Is Over-Planning Killing Your Art Business?

If you are a regular reader, you probably think that I’m a big planner and that I have my whole life and business mapped out for me.
Not so.
I love planning! But like many creative entrepreneurs, I find planning can be confining.

Alyson Stanfield Consulting with Artist
At a workshop 4 years ago. Maybe the strange look on my face was one of concern because the artist was over-planning?? Photo by Kimberly Lennox.

A Time for Planning

Planning has its place in any business.
I believe in strategizing an income plan. I believe in planning my months, weeks, and days based on my income plan and big-picture ideas.
But there is no such thing as a fool-proof plan. I believe in planning a little and then taking a lot of action.

The As-Soon-As Plan

I’ve seen many of my students and clients paralyzed because they are looking for The Perfect Plan. What they end up with is an “As-Soon-As Plan,” which sounds like this:

  • As soon as I find the right business plan to follow, everything will fall into place.
  • As soon as I take this class, I’ll know what to do.
  • As soon as my kids are old enough, I’ll have more time to work on my art.
  • As soon as I add this new section to my plan, I can get started.

If they just tweak this or that, then they can start taking action.
This is just delaying. It’s excuse-making, not planning or acting.

The One-Page Business Plan

One of my favorite chapter’s in Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup is “The One-Page Business Plan.” In it, Chris says:

There’s nothing wrong with planning, but you can spend a lifetime making a plan that never turns into action. In the battle between planning and action, action wins.

I agree with the action bias, but you have to take action, not just think about it. You have to act consistently and with purpose if you want to turn your art into a successful business.
You must have regular studio hours. You must market your art consistently. You must evaluate lack of sales. You must network and meet new people.
Stop over-planning and start taking action. Over-planning is killing your art business.

Free Book and Feature to the Best Artist Business Plan

I’ll give away a copy of The $100 Startup (free shipping USPS to anywhere in the world) to what I think is the best artist business plan left in a comment on this post no later than midnight ET on Friday, May 25. Here are the rules:

  • Your plan must be 200 words or less.
  • You must use your real name.
  • Your plan could be for a specific period (e.g. the next 6-12 months) or for a special project such as an exhibition.
  • Your plan should include these six areas: 1) your art or product, 2) audience, 3) promotions, 4) money, 5) how you will overcome challenges or obstacles, and 6) how you will know if you’ve succeeded.
  • For a framework, you can (but aren’t required to) use Chris’s One-Page Business Plan as featured here.
  • This is not a democratic process. My selection is the final word.

Notice the plan must be under 200 words. This is intentional because I don’t want you to over-plan.
The winner will also be featured in a blog post along with his or her plan. What have you got to lose? Even if you don’t win the book, you’ll have a plan in place.
Give us your thoughts about planning, and share your 200-word business plan in a comment below.

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77 thoughts on “Is Over-Planning Killing Your Art Business?”

  1. Alyson,
    You write about the “as soon as” business planner. That’s me! Maybe it’s an excuse, but I really DO want to spend more months getting better at my art before I write up a business plan. Here is my artist plan though: To spend the summer painting as much as possible, figuring out what genre I like to paint most. Here’s the thing…I like to paint people, landscapes, AND still lifes. Looking at my body of work, I don’t think it’s a cohesive whole for me to approach a gallery, because it’s not recognizable as “the work of Cathy de Lorimier.” Is this a good enough excuse?
    OK, here is what I CAN do: Give myself a set number of paintings per week to complete by a particular date, and THEN give myself a deadline to choose ONE genre and start focusing on it. An artist plan in place, then the business plan next. Can’t put the cart before the horse~

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Cathy: What’s the # per week? That discipline is much more important than forcing yourself to decide on a genre.

  2. With my current exhibition closing in one and a half weeks, I intend to work at selling the unsold (largescale) artworks, as well as establishing more regular turnover with a body of more affordable artwork. I will:
    – upload unsold artworks into my online shop (May 2012)
    – send press releases out into the online community with the aim of having these works featured in at least three widely read blogs (June 2012)
    – contact and network with schools, hospitals and libraries with the aim of selling these large childhood-themed artworks
    – discuss loaning artworks to these organisatons for a period if there is a potential for selling them this way
    – establish a line of more affordable artworks for sale in my online shop. This will include designing and making five such artworks that will form part of an ongoing ( at least two years) series (by end 2012)
    – have a set of my favorite preliminary sketches printed as limited edition prints, also to sell in my online shop (by end of July)
    – research affordale online advertising possiblities including blog sponsorship
    I will be successful if I sell three major artworks (greater than $1000 each) this year and significantly increase (double) the visitors to my online shop.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      That’s a lot of work for the summer, Ruth. (Oops, I guess it’s winter there!) I’d love to see a money goal around the “more affordable artworks.” Sometimes this seems like a good idea, but doesn’t actually pay the bills.

