by Maddy Wayne
Taking the leap to full time self-employment is frightening, even for the most experienced of painters. But the rewards you gain from letting go of that guaranteed income can be the keys to that happy life you’ve been dreaming of.
One of the first steps is to know your budget. By taking an honest appraisal of your finances, you will be able to take the plunge with a realistic grasp of your sales goals, and not start every day with the ambiguous hope of just grasping for as many sales as possible.
It sounds rudimentary, but start by looking at your financial needs. Consider every bill you have to pay within a month, and include savings, health, business and life insurance, ‘fun-money’ to blow on entertainment, gifts, or dinners out, and of course, continuing education.
Divide that number by 4, and that is your average weekly sales goal.
How can you get there? A safe estimate for new painters is to expect no more than 8 hours of prime-time sales within each week – the number of hours that you can perform in person, Saturday and Sunday. I dedicate my weekends to my clients, so those 8 hours reflect my peak rate. This should make up 65% of your weekly budget.
I know how scary it is to raise your rates. Any time that you feel nervous about your rates, look at your weekly sales goal, and the list of bills. Let that fuel your resolve to push your rates to the point that you are being paid the value of your time, materials and effort.
As for that other 35%, let’s look at the rest of your week. You are an artist, and you have just opened the doors to invite money in to your life. Where do you want to let it in? Consider what you enjoy, what makes you happy and healthy. How can you incorporate those actions into your Monday through Friday?
FABATV is filled with ways to generate additional streams of income. Face painting goes hand in hand with balloons, airbrush, henna, glitter tattoos, and more. Even if you don’t believe that you can expand into, for example, balloons, you can team up with someone who does, and either sub-contract their services, or sell pre-made items. Heather has a great blog on how she cross sells her services and maximizes her profit.
Chances are you enjoy other forms of arts & crafts: tole painting, calligraphy, custom painted gifts, window painting, etc. Take a walk through Etsy and see what is hot, what is selling. Maybe you have a similar talent and interest?
While I don’t believe in working just for tips, I see no problem in providing a service that is mutually beneficial for reasons other than money. For example, I swap monthly entertainment at a gym that provides me with a free membership. I volunteer for a non-profit because I like to support their community efforts, but require that weekend events are paid at my regular rates – we are both very happy with this arrangement. I am a fan of performing at restaurants to get my name out. The restaurants is granted a lower rate if they commit to hiring me during the slow months, and I get to promote my services, and lower my weekly food bill.
You may end up working more hours as a self-employed artist than at a salaried job. But if you consider approaching each phone call as an opportunity to network, and the chance to help someone, instead of selling to that person, I believe you will find that the additional hours your invest in your business become an investment in yourself.
Your Paint Pal,