March 25, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Art Business Procedures to Keep You Organized

Columbo Bazaar 20 x 25 mixed media collage artist Carole-Ann Ricketts ©

If you’re an intentional artist, you’re in the right place.

I’m wrapping up a month of talking about how systems can keep you organized and make you a more productive artist. The Art Biz Podcast episodes have been a tad more didactic than usual, and hopefully they are helping you get your art business better organized.

In episodes 79 and 80 I talked with artists Jennifer Printz and Betty Franks about how they have systematized aspects of their successful art businesses.

In episode 78, I did a broad overview of this topic and shared my definition of a system.

A system is a series of clear steps or procedures for accomplishing a specific task. It could be a task that you do regularly (weekly, monthly, or quarterly) or one that you do infrequently but know that you’ll need to repeat it in the future.

I also went through the individual steps for creating a new business (or even personal) system that you can rely on to make life easier. Now I want to focus on documenting your system.

Procedures that you have to rely on to stay productive should be written down and saved in a central location. It doesn’t count to have a general idea of what needs to be done and how it must happen. You document everything to save time and effort in the future, and I can’t think of a single artist who wouldn’t be thrilled with a little extra time in their day accompanied by a lot fewer frustrations.

So type up the procedures you’ll need and keep them in a central location.

We call this your Art Biz Handbook.You may hear it referred to by other, more corporate-y businesses as an Operations Manual or as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). My team member Kristen O’Neill says those sound too much like manuals for a nuclear plant, so we settled on Your Art Biz Handbook.

Written procedures are used in large and small businesses. And they can be a lifesaver even if you’re a 1-person business.

March 18, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Systems to Effectively Manage a Dizzying Increase in Your Art Business with Betty Franks

artist Betty Franks paint palette studio colorful Art Biz Success podcast

Betty Franks loves her business and life as an artist. She just might have found the secret sauce—a healthy combination of passion for the work and a continuing curiosity about business and becoming a better CEO of your art business.

Betty’s art business has exploded over the last four years. By 440%!

You can’t have and sustain this kind of business growth if you don’t have solid systems in place.

As I said back in episode #78, you need reliable systems to help you run a profitable business so that you can spend more creative time in the studio.

At the time of this recording, Betty has over 120,000 Instagram followers and sells paintings almost as fast as she makes them. In this episode, we discuss the digital and analog systems that she depends on to support her growth. She generously shares her real numbers, the new postage system she just started using (update since the recording: she loves it!), and how she organizes all of the digital images of her paintings.

March 11, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Tools to Shape Up Your Art Business with Jennifer Printz

2021 Jennifer Printz, Toward Innumerable Futures. Epson Ultrachrome inks on cotton, thread, and wooden panels, panel diameter 17.5 inches, fabric 50 x 5520 inches. Installation dimensions vary. Photo credit Ronnie Lee Bailey for Art Biz Success systems podcast

For the sake of her art, Jennifer Printz has been very successful tapping into that part of her that is, as she says, typical Pisces.

On the other hand, she has learned to access another part of her to stay organized—the perfectionism that comes with being an Enneagram 1.

It’s a good thing Jennifer has embraced these two sides of her because she needs them. Not only is she a practicing artist with an enviable record of exhibitions, but she’s also an assistant professor at Florida International University in Miami. She has two full-time jobs.

I’ve watched Jennifer whip her business into shape by getting organized and creating reliable systems. I’ve even had the pleasure of helping her with parts of that.

In this episode, I talk with her about how she compartmentalizes her two jobs. We also discuss the planning process she uses, the digital and paper tools she relies on to stay organized, and why writing by hand is critical for her and her students.

March 4, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

How to Increase Your Productivity and Creativity with Art Business Systems

Lynda Fay Braun Release From Form photo based digital painting photographer Slow Dance Series dynamic fluidity Art Biz Success podcast blog systematizing your art business

I am the queen of systems.

