October 21, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Learning How to Be a Boss with Ali Manning

Coptic stitched book artist Ali Manning | on Art Biz Success

Whether you’re overseeing a single part-time assistant or a team of helpers, when you’re the boss, you have to step up and own your authority.

You have to be more organized, more focused, and more responsible.

Want help editing your video? You’d better get the raw footage to your helper a couple of weeks before your deadline. Ditto for social media posts that need to be plotted and emails that must be created and scheduled.

You have to be more deliberate because people are depending on you.

You must hire thoughtfully and thoroughly and know when it’s time to fire people who aren’t a good fit.

It takes a great deal of effort to find the right person to help with your art business, so you want to get it right. Because of this, you need to find a way to retain good team members. You want them to take ownership in your business and pride in the work they do on your behalf.

You won’t think about this from the beginning of the relationship with a new team member because you’re so focused on getting the help you need fast. But you absolutely should be thinking about it: How do I keep good people on my team?

We talked about working with a team with Angela Fehr and Robin Edmundson back in episode 104. Then in episode 105, Trudy Rice discussed how she assumes the roll of boss even while working with her sister as an employee.

In this episode I talk with Ali Manning about the responsibilities she feels as the person in charge of her business. In particular, the responsibilities she has to team members.

We discuss her membership-based business model, the dynamics between team members, how she hires, when and why she hires employees instead of contractors, and how she keeps team members happy. We also get into the hiring mistakes that both of us have made in the past—freely admitting that it was our fault, not that of the employees.

October 14, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

How to Work Successfully (and Sanely) with a Relative with Trudy Rice

Acrylic painting of Banksia botanical artist Trudy Rice | on Art Biz Success

I can’t think of a single relative that I would hire to help me with Art Biz Success. I love them (most of them) dearly, but working with them? No thanks.

And yet so many artists are lucky to have help from close family members: spouses who help pitch festival tents, kids who stamp envelopes and do data entry, and siblings who design websites and help install artwork.

Then there are artists who not only don’t have support from family, they have close family members who are negative, resentful, and jealous, which puts an incredible strain on the relationship and the artists’ emotional well being. If you are an artist who can count on family members to pitch in, I want you to know how lucky you are. Truly, deeply fortunate.

Trudy Rice counts herself among the blessed. In this episode of The Art Biz I talk with Trudy about her working relationship with her sister, which has been a godsend.

In order to have a successful working relationship with anyone, you need guiding ground rules. You need employee policies and agreements. And you need boundaries established between business and personal. We discussed some of this in episode 104 with Angela Fehr and Robin Edmundson.

It can be uncomfortable to enact formal arrangements with those close to us, and yet it’s even more important to have them with the relationships that mean the most. They can absolutely save your relationship.

Trudy and I talk about what her business was like before her sister Jenny started helping her, the specific tasks that Jenny is responsible for, and how they structure their business partnership to make sure they are both happy and fulfilled.

October 7, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Trusting Another Artist to Help You Run Your Art Business with Angela Fehr and Robin Edmundson

Watercolor painting summer evening landscape artist Angela Fehr | on Art Biz Success

It’s darn hard to hire someone to help with your business. You’ve been working by yourself for so long that you aren’t sure you can trust anyone to do the tasks the way you’d like them done.

Or you feel like it’s easier if you just do it yourself.

But if you want your business to grow, there comes a point at which you must hire to support that growth. And the wisdom is to hire before you think you can afford it.

In this episode I talk with Angela Fehr and Robin Edmundson.

Angela had been building a thriving business teaching heart-led watercolor since 2013, while leading a community of artists to support one another on that journey. She knew she needed help, but she wasn’t prepared to struggle to find that help. She was content in setting her intention and being open that the right person would come along.

Enter Robin—a student that Angela had her eye on. And, I’m kind of proud to say, a member of my former Inner Circle program for artists.

