The Work Seminar

Ep. 33: Jackie Sanders - MA in Material Culture & Public Humanities Turned Digital Marketer & Visual Arts Entrepreneur

September 21, 2022 Jesse Butts Season 3 Episode 3
The Work Seminar
Ep. 33: Jackie Sanders - MA in Material Culture & Public Humanities Turned Digital Marketer & Visual Arts Entrepreneur
Show Notes Transcript

Jackie held down six (six!) part-time jobs after grad school. But a couple years into her first full-time gig, her art and career hit a lull. 

That’s when she started devoting her commute time to learning everything she could about digital marketing. In relatively short order, she secured a full-time marketing position at a small agency. And she started focusing on her art in the early mornings, soon joining a shared studio space where she could better create and showcase her abstract and geometric art.

Now she helps fellow artists hone their craft and balance their practice with the Level Up Artists podcast and her online course, all while flourishing as a marketer. 

By focusing on processes she could incorporate into her life — and not abiding by the unwritten rules of how artists and scholars should live and work — Jackie has found a day job that informs her artwork, and vice versa.

Book mentioned

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss 

Where to find Jackie, Level Up Artists, & Jackie’s art work

JaclynSanders.com and Jackie on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook

Level Up Artists podcast

Check out more from The Work Seminar

Visit theworkseminar.com or find @TheWorkSeminar on social media. 

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Jesse Butts:

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for another episode. I'm your host, Jesse Butts. Today, I'm chatting with Jackie Sanders, an MA in material culture and public humanities from Virginia Tech turned digital marketer and visual artist entrepreneur. Jackie is now a social media content specialist for small businesses at an advertising firm, the founder of Jaclyn Sanders Studios, a fine arts business, and the co-host of the Level Up Artists podcast. Earlier this year, she launched her creative coaching program for career minded artists. Jackie, welcome to the show. Delighted to have you on.

Jackie Sanders:

Thank you so much for having me, I'm excited to talk to you today.

Jesse Butts:

Yeah, absolutely. So, there's a lot in your intro, you're, you're in many different fields professionally, creatively, but I, I am a little bit curious about your, your grad degree, material culture and public humanities. I have to admit I'm not terribly familiar with that. Could you tell us a little bit about that degree? Like what did that cover? Like what were you studying in that program?

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah, so material culture and public humanities, it's a theory based program. And so essentially it's the study of history through objects. So many people with that degree will go into a more specific focus. I was focusing on exhibition design within museums and galleries, visual art galleries, cause I was a visual art undergrad, got a bachelor of arts in studio art and then a or bachelor of fine art in studio art, a bachelor of art in art history. And so it really was for me that missing puzzle piece of, I loved the arts, loved exploring it, loving history. But from a practical standpoint, I feel like a big conversation for most people that get liberal arts degrees is, Okay, you have this passion, you have this interest, but what does a career in this field look like? And so, as I was approaching undergrad graduation, this master's degree seemed like a perfect fit. It was at the same place I had done my undergrad. And actually one of my professors is the one who suggested that I would be a good fit for the program. So it wasn't necessarily studying a specific type of artwork or a specific era, where you would then be able to list off every DaVinci painting and knowing where he painted it. It wasn't that type of focus. It was more so from a general sense of how do we, as a society, interact with the objects that we have? How does the objects that we value then reflect the values of society? And so especially when you're thinking of a museum or an exhibition conversation, it really comes down to storytelling. And so much of history is storytelling. So a very simple example of... if you have a plastic spoon where in the future, if they uncover this current civilization of there are all these plastic spoons everywhere, what does that say about what the community values? What does it say about the types of lifestyle that they had? And what stories could be crafted around these larger ideas around this one object? And so it really was from a application standpoint, I think what kind of got me into storytelling and being able to convey a message and essentially communicate to people both from a art standpoint, both from an exhibition standpoint, but also as now in my current day job into marketing of, Okay here's an object, here's a service, here's a product. Why should people care about it? And putting that context around those pieces.

Jesse Butts:

Yeah, that's a, a great segue too. I was going to ask if you could share a bit about your work in digital marketing and social media marketing, like what, what is your day to day like in that type of work?

