• Billable Hours

    January 23, 2020

    Sometime in October 2019 I had a light bulb moment. I needed to spend a minimum of 4 hours a day doing artwork. I still have kids at home and although they are all in school during the day, I found myself finding excuses and other 'work' related tasks to do that were not artwork.  

    Since then, I found myself being more productive.  Yet, if I was going to contribute to the household expenses, I needed to sell as well.  I found I was working on artwork, but not selling it.  Part of that is because I am not investing time into selling and promoting what I am making.  Truth is, I'm not even sure anyone will be reading this post.  But since it is part of my new plan, here I am.

    As the end of the year drew near, and I was  struggling with what were my priorities for 2020, I developed a plan for how I was going to allocate my precious 4 hours a day so I can produce, donate, market, and learn new things.  It all revolves around the idea of Billable Hours.

    Lawyers think in terms of Billable hours.  Can I charge this to a client?  Yes? Then it is Billable, and they can bill someone for their time. The more billable hours they put in, the more they get paid.

    So, I've divided my tasks into Billable hours and Non-Billable hours. 

    Billable hours include me doing anyting that I can sell.  Artwork: From thumbnails, to value comps, to full size line drawings, to finished pencil pieces, to painting compositions in Photoshop I consider Billable Hours.

    My Non-Billable hours include mailing postcards, collecting addresses to send postcards to, setting up mailchimp, gathering together my Inktober drawings into a pdf to send to my mailchimp email list, time I spend on doing artwork for charity, learning new art mediums, researching a market or learning more about business, or learning how to be a better writer, planning social media campaigns, and yes, writing a blog. Anything that I can't sell but is necessary to grow my business.

    I could spend most of my day on the Non-Billable hours stuff, but if I don't have any artwork to sell, it won't really do me any good.  I can spend all of my day on the Billable hours, but if I don't make the connections with people, I won't see a penny for my efforts.  

    It's a balancing act. 

    As the start of week 1 of 2020 rolled around, I set a goal to spend 60% of my time doing Billable hours.  And I was very successful.  At the end of week 1, I had spent 21.1 hours working.  15.2 of those hours were billable hours! (72%)  

    Encouraged, I refined my plan. 60% Billable Hours and then the Non-Billable hours, I would spend 10% on Marketing, 10% on donation items, 20% on learning new things.

    That second week turned out pretty good too.  

    Total hours: 30.8

    Billable: 22.3 (72%)

    Marketing: 0

    Donation: 3 (9.7%)

    Learning: 2.5 (8.1%)

    I had an additional 3 hours where I had to go buy new art supplies.  So I need to figure out how to do that outside of work hours or make a plan for shopping too.

    Since my most important goal is to spend at least 60% of my time doing billable hours, I feel elated over the 72%, but it did come at a cost. I didn't market myself last week, aside from a few instagram posts.  

    Week 3: this week I missed a whole day to President's Day (the kids were home and we had friends over) and a couple hours on another day due to shear laziness, I've only worked a total of 9.4 hours this week out of the 14 hours I had planned on working this week.

    But, I will get at least 1 hour of that time done for marketing, because I am writing this blog.  See you next week.