January 30, 2020 | Alyson Stanfield

How Art Biz Success Is Evolving in 2020

One of the tenets I abide by can be abbreviated as A.B.E. Always Be Evolving.

Evolution, by definition, is something that happens over time. It’s usually not the result of a big bang!

You have to allow it to happen. And that's a process I've learned to give into.

So I began thinking about what I really wanted for my students and coaching clients and what I want for myself. This last part is very important because if I’m not happy in my business, my team isn't happy and my clients aren't happy because I'm not performing at my highest level. I don’t give my best self.

Please note that the time stamps for the podcast playback.

Self-Inquiry and Insights

If I’m not happy in my business, my team isn't happy and my clients aren't happy because I'm not performing at my highest level.

Over the last year, I've asked these questions repeatedly:  (2:45)

  • What’s fun for me?
  •  What do I enjoy doing?
  • What do I not enjoy doing?
  •  What do I have to stop doing because it sucks the life from my soul?
  • What am I really good at? And where is the evidence of that?

By the way, I also ask my clients many of these same questions.

Here are the 3 major insights I had during this process.

  1.  I enjoy working live and in person. I like to travel and hold the energy of a large group throughout a workshop.This can be exhausting, but it also feeds me. And I think I’m good at creating an excellent experience for workshop participants. I learn more when I’m there in person. However, I don’t enjoy launching ads, emails, and promotions to try to fill a room and then being on the hook for thousands of dollars to a venue
  2. I enjoy helping ambitious artists who have a solid studio practice. I enjoy helping them shore up their foundation or review everything they have in place as they prepare for growth and are ready for a new phase in their artist journey.My super power is helping artists create sustainable business systems that can support long-term growth. I do not enjoy working with wishy-washy artists who kinda sorta maybe think they might want to do something someday with their art. There are creativity coaches and therapists to help with that. It’s not my gift.
  3. I most enjoy working with artists who are more advanced in their careers. They have their foundation in place and are thinking beyond entry forms and juried shows. They’re carefully crafting their career course, and I’m good at helping them develop creative business strategies that can support their growth.

    Art Biz Success team member and artist Kristen O'Neill joins me on the podcast to talk about what's new for Art Biz Success in 2020. Pictured here in front of her painting, Fall Creek Light.

Those are the 3 insights for me: live and in person events, building systems for artists with a studio practice, and coaching more advanced artists for next-level growth.

That sets us up for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast. Team member Kristen O'Neill joined me for this special announcement about how these three insights are playing out in our business evolution in 2020. (5:30)

Listen Now


Music by Wildermiss.

Introducing Half-day Workshops

(9:25) In the past, I was hired to do workshops in about 25 states across the U.S. I used to get frustrated when a room full of artists wanted me to tell them everything I knew in 2 days. So I'd fly in, firehose them with everything I knew about art marketing, answer all of their questions, and then leave. I had no idea what they'd do with that info. It was, in the long run, unsatisfying.

I have also been leading 2-day mastermind workshops in various parts of the country for the past 3 years. While I loved watching the transformation of the artists who attended those events, they were no longer working for me.

(12:09) My art marketing workshops in 2020 will be half-day events at which you will create, with my guidance, a simple 1-page marketing plan. I walk you through a process I’ve tested this year with two groups to distill all that is possible into a plan that is right for you.

I'm going to venues and organizations that invite me (and that I can work into my schedule). You just need a reliable and safe venue for the workshop. If this is of interest to you, let's talk.

The Artist's 1-Page Marketing Plan workshops are just $57 when you register early. First up is Vancouver, WA on April 18 and then Detroit, MI on June 13.

Alyson Stanfield

(17:00) What I've learned over the years is that it's difficult to learn and retain information when you're in such an environment for a short period of time. What I think most artists need is a plan that makes sense of everything: things you already know (which is a lot) and are learning (which I know is a lot!), and tasks you believe you should or could be doing to build your art business.

You can change the course of your career in a short workshop, but you’ll only make big progress when you instill lasting habits, routines, and systems, and, I believe, when you are well supported throughout the process.

Many artists will take the marketing plan they create in the workshop and run with it on their own. Other artists need help filling in the holes, sustaining the momentum, or expanding their options. For them, we have tweaked my signature program …

Your Success System

(18:45) The content of the Art Career Success System remains much the same, although we're always improving. We continue to use this system to help artists who have a studio practice strengthen their businesses. There are certain things you must do repeatedly throughout your career. In the Art Career Success System (ACSS), you create that foundation in the first year.

Learning center for the Art Career Success System.

(27:00) We know it's a little confusing because the ACSS is comprised of 4 separate courses.

  1. Art Biz Accelerator, in which you make a plan for increasing your income and finding the right exhibition and sales venues for your work.
  2. Magnetic You, where you work on becoming more attractive to buyers, collectors, and curators by massaging the way you present yourself on paper, online, and in person.
  3. Creative Content Camp, to help you generate and organize content for sharing online.
  4. Collector Relationship Essentials, so that you nurture relationships with the people who are most valuable to your career advancement.

Visit class pages to sign up for a free preview of the course so you know exactly what you're getting.

All 4 courses are designed so they can be used at any point in any artist's career. They're filled with tasks you do repeatedly, regardless of your professional level.

