Don’t Quit Your Day Job?

Becoming a Full Time Artist is a slow process, not a leap of faith.

A “day job” can take the pressure off financially, allow you to explore, protect product prices, and offer social stimulation. Quitting prematurely may actually delay your art career, creating unnecessary financial and creative stress. Having that consistent source of income allows you to hold firm on prices because you’re not desperate to sell. Stability allows you to explore your passion without catering to trends or compromising the quality of your product.

Artists with a day job often feel they need to quit for legitimacy, and believe their work schedule is keeping them away from the studio. This notion usually boils down to a time management issue- how are you spending your spare time? If you can’t effectively structure studio time now, it will be much harder to do so with the added stress of unemployment and unpredictable work flow.

Use your free time to methodically build niche products you feel good about. Practice working in structured studio sessions and crafting a solid client list. Once you have a consistent workflow, customer base, and sales records- it’s then time to start the transition into a full time status. Ultimately it’s your choice when and if you should quit. You get to decide what goals to hit and which systems to use.

Before you hire yourself- consider taking some strategic steps to ensure that decision sticks.

Quit your day job when:

  • Your new business earnings are consistently = (or close) to your day job
  • You have enough savings to last for at least 3-6 months (recommended)
  • You have a structured, consistent, studio practice and workflow
  • You have a solid client base and sales records to work with

Don’t quit your day job when:

  • You’re doing it for validation or other emotionally driven reasons
  • Your sales are inconsistent
  • You don’t have a plan for your small business or savings set aside
  • You don’t have a strong client list yet

Steps to take:

  • Start a studio log to track your hours and set goals for product output
  • Define the prices and sales goals you’ll need to hit in order to succeed (both monthly & annually) make a plan
  • Build strong relationships with collectors & start your mailing list
  • Practice handling admin & marketing, make it part of your schedule
  • Identify & deal with procrastination, time wasting, disorganization, etc.
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