There is a reason why my signature program is the Art Career Success SYSTEM. I believe that when you take the time to put in place easily repeatable steps to do a certain task or implement a project, you free your mind and calendar for the more creative pursuits of the studio.

You have a better organized business and life. You are more productive, fueling the creativity you need in the studio.

What is a System for Your Art Business?

We often think of the technology that we use as a system, but the technology is just a means to the end. It’s a tool we use for a specific step (or set of steps) in part (or all) of the systematic process.

My definition of a system is this …

A system is a series of clear steps or procedures for accomplishing a specific task. It could be a task that you do regularly (weekly, monthly, or quarterly) or one that you do infrequently but know that you’ll need to repeat in the future.

You can create systems for almost everything in your art business. As I said, I have even developed a system that helps your entire art business run smoothly. The Art Career Success System gives you a reliable structure that you can turn to at any point in your art business and career. And return to again and again as you evolve.

I think of this program as a complete ecosystem that holds together the meta-systems within the various spokes of your business.

Examples of Business Systems for Artists

You might benefit from any of these meta-systems within your art business.

  • A system for following up with your best prospects and supporters so that they don’t get lost in your ecosystem.
  • A system for shipping artwork, including packaging, insurance, and tracking.
  • A system for publishing a newsletter—from storing ideas to writing the first draft to scheduling it to be sent.
  • A system for when you have completed an artwork. Consider what you want to do with a finished work: photograph it, add it to your inventory, post it to social media, and perhaps ship it.
  • A system for accepting commissioned artwork. What is your process for onboarding collectors who commission work? And how do you accept payment and keep them informed?

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, I discuss the 3 benefits to implementing solid systems in your business, how to know when you need to fix a system, and the process for documenting your system.

February 25, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Growing Your Audience with Good Karma with Trudy Rice

Artist Trudy Rice monotype printmaking Art Biz Success podcast

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it would be great to attract more Instagram followers. More email list subscribers. More sales.

More of anything! Because it makes our efforts feel worthwhile. It seems validating.

But we’re often stopped in our tracks when we begin to realize what we need to do in order to increase our numbers.

We think we have to post more, research hashtags, invest in advertising, create a lead magnet, learn to write better copy, or forget about a restful night’s sleep.

Yeah, you probably do have to do some of those things in order to attract more followers and subscribers, but you might also benefit from being open to doing things a little differently to increase those numbers.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast I talk with Trudy Rice about how she has grown her Instagram and email list by cross-promoting other brands.

Trudy uses a platform called Ampjar, but the underlying lesson is to find like-minded people and share each other’s art, products, and services. Trudy refers to these as “shout outs” and loves this system because of the good karma it creates.

February 18, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Crowdfunding a Public Art Project with Romy Owens

romy owens under her wing was the universe enid oklahoma public art sculpture

I live to track down art off the beaten path—traveling to out-of-the-way places to see works of art that delight and inspire, or even confound me. I like knowing that 1) there won’t be a huge crowd or line to get in and that 2) I’m one of a small(ish) group of people who have actually visited that spot.

One of my favorite art writers, Martin Gayford, wrote a book on this topic titled The Pursuit of Art: Travels, Encounters, and Revelations. It’s as much about the journey to see art, much of it in far-flung locations, as it is about the art itself.

Every so often, I can get my mom interested in accompanying me on one of my art trips. Mom isn’t a huge follower of art, but she likes a good adventure, and it was easy to get her to hop in the car with me last fall to see Under Her Wing was the Universe, an enormous public sculpture by artist and curator Romy Owens that was installed in 2020 in Enid, Oklahoma.

Enid is the 9th-largest city in Oklahoma, with a population of about 50,000, but it doesn’t sit on a major interstate highway. It’s about 90 minutes northwest of Oklahoma City, where Mom lives, and not really on the way to anywhere else. You kinda have to go out of your way to get there.

And that’s what we did. Mom and I had both been following the progression of Romy’s sculpture and donated to its crowdfunding. After following the progression of this enormous endeavor and seeing it for myself, I couldn’t wait to talk more with Romy.

