Balancing Being a Creative with Running a Business

This is a guest post by top rated AurGigs artist Katie Marie

One of the most challenging aspects of being a self employed creative, is balancing the business side of things with the artistic. They’re two very important elements of our lives, forever running parallel with each other and yet they are completely opposite. Running both in an efficient manner can create so many internal conflicts and is a difficult and sometimes sensitive issue for many, including me. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but having been part of this crazy world we call the music business for the past 22 years, I can certainly offer you some words of advice, which I hope will prove useful.

Be Disciplined with Your Time

Many of my self-employed friends have regaled me with stories of staying up late to finish up work, not getting enough sleep and constantly being in a rundown state.

People who work in an office or workspace have a very clearly defined line between work and personal time. Once they leave, they’re done for the day. The problem for us is that wherever we have our laptop or phone, we’re still at work. It’s too easy for us to end up working much later than we should be.

The most important piece of advice I can give you, is to be extremely disciplined with your time. Set specific hours for working on business stuff – it doesn’t matter what they are, but there has to be a hard cut off time, and once you reach that time – work has to stop! You need some time to wind down before going to bed and I promise you, once you get into this routine of switching off from work at a certain time, you’ll feel so much better. I used to be guilty of working very long hours every single day without a break and my body got fed up with me and decided one day to just take me down, which forced me to take this stuff more seriously.

Have a hard cut off time, decide what that will be and stick to it! 😊

Have a Healthy Relationship with Money

I used to feel so uncomfortable about referring to my art as a business. It felt super yucky. But after a while I realized that without money, I can’t play music as often as I want to. It’s a beautiful thing to make money doing what you love and without knowing it, you are inspiring others to pursue their own dreams.

I used to have a HUGE block when it came to money, but about 5 years ago I started working on this every single day using both affirmations, online courses and reading a ton of books. There are so many amazing resources out there to help you get your mind in the right place. A book I highly recommend is You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. It was one of those reads that literally changed my life. Check it out, I promise you’ll get something out of it.

Know that One Element Affects the Other

I just finished reading a fantastic book by Michael Hyatt called Your Best Year Ever, in which he explains how every element of your life will affect your success. If the business side is not in order, it will affect your ability to create music. And by the same token, if you don’t get enough time to do what you really love, it will affect your business. It’s all about balance and making sure you give the right amount of time to each part of your creative business.

Also remember if you want more time to do creative work, you can offload any basic, time consuming jobs to others. I know many people who pay college students or online personal assistants to do all the menial tasks, such as uploading documents, answering emails etc.

A White Board Saved My Life

A little dramatic I know 😉 but one of the best purchases I ever made was a white board, which I have on my office wall. I write all the things I need to do and then break them down into weekly and daily chunks. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to have a list of jobs lined up for the day and to have every single one crossed off! I also found that getting all these tasks out of my head and onto a white board significantly lowered my stress levels and helped me focus on what needed doing. A word of warning; if you decide to adopt this approach, make sure that whatever you schedule for the day is completely manageable! Initially, I found myself putting far too many tasks down for the day (over achiever 😉) and not completing all of them, which was totally counterproductive! So be realistic. It’s better to have less on your list than more. If you find you finish a job quicker than you thought, look at your other lists and see if there’s anything else you can work on.

Morning Time

I know that many of my musician friends are going to cringe at what I’m about to suggest – but honestly, it’s been a serious game changer.

About a year ago I committed myself to waking up every single day at 7am. This was inspired by The Morning Sidekick Journal by Habit Nest (I cannot recommend this highly enough, it’s amazing). I didn’t think I’d be able to pull it off and for sure I had no idea how much better my life would be as a result of this.

By waking up a few hours earlier each day, I get more work done, have more energy, sleep better and find that I’m a lot more focused throughout the day. The first hour I dedicate to meditation, yoga and reading. That first hour of quiet time before I start working grounds me SO much.

I know it sounds crazy and you don’t have to pick a time as early as 7am, but starting a morning routine was a life changer for me. Try it. Let me know how you get on!

Those are some things that have helped me with the creative / business balance. What do you think? Is there anything you would add? I’d love to know your thoughts, feel free to add them in the comments below!

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