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah. So currently I work for a digital marketing agency. It was definitely a, not the path that I envisioned myself going after grad school, but it, of course looking back the path makes sense. So in undergrad, I was really focused on getting as many experiences as I could in the arts world. Producing artwork of my own, getting internships at museums that focused on education, which I soon realized I didn't necessarily wanna do hands on education with kids, running a student run art gallery of, Okay, what is the behind the scenes of creating exhibition schedules look like and putting open calls out for artwork. And then also working at the performing art center on campus at Virginia Tech, where I went to school, assisting curators with unpacking artwork, laying out an exhibition, physically hanging it. And so in undergrad, I was really focused on getting as many experiences and skills as possible, because I wasn't sure what path I wanted to take, but getting as many skills as possible, I figure was not a bad plan or at the very least I would understand what jobs in the art world I may not want to do, which I think is as equally valuable, and have more appreciation for other people in those positions. And so I kind of took that mindset into after graduation life. I worked at a laser engraving studio, um, using more of my fine art degree. And so I was working at a small company working in graphic design and production, and really started gaining an interest in marketing and social media for small companies. Ended up launching the social media content for that company, which then grew into a opportunity in the job I have now of creating social media content for over 70 different clients nationwide. So creating content over five different social media platforms for 70 different clients. Over like 600 unique content posts a month, I think it comes down to. So it's definitely a lot of work, but I really value as someone who, especially, I think in the arts field, so many of the galleries or museums or nonprofits are operating as if they are small businesses and understanding how much of a value having marketing and having a good online presence can do to really help a small business. So I love being able to work at the agency I do now. It's an amazing team, amazing people, and super, super rewarding.

Jesse Butts:

Can you just talk a little bit about, what type of art are you making? What is level up artists all about and, uh, that course that you just created?

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah. So in addition to my day job in digital marketing, I also have J Sanders Studio, which is a fine art business where I make original art paint or paintings and art products. And so I have a studio in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, that's open to the public so people can come see my work in progress as well as purchase completed pieces. My friend Adriana Ameigh and I, who's also an artist at Art Space, we launched Level Up Artists in 2021, because we really wanted to share forward all of the amazing advice and business lessons that other artists had been so generous to share with us, really embracing that idea of community over competition and sharing forward all of that information. And so we launched the Level Up Artist podcast, streams on all platforms, as well as online courses where we really talk the business side of creating a fine art business. But my art, I do abstract geometric work and as I said, art products, so it's definitely a multifaceted business doing education, mentorship, building a community. And then of course, as an artist, still going true to my undergrad degree of making work and sharing that with the world too.

Jesse Butts:

Nice. You mentioned you were at the laser... a laser engraving company at that time. So were you working at that company in an arts role, like right after grad school? Was this something during school? If you could just kind of give us a little bit of that chronological background, that would be helpful.

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah. So I graduated grad school in 2016. As many people do, you feel on top of the world. I felt like I had really equipped myself in undergrad with all of those different experiences. I loved my classes, had that, that grad school bubble of protection, so to speak. I'm from Maryland originally, but I moved to Raleigh. I just have always loved the city. I had family in town. And so kind of knew I was gonna have to hustle to make opportunities happen. I'd been trying to do interviews and going to regional museum conferences, cause that's originally what I wanted to do, was to work in a museum in a gallery doing some type of curatorial exhibition work. And so I was really going laser focus, no pun intended into that direction. But as many graduates soon find it is a super competitive market. Even if you have amazing internships, amazing conferences that you're attending, even networking. It is very competitive for some of these larger positions. And so I ended up pivoting and really applying more of my art skills. In undergrad, I had apprenticed under one of my professors, Eric Standley in producing his artwork and assisting him in this studio. And he used a CO2 laser and does incredible, incredible paper sculptures. And so I was basically trained on this technology, thinking it was just something cool. I used it in my artwork in college, but, and mentally I'd kind of been like, Oh that was a cool experience. Now let me get onto the quote unquote real work, like go to grad school, go into museums, go into galleries. And so with the laser engraving studio that I ended up working at, I honestly just walked in the door one day and was like balancing six part-time jobs and thought, What happens if I could leverage this skill that I developed a few years ago using a CO2 laser? So it wasn't traditionally in the art space, it was making more personalized gifts, and etched crystal, and, yes, trophies and plaques but also super cool signage and custom awards. And so it was creative, but just in a different sense, in a more, more graphic design and more production using these machines to make beautiful things, bringing visions to life, as we would say, and so that was a very rewarding experience of just reimagining, even though I was so clear on, I wanted to be in museums, I wanted to be in galleries of, I can also pivot at any point and the outcome can turn out well. So not being stuck in one vision as to what I thought I would be doing for the rest of my life. Luckily it was a full time. That I was able to knock the other ones off, which it was a tough decision. I, one of my part-time jobs was working as a registrar at a small gallery in Raleigh, which was a great experience. But just from a funding standpoint and a commitment of being a small team, they couldn't hire full time. And so, I had to, from a long term sustainability standpoint, understand it wasn't necessarily sustainable, juggling all these schedules. And it was kind of that perfect fit of having a full time job there to where I could just focus on that one thing, which is a crazy concept.