    2. Thanks for the feedback, Alyson. I’m thinking $100-300 artworks as opposed to my larger pieces which are $1000-$3000. I do have questions about how to balance my output of smaller pieces with that of larger pieces (for which I am best known to date). Seriously considering applying for coaching with you about direction and focus for the next few years, but am making myself wait until after our new baby arrives (September)… Thanks again for your time here.

  3. I will follow a 4-part strategy for the next 12 months including:
    1) Create a minimum of 48 original oils for sale in 2013 at 2 galleries and 2 art fairs.
    2) Develop one or more wholesale kits offered through a preferred vendor who will acquire an exclusive license to the art and instructions for a specified period of time.
    3) Cultivate existing collectors with personal contact via email and newsletters at least once a month, following IRBITS
    4) Enroll in the MOMA 8 week, on-line course on collage between Nov 2012 and Jan 2013 & begin to develop a new line of works based on collage for retail and wholesale offerings

  4. In thinking about planning, I realized that planning is good for deciding on action plans. When I make my early “to-do” lists, I then pull out tasks I don’t want to engage in yet. Or at all. It’s easy to say “write an e-book,” but when I look at the steps, I realize the content isn’t fully developed. So I change that to: outline an e-book. And because time is slippery for me, I like to put down a time the task will be done. Instead of “spend time in the studio this week,” I’ll say, “in the studio, 11 to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.” Specifics help me move toward completion.

  5. First decide if you are an artist for the sake of who you hang around with or an artist willing to do what it takes despite the criticism of your “friends” calling you crass.
    Then do what any successful business does.
    1 Set aside a budget, not less than $3500.00.
    2 Find a location on a busy intersection with parking..
    3 Make SIGN.
    4 Be available 24/7, but be there minimum 40 hours.
    5. Display or work on the street.
    6 Set up a web site and have a catalogue of your work on the premises.
    7. Do the commissions.
    8. Keep a list of customers and follow up all sales with announcements.
    9. Don’t wait for your art to get better.
    10. Charity donations don’t work. give them money or send them packing. Sell your art.
    11. Press releases often and thank yous after.
    12. In a down economy, raise your prices and the quality (or size) of you work. People with money buy art.
    13. Act like your business, if you fail you are a hobby.

  6. My plan for the next three years is to:
    1) find more time in the day/week to paint. This may mean giving up some things but it will increase the number of paintings I create.
    2) expand my audience by looking into and applying to various venues for showing my art. This will include art fairs, pop-up shows and galleries. By adding more venues (beyond my online shops), I will also: increase sales/revenue; grow my audience and capture more names for my mailing list; as well as continue to network.

  7. Downsized from a 35 hr/wk job to 10 hr/wk job has been “rocket fuel” for my art career. After the panic, here’s my 6 month plan:
    * Be in the studio from 9 am to 5 pm. Lunch & walking breaks required.
    * 2 paintings a week /12 total for upcoming June show. Up level framing.
    * Participate in gallery open studio tour. Multiple price points.
    * Personal visit to all hotel concierges to distribute painting class rack cards.
    * Attend 1 day tourism marketing workshop
    * Quarterly greeting card mailing to data base clients, showing new work.
    * Market October 2 day workshop in partnership with local B & B.
    My goal is reached when I create the same level of art/class income to replace the income that was supplied by my day job.
    Love Chris Guillebeau’s blog!

    1. Paula,
      Great plan that gives me some ideas. Thanks for sharing it. And Good Luck!

    2. Alyson Stanfield

      Paula: I love that you have realized that panicking won’t help. Must take action.
      For that October workshop, I’d like to see you make a complete plan just to fill it up.

  8. Here’s my plan.
    Goal: Have 2 – 4 major paintings ready to exhibit for a contest this fall.
    The Art:
    These paintings will be carefully developed from the beginning into works where I can incorporate the skills I’ve been developing as a painting student over the past several years. I will NOT rush the composing and planning stage (as I have tended to), but will think through all the issues that I possibly can before I take brush to canvas.
    Audience: I desire to create work that appeals to collectors of realist art.
    Promotions: Enter the best of these paintings in a national art contest
    Challenges: Resistance is always trying to convince me that I Can’t Do It. I plan to work through this fear and create my paintings anyway. My other major challenge is time and I will continue to invest both time and passion into my painting career.
    Success: I will know I have succeeded if I have entered the best work I can possibly create by the contest deadline.
    Thanks for this contest Alyson! I’m looking forward to reading about everyone else’s plans.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Beth: I wanted to see some mention of money/finances and some way to measure your success.

  9. How timely! I’ve been struggling with this very thing for the last week and had given myself until the end of next week to write my business plan…which is right in line with your contest…the difference is I’ve been trying to write a multi-page traditional plan and have been overwhelmed by it. I love and accept your challenge to do it in 200 words…and I too love Chris’s blog.

