the thing: There will be glitches. Someone you hire may not work out. Your agent might be submitting you for sitcoms when you are naturally dramatic. You may accidentally post the same thing twice, or automatically post something at an inappropriate time in the news cycle.
That does not mean that you need to go back to doing it all yourself; It means that you need to talk to your team, make sure the problem is addressed, and then let them do their jobs. Because I assure you, in the long run; getting help with the logistics will let you dedicate your time and energy to actually making art.
I hope that this was helpful, and as always:
Thank you for making your Art.
So how about you? What jobs need to be done for your business? Are there any you can outsource to someone else? Are there any jobs that you hate doing? Is there anything that you love to do yourself?
Let me know in the comments what your list looks like, or if I missed anything.