Jesse Butts:

How long are you thinking, This is something kind of interesting, but eventually I'll look into full-time work in a museum or a gallery, versus really thinking about the different directions you could take your career?

Jackie Sanders:

It really took about two to three years to where I started recognizing or questioning like, is this what I wanna do full time? Do I wanna stay in this industry, especially as professionals there's always that conversation of there's a fine line between having a very niche skillset that you can leverage to your benefit. But also was I pigeonholing myself into only having a certain skillset? And I think even taking that mindset from undergrad of just wanting to do a lot of different things, that was always an apprehension of mind of like, am I gonna stay in this industry for the foreseeable future or try to go into museums or galleries? Um, I think through my interview process, when I first moved to Raleigh, and even applying when I was in grad school still, I kind of recognized that if I were to go into that space one day, and it's still not off the table, but it wouldn't be because of a traditional I'm gonna apply on indeed.com and get called for an interview and get accepted to the position. I think, especially being so young, it's very difficult to get into those higher level positions, even if you have the newest education from grad school and you're very equipped with skills. I think really time and relationships and even knowing a local area are things that are valued in small companies and in nonprofits. Those local networks that might not just get you the position, but when you're in the position, you can then lean on each other for support or do partnerships. And so I knew. It's not off the table by any means right now of that being in my path one day. But I knew from moving from the laser engraving studio, I would, that wouldn't be the direction I would go in. And that's when I really started thinking about digital marketing. It's always been something that really interests me when I was working at the undergrad gallery of OK, how do we make more students know about our gallery? How do we promote it on social media? How do we just like rebranding visually, but also our messaging of who we are and what we're about. And at the time I just thought, oh, it's like a cool fun project. This isn't anything quote, unquote, real that I would be doing. And so really realizing once I was working at a small company at the laser engraving studio, the need for that, at their company, which is why, in addition to the work I had been doing, I offered to start making social media posts for them. Brainstorming ideas of how we can contact customers using newsletters, and really taking that on as an additional project that I was then able to leverage to apply to do that full time. It was a skillset that I saw as more versatile and from my personal development standpoint was something I knew very little about, but enough to kind of get my foot in the door. And just from a service, paying it forward standpoint, I knew I'd be able to help more people, help other small businesses by doing that at an agency like I work at now.

Jesse Butts:

Were you still enjoying the, the laser etching? Or was it this is kind of fun, but it's really not something I wanna do for 40 hours anymore?

Jackie Sanders:

I absolutely loved it. I think, especially cause we had all of our processes in house, and so being a small company as well, we had, I think it was seven different processes. It was me and one other team member doing all of the production, doing all of the design. And so it was very exciting and very rewarding because within a matter of two, three days, you take something completely from design to production, to finishing, and then a client comes and picks it up. And they're so excited. So it was very fulfilling. But I do think I learned early on as with many small businesses, you wear so many different hats that it can feel limiting at times, especially as you're trying to take vacation days or you're the only person that can do certain things, which is very flattering and very exciting, but it's also can be limiting. If you're out sick for certain things, or if you're taking a week vacation, you almost have to like prep before you leave and then play catch up when you get back, which I think a lot of industries are like that. A lot of roles are like that. But I started recognizing, is this what I want long, long term? Like, would I still wanna do this 20 years from now? And I think I really realized within a matter of 2, 3, 4 years that I had kind of maxed out on where I could feel challenged. And there wasn't much growth opportunity there, which is something that I always thrive on of constantly learning and constantly developing new skills. So once I felt like I was at the point where there wasn't places where I could grow, we still have an amazing relationship now. And I actually use them and their machinery to produce a handful of elements in my own art practice. So I've loved being able to also support them as a local business now as a customer, not as an employee, but being able to maintain that partnership. I just kind of realized that that wasn't my forever role, and trying to figure out what that new role was.

