Start simple in your art business
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Best Business Advice: Start Simple



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On Starting Simple

Rather than starting simple, I tend to overcomplicate things. Especially in my art business. Along with every new idea comes hundreds of possibilities, options, variations, steps, and ways to complicate the matter. Questions like: which platform should I use, how will I pay for it, where will I find an audience, and how will I set up all the details? Before you know it, all these thoughts get in your way and prevent taking any progress on the idea. Just like that the overwhelm is real and the excitement for the project is gone. It’s easy to get caught up in the details, lose sight of the bigger picture, and stop taking steps forward. I know I’m not alone. 

The best question for this situation is: “How can I let this be easy?”

Every time I get stuck, I ask this question. It reminds me that there is almost always a more simple path through the process – I just need to take the time to look for it. The more simple it is to start, and the fewer barriers to entry there are – the quicker I can make progress, learn the process and make adjustments. This often brings several other benefits:

How to start simple in your art business.

Fewer expenses:

Usually, the first thought is to look for the best platforms, processes, tools and hope to incorporate all of them to create a complicated, flashy workflow. Maybe this happens because we see it working for other individuals and entrepreneurs who are more established and often have a team helping them build and implement their processes.

If you look for it, there is often a simpler method of doing the same job. Instead of creating a Rube Goldberg-type business machine, start with a simple option. Maybe you don’t need an extra online platform to launch your idea, or all the bells and whistles to get your email list started. Start simple and grow from there.

Simplify Your Product Offers

Choosing to start simple will help you avoid offering too many products or services. It can be difficult to manage and market a long list of offers effectively. Simplifying your product or service offerings will help you focus on what you do best and remove the distraction that comes when you add in too many extras, complicate the process, and confuse your audience.

Quicker Implementation:

The best way to iron out the kinks in a new project isn’t to overthink every step.  It can be tempting to plan out every detail before taking action, and yes, some simple preparations and counting of costs are necessary. But often you don’t know what you don’t know. Instead of waiting until you learn everything (does that ever happen?), starting simple allows experience to become your teacher.

Faster implementation also allows you to get the project rolling before you lose the initial enthusiasm for the idea! Have you ever paid attention to the timeline of your excitement for a project? When the idea first takes shape, your excitement and motivation to begin are typically the highest. The longer you wait to implement your idea, the greater risk there is of losing that momentum.

Head here for more lessons I’ve learned in business. Get my Simple Style Guide here. And if you have a grand idea that you’ve been overthinking, let me know in the comments how you can let it be easy!

Read the Comments +

  1. Lana says:

    Thanks Jennie!
    This was just the email that I needed to open on this early Monday morning! I’m going through a period where overwhelm is hitting me hard. I’m working on this side business in the margins of my everyday life right now and there are so many things I want to focus on; Immersion, collection creations, memberships and building my online portfolio and shop. Keeping it simple and streamlined is definitely what I needed to hear.


    • Jennie Whitaker says:

      Hi Lana! I’m so glad to hear this post was timely for you, but sorry to hear about the overwhelm! There are so many options with surface design, and I tried many of them in my first few years of business.
      One thing to keep in mind is that your artwork is the foundation of the business, and to not get so wrapped up in the other business endeavors that you lose time for creating art you love and building and pitching your portfolio. (That was me last year and I had to learn to set things aside to focus on creating again.) Keep it simple, focus on your art – you can do this! 💕

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Hi, I'm Jennie

Artist and designer, adventure lover with a side of homebody and flower gardener.

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