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.

August 19, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Being Profitable Doesn’t Have to Mean Doing More with Jill Soukup 

Jill Soukup oil painting white horse | on Art Biz Success

Being profitable as an artist doesn’t necessarily mean you need to do more.

Sometimes it’s about doing less by being discerning about what you take on and where you invest your energy.

This is extremely difficult to do when you are trying to show and sell your art. You want to do more. To add new income streams and the latest marketing platforms. The ads and social media posts are encouraging you to do more.

But more is exhausting.

Jill Soukup, who has been a student and client of mine over the past decade, is my guest on this episode of the Art Biz Podcast. There are at least three things that I admire about Jill:

  1. She, above all, is dedicated to becoming a better artist. To methodically improving her work.
  2. She knows what she wants. How she wants her career, business, and life to be.
  3. She knows what she doesn’t want.

To this list I would add that she is generous, open, and an all-around nice person.

In this conversation, Jill and I discuss how and where she sells her work, how teaching fits in with her income plan, how she makes sure she remains profitable, and why it’s important for her to keep things simple.

August 12, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Increasing Art Sales with Online Events with Patricia Griffin

Ceramic bells etched artist Patricia Griffin | on Art Biz Podcast

Sometimes you need to throw out the old models for doing business and try something totally new. Maybe you’re bored with business as usual. Maybe the results aren’t as profitable as they were in the past. Or maybe you are no longer enjoying the same ole same ole.

It’s okay to go off script.

Yes, there are traditional practices for showing and selling your art, but it is a little ridiculous to think that those will continue to work in the same way they have in years past. As I said back in episode 96, you have to be willing and able to adapt if you are working toward a profitable art business.

On this episode of the Art Biz Podcast I talk with ceramic artist Patricia Griffin. If you visit her website during certain times of the year, you won’t see anything for sale because she has sold out. Zero inventory. What you will see are items she has sold and an opportunity to get on her list so you don’t miss a chance to purchase the next time her shop opens.

Patricia and I discuss what she refers to as events—the sales of her ceramics she has 3- or 4-times a year that sell out within hours and have led to a dramatic increase in income. She’ll describe the philosophy behind them, the promotional timeline, the collaborations to help raise money for nonprofits, and how the events are a valuable tool for her to cultivate relationships with buyers and potential buyers.

August 5, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Ensuring a Profitable Art Business

Jen McCaw bouder opal ring | on Art Biz Success

Are you seeking a profitable art business?

This is the Art BIZ Podcast on the blog at Art BIZ Success. I assume that, if you’re listening, you are interested in an art business, not just an art hobby.

There’s nothing at all wrong with art hobbies. I highly recommend them. But it’s a whole new ballgame when you turn your art into a business. When you begin asking for money in exchange for your talent.

I want to talk about being a profitable artist. What it takes to not just make and sell art, but to also make money. To ensure that you have a positive net income in your art business. Stick with me.

I’ve talked with many artists who try to make a little money here and there, and then find they no longer enjoy making art after trying to sell it. The pressure to make money in a business is real.

Businesses, by definition, seek profit. Breaking even with the numbers can only work for so long. If you’re claiming deductions on a business here in the U.S., the IRS is going to come after you if you continue to operate at a loss. See the “hobby loss” rule for the details and talk with your accountant. Look for similar rules if you are outside our borders.

As I said, this episode isn’t for hobbyists. It’s for you if you are ready to step up and be the boss of your art business. To be the CEO.

The CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is the person at the top of a company’s hierarchy. The buck ultimately stops with the CEO.

You must BE the CEO of your art business. Because, like it or not, that’s exactly what you are.

Let’s break down what that means.

July 29, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

What Your Failures Are Teaching You with Laura Petrovich-Cheney

Wood sculpture quilt by Laura Petrovich Cheney | on Art Biz Success

Failure. We fear it. We ask, What if I fail?,  as if failure at one thing would mean the end of all other opportunities.

But failure is necessary for growth. If you are succeeding at everything, there is no way you’re learning and growing.

Laura Petrovich-Cheney is not afraid to fail. She’s also ambitious and knows what she wants.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, you’ll hear Laura’s philosophy that failure is the result of not listening to your instincts and not doing your best. This builds on what Leah Smithson was talking about in episode 94 when she said how important it was to listen to her gut to avoid what she called disasters.

We tend to sweep failures under the rug—hoping that nobody will see or notice and that we’ll forget about them. But, as you’ll hear from Laura, we can’t improve without examining what went wrong.

Laura talks about a few failures she has learned from, why it’s helpful to have a little bit of time and space before examining failures, and the shame that gets in the way of sharing failure with others. We also discuss the inevitable comparisons with other artists that arise when you fail and see only their successes.

July 22, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Calculating Risks in Your Art Business with Leah Smithson

Core by artist Leah Smithson painting on linen | on Art Biz Success

There is no such thing as the artist’s path. Look at the careers of 50 artists side-by-side and you’ll see 50 different paths. And probably none of them happened exactly as planned.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast I talk with Leah Smithson about her path, which kicked into gear after her father suffered a massive stroke and she began researching how creativity works in the brain.

Leah’s interest in learning has led to her nontraditional portrait paintings, jewelry, public art, and murals. You’ll also hear about how she embraces technology and has been teaching herself augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR).

Leah and I discuss how she decides which risks to take on and which projects to get involved with, how she schedules her week, and how her well-meaning husband cajoled her into co-hosting a podcast with him.

Leah has taken many risks in her art career, and I love her point of view: You’ll never know until you try. You can decide to take a risk because even if it doesn’t turn out as you’d hope—even if it’s a disaster—you’ll be glad you did it anyway, if it’s something that fits with your goals.

If you’ve ever considered which step to take next or which opportunities are right for your art business, you need to listen to this advice from an artist who has failed and continues to experience success.

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