Jesse Butts:

You just mentioned learning and acquiring new skills. Kind of talking about that skill gap between, you know, what you're doing with laser etching and marketing, were you taking online courses? Were you watching videos? Like just for the benefit of audience members who, who maybe like you, know they're doing something and they see something else that looks like it, it would be a good fit for them, but they don't have the skills or education. How did you bridge that gap?

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah, that's a really, really great question. I think, especially because so many people, no matter what industry you're in, if you feel like you're not in a position where you wanna be, but you don't know how to move out of it. Right. You're like, well, I can't develop skills for a new job cause I'm doing my current job and maybe feeling burnt out by it or feeling just unfulfilled and unmotivated. And for me it really was leaning into digital and online mentors and from a very non-traditional sense of, it wasn't a traditional course. It wasn't Zoom calls with anyone. I was just honestly binge listening to every podcast I could get my hands on. Every YouTube series, really recognizing who are those big players in the industry that are having these voices that are sharing their knowledge? I think marketing especially, there's so much online in terms of people having opinions about where the industry is going, what works on social media, what doesn't. How, as a small business owner, thinking about my art business especially, how I can use that to then grow my audience. And I think that's where it was a huge benefit for me of, I wasn't even necessarily thinking about it first as something I could take my day job career in. I was thinking about it in application to my art business. So it made all of these education courses very practical and something I could experiment sending newsletters when it was me and two friends for like three months were like all of the people on my newsletter. But I would spend like two hours, like testing out platforms or what should I put on it? And taking my own time to really dive into the field without really knowing that I was, it was just something I enjoyed doing. And I was interested in and I felt challenged by, by listening to as many podcasts as I could. Reading books. And then thinking, Wait, I've done all of this research, especially with a 45 minute commute to work, 45 minute home, listening on my lunch break and really doing that for about a year or two towards the end of my time at the laser engraving studio, like every single day. Like that adds up, doing that research on your own and that passion. So, being able to then leverage the skills of, Well, what would happen if I really applied this to my art business, applied this to my current job? It was taking on more work, but I knew that it would also then give me credible experience that I can then use to jump forward.

Jesse Butts:

The time that you're talking about with the courses, the videos, the podcasts, the reading. Obviously that's not time you spent making art, it's not time you spent making yourself known in the arts community. Was that a hard sacr... I mean, maybe you didn't even consider it a sacrifice. Maybe I'm putting words in your mouth, but can you kind of walk us through that justification for, for allotting your time differently and, and how you approached all of that?

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah, that's a very good question. And I think it wasn't something that I necessarily saw as, Okay, because coming straight outta grad school and undergrad, for many years, I had been known as The Artist. Like in college, people kind of know you by like, Oh, what are you studying? What's your degree? And so that was, I felt like still a huge part of my identity. Even if I was doing a day job that wasn't directly related. Of course it was creative. But that's something that really hit me about two or three years after moving to Raleigh because I didn't know anyone here. The very practical logistics of it didn't feel like a sacrifice to take this job because I needed full time hours to be able to pay to live on my own and pay for living and all the things that you have to do when you move to a new city. But I think it really hit me when it was two or three years in. I had finally like got my groove with this job was really being able to...

Jesse Butts:

The etching job?.