On this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, Romy and I discuss her commitment to raising $100,000 for this outdoor public sculpture and native prairie landscape as a gift to her hometown. As it turns out, $100,000 was just the beginning.

While it all worked out in the end, it wasn’t exactly easy getting there. Not only did Romy have to raise a lot more money than originally projected, she had to stand up to the naysayers in the community.

Romy is an artist that knows how to effectively measure success. Community collaboration, fundraising, overcoming controversy and yes, using spreadsheets are just a few of the topics that you won’t want to miss in this conversation.

February 11, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

A Quiet Gallery Experience with Simonne Roy

oil painting french boulangerie pastries artist Simonne Roy

What is something special you can do for your email subscribers and collectors when your shows and large events are canceled because of a pandemic?

Give them a private viewing experience, of course.

For years, Simonne Roy has been hosting 50 – 60 VIPs for a one-night party in her home, which she transforms into a gallery. The money and effort she invested in the event resulted in good sales and meaningful relationships. Each year’s success built on that of previous years.

[caption id="attachment_31426" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Oil painting of sunflowers in a field artist Simonne Roy ©Simonne Roy, Sunflower Fields of Union County. Oil on canvas, 12 x 48 inches.[/caption]

When Covid struck last year, her hopes for a successful home gallery show were dashed, until, like many scrappy entrepreneurs, Simonne found a different way to make it happen.

She decided to hold the VIP appreciation without the party. In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast you’ll hear how Simonne gave people a private encounter with the art—something few people ever get to have. She calls it the Quiet Gallery Experience.

If she measured its success by the amount of sales only, she could have counted it a success. But sales were almost secondary because Simonne measured her success by the goodwill she created with her subscribers and collectors.

Listen closely to hear what she did to set the stage and make it special, what she would do differently next time, and how she netted the same amount of money from the participation of fewer people.

February 4, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Creating a Monthly Report for Your Art Business

We’re obsessed with how many likes we get on social media posts or how many views our videos received.

We are consumed by “getting” more followers and subscribers.

But do numbers equal success?

No, of course not. But they are an easy way to measure what is working well and what might need a little tweaking.

This month in the Art Biz Success community, we’re looking into measuring success.

What do you measure?
How do you measure?
Do the numbers tell a story?

Most importantly, you have to know what success means to you before you can discern any insights in the measuring step. Numbers will never be helpful until there is meaning behind them.

I’ve said before that I believe success is measured by the progress you make, not by comparing yourself to others. Check out The Art Biz Podcast episodes #32 (Success Is Complicated) and #71 (Goals for Artists) for more about that.

This new episode gives you a framework.

February 1, 2021 | Alyson Stanfield

Test Your Art Marketing Efforts for Better Results

Painting by M. Jane Johnson

Have you been promoting your art the same way for years without seeing better  results? Allow me to remind you of this quote.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

It first appeared in 1981 text from Narcotics Anonymous and has been misattributed at various times to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Mark Twain.

If the quote is true, are you nuts?

Being Persistent and Consistent with Your Art Marketing

You are undoubtedly investing a lot of time and resources into your art business: websites, blogs, social media, videos, newsletters, postcards, and more. That’s terrific!

I’m a big fan of persistence and consistency—in doing the same thing over and over again—in marketing. You must commit to certain repeated marketing tasks before you can judge their effectiveness.

At the same time, I believe in tweaking aspects of your marketing as you go along. As an entrepreneur interested in earning money from your art, you want to understand what’s working and what isn’t. This is why it’s critical to track your numbers.

You should learn something with each new artwork, email, newsletter, or blog post, and you need to use that knowledge to get better results in the future.

Every marketing effort should be a test. Nothing in your routine should be considered sacred because you want increasingly better results.

What brings you the most clicks?
What blog post is attracting the most attention?
What results in more subscribers?
What leads to more opportunities?
What has given you the most engagement on social media?
What did you send that encouraged immediate responses from recipients?

Use the lists here to adjust, test, and repeat for improved results.