You’ll hear us discuss how Robin was and is the perfect fit for Angela, and vice versa. They’re building a team using Robin’s unique talents to support her in this process. We talk about the technology they use, how they work with other team members who have since come on board, and how they communicate with one another to stay on top of tasks.

September 30, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Juggling Multiple Art Styles and Audiences with Robin Maria Pedrero

Acrylic painting horizons artist Robin Maria Pedrero | on Art Biz Success

Whenever you have multiple styles or subjects, you probably also have multiple audiences. The abstract work might have one following, the functional pottery another, and the pet portraits yet a third. It’s hard to find people who are interested in all of them.

This means you’re kind of running multiple businesses.

On the one hand, you’re looking for exhibitions and venues for showing your abstracts. On the other, you’re promoting your handbuilt ceramics to people who appreciate their beauty far above what they would find at a big box store.

At the same time, you are trying to connect with pet guardians proud enough of their animal that they want to memorialize their mug with a framed original piece of art.

This is a lot of work you’ve created for yourself!

I’d never tell you not to do this, though I’d be tempted, because experimentation is such an important part of your life as an artist. Sometimes you need the different styles because they feed off of one another. Or they fulfill different parts of your artist’s soul.

Still, did I mention? It’s a lot of work to juggle different styles and audiences. You’ve been warned.

In this episode of The Art Biz with Robin Maria Pedrero, you’ll hear about the three different styles and subjects she paints. Robin has a very full art business, and she has joined the podcast to share her story about how she juggles her various styles of art and the diverse audiences for her work.

She also has fun during the process.

September 16, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Who Are The People On Your List and What Are They Doing There?

Jessica Cook painting | on Art Biz Success

Long long ago in a land far away, during a time in between undergrad and grad school for my art history degrees, I was an administrative assistant to a US Senator. I wouldn’t know until much later how priceless that experience was.

For starters, it taught me the importance of a mailing list. (It also got me in a photo on the cover of the New York Times. But I digress.)

Why Your List Is Mission Critical

I quickly recognized that my boss’s donor list and the Rolodex on top of my desk (yes, it was that long ago) were the most cherished assets in our office. They were the source of campaign donations, community support, and wise counsel.

Later, as a museum curator and educator, I saw how much we relied on our members and donors for financial support. It was critical to keep them in the fold of the museum’s activities.

I want to make sure you understand just how important a mailing list is.

As I said, lists were indispensable to the Senator and to the three museums where I worked, which is probably why creating a database of names was the first thing I did when I started my business.

I focused on expanding my list by sending a newsletter with useful content every week beginning March 30, 2002.

That was a long time ago. In 2002 artists were hungry for knowledge about building their businesses. And I was fresh out of my work at the art museum, which was a job that required me to produce a great deal of content. That made the transition to writing content for artists easy, and it was relatively easy to attract people to my list because the market and virtual space weren’t saturated at that time.

Those were the good old days.

September 15, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

A Cheat Sheet for Your Art Marketing Tasks

©Jane LaFazio, Artichoke Family. Watercolor. Used with permission.

Do you ever wonder what a regular marketing schedule for your art would look like?

Every week I comb through the hundreds of ideas I have for articles because I always find something new. Something that didn’t strike a chord a year ago suddenly calls my name.

I found this request deep in my filing system: I find it helpful to be reminded of what I can do or perhaps really should do on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.

The cheat sheet that follows is for Julie and everyone who finds comfort in knowing what to do and when. Here is a simple marketing schedule to follow.

September 9, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Simplifying to Improve Your Productivity with Amelia Furman

Mixed media collage artist Amelia Furman | on Art Biz Success

Why do we make things so difficult for ourselves sometimes? We don’t mean to. It’s our nature to appreciate simple solutions that we can quickly grasp and execute.

This topic came up back in episode 96 when I talked with Jill Soukup about what she has done to increase profitability and happiness while reducing the things that lead to frustration and stress.

I think we unnecessarily complicate our businesses because we lose focus. We get distracted by social media posts and emails. The next great invention makes it to our line of vision and we suddenly wonder how we ever did without it.