Jackie Sanders:

The etching job. Yes. Sorry. Yeah. the laser engraving job, I was able to like develop those skills. So I was kind of getting to a place where I was comfortable. There's always that beginning learning curve of like, there's so much information and you're just learning. But at that point I really realized like I hadn't made artwork in two to three years, like since undergrad. I'd made craft projects here and there. And I think the biggest turning point for me, or an almost like wake up moment was realizing that the new friends that I had made here in Raleigh, none of them knew that I was creative or that I was an artist. And that wasn't part of my identity anymore. It was part of my personal identity, but that wasn't something that I had been known for socially. And I started really thinking about that because to your point, I was always appreciative of the arts. I would go to the First Friday events, but it started scratching that itch of rather than being an observer of this community, how can I get back into the community again? Now that I felt more stable, I had like started seeing the local players of certain galleries that I really visited all the time or local events that I love bringing my friends to. But how do I, not only observe that community, but get back into it? And so it really started with a daily practice of making artwork again. It started at the end of 2018, early 2019. And then at the end of 2019, I attended my first local critique group that was run by a gallery here in town. I was super, super intimidated because at that point I was starting to question, Like, am I an artist still? Like I had all of this credibility in my college town and all these experiences, but I was getting further and further away from that. So like, do I have what it takes? I'm not in the arts industry anymore. What do I have to contribute now? And by connecting with local artists, other people who either were full-time artists or professors at universities, or had day jobs in something totally different, but they all showed up. And it really just enlightened me to what my involvement in the arts world locally could look like. I'm like, Oh, people work in technology companies during the day and then come home and paint in their studio for three hours. So really seeing other creatives define what success as an artist looked like to them in their own way, really opened my eyes to, Okay, what do I want my life to look like in the local arts industry? So starting that critique group in 2019. In 2020, it became an amazing support system. But having a studio in downtown Raleigh was really that pivot point of being able to connect with the community, being able to show my work, and also share forward to other artists who are in the position where I was when I started this new creative journey, this new wave, where I felt stuck at a day job where I wasn't challenged and I was kind of making it by, but I wasn't feeling that inspiration or spark. And so wanting to then share forward these tools and ideas and even just be that community support for them of, you always have a way to reconnect with your arts industry, even if it's not in the way that you originally thought it would.

Jesse Butts:

I'm very curious how you, you balance the full-time job with the studio?

Jackie Sanders:

So now having a day job that is working remote, I'll typically do a kind of hybrid schedule. I also paint a majority in the morning. I'm a very early riser when it comes to my creative energy. So most of the painting that I get done is between the hours of like 5 and 8 AM. I think I kind of trained myself that way when working at the laser engraving studio of, I knew if I waited till the evening that I may have to work overtime or someone would ask me to go out to dinner and as an extrovert, I was like, would always say yes. So I knew if I was gonna prioritize my creative practice, I'd have to do it first thing in the morning. And so I just started working or waking up earlier and earlier So, whether that's naturally where I feel creative energy or I've just trained myself that way, I don't know. But it's something I've brought into, even though I work remotely now, typically I'll paint in the morning. The artists at Art Space have 24 hour access to the building, which is amazing. And then I'll work my day job from 8 to 5. I work remote, so I can just work right from the studio. And then we're still open in the evening. So I'll have my studio open from 5 to 7 or all day on the weekends. And it's really a nice blend of that marketing job, as well as my creative practice, as well as being able to build relationships with the local community as they come

Jesse Butts:

One thing I I've been thinking about as you've been sharing all this is you, you kind of break down the barrier, so to speak, like, a successful marketer has to be in the office. Or a successful artist needs their own studio or gallery. And you kind of said, Well, you know, I can still be producing art. I, I can't balance a job with owning my own or renting my own studio and so let me find a solution where there's essentially a co-working space for artists and you know, the same with the job. I can do it remotely, so, you know, instead of having to commute, to make it there for half an hour. I can just close my laptop at five and have two hours. So sometimes we have to really think about, you know, we have this idea of like, If I'm a writer, that means, I need to be writing from five in the morning till noon and, or, you know, whatever your practice might be, we've built up all these ideas about, you know, proper artist, proper writer, whatever. And in reality, there are so many options out there if we're just willing to look at, Well, it's really about the work and the output, not the... not structures in the sense of priorities but kind of those practices that seem so intertwined with the, the identity.

