4 Things Artists Can Learn from Their Day Jobs

By Carolyn Edlund

Courtesy Ruth Soller

Are you working all day and making art during your free time? Even if you don’t love your day job, you can take a few tips from how you work there and use them as you develop your own business as an artist:


  1. Structure. The daily grind at your office or place of business might seem constricting, but the schedule keeps you working consistently on what you need to achieve during the work day. It’s easy to get off track when you are self-employed and work in a home studio. Make a schedule for your art work too – use a calendar to set studio hours, plan goals and keep your deadlines. Unless you deliberately structure your time, you may find yourself losing track of it.
  2. Separate Environment. Most likely, your day job is at a location where you don’t live. That keeps you focused as well. You get work done at work, and your home is your sanctuary. When you work where you live, it can create havoc. Do you have a studio which is totally separate from your living quarters? Do you ask family members to respect your studio space as a work area? Do you avoid overlapping personal and studio activities in your work space so that you don’t get sidetracked?
  3. Co-workers.  Working as a team with other employees at your day job means that you get input from others, and there is a momentum created around work projects. Who is working on your team in your art business? Don’t lose touch with your art community and become isolated.  Stay involved and keep your own momentum going. A mentor for your art business can inspire and teach you, much like a co-worker who is training you at your day job.
  4. Scheduled Breaks. Lunch hours, coffee breaks and socialization break up the day at an office job. These help you relax and recharge for the rest of the work that needs to get done. Are you giving yourself breaks from your studio work? Deliberately schedule in some down time. Take a walk, stretch, get out of the studio. Marathon sessions can cause burnout and even physical problems from repetitive motion.

 How have you structured your art business so that it works like a real business? Is it working for you?


Thanks to painter Ruth Soller for use of her image "Presbyterian Santa Fe" - see more of her work by visiting her website.


  1. I am going to be visiting a lot more. There is tons of inspiration and motivation here. What a great resource! I loved this article in particular because I so desperately want to NOT have to work my day job and just be doing what I love. These are wise things to consider.

    • Linda, Welcome and glad to hear you are finding inspiration. You sound like a lot of artists who need to be self-employed, doing what they love and thriving. I feel the same way!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.