sábado, 23 de mayo de 2015

A big planning for the music

I try to prioritize the studio, music, website and personal items. Obviously blog entries go to the wayside in weeks like these, custom orders that I would normally weave into my time get shifted to top of the pile and get done first and eBay listings are saved for weekends when I have more time. I keep a to do list in the front of my Jotter notebook that lists the items I need to accomplish during that week, I cross them off as I go. In terms of personal items, I’m keeping a shopping list on a post it in my jotter.

The rest of the personal stuff is sort of a routine: dinner is made easier by having a lot of pre-packed veggies in the freezer and chicken ready to go, so for nights where I come home ready to sleep- I can throw a chicken breast in the frying pan, a package of green beans and maybe some rice in the rice cooker.

Essentially we plan for this sort of thing with my job- there are often times when an emergency arises- wireless dies, registers stop working or card readers stop working. In those instances I have to stay until it’s fixed. Sometimes I know I’m going to be there for extended periods of time- such as this past week and probably the next couple of weeks- though after this week things should calm down a lot.

Work and music

I’ve also had to plan for things within my job too. I’ve had to dedicate a page in my planner to planning out important instances with my day. Appointments, interviews I’ve set up, interviews I’m conducting, call back etc. For the first time I’ve had to look at my duties and prioritize them and see what I can accomplish in half my day while shifting my temporary duties (human resources) to the forefront of my day. I spend my AM doing my normal duties while every 2 hours looking at a specific program for my temp responsibilities for a half hour; back and forth until noon. I then shift gears in the afternoon and work solely on the temp responsibilities.

Towards the end of this past week I started to feel more comfortable with the temp responsibilities which has lessened my stress level as well as the time I spent at work. My goal is always to get everything done that I can do in 40 hours. I like my job but my website, the music and art are my real focus in life. i love to play the guitar and make some cool songs.

In short a little planning and focus have made my home and internet life run a little more smoothly though I’ve been wishing there were more hours in the day.

jueves, 16 de abril de 2015

A little Planning Goes Along Way

So I wanted to write about my DayJob a bit here and how it’s affected my ability to spend time on internet and art things.

Obviously the DayJob is important to me, I’ve learned a lot of useful skills from them, some of which I’ve applied here online and some that are universal- like when to shut my mouth. I worked 50 hours this week. Yup, 10 hours of sweet overtime. But it’s left me with less energy when I finally arrive home. Keep in mind that now I’m in the new location I drive about 1 to 2 hours per day for travel completely dependent on traffic. So my days are sometimes 12 hours long. Obviously that’s a lot of time, and I’m left exhausted on some days.

So I’ve had to carefully plan out my days when I come home from the DayJob- cook dinner and lunch for the next day, eat and pack it up.

Then I clean up. I relax for about a half hour reading my email then I head to the studio for about an hour, make music and chill out.

Because I only have an hour I have to pick and chose what I do carefully. This week it took me 3 days to cut and fold paper for hedgehogs, something that normally I’d have done in 2. In addition to that I worked on the 2 portraits for my boss while I relaxed in front of the TV. Normally the portraits would have been done in 2 days or so.

Because I’ve prepared for the unknown things happening I’ve been able to plan ahead for certain things- like the covers for the hedgehogs have already been cut, so all I need to do is sew them and glue them up. But when unexpected emergencies arise- such as the recent instance with eBay taking down all but one of my listings it throws me for a loop.

Thanks to eBay I’m out a possible $50. While not a big deal it is a burden for me, I simply didn’t have the time to relist those auctions, it would have required me to shift my other responsibilities.

jueves, 19 de marzo de 2015

Rule #1

Here’s rule #1 about the art blog- it’s all about art and the trials and tribulations of being an artist. 

You will find very little griping about my personal life here, you will find NO complaining about my customers here, nor will you see much complaining about my DayJob unless it pertains directly to my art. I’ve heard a lot of argument about artist’s blogs and what they should or should not contain. Each blog is personal and you should make it yours however you want. But these are my rules and I’m going with it. So I keep my blog art focused. (This comes from my personal preferences in blogs- I like to read about art, music, how the art was made and the like; I don’t like to read about some one’s dog puking on the carpet, cooking dinner or what grades the kids got. I read other blogs for that sort of personal info.)

Rule #2 about the blog is: promote it.

Trade links whenever possible, get featured on websites whenever possible. Provide links in the bottom of your every email address. The signature file of emails is a secret and powerful weapon for artists. At the bottom of every email people get form me- I provide a link to my blog. I have the address to my website on my business cards. Now if someone asks me about my art I tell him or her to check out my blog- they can learn far more about my art and me through it than they ever could have before.

Rule #3 about the blog. Use it.

Post regularly. Most blogs have the feature of saving entries (Wordpress and Blogger) so that you can publish them later, work on them more or what have you. This is a rule I break a lot. I’ll post 10 entries over a weekend instead of spreading them out across the week. So that’s a change you’ll see instituted on this blog asap.
Marketing shouldn’t be a dirty word for the artist and crafts person- we just need to change our thinking of it form a big corporate idea to think that it’s just thinking about how we’re going to get more people to look and buy our work.

miércoles, 11 de febrero de 2015

Blog Marketing Art

When I talk about “marketing” my art I sometimes get funny looks. So I think I should clarify what I’m talking about when I discuss marketing. Marketing to me is anything and everything I do to promote my art, my music and my website. Think about it, you probably got a website to promote your art but what are you doing to make that happen?

 If your response is doing nothing then I think having a website is a waste of time. If you aren’t investing a little time each week to promote yourself the effort, time and money of having a website or blog about your art is wasted.