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah, definitely. And I a hundred percent agree with that. I think that was something that, especially early on, it was almost question everything in terms of my schedule or what I thought success as an artist looked like. I mean, even before I had the community facing studio, I pretty much took over like the second bedroom in my apartment. Traditionally, that would be like a guest room or like kind of an office. Like I had pegboard on the wall. I had mats on the floor and I'm like, this is my artist studio. And I would record videos in there and send it off to my newsletter page that again had like four people on it, but almost like going through those motions and learning the skills of like that I still implement today. But really doing that from early on when it was 5 AM in my second bedroom of my apartment, here's a video of what I'm working on in the studio this morning. Or recognizing, as you were saying, like a 45 minute commute to work and home, how can I use that? Even if I have a day job where I have to go in, how can I use that to be productive time that will mean something in the future? So I was like, that's an hour and a half of education every day. What we always want is more time. And so even if you have limitations on how much of your time you can control for the pieces that you can control, how can you make it... become a time that you are then gonna value in the future.

Jesse Butts:

What do you find most enjoyable about your marketing work and your work in the arts community?

Jackie Sanders:

Ooh, great question. The biggest thing for me is really being able to tell stories. I think stories are so powerful. From a marketing standpoint, being able to really cast a larger vision as to, it's not just a product that you're buying. It's not just a service that you're buying. People buy based on emotions, and being able to use that skill to then help other small business owners make their visions come to life is super, super rewarding. They can have an HVAC company that's been family owned for 20 years. And by getting the extra leads to their website, I'm then able to release stress on their end and help them enjoy their time with family and friends more. Kind of those non trackable rewards is the, I think my favorite thing about the marketing industry. And from the arts community, really embracing that idea of community over competition. I'm a very Type A, go getter person. Growing up as an athlete as well, I think that has a lot to do with it of competition and work ethic. And you have to put the work in. But I think the challenging part, but the also super rewarding part is the competition within the arts industry is like only with yourself. All you can do is focus on your own growth, and in order for someone else, in order for me to win, it doesn't mean someone else has to lose. Being able to share, bring people into the conversation more and more and really create that community to where you can share forward advice that you've learned. It's not, Oh this is my precious secret. I'm keeping it from everyone. I'm the first person to like, be the cheerleader of other artists. And like, if I find out a awesome business tip or a online platform that I love, like I can't tell enough people about it. I'm like, please let me save you time because I just did four hours of research on this. And like, I don't want you not to spend this four hours, like, please take this information and like, see what you can do with it. And I think that's a really contagious mindset and affects so much of your life. And especially when building that much of a community based creative culture is super, super rewarding.

Jesse Butts:

Do you envision what I'll call a dual track, marketer by day, artist, art community entrepreneur by night. Do you envision that long term?

Jackie Sanders:

Honestly, that is probably the question I get most often. Because most people, especially when they visit my studio, or they receive my newsletter or they follow me on social media or listen to the podcast, they're normally very shocked when I share with them that I have a day job because I always joke that I'm a full-time artist with the full-time day job. I don't think you can necessarily take off the hat as an artist. It always affects everything you do. But I've always been someone who has never been excited about the idea of just doing one thing. Of like just working in marketing. Or just doing a podcast. Or just whatever the skill was or the project, I've always been really intrigued and excited about becoming a beginner again in different processes and learning new things. And so with balancing digital marketing and my creative business. Currently, I do find that they do strengthen each other. And so right now they really balance each other well. I think inevitably down the road, there may be a time where I am able to take my art business full time. But currently everything's separate and, especially creatively, I like that by having a day job, it also takes off the pressure from my creative practice of, This painting has to sell in order for me to make rent this month. All my business expenses are separate from my personal expenses, but it takes the pressure off creatively, which ultimately I think allows the creativity to flow better. Cause as any artist will tell you, like the second you put a super harsh deadline or like, This painting has to sell for $2,600 in order for you to be able to make a bill or make this timeline, that's a lot of pressure and of course you're gonna play it safe. You're gonna hold back. And so I like the ability to balance both and also be able to thrive. And I feel like I'm still growing in both. One day, if I feel as though one is conflicting with the other, or I'm at a maximum growth point in one area, then I may have to question it.

