Summer is officially (finally) in full swing!
The sun is shining, everyone’s in a good mood, and people are ready to hit the road for summer vacation. And with more people trying to enjoy the good weather and spend less time online, this so-called “summer slump” can be a great time to catch up on things in the studio.
Hopefully you’ve built up a savings fund for the off-months by staying on top of your finances, so you can finally work on that grandiose, more time-consuming idea that’s just been sitting in your back pocket. Or, maybe you can try out some more seasonal projects? Scope out the best summer art fairs?
But while you’re doing all this, there’s one more opportunity you should be taking advantage of: taking some much needed time off for yourself.
As artists, creativity is our currency.
Great ideas are all around us, but we have to be in the right mental state to actually catch those ideas and turn them into worthwhile creations. Exhaustion, stress, anxiety, negativity—these all affect our ability to create because they affect our ability to think clearly.
To think clearly and create our best work, we need to give our minds the time and space to refuel. And there’s nothing like a little time away to refresh your creativity as an artist.
If you want that vacation, go get it! Summer is a perfect time. And, the best news is that your art business doesn’t have to suffer because of it.
We’ll show you how to get your ducks in a row before taking time off this summer:
All it takes is a plan
It’s true, the art world won’t stop just because you need a vacation. And, for artist-entrepreneurs solely in charge of the success of their art businesses, this can be a major deterrent for taking any time off at all. But the thing is, all of your work (and clients) will still be there when you get back.
You should never be afraid to take some well-deserved time off—all you need to do is a little planning in advance.
Start by asking yourself these two questions: How much time off do I want to take in order to feel refreshed? And, what do I want to achieve within my art business before that time?
There are no right or wrong answers, either. With the right game plan in place, it’s perfectly okay to want to unplug completely.
The goal of these questions is to give you some valuable insight into how much you need to do before you go and give you a chance to prepare, so you aren’t stuck worrying while you’re supposed to be on vacation.
How do you set the plan in motion?
First things first, you need to physically block off your vacation time in your calendar.
Take a big yellow highlighter to your planner, add the event straight into your schedule—do whatever you have to do.
Why is this step so important? You want your downtime to be uninterrupted and stress-free! With your vacation in the books, you won’t accidentally schedule any big commissions or gallery shows out of habit or guilt yourself into staying back in the studio when an opportunity pops up.
If it’s in writing, then it will feel like it’s actually happening, and you’re less likely to uproot all of your exciting plans.
Shout it from the mountain top
The next step? Communicate your vacation schedule with any and all clients who may need to know you’re away. There are a bunch of ways to reach your different groups—send an email to your gallery managers, post to your social media followers, or include a blurb in your latest newsletter blast.
Just be sure to give everyone plenty of heads up! And more importantly, set clear boundaries on what they can expect from you while you are gone. Will you be checking emails and returning calls? Or, are you going off the grid completely? Will art orders placed online be delayed? Be sure to explain when you’ll be back in the studio creating and how soon they can expect a reply.
Now, before you start worrying again that you’re hurting your business with this absence, think again. Small business owners actually do this all the time and their clients completely understand!
Everyone needs time off, even artists.
It’s only unprofessional if you don’t communicate it ahead of time or have a plan in place before you take off.
Give yourself time to tackle your priorities
You owe it to yourself to enjoy your summer vacation. It’s the only way to your creative side is going to reset.
But, it’s never going to happen if you don’t get your to-do’s done beforehand. You need a plan, remember?
To begin, take a look at all of the projects you have coming up. Write out everything that needs to be done for each project and by what dates—applying for shows, finishing commissions, attending fairs, making sales, sending a monthly newsletter, etc.
With everything out in the open, no surprises, then you can block out time in your schedule to get these tasks completed BEFORE your vacation is upon you.
Pieces and projects you are eager to work on, but don’t need to be finished immediately? They can wait until after the holiday. The last thing you want to do is procrastinate on work that has a firm deadline because this will definitely eat into your relaxation time later down the road.
Being creative against a deadline always feels like a challenge, but giving yourself enough time to do your creative work is a great place to start.
Automate what you can
If you don’t trust the wheels to stop turning completely, you can still stay connected when you need to.
Block out a chunk of time each day you’re gone for checking emails or social media. And, with a cloud-based art inventory tool like Artwork Archive, you can take your art business with you anywhere and manage it on the fly!
Don’t want to be quite as connected? Thanks to the magical online tools of today’s world, you no longer have to fret about your art business falling by the wayside while you’re away!
For starters, take care of your art marketing. Social media posts and newsletters can be scheduled well in advance with time-saving tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, or MailChimp. That way your online presence is not forgotten, but it doesn’t require you to plug back in when you’re really trying to unplug.
Then, automate any paths of income you can for your art business, so you can make some money without lifting a finger (a good practice for not only while you’re on vacation, but all year long)! Licensing your art is a great way to make some passive income, as well as selling ebooks, ads on your art blog, creating online workshops, or becoming a paid affiliate for a product you already love.
Finally, use those same automation tools to tie up loose ends communication-wise! Set automatic “out of the office” messages for your email, website, voicemail, and Facebook for any art fans who could have easily missed your earlier announcements. Etsy even lets you turn on “vacation mode” for your shop so you don’t miss customers with your absence.
For what you can’t automate, delegate! If anyone is kind enough and willing, enlist a close friend, fellow artist, or art assistant to help check your notifications or get artwork out the door while you can’t.
Clean up before you go
When you’re feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to create after your summer vacation, the absolute last thing you want to do is come back home to a disaster.
Before you go, and as painful as that may seem, you need to get things organized. And we aren’t just talking about decluttering your studio, though it’s a fantastic place to start. You also need to get the business side of your art practice organized—your art inventory, finances, etc.
With an art inventory software like Artwork Archive, it’s now easier than ever for artists to manage the massive amount of details on their hands through cataloging and art business management tools.
Track your pieces and their locations, your showing history, contacts, sales, revenue and expenses, important documents, and more. You can even organize your schedule, save time with one-click professional reports, and gain important insights into your art business strategy.
It’s everything you need to keep your business running smoothly, while you’re in the studio or out of it.
What else should you tackle? Throw away or recycle what you can. Put supplies back in their designated places. Pay any outstanding bills. Clear out your email inbox. Digitize your important files and store them on the cloud—anything that could cause you headache upon your return.
Your goal: come back truly refreshed with a clean and organized space to create.
Summer should be about refreshing your creativity
There’s no better time to take a break, reset your mind, and get those creative juices flowing again. Don’t let the worry and stress of running an art business prevent you from focusing on your own self-care.
As long as clearly communicate with your art audience when you need a break and work hard to get your priorities taken care of, everything will be in place for your art business to continue thriving this summer!