Before we know it, we’ve typed in our credit card number, ordered or downloaded the professed solution to all of our problems, and upended the momentum we had built.

This insight that you are distracted by the latest and greatest isn’t my clairvoyance into your world. It happens to me. All. The. Time. I am not immune to searching for magic tools that will make my life easier, help me be more productive, or increase my bottom line. And during this month that we’re working on improving productivity, it’s even more tempting to search for solutions outside of ourselves.

The truth is, you probably already have everything you need except, perhaps, community, support, and accountability, which you can find in Art Biz Success programs.

To help me unpack this idea, I’m joined on this episode of The Art Biz by Amelia Furman, who says that her to-do list was out of control before she took charge and started eliminating obligations from her life. She tells us why simplifying has become a way of life for her, what, exactly, she has simplified, and how she has done it. But first, let’s hear about how she got to this point.

September 2, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Qualities and Tools That Lead to Achievements Worth Celebrating

Portrait by Ruth D Moore | on Art Biz Success

When I started thinking about the 100th episode of The Art Biz podcast, I had very little enthusiasm around marking the milestone. The podcast exists to talk about artists’ challenges and the strategies they use to improve their results.

Celebrating 100 episodes didn’t seem aligned with that mission.

Fortunately, my good friend Cynthia Morris helped me find the lesson in this occasion that would help you. Cynthia is a rock star coach and podcast host herself who was the guest on the first two episodes of the podcast.  In this episode, she says:

And I think that what I’ve seen in the people that I’ve worked with is when we don’t acknowledge the milestones—when we don’t pause to savor and appreciate and see what we did that brought us here—we really lose out on a lot of the benefits that we’ve accrued in the course of making our way to that milestone. It’s almost like running past the finish line and not high-fiving the people.

I agreed:

I do know how important it is to see that you’re making progress. And every milestone shows you that you are making progress. I know how hard it is to look at to-do lists (without the DONE list) and see what you haven’t done.

More than just a self-congratulatory episode, together we discuss the value of acknowledging your progress, however imperfect it may be. We share what it takes to do the work, create the content, and develop the tenacity that results in milestones worth celebrating.

It’s not unlike the tenacity it takes you to make your art and run a business. Listen to see if you agree.

August 26, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

A Realistic Strategy for Increasing Your Income

acrylic painting orchid artist Shannon Deana Johnson | on Art Biz Success

Don’t be content to break even when running an art business. You need money to survive and shouldn’t be ashamed to admit it. Everyone needs an income to put a roof over their heads and food on the table.

That means you need to make a profit. You need for your expenses to be lower—far lower—than your income.

One of the best things you can do to improve your chance of success in any area is to create a plan. If you’d like to make more money—especially if you’re trying to make a living from your art—you need an income-accelerating plan.

I’m going to tell you exactly what that looks like and how to go through the process. I think it’s helpful to start with an income-accelerating plan before you make other plans. It helps to know how much you need and want to make and then you can select the projects to support that goal.

If you’ve been listening awhile, you know that one of my super powers is to help artists make plans. It’s not affordable for most artists to hire me to walk them through the planning process. But you can make a business plan customized to your own goals during my Artist Planning Sessions, which are very affordable.

So what if you’re hyper focused on profitability and need that income-boosting plan before you join me in the planning sessions. How do you do it?

I developed a process that we use in my programs called, conveniently, the Income Accelerator. We actually make a plan to increase income.

I know what you’re thinking because I’ve heard it many times before. It goes something like this: How can I plan for more money when I don’t know when my art will sell or who will buy it?

I get it. You make a plan because you’re the CEO of your art business and that’s what CEOs do. They make business projections. They have to in order to attract buy-in to their products and services.

While you don’t have any control over results, you do have control over the actions you take (or don’t take) to get the results. Take charge, like I said back in episode 96. Be the CEO of your art business and of your life.

Here are the 4 Steps to accelerate your income.