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4 ways to invest in yourself as an artist

What does 'investing in yourself' look like? Recently I joined The 5am Club. Yeh, I'm one of those crazy people who wake up at 5am and do the 20/20/20 formula. That is, I spend 20 minutes exercising, 20 minutes reflecting (I write Morning Pages and some observational sketching if I have time) and 20 minutes of growth (I read a book or curl up in my papa-sun chair with my cat and listen to a podcast). It's hard. I struggle to stay awake later than my 9 year old at night. I'm pretty cranky after 3pm. But I understand that this is an investment in myself as a human and as an artist.

The 20/20/20 formula comes from The 5am Club book by Robin Sharma. He says 'Genius is less about genetics and more about your habits'. If you take 20 minutes each day to learn how to code, then, at the end of the year, that is over 121 hours in year you've spent learning. I imagine you'd be fairly knowledgable in coding by the end of the year. Which brings me to my first way to invest in yourself:

  1. HABITS // Small daily habits make significant improvements over time: it may seem small and insignificant at the time, but with consistency and time, your positive habits will pay off. Do you remember your Superannuation in your twenties? Now look at it! Some ideas to add to your daily life as an artist could be: Carving out 20 minutes to sketch whatever is in front of you. This could be on the bus, at school pick up, while your partner faffs around before bedtime. You could watch one you tube instructional video a day around the topic you'd like to improve on: portraiture, business, investing, painting murals. If you drive to work, listen to art and business audiobooks or podcasts to up-skill.

  2. TIME // Become a master: You’ve probably heard of the 10,000 hour rule, which was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s blockbuster book Outliers. As Gladwell tells it, the rule goes like this: it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills. Gladwell describes one central study in particular, about which he writes: “their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it.” You've found your passion, now it is an investment in time to master your chosen skill.

  3. MONEY // Find the right investment for your career goals: Money is one of the first things that pops into my brain when I think of investing. It is a matter of weighing up the benefits from your investment. You are looking at a Master Class that costs $7000 for the year - what will you gain from this Class? Do you imagine your return on investment (ROI) is going to be more than $7000? Will this mean you can increase your hourly rate? Apply for bigger projects? Boost your CV which puts you in a great position for future grants? Only you can answer these questions. Other ways you can invest in yourself: Invest in a stall at an Art Fair or market. Pay for an artist residency outside of your city. Have a solo show. Pay for professional bio photos. Investing in a coach or mentor.

  4. REST // We don't work to rest, we rest so that we can work: There is nothing more creatively stifling than exhaustion and burn out. Invest in yourself as a creative by ensuring you rest. That could look like 8 hours sleep every night. It could be half an hour to yourself to sit and stare out the window each day. It could be a couple of beach walks each week. Maybe a full day of binge watching TV. Reading a good book on the weekend. I have learned from experience, that pushing through exhaustion and overwhelm is not the answer. Rest is always the answer.

Investing in yourself as an artist is an investment in the very essence of your creativity and expression. It's a commitment to continuous growth, innovation, and resilience in the face of challenges. By embracing this journey, you not only elevate your craft but also contribute to the rich tapestry of the artistic world. So, go ahead, invest in yourself.


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