How to be Productive In Between Gigs
Imagine you were a baker and had a shop that depended on large catering orders to keep your business afloat. If a big order comes in, fantastic but what happens if 6 months go by and you’re only left with the day to day selling coffee and muffins? You wouldn’t close up shop until the next big order came in. That’s risky and probably impossible. You’d make the most of that downtime to dream and plan on how to turn “Suzie’s Bake Shop” into the only catering option in town.
Most artists bemoan the time “off” between jobs. We tend to wrap our feelings of validation into whether or not we’re working.
Little do we realize that hidden underneath being without a job is a wonderful opportunity to focus and continue to grow our business in a smart, stress free way.
When we’re in the middle of creating, we are so busy trying to fit in the gym, make food for the day or juggling personal relationships on top of our gig that the idea of building a marketing plan, managing a budget or staying on top of our networking to do’s is the “last” thing we want to focus on. In fact, it can feel like an affront and we can push the work aside altogether.
We justify letting our plan fall to the wayside by saying that this is what we’re meant to be doing and that we’ll get back to it right after our current project ends. However – this is one of our main struggles: we’re always losing our jobs and are constantly out of work. Without productive use of the in-between time, we will be forever stuck in a cycle of potentially never growing our business and feeling good or bad, depending on who has given us an opportunity.
So if you might be a creative who lets your gig take over and then jobless time go to waste, your in-between action items include:
Cleaning up and finding clarity in your plan! This includes identifying your primary goals and mapping out steps for your community cultivation, financial management, marketing, self producing, product improvement and overall structure / organization.
Identify ways you can expand your efforts while in between projects. Use your plan as a guidepost to what you can intensify.
Create a margin of error so that as other gigs come up amidst the day to day of your “regular” business (running “Carol the Painter” or “Thomas the Actor”), you can shift it to give room for the work you’re adding in. That margin of error comes in identifying strategies you can employ to grow your business while you’re working, again, creating larger goals for when you’re in the in-between or, generally, embracing the flexibility your plan affords you. More on that last one another time.
In the meantime, embrace how empowered you can be with your “off” time and think of today and every day as an opportunity to create another milestone for your career.
By Joshua Morgan for Artist’s Strategy.
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