November 7, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Productivity for Artists Isn’t About Doing More

Productivity for artists doesn’t mean that you work harder or take on more than you can handle. It means that you work smarter—that you use your time wisely.

If you want to be a more productive artist, you must embrace your role as the CEO of your art business. In that capacity, you understand that every decision you make impacts your income, influence, and legacy. Every decision.

When you are productive … when you are fully in charge of your art business … you know which tasks are most important and which can wait.

A Productive Artist’s Profile

Before I get too deep into this topic, I have to fess up to having more than my fair share of unproductive days. My productivity seems to come in cycles. Maybe it’s the change of seasons or the promise of the New Year, but, lately, my productivity has soared.

I am still trying to figure out the productivity puzzle. I read plenty about the topic. I listen to productivity podcasts. I, like you, want the secret sauce that will help me eke out one or two more tasks in a day. (I’ve also discovered that one can, ironically, be incredibly unproductive while researching productivity.)

I’m in the process of holding individual video conferences with every single member of my coaching programs to reflect on their year with us. After asking about their accomplishments, I want to know about the challenges they continue to face.

Those who have been working with us longer have higher level and focused challenges. Those who are newer consistently list time (lack thereof) and prioritizing as their biggest challenges.

You are not alone in your drive to become a more productive artist. But the good news is, it’s a skill you can learn.

How You Spend Your Time is a Reflection of Your Priorities

Becoming more productive is a process you need to put in place and, here’s the clincher, follow for months and years. You must be committed to the process, and you won’t be unless you’re also committed to your art business and career.

You get to choose how to spend your time, and how you spend your time reveals what you prioritize in life.

How you spend your time tells the rest of the world what is important to you.

October 31, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Reaching the Other 99% for Your Art Business with Adele Sypesteyn

Have you ever been so focused on a goal you thought was right for you that you missed opportunities that might have been better?

Chances are good that you can’t answer that question because you were so myopic. You just knew that this one direction was the path you needed to take. And you might have ignored that it wasn’t working or didn’t feel like the right fit.

This week’s podcast guest, Adele Sypesteyn, has been making a living from her art for 4 decades. But she never gets too comfortable with income coming from a particular source. She pays attention to changes in the marketplace and economy. And she educates herself.

The people who go into galleries are 1% of the population.
I wanted to reach the other 99%.

Listen to learn how Adele made the decision to pull out of her galleries and how she easily replaced that income.

October 24, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Juggling Multiple Income Streams as an Artist

Relying on sales of original works of art doesn’t always pay the bills. Sales can be seasonal, galleries can shut their doors, or the economy might tank. No doubt you are already aware.

This is why I am all for artists having multiple streams of income–when it makes sense.

Multiple Streams of Income for Artists

An income stream is a source of money.

Your income streams might include employment outside of your art business, but I want to focus on diversifying how you make money from your art.

Selling original works of art is probably the most appealing way for you to make money from your art. Other avenues include, but aren’t limited to, teaching, licensing, writing, and selling reproductions.

Sometimes multiple income streams go together under a broad heading.

For example, if teaching is one of your incomes streams, you might break down that money into income from online classes and in-person classes. Additional funds might come from how-to books and informational products.

They’re all related to instructing and marketed to the same audience.

Likewise, you might make products with your art and have separate smaller streams from note cards, note pads, and calendars.

When It’s Silly to Have Multiple Income Streams

Diversifying income sources from your art is tempting. You might think, More stuff=More money! Watch it.

As I described above, some sources make sense together because they are marketed to the same audience. Other times, they’re completely separate businesses.

One example is licensing. There is an entirely separate audience for licensed art than for original fine art. The people and venues you work with are different.

This means you essentially have separate businesses. Two businesses means you exert twice the effort. Three businesses will cost you 3 times the effort.

The result: multiple business plans, marketing plans, venues, and audiences. Each income stream must be attended to.

It’s silly to go to the trouble of creating a new source of income that you don’t have time or energy to invest in.

It’s also a terrible business practice to sell more “stuff” if you don’t know what you’re getting into. Many artists are spending too much time on things that have too little return.

Simple Math

You have to do the math. Is it making money?

October 17, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Leading Your Own Art Workshops and Retreats with Lorraine Glessner

Teaching art workshops for artist organizations and venues can contribute significantly to your art income. But you can dramatically increase your bottom line when you organize those workshops yourself.

Of course, creating and running your own workshops presents challenges that you don’t have when groups and individuals hire you. If you earn money from teaching, or if you’d like to, this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is for you.

In this episode, I talk with Lorraine Glessner talk about how she makes a living as an artist and an instructor and why she views her retreats as “collaborative teaching ventures.”

October 10, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Following Up After You’ve Sold a Piece of Art

People who buy from you once are more likely to buy from you again than people who have never bought from you.

