Lessons From The Past Year

It’s hard to keep up with weekly emails about your art business, so I thought I’d point out some things that you might have missed or forgotten about this past year.

These are 12 valuable actions, from 12 different Art Biz Blog posts in 2015, to help you grow your art career while staying sane.

©2012 Michelle Paine, Pilgrimage: St. Peter’s. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches. Used with permission.
©2012 Michelle Paine, Pilgrimage: St. Peter’s. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

Marketing Your Art

1. Add variety to your marketing message to reduce the boring factor.

Why it’s on the list: Please, for the love of Pete, read this before you send another email.

Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send the same emails and social media posts for your promotions. They get a little stale after a while.

I have some ideas for you.

2. Here's a blueprint for producing your artist newsletter.

Why it’s on the list: Sharing my secrets to help you streamline the process.

Producing a newsletter is a project that consists of multiple tasks in order to complete. That’s why I use the word “producing” instead of “writing.” Writing is only one part of the newsletter process, and even writing the content can be broken down into multiple stages.

Here’s how we do it at Art Biz Coach every week.

3. I have a few new thoughts about artists' blogs.

Why it’s on the list: If you’ve given up on blogging

It’s been a while since I’ve written about blogging, so I thought it was time to share some thoughts I’ve had and revisit some past ideas on the topic.

There are plenty of benefits of blogging, but maybe blogging isn’t for you. Find out if it is.

©2015 Elaine Luther, Red. Photograph. Used with permission.
©2015 Elaine Luther, Red. Photograph. Used with permission.

4. There are at least 4 reasons why your website might not be generating sales.

Why it’s on the list: Immediate fixes for your site to improve sales!

Not all artists’ websites are created with sales in mind.

For many artists, a website is a digital portfolio – an introduction for gallerists, curators, and other opportunities. If this is you, some of what I share here doesn’t apply. However, you could still benefit from heeding much of this advice.

Exhibiting Your Art

5. Curate a solo show of your art.

Why it’s on the list: It helps you grow!

A solo show stretches all of your professional muscles and puts you in charge of your destiny.

The entire process develops your critical thinking. You have to decide what to include, which pieces to put next to one another, and how to interpret the work for your audience.

Read the rest of the article.

6. Customize this art exhibition checklist and timeline.

Why it’s on the list: It’s so practical.

The tasks on your exhibition checklist will depend on the type of exhibition you’re having, who is in charge, and how much time you have to plan. Use this list as a starting point for your next show.

©Linda Hugues, Backyard Path – Tampa. Oil, 8 x 8 inches. Used with permission.
©Linda Hugues, Backyard Path – Tampa. Oil on board, 8 x 8 inches. Used with permission.

Using Social Media To Promote Your Art

7. Use Facebook Interest Lists for your art business.

Why it’s on the list: This is really cool if you use it right.

Facebook is also making it more difficult for you to become a presence on the pages of artists, galleries, and art organizations. There is a way to hack this: create interest lists.

Interest lists will help you stay connected with those who are important to your art career.

See how to do it.

8. 22 Social media updates that won’t bore your followers.

Why it’s on the list: You can’t say you don’t have anything to say.

What can you share with your friends, fans, and followers that is more interesting than “Come see my show!” but relates the message that they’re really going to miss out if they’re not there?


Being More Productive

9. How to have a productive day.

Why it’s on the list: You probably need this.

Some of my most important work with clients is about productivity. You can’t go wrong when you start each day with 3 intentional steps and maintain boundaries throughout the day.

I promise it works.

©Caroline C. Brown, Lamb of God. Mixed media on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.
©Caroline C. Brown, Lamb of God. Mixed media on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

Staying Inspired

10. What’s the point of making art when the world is so screwed up?

Why it’s on the list: Feels good.

If you’ve ever questioned the reason for making art, you’re not alone.

After a particularly rough time, you might catch yourself asking, “What’s the point?” You might even begin to see your work as frivolous. With so much bad news being printed and broadcasted, it’s easy to overlook the bigger picture.

A reminder of the bigger picture.

11. Art is about being in the world.

Why it’s on the list: This post is too important to have had so few comments.

I share a critical message based on a quote from Robert Irwin: “Art isn’t about being in the studio. It’s about being in the world.”

See how it pertains to you.

12. How much time will your art career take?

Why it’s on the list: You might not want to hear this, but you need to.

Everyone wants to know “how much time?” because time is sacred, and we should be choosy with how we spend our time.

There is a better question than “How much time?” Ask yourself: “How much time and effort am I willing to invest?”

It’s all about commitment.

Your Turn

What were your favorite business lessons in 2015? Leave a comment below so others might benefit.

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9 thoughts on “Lessons From The Past Year”

  1. The biggest lesson I put into practice was saying “No”. This enabled me to say “YES” to what was most important.
    There were so many other lessons that accumulated through the year, and one of the best was taking your Bootcamp and actually applying many of those lessons to grow by leaps an bounds! 🙂

  2. Such a great list Alyson, thanks for sharing this. One of my favorite lessons that I’ve learned more than once: One of the best things I’ve done to help grow my art career is devote the time to setting up my systems for managing and tracking my work, and keeping my website and marketing content updated, while also continuing to balance this with studio time to make new work – basically operating as a professional artist.

    Being organized and able to quickly respond with images of available work, artist statement and other collateral allowed me to take on two big show opportunities – one a solo show at a credited Museum – which I otherwise couldn’t have done. Putting myself and my art out there professionally has returned that energy back to me in a big way!

    Thanks for all your great teachings. Wishing you very happy holidays,

  3. I have learned that people need reminding! Even though I may have posted an informative post about an upcoming art show, I now know that I need to say it again and again, each time in a unique way! Often people have said they were glad of the last minute reminder, etc. I was always afraid of being annoyingly repetitive but people seem to need the memory jogs!

  4. Thank you, Alyson. I love this post. My favorite business lessons of 2015:

    1) “You can’t do it all.” Your words rang clear to me. We, as artists, need to focus. In 2015, I focused on building my brand over these three words that define my artistic brand: quality, passion, and refinement.

    The “quality” of the posts was more important to me than the quantity of posts on Instagram, my blog, and Facebook. I made sure that my images were clean and well-composed.

    I read other blogs and researched. I also made sure that my words were well thought-out.

    2) I focused on my budget and put the money into these important business decisions: a bit of marketing education (i.e. Artbiz webinars) and a total website and brand makeover. For two years I was not happy with the overall functionalality and *message* of my website and blog, so I hired a website programmer and designer to re-do it.

    I also spent (lots of) time re-writing my artist statement and personal story.

    Now I am happy with my new website and blog–it feels like “home” to me!

  5. I am new in the art business and not quite ready to start into a full-time job. As I transition out of homeschooling my kids for 25 years, I am creating art and starting to sell it. You have given me new inspiration to be more succinct in how I am spending my energy. Thank you for your website and the positive but realistic message of hard work and “don’t sell yourself to cheap”. I first came here because I have been approached about giving an art workshop and needed a guide for pricing. I found so much more and will continue to read all of the other rich jewels your experience and knowledge offers. Thank you Jeanne Yoder

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