Thursday, February 28, 2013

Artists and Money - The 80 / 20 Rule

Nest with Feathers detail © Maud Guilfoyle, from Artists and Money

  Jack White’s HEART TO HEART column, December 2011, in PROFESSIONAL ARTIST, reminded me of the rule formulated by the Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906. He observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Over time, Pareto also observed that this rule also came into play in agriculture. For example, 20% of the pea pods in a crop would yield 80% of the peas.
  Since then this rule has become know as the Pareto Principle or the “80-20 rule”. It’s application in business management is based on the belief that 20% of the effort produces 80% of the profit. Artists can apply this principle in their work. If you are working on 10 projects, 2 of them will provide 80% of your income. Stay focused on these two, complete them and get paid so that you can pay your overhead. Then fund and develop your other 8 projects. Artists often tend to think ‘organically’ rather that in a straight line. While working on one project, they may become inspired to work on other projects, intending to complete the first one when the muse returns. If you depend on your artwork for a living, discipline yourself to work on and complete projects with assured income first, so that you will have the means to continue doing art.

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