Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Do you want to quit your day job?

For a time I did quit my day job and focused just on art. Overall, I am happy I did it. With the experience I have now, I can also see how I could have made more of the experience.

An article written by Lara Ryan in Progress Magazine called, "My mother's daughter"shares what you need to make a success of quitting your day job and in thinking back on my own experience, I feel she summed it up perfectly.

"When I finally decided to leap into self-employment, I was confident that my skills and networks could support me. I was also fortunate that other business ventures had positive revenue streams. I measured the risks and decided to go for it."

An artist has a great advantage if they've built up a substantial body of work. The more the better, in other words 20 knock out pieces is still on the low side inventory wise. This artist is also ready and raring to go if they are fast enough to produce at least 5 paintings a month, have a support system, and have a positive revenue stream coming in.

If you're like me and you don't have all that criteria going for you right now you might be surprised to know how many other artists haven't quit their day job. This isn't failure. Just know it takes time and is part of paying your dues. You haven't bought into the 'starving artist' mentality ;)  If you're an artist, like other businesses both large and small it's smart to have support before taking the leap.


Deborah Carr said...

Shayla, I quit my 'cubicle life' way back in 1998 and within a year, all the stars aligned and I was making a decent living as a writer.

I've never looked back. I think part of it is tapping into that thing that I truly love doing, then just giving it some room to grow without specific expectation. If I'd aimed for a particular income or goal, I'd have risked falling short and being discouraged.

M.Kate said...

I think being able to stop working and do what one such a priviledge. Its not easy as financially, not everyone can afford so. I'd love to stop working and just do nothing but spend time with the kids...but husband said they'd just drive me bonkers (which is true) and he'll be miserable when he comes home, to a more miserable me haha! So, off to work I go :) but seriously, I dont have any hobby which can sell... :P

Leslie Avon Miller said...

I think it is a time honored tradition to have a day job - perhaps part time, but a cash flow job. I have a 4 day work week, which is not too bad. I would prefer a three day work week, but hey, I can buy paint! (That's what I tell myself anyway...)Its great advice to build up inventory. Especially if it is a cohesive whole. Great post Shayla!

Shayla said...

Deborah, that's a good point about the specific expectation of income. As a writer you have an interesting perspective to bring to this topic. Have you written about your experience in more detail? I'd love to link to it.

M. Kate, you make me laugh. Yep, 3 kids, non-stop, not leaving the house= bonkers. You're a travel writer. A good hobby to sell ;)

Thanks for your encouraging comments Leslie, yes, cash flow is our friend :) I like what you said about "cohesive". I neglected to mention that and it is essential.

mansuetude said...

the thing i want to encourage
is there is NO SUCH THING
as failure...
what the hell is this word.

of course
that is an old chinese idea already.

i failed, what does that mean>
are you dead in hell or did you not get what you wanted YET

ha ha to life

Anne said...

I quit my day job but am not yet supporting myself with my artistic endeavors. Probably a backwards way to do it, but right now I'm helping my mom get a small sustainable farm going in addition to making things. Do I know what I'm doing? No. But I'm glad I made the leap. And I'm excited to be in the process of creating a new life for myself.

Great post!

Shayla said...

mansuetude- agreed! If our heart is still beating there's more going right than wrong.

Anne- I'm glad you did. I love reading about your farming and artist activities. Your blog is a haven. I didn't regret doing it that way, so I wouldn't think you have done it backwards. It means in my situation,I would tweak things if I could have a do- over.

Tracy said...

Hi, Shayla! I just love the positivity of this post. To find the balance between creating and living is a fine one. I'm still working on my fine line. ;o) We're now back from our Thanksgiving/USA trip--had wonderful time! I'm slowing getting to visiting and such though, as I've not been feeling too well in recent days--but getting there. Great to be catching up with you and back in blogland. :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

DJ said...

My day job relates to my creative passion, so retirement may be the only way to get me out of it. :-)

But I'll paint, no matter what else I'm doing...

Great article ~

Ron Gravel said...

Thank you Shayla for your comment on my blog. I have some background in Oriental painting(3 years of Chinese black ink, calligraphy). I enjoy your art and the symbolism behind it. I'm lucky I'm retired and can concentrate on art with no financial worry. Artists who can make it without another job seem to be a rare breed from what I can see. Good luck, I'm sure you will put your grant to good use!