Accomplishments in 2008 (and the lessons from writing it all out)

If you haven’t written down your accomplishments for the last year, please take time to do so. Here’s the newsletter on that topic. I’ve been hearing from people who have done this and are pleasantly surprised at their lists. I know you will be, too.

Upon request, and as a tradition, I will share my pared down list with you here.

What I got done this past year

Launched a new book in February. Ordered second printing in September.
Attended 18 (hope I’m not missing one!) Studio Tour book events in 6 states where I came into contact with more than 350 artists.
Appeared on 18 blogs as part of the IRBITS Blog Tour.
Sold more than 4,000 copies of I'd Rather Be in the Studio!

Launching the book was the most important thing I did for my business. It afforded me the opportunity to do the Studio Tour, Blog Tour, speaking engagements, and was a major source of income for me.

Presented 7 workshops in 6 states to about 234 artists.
Held 3 online classes and 3 Breakthrough Programs (The Artist Breakthrough Program was also launched in 2008).
Hosted 5 Insights teleseminars with 4 different guest artists.
Presented 3 teleseminars on my own: Create and Sell E-books, Curate and Install Your Art Exhibit, and Save Money & Generate Buzz (for smARTist).

Attracted more than 2500 new subscribers to the Art Marketing Action newsletter.
Newsletter started syndication on a blog in May.

Held 2 big sales: Summer audio sale (sold 92 CDs) and December book sale (sold about 380 books).

Created a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter and a stronger presence on LinkedIn.

Posted first business video on the Web: an invitation to my California workshop in February.

Worked with at least (I lose track!) 23 consulting clients one-on-one with coaching, marketing plans, artist statements, Web site evaluations, etc.

Formed 3-4 new, lasting business partnerships.

Started affiliate program.

Increased my sales income by more than 50%. (I don’t share this lightly or boastfully. I share it because I think you should be confident that you are reading and weighing advice from someone who is building a successful business.)
Paid off my debt.

Favorite exhibitions:
“In Contemporary Rhythm” (Ernest Blumenschein) at the Denver Art Museum (I always love seeing artist retrospectives and this was really a treat–and a surprise)
The Frida Kahlo exhibit and the permanent collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Maggie Taylor and Caroline Douglas at the Boulder Public Library Canyon Gallery

I invested in myself and my business in these ways

Attended a speaking voice class and then hired Maggie Roswell as my voice coach. (Hey, those podcasts have improved, haven’t they?!)
Hired a second virtual assistant.
Hired a bookkeeper (Hallelujah!).
Attended small workshops on writing and podcasting.
Benefited from listening to 28 teleseminars and one 7-week e-seminar.
Attended the Thin Air Summit (for social networking).
Attended Christine Kane’s North Carolina retreat in October.
Became part of new mastermind group with two other people and continued my women’s finance group with two others.

Read at least 13 books

Favorite fiction: A Thousand Splendid Suns (I can't say enough about how this book moved me!)
Favorite non-fiction: Three Cups of Tea
Favorite non-fiction business: Can't choose just one–they inspired me in different ways! Tribes, The Girl with a Gallery, and Yes!

What I realize from this list
Almost all of my travel was built around promoting the book.
I need to make time to see more art! I only went to 3 new museums (in 3 states). Am most anxious to see the Milwaukee Art Museum (which I visited before the new building) in March.
I want more people at my workshops. I already knew this, but if I'm going to travel all that way, I'd like to see more artists benefiting.
I’d like to create more and stronger business partnerships..

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18 thoughts on “Accomplishments in 2008 (and the lessons from writing it all out)”

  1. Holy cow! What an amazing year! It’s so cool to see it all written down like that. So inspiring. Was this the year of the Great Leap (not sure if that’s what you called it) or was that last year? In any case, this year was a milestone for you. Here’s to an even more fulfilling 2009. I have such warm fuzzies thinking of those 4,000 artists who have your book and will become more successful because of it!

  2. Phew…that is a lot of accomplishments…I feel good, just knowing someone I know is accomplishing alot…That said, I am exhausted…Just reading your list is tiring…If there is harmonious balance in the world, then perhaps my completely blank list provides that balance…Comfortable just watching grass grow, I feel that us non-accomplishers contribute too…sort of in a zen way ? Happy New Year’s Alyson, & thank you for working so hard to support all of us…Your energy & skills & charisma are like watching fireworks explode…inspiring…For 2009, I ask if maybe you might consider videotaping one or more of your workshops, & later allowing, for a fee, some of us to watch online…I am pretty much stuck here in Canada, & would love to be a fly on the wall in one of the workshops, without the commitment of going in person…(I guess you would need the participants to sign a consent form…)

  3. Congratulations! You really did a lot! I made out my list too (thanks for the suggestion), and it pleasantly surprised me. Just received your book and I’m truly looking forward to reading it. Do you ever consider doing a workshop in Austin (TX)? I’ve heard several art friends say they hope you do, and I also hope you do. Keep us posted. Happy New Year!

