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Aletta de Wal
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The Productive Artist: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You DIY

Sometimes it's not such a great idea to DIY - Do It Yourself.  

What with all the info out there via videos, websites and newsletters, it's easy to believe that you can do it all yourself and save money -- things like websites, art inventories, postcards, brochures, databases, everything you need to do to build your art business.

Remember, there is an "opportunity cost" associated with everything you do yourself. That's the cost of missed opportunities (like making your art and selling it) because you were doing something else instead.

You can nickel and dime your way to the bottom, but not to the top. Seriously.

So, how do you decide whether to DIY or hire a pro?

Ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. How long will it take me to master the skills necessary and am I willing to apply what I learn for a professional, high-quality result?
  2. Are those skills something I will be using regularly to create and sell my art?   
  3. How long will it take me to get it done once I have the skills, and how much future work/maintenance is involved?
  4. Is there someone out there who loves to do this and would do a much better job, even if I did have the skills to do it myself?
  5. What else is on my to-do list that is really a higher priority and will get my work in front of people who want to buy it?

If after you answer the above questions you decide to DIY, great! You're likely being realistic about the skill level required, the time invested, and whether or not you are sacrificing more important business-building activities.
On the other hand, if you have doubts remember what Aletta de Wal (Artist Advisor and Art Marketing Strategist for A.C.T.) said to me once: "I already speak several languages, I don't want to learn HTML. My time is better spent doing what I do best: working with artists on art marketing strategy."
Look, nobody can do it all themselves. Get experienced, qualified help when you need it. Select the person best suited to the task. You're building a business and a future, be smart about it.  
All my best to you and yours!

P.S. Got question about how to build your art business? You can have a complimentary 15-minute conversation (if you haven't already had one). This isn't a replacement for coaching or a longer consultation, but perhaps we can help point you in the right direction.

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Reader Comments (3)

This is a great reminder. Photography is something that I struggle with and have FINALLY admitted that it is something that I need to outsource because it takes up way too much of my time and it's just not worth the frustration. This will enable me to do other things that I enjoy doing :)

July 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElise

Thanks Elsie. I always feel so much "lighter" when I don't have to do everything myself and I also make more money! You're smart to realize that you were struggling with the photography issue.

July 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterRobin Sagara

Awesome value, my approach is do what you're great at, and hire others that;s great at what you not so great at. It is nice to know how to do certain things, and once you understand how do certain things like use photoshop for postcard designs, branding etc., you want to outsource it, to save time and focus your efforts on other important tasks. THanks for sharing I found this post to be ver insughtful as always.

Katie Lovie

August 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie Lovie

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