And … It’s less effort to nurture relationships with people who already know, like, and trust you than to find new people to share your art with. Acquiring customers, in marketing terms, is a long and costly process.

Therefore, it makes sense to take care of the people who have purchased from you. Show them you appreciate them now instead of contacting them later only when you want something from them.

One of the biggest mistakes artist-entrepreneurs make is not following up with people who have given them money.

If you’ve been lax in this area, you might be leaving money on the table.

If you sell art from your studio, rather than through a gallery, you have no excuses for not following up appropriately. You have the name and contact information of your collectors.

Here’s a plan to awe your collectors–not just once, but over the course of your relationship.

Within 1 Week of Sale: Express Gratitude

Send a thank-you note in the mail. Use notecards with images of your art on them for all of your handwritten notes.

This is yet another opportunity to put your art in front of people who appreciate it. The cards, of course, have your contact info or website on the back.

Don’t exploit this as an opportunity to ask for anything else. Thank-you notes are for expressing gratitude only, not for additional sales or requests.

Two Weeks Later: Ask to Connect

In this email, suggest to your collector that

September 26, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Producing an Artist Podcast with Miriam Schulman

Living the artist’s life doesn’t necessarily flow with owning a business—with gaining valuable business skills that help you earn income from your creativity.

But every so often I come across artists who are just as interested in learning about business as they are in being an artist. And I feature them in my interviews on the podcast and blog.

Miriam Schulman is one of those artists. She discovered a gift secondary to her art—a curiosity about how the art business works. Combined with the fact that she loves to talk and ask questions, Miriam found her calling in her weekly podcast, The Inspiration Place.

But it was a lot of work to start, and it’s a lot of work to keep up. If you have ever considered starting a podcast or sharing your story on a podcast, this episode of the Art Biz Podcast is for you.

In this interview you’ll hear about:

  • Miriam’s background in engineering and corporate finance and how she found the courage to transition to a full-time artist.
  • How she promoted her work early on and why she still believes in using a brag book.
  • The teaching spot she created called The Inspiration Place to collaborate with other artist teachers.
  • What gave Miriam the idea to
September 19, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

How to Promote an Art Exhibition on Your Website

Solo exhibitions, as well as 2- or 3-person shows, deserve your full attention.

If you have an important exhibition coming up, give it the (virtual) space it deserves. Create a page on your website for your show.

You probably already have a page for all of your exhibitions, but I’m talking about a single page that features only your special show.

This will be the premier place you send people for details about the exhibition, which will be easy for people to read because it only has one focus. It doesn’t include anything else.

Why would you share this info only on Facebook or in an email when you can create a storefront for your art? You’re paying for the virtual real estate already. Might as well use it!

Everything will be in one spot rather than scattered around online or in someone’s inbox.

The URL (website address) should be one that’s easy to share and to remember rather than a string of slashes and numbers. This isn’t always as easy if you have a template site, but make it happen if possible.

Here’s what your exhibition page should include, and I suggest listing everything in this order.

September 12, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Reinventing Your Art Career with Ali Cavanaugh

Ali Cavanaugh painting

In 2014, Ali Cavanaugh had 11 galleries representing her work throughout the U.S. and even overseas. It was all she could do to paint fast enough to supply these galleries with new work.

What a great problem to have, right? But something wasn’t sitting right with Ali. So she asked each of the 11 galleries to return her work. One by one they sent back what few paintings remained in their inventories.

There was no animosity. Ali greatly appreciated all the work the galleries did on her behalf, but she was no longer satisfied with the status quo.

She had begun to reconsider not just what her business model looked like, but the art itself.

She decided to take control and be very deliberate about her next moves.

In episode 33 of the Art Biz Podcast, you’ll hear about:

  • Ali’s first steps as an artist and initial gallery representation.
  • Why galleries weren’t interested in work behind glass.
  • How Ali took 6 months to teach herself a new watercolor technique and why it was important to do this.
  • How Ali used her blog to attract press coverage and
August 29, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Success Is Complicated

Handmade cards by artists

What does it mean to be a successful artist?

We readily throw around the word “success” without defining what it means for us.

I am guilty of the same. My business is Art Biz SUCCESS. My signature program is the Art Career SUCCESS System.

But what does Success mean to you and to me?

In this bonus episode of the Art Biz Podcast (accompanied by a complete transcript) I explore the word Success.

I’ve been exploring this on my own for a few months now and, confession–or perhaps it’s a warning–I can go a million different directions on this topic. I’m not going to give you a nice package so that, by the end of the episode, you’ll know exactly what success means to you.

I ask you to go on a messy journey with me. One that takes twists and turns and definitely doesn’t end where it begins.

But maybe … just maybe … hopefully … it will serve you.