What's holding you back?

So you've got some great ideas for your arts practice - artworks that you'd like to make and a range of product ideas - but you have this feeling in the pit of your stomach. That bit of churning that is a combination of excitement and nerves. There is something stopping you from taking that next step, but you can't quite put a finger on it.

Through the mentoring services and programs we provide here at Makers' Shopfront we see this and sometimes experience it ourselves as artists. Understanding what those hurdles are so that you can build strategies to jump them is important for your practice, your wellbeing and your income!

Which of the things above do you relate to?


I hear you. I am a parent of a teenager and a pre-teen going on 30! I have three businesses with one of those being my arts practice and sometimes prioritising that comes very much at the bottom of the pile of clothes, bills and homework.

There is no one size fits all answer to "The Juggle". We all have different things impacting our time. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • stop putting so much pressure on yourself to perform! Yes the cleaning can wait till tomorrow so you can get that artwork submitted to the award in time. You missed your scheduled studio day this week - so what?! You can try again next week.

  • yes I just mentioned scheduling studio time! Really important for your practice and your wellbeing. If like me, studio space and time is lacking, schedule a special time out. I am spending the Easter Holidays as an artist in residence. I will be outside the house, collaborating with fellow artists, away from the kids and resetting my life balance after a very busy start to the year. And I got funding to do it - so can you!

  • set yourself some goals for the year. How many art awards are you entering? What new medium do you want to try out? Do you want to set up a website this year? Do you need to learn a new skill to support your practice and business skill set? Make them simple and achievable so you don't give yourself another excuse to be self-critical!


This is a biggie. It is the main reason I see artists not taking that next step. They don't have confidence in their practice, their ideas or their abilities.

I am really lucky to have a great support team around me. My partner never holds me back from what I want to do with my arts career. My kids are very loud champions of everything I do and make. My parents and friends have always got my back. But they can't always give me the confidence I need to pursue a new idea.

This is where I rely on those art friends and colleagues, my mentors and my networks in the arts industry to be my sounding board. Talking through your ideas with people who actually get the process of art making and what it takes to achieve great outcomes is they key to gaining the confidence to take that next step.


We can't know everything! If there is something about implementing that idea that is holding you back that relates to a lack of knowledge in a certain area - there is no excuse not to learn. There are so many online learning resources out there. Do a bit of research and find one for you.

Alternatively, if you really can't or don't want to grasp that skill area that you are lacking - outsource! Invest in yourself and pay someone to do it for you. If money is then the barrier, is there funding that can support you or a payment plan?

The only way to give yourself full confidence to take that next step is to plan. I never start a new project or jump into a new idea without one. What do I have in place in the background?

  • A running task sheet on my desktop

  • 3 different business plans with associated marketing, financial and resourcing strategies

  • A social media scheduling platform with a running spreadsheet that helps me to plan in advance and not let it take over my time

  • A WIX website that I designed myself (self-taught through online videos) with amazing tools where I can post BLOGs such as this

  • CANVA Pro - my graphic design saviour

  • A cash flow budget

  • An accountant

  • An amazing team member

  • A handful of friends and colleagues that are my sounding board

  • A network that keeps me updated

Without a plan to define my strategies and tools and how to implement them, I would lose sight of that next step on a daily basis in that ongoing life juggle.

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