You can take the courses whenever you want, which can be a problem. There's little reason, outside of your own ambition, for you to start now. (If you've been around me awhile, you know how much I value fast action. There's no better time than now to implement changes that can improve your results.

(28:20) With that in mind, I'm releasing a quarterly schedule and suggested syllabus for the Art Career Success System. And, as you will hear in our conversation, Kristen has agreed to serve as an artist mentor to our ACSS community members.

(26:13) One of the bigger pieces of news is that all of our courses are on demand and we lowered the price last year—significantly. It went from $1297 to $997 and we added the option of paying just $99 a month.

Course preview for Art Biz Accelerator.

(29:20) We removed any doubt you might have about the quality of the content by offering free previews of every course in the Art Career Success System. Whenever you click on a link to find out about one of our courses, you can select the option Try Now for Free to preview 3 free lessons in the course of your interest.

Try this now using the course links above and you'll find lessons like those in the screen capture to the left.

You can also click on Watch Video to get a behind-the-scenes look at our learning center and community forum.

(24:20) I want to point out that we do NOT use Facebook for our community. We believe Facebook has the potential to distract you from your goals while they are mining your data. Instead, we use a platform called Mighty Networks to communicate.

(31:00) We have people who stay in the program year after year. In fact, a few weeks ago I received this email from Teresa Beyer:

Painting by artist and ACSS member Teresa Beyer
©Teresa Beyer, La Villita Stairway. Watercolor on 300lb cold press paper, 20.5 x 14.5 inches. Used with permission.

I just signed up for my 4th year in the Art Career Success System. Working with you keeps me on track. Staying in the ACSS community gives me the opportunity to review and improve. I learn what other artists are doing and how they address challenges.

The live video conferences give me a bird’s-eye perspective of how unique we all are while benefitting from our experience together in the ACSS. Yes, I've been lurking in the shadows of ACSS for years, but I'm now ready to come out of the shadows and shine my light.

(32:20) We have new perks for the many artists who stay with us year after year. If you've previously taken the ACSS, you can stay with us for just $37 a month or $397 a year. And you now have access to my extensive library that I've been keeping locked up for almost 2 decades. All ACSS members also participate in the monthly strategy sessions with Kristen and the frequent Get It Done Days, which are exactly what they sound like.

I believe strongly in the quality of this business training for artists—content I have massaged for nearly two decades. If you need a boost, we are here for you.

Artist Masterminds

(35:45) Perhaps the biggest announcement is that after 7 years, we shut down the Art Biz Inner Circle.

Working with artists in the Inner Circle gave us a vision of the cool things that can happen when artists connect with one another. As wonderful as the artists were that we worked with, I had a couple of realizations:

  1. We had terrific coaches supporting our clients. They helped Inner Circle members get unstuck, flip their mindsets, and follow through on suggested strategies. But, because I had this additional support, I felt a little disconnected to some members who didn't show up outside of their private coaching calls. I hated that! That brings me to my second realization …
  2. Having such a large group (our largest was about 50 members) didn't feel right to me.

And Kristen reminded me of this, from her own experience: Artists really found immense value in working with other artists on the same type of topics in small groups within the Inner Circle. They could share their knowledge and ask questions and receive suggestions from other artists working on the same type of goals.

(38:45) To this last point, I have created small group virtual artist masterminds for artists who are focused on a specific aspect of their businesses.

These are for artists who have a strong foundation, like my Art Career Success System, already in place and need a different kind of support. You know much of what is required, but are looking for highly personalized strategies for your particular situation. You want to work with a single person (me!) who gets to know your art business inside and out.

But you also believe in the power of a community. You know you will be inspired and motivated by other artists who are at a level comparable to your own.

Community network for the ACSS and small group masterminds.

As I said earlier, we used to refer to our 2-day live retreats as mastermind workshops, but don't confuse those with this new opportunity.

These new artist masterminds are different because they are virtual (we meet via video conference) and last for 6 months. They’re also topic focused and have a minimum of 6 participants and a maximum of 12.

(39:30) We have 3 groups forming: Sales-Focused Mastermind, Instructors Mastermind, and Community Projects Mastermind.

(42:00) One Sales-Focused group filled up quickly and has already started, but I will put together another with enough interest. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on these in this post because I plan on devoting an entire episode to them soon.

Read about them and let me know if you're interested.

How Are You Evolving?

Phew! That's a lot. It feels good to have this clarity about where I'm headed and where I can be most supportive for our artist-clients.

Thank you for letting me share this news with you. It means a lot that you're here and stick with me through the changes.

(44:10) If you are struggling to find your next project, use my questions on yourself.

  • What’s fun for you?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What do you not enjoy doing?
  • What do you have to stop doing because it sucks the life from your soul?
  • What are you really good at? And where is the evidence of that?

Keep asking these questions. Add more questions of your own.

Allow the evolution process to take place gradually. Know that it's going to be messy for a bit. You'll survive and undoubtedly be stronger than ever.

Listen Now


Music by Wildermiss.

one response add a comment
  • Thank you for this update regarding your program and hearing your process as a coach.

    I was wondering what happened to the Inner Circle, but after being in your ACSS program for two years, Appling your methods, and now rejoining a community in your Sales Focused- Mastermind has been the best move for myself and art career.
    Thank you!
    I now realize it is all(acss,masterminds..ets) inner circle with a great community of fellow artist.

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