Taking Yourself Seriously: A Lesson In Progress

This weekend there was a meeting of Rita The Company.

Friends smile when I mention that. They ask me “are you paying yourself dividends” or “was in one of those useless meetings”. But. They don’t get it. I am a self-employed artist. It’s my job to create my work, present and produce my work, offer my work for hire. Invoice for my work. Pay taxes on the money I got paid for my work. And in order to do all these things effectively, I have to take myself seriously.

Hence Rita Suszek, the company – one person, one business, one CEO, admin, employee. All of the things are my things. I own all aspects of myself, and pay special attention to documents and finances. I now have an in-tray – a little gift bag where I put random papers that show up in my life during the week, so that I can sort them out later; I have an app to mark out my expenses; I am creating processes and workflow that a regular company already has in place. I am becoming a businessperson, because I. Have. A Business.

Gone are the days when I thought I was too artistic to understand money. Gone the moments when I chose to float around claiming that “all that” was “beyond me”. I can read the writing on the wall. My artistic practice may not fit a conventional earning model, but it does bring money, the amounts rising steadily through the years. As Rikki Beadle-Blair remarked in a workshop I took once, success looks like more work. So laugh all you want: if I can implement good habits when I have twenty or forty invoices, things will be easier when I have two hundred of them. By the time it happens, I will have files. My files will have dividers. My dividers will be laminated. And I’ll be over here, ironing whatever passes for a business suit within my artistic practice.

Is it perfect? God, no. Did I fulfill all items in my business agenda? Forget it. Did I sit down for four hours and name the date for the next business meeting? You bet. Increments are important. I am moving, will continue moving.

There is a book titled “Why Are Artists Poor”. I’m afraid to read it. I’m more afraid to be in it. Rita The Company – taking myself seriously – fighting for my life.

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