  4. I TOTALLY agree with you Alyson! I am a note maker. Also, my blog is especially helpful to keep track of all the stuff I have done in the past year. I print it out and I have a telephone book size binder sitting here with all my thoughts and doings printed out for me to witness. It is good to look back and see where you have been so you can look ahead to see where you are going! HAPPY NEW YEAR! Sheree Rensel

  5. My dear Alyson, That is the most awesome list of accomplishments and I bow to your intense dedication and energy applied to helping us with all that you know and continue to develop. Thank you! Did you keep a statistic list throughout the year in order to be able to put all this down and see what you had done? I would think so! Anyway, it is a good idea to do that so that one can see where one has been and chart a course for the future based on it…as you did when you wrote about what you realized. I hope you have enough time for your personal life! You are surely blessed with a great deal of love and energy for what you do…. I think love and energy go together! I know you will have great year ahead and so will all of us who use your great help. Lynne

  6. You are such an inspiration and I much appreciate that you share your accomplishments with us. Here’s to a healthy, successful, and prosperous year 2009!

  7. Oh, I so agree on A Thousand Splendid Suns. I actually had to put the book down at one point because I intuited what was coming and simply didn’t want to read it…that’s never ever happened to me before and I devour books. I also enjoyed reading 3 cups of tea and just told Husband he should read it. And now we share being graduates of a Christine Kane retreat. Isn’t she great?! The two of you are my most referred to bloggers in my posts. Great list. Totally impressive. What a great exercise! it surely did help me see what’s next…and it was unexpected!

  8. Great list Alyson! This inspired me to write my own list and I must say I was quite impressed with myself, and what I learned from the exercise is that I can do anything I set my mind to really. So as I go into the New Year it is so important to be intentional on what I set my mind to. I had been toying with the idea of taking your blast off class and this post pushed me over the edge, signing up for that on Friday. Oh, and I am in Dallas and would travel to Austin to take a workshop.

  9. Congratulations on these accomplishments, Alyson, and a huge thank you! The things that you do have inspired me. I noticed a couple of items I missed on my 2008 to do list and got them done this first morning of the new year (new Twitter and Linkedin accounts set up and running). Patrice Erickson

  10. Alyson Stanfield

    Cynthia: 2007 was The Big Leap–and it WAS. But, as it turns out, 2008 was The Bigger Leap. And I didn’t even name it as such. Sari: I sincerely doubt you’re a non-accomplisher! And I’ll consider your request for a video workshop. Marilyn: I’d love to do a workshop in Austin. After all, I did my graduate work there. Lynne: No, I don’t keep a list throughout the year. I just take 2-3 hours to add it all up at the end of the year. There are certain numbers that I keep track of on a continuing basis with QuickBooks or with my Monthly Reality Check (which I’m sharing in the new Blast Off class that starts next week). Tammy: A Thousand Splendid Suns is, I believe, the only book I’ve ever read in under 24 hours. And then I told my husband that I needed to be alone. I wept for over an hour for the women of Afghanistan. I think I know the part you’re referring to. Rebecca: Yes, the list always surprises. That’s why it’s such an amazing exercise. Hmmm . . . maybe Austin in the fall of 2009? Everyone else: Thank you for your kind words and congratulations on your lists.

  11. First, wow, you’ve accomplished a lot this year. Second, thanks for what you do and for urging your readers (including me) to do the same. I just went over and my accomplishments and impressed myself. More importantly, I think I’ve finally got a direction to go. Interestingly, it’s less about my own art and more about helping others.

  12. Pingback: How to Hire a Consultant for Your Art Career — Art Biz Blog

  13. elizabeth j white

    wow, you’ve been busy, what accomplishments? Great Work wow

    I am sitting here thinking about my accomplishments……I have Goals, but

    I have a hard time thinking of things I’ve accomplished.

    well, my first goal as for as my art was to start getting my work into the public eye

    I’ve had four shows so for and applied to more I guess that is a accomplishment

    Been looking for free classes to develop my craft, found a few

    Finally made my artist statement and biography though he needs some serious editing.

    I guess that’s something.

    Now I still have a long list of goals but I guess I’m getting there

    Goal get my own handicap accessible studio, build it
    studio easel bulk supplies
    Get representation, consultation, and more
    I get frustrated with all the biz end sometimes

    I feel I am a artist first above all and want to be creating
    but If I don’t promote some I am running out of room in my little
    sun room studio. There is so much to learn and some times I feel lost in the midst.
    Thanks for your tips

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Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

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