Jesse Butts:

I like to ask guests about work's role in their life. And I mean, it's, it's very apparent, it's a large role in your life. Does it ever feel like burnout? Are there times when you just need to read a trashy novel or watch a dumb, you know, show? Like, I've just, I mean, it just sounds like you're, you know, between the marketing and the art and the community that you've built, do you need much time to unplug?

Jackie Sanders:

Yes. And that is a, I think a great lesson that many entrepreneurs learn, or any Type A go-getters who are structured. Work is a huge part of my life. And I think it's one of those situations where I truly just enjoy and I'm excited and interested so many things, which is a great problem to have. Like often I just feel like there's not enough time because I am so eager to learn and explore. But I have learned through experience that burnout does happen. And so really recognizing for myself what those signs of burnout are so I can learn, Okay, I might not be burned out yet, but I need to pull back a little bit and take time disconnecting and really tracking how much time I am taking care of myself, taking care of my body, having social outlets. And those almost become the things I have to force myself to prioritize, which for some people it's the opposite. They need accountability for doing a certain project. Even if it's something they enjoy doing, they might not get around to it. I almost find the opposite problem. Like I have to force myself to Okay, take six hours and do something not work related. Fitness is also a huge part of my life too. So that definitely helps of being in local sports leagues or prioritizing workout but being aware, I think of your energy is super important because especially as an entrepreneur and as creative, I've kind of learned to shift my mindset around work. Rather than seeing relaxation time as like, Oh that's just time I'm not being productive or I'm not getting closer to my goals. It really is quality control for my artwork because your creative energy is affected by your whole lifestyle. And so if you're exhausted and burned out, that's gonna show in your artwork. That's gonna show in your day job performance. Almost as a way to make sure I can hit all these goals and get to where I want my creative career and professional career to be, I have to prioritize that rest time.

Jesse Butts:

What questions should someone in or, or relatively recently out of grad school be asking themselves if they're thinking, What I've studied, I'm just not sure it's what's going to, you know, pay the bills or be the career. What do you think they should be asking themselves when they're thinking about the possibility of working outside their field of study?

Jackie Sanders:

Well, first off, when you're applying to jobs outside your field of study, really thinking about what skills from this field are transferable from what you did in your degree. Of course, being able to identify them and communicate them to a future employer is important. And I think the other thing would be finding a job that you can go into that may be outside of your field to where you can still move forward in the field that you studied. So it may be a day job that has remote hours that gives you that flexibility or that financial security, but also leaves the door open to where it could develop new skills that you can then transfer to your future field of study one day. Or just gives you that freedom to, on your own time, pursue what you want to do or be part of your local community, whether creatively or whichever your field was and really allow you to dive in and still feel the rewarding aspects of it. Even if it's not your main financial income stream.

Jesse Butts:

Were there any books or videos or podcasts that helped you as you were not necessarily considering marketing, but considering something different?

Jackie Sanders:

Just for the overall liberal arts, I do share a lot of podcasts and book suggestions on my blog. So if your listeners wanna go take a look at that at JaclynSanders.com. But I think the one pivotal one for me was Tim Ferris's Four-Hour Work Week. As I've discussed with you, I definitely work more than four hours in a week, but I think by reading that book, it really made me question, Okay, what matters most to me? What do I value? And if everything had to be stripped down, what are things that I would want to prioritize? And also it shift my relationship with my day job, I think in a liberating way of like show up, do a good job, provide value. But also you're not defined always by the work that you do. And that's a very scary feeling for some people, if your identity is linked with your work. But it's also super liberating of, you can be parts of a community and make change and be support systems for others, even if it's not your nine to five day job, which is very exciting.

Jesse Butts:

Well, you, you mentioned your, your blog and your website. Where can people find more about your work, your course, Level Up Artists, where should people be looking?

Jackie Sanders:

Yeah. So my website is JaclynSanders.com. On there, I have my art portfolio as well as resources for other artists. More information about my coaching business and podcast, the Level Up Artists podcast. I'm also on social media, on all platforms @JSandersStudio. Or if you just wanna follow the podcast, it's Level Up Artists on Instagram and on all streaming platforms. So Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and on YouTube because we are visual artists after all. So sometimes we wanna see it.

Jesse Butts:

Thank you, Jacqueline. This was a wonderful conversation.

Jackie Sanders:

Of course. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.