If all you do is allow Google or other search engines bring traffic to your site you’re not effectively getting the word out about your work.  

How can I say that?
Because I spent the first year of having my website letting it sit there relying upon Google, search engines and eBay sales to bring people into looking at it. I qualified my website and blog’s dismal failure by telling people that it’s only there to show interested customers and collectors what I do.

Well, where the hell were those interested customer’s coming from? 

There weren’t many! Someone would email me to ask me about my work, usually from a referral from a friend of theirs who had seen my work so I’d send them to my website. That’s how it worked for quite some time. Until I decided to take it into my own hands and figure out how to get more people coming to my website, to my eBay sales and to me for custom work.

Thus my blog was born. I was keeping a personal blog that drove a lot of people to my work- I saw the power in my personal blog (sadly Diary-X is dead now) for marketing and getting people to check out my work. So I started the blog about my art.

lunes, 5 de enero de 2015

Seth Godin the king

I think I’m a little in love with Seth Godin. I read his name on a blog I like and decided to look up one of his books. I picked up Small is the New Big, and it’s a great books. AS such I’ve started to read his blog and its great too.
One of his entries is about creating a great blog. I would say that this also applies to creating a great art blog as well as great art and music, if you work in a group or band.

Number 9:
One voice, one vision.

Every group I’ve ever worked on has proven this to be true. There is always one person in a group to take hold and make it theirs. However when there isn’t someone on the panel or in the group who doesn’t stand up and take control the mission becomes muddy and unclear.

So, I think this applies to a blog even when managed by a single person. I know that in the past that I’ve lost my vision and my focus. So the thought is that if you take a look at your blog and think that perhaps there is too much direction. Its always easy to reign yourself in.

martes, 23 de diciembre de 2014

Focusing in on the Internet

In the rebuilding of my blog I’m going to explore the area of focus. Focus like intent deals with the content of my blog. Instead of looking at what I hope to accomplish with my blog I look at how I’m going to get to that point.

So how do I focus my blog in on my intent? In my case I’m going to tailor my content and schedule myself to post regularly.  

I’ve decided that I’ll keep some of my better content- the look into my studio, balance of art and DayJob, music, photos of my work and looks at my art process.

I’ll add to that mix some looks at other people’s art, what they do with hand made/ bound books, some exploration of commercially available journals and notebooks, and links to other people’s blogs.

In terms of scheduling I plan on posting 3 to 4 times per week, anything more will be gravy.

Knowing my customer base can help me to focus my blog to bring more people in to read my content. Having sharply focused content and thoughts should only define the blog more clearly in the reader’s mind. This should be a positive change..

miércoles, 29 de octubre de 2014

What is my intent?

As I’ve been considering moving my blog from blogger to my own domain I’ve been thinking of the structure, my intent as well as the focus of the blog. I think that if I we’re starting my blog all over again I would structure it a little differently, change the focus a little as well as look a little more closely at my intent.

So these are good lessons for people to think about as they start their own blogs to promote their art and music. The first question to ask yourself as you start a blog is this: ¿its a art? ¿rock band?

What is my intent? 

That simply means what do you hope to accomplish with your blog? Are you writing to write, writing to share knowledge, or writing to promote your work. Any answer is fine really but that one answer is going to shape what you do with the other questions you need to ask yourself as you start on this journey.

Let’s first explore my answer to that question. Originally when I started out I was writing to write. I had a lot of knowledge of bookbinding and I wanted to share it. I wanted to create something of a resource for other bookbinders on the web. On my website and my blog I wanted to link to other book artists making great art, show tutorials and in general write about what it’s like to be an artist making art while working a DayJob. All that’s fine and I think I succeeded at most of those goals. As in life, art is organic and as my abilities shifted and grew so did my desire to sell my work. So I started up my website, started eBay sales and later etsy sales. Should be good, right? Well, the website isn’t the rousing success I hoped it would be but my other sales have remain constant. Somewhere in here I realized that my blog could help drive sales (more on this later and in my ‘zine.) So my focus began to shift, I wanted to show more of my binding and less of what other people were doing.

Somewhere in here I realize now that I lost my focus, my blog went from being a great place for binders to visit to being something of a mish mash of ideas. What I wanted from it was no longer clear. I knew that I wanted to use it to promote my sales, but I’m sure that it’s not working as well as it could because of my unclear intent and a muddled focus.

So here I am trying to refocus- my answer to the above question of intent? I want to promote my ebay and etsy sales. It’s a simple answer that lends itself to more questions. How am I going to do that? I will be refocusing my content and redirecting it towards my customer base. Who are my customers? MY customers are people like me but who don’t have time to bind books. Bibliophiles, busy tech heads with a desire to write, people using David Allen’s GTD, people who use moleskines ciaks and other fine stationary, people who are done with the Palm and Pocket PCs. I’ve found that my customer base is diverse, from artists to geeks but all have a desire to write and use their notebooks well. Fine stationary and notebooks have an appeal all their own and I need to appeal to that audience. So how do I appeal to my customer base? That’s the real question. Do these people want or need to know how to bind their own books, not likely, are they interested in it, probably but the people who want to read about bookbinding are other binders; who aren’t for the most part the people buying my work.

It has dawned on me after all this time that I’m appealing to the wrong audience, bookbinders rather than artists and people who want to use my work.

The question of intent begs the question of who the readers of the blog are-i.e. who are your customers. The answer to that question will drive the answers of the other 2 questions of focus and structure. Questions that I’ll explore more fully in another post.

I’ll suggest that if your starting out or even currently working on a blog ask yourself these questions:
What is my intent?

And then ask yourself:
Who are my readers/customers?
Then, who would I like them to be?
Next post I'll look at the next 2 areas of questioning.