  10. My business plan is fairly simple. The works that I plan to sell are my 2004-5 artworks which are very quirky, funny and thought provoking. Such as” Weiner Dog Balloon Finalists” found at for Charlie Spear on page12. I am going to put this image on a YouTube video with myself showing how ‘hard or easy’ it is to tie a wiener dog out of skinny balloons by the clock. I have an idea of using a kind of tick-tock kind of repeating melody being played while I struggle to tie a wiener-dog balloon animal. Several of my works of that style will be brought in behind me by a stagehand which will have the prices reduced for this YouTube video only. A password given in the video will be needed to purchase the work at that price. The video, I hope, will go viral because I will be tying the Weiner balloon blindfolded. No, I haven’t done this before. Should be fun or not.

  11. This summer my art-loving 9-year-old son and I will prepare a series of work for a joint exhibition this Autumn. Each of us will create 15 original works on paper. We will host the show at the local library; invite local family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues; and advertize via social media (Facebook, Twitter). Works will be available for sale, and any proceeds will be deposited in my son’s savings account to help him save for college. Our success will be measured by the amount we’re able to deposit, what my son learns about preparing for an exhibit, and the increased familial bond we will share by working together. 🙂

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Jennifer: What a great project with your son! I’d love to know specifics about finances and money-dealings. Those are super lessons for kids to learn at such an early age.

  12. Kelley Dawkins

    I’m quitting my full time non-art job and moving to the US in about 6 months to be a full time artist, until then, my business plan is to lay a strong foundation to build on:
    #1 and most important: Build an audience. How? Blog twice a week, comment on other’s blogs, and build an email list. Figure out how to send a monthly newsletter. I thought blogging was enough, but after a month realized that when people subscribe through RSS feeds, I don’t get any names or email addresses and when they sign up for the blog, it’s only an email address.
    #2: Paint 5 new paintings by the end of August.
    #3: Continue to make prints of my paintings available on Society6 and try to sell them, while looking for other websites that do this because either Society6 isn’t working or I haven’t given it enough time.
    #4: Try to get an art exhibit before moving.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      I hear ya, Kelley. Yes, that mailing list (as I say) is your #1 asset.
      It sounds like your focus is in the right place (on the move).

  13. I can definitely fall into the trap of trying to create the “perfect plan” – too many details, too big, that is never finished and never goes anywhere. So I decided to break it down and concentrate on a specific project plan to get me into action!
    I’m illustrating a series called “Girls With A Message” and have decided to offer them as digital art prints for download, along with professional print-on-demand prints and products. I’m releasing them consistently each week and notifying my email list with the story behind the message of each girl. The goal is to create a total of 52 girls that will be put into a book – for a year of cute wisdom. It’s great for kids or those young at heart and besides selling the book itself, the product will serve as a great portfolio for one style of my digital illustration. That’s the plan and I’m currently up to 22 girls – you can see here
    Thanks for the opportunity to share my plan!

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  15. I plan my activities in my business, such as art retreats and art shows, because one has to plan at least 18 months out. When those plans are in place, then I can “plan around my “plans” with time for making art, being with friends and relaxing. There’s a balance. I think of my business plan as an “outline”….NOT the “final line”.

  16. Who/Why:
    1. I will create a presentation of an object/subject in a variety of color and medium to the local public.
    2. My intention is to bring awareness to the beauty and art that exists naturally around you but usually take for granted.
    1. Create a body of work, paintings and drawings, on one object or subject.
    2. Have small prints made of the work for quick cheap sales.
    October 2012 Stockley Gardens Art Festival, Norfolk VA
    1. Don’t quit my day job.
    2. Spend at least 2 days/week painting and drawing.
    3. Post progress on my blog.
    4. Advertise on Facebook, local art supply stores, and send out invitations to my booth area at the festival.
    Possible Challenges:
    1. Procrastination
    2. Demands from my day job (stress and fatigue)
    3. My inner critic
    Methods to overcome challenges:
    1. Register for the festival as soon as it opens.
    2. Schedule my “art” time as if I’m working a paying job.
    3. Physically and mentally take care of myself as if preparing for a marathon
    Personal success determined by:
    1. At least one painting or drawing sells.
    2. A spectator contacts me with further interest in my work.

    1. Angela,
      I really love this, “3. Physically and mentally take care of myself as if preparing for a marathon” under your “Methods to overcome challenges.” Sticking to our plan is just like that. I had never thought of that way. Thanks!

    2. Alyson Stanfield

      Angela: You did a terrific job with this. I love “Don’t quit my day job.” And I like that you have a variety of promotional outlets (though, as usual, I’d like to see more emphasis on personal contact).
      I also wanted to see mention of finances: real money numbers.

    3. Thanks so much. I never thought of doing a business plan as an artist. (I’m still trying to convince myself that I am an artist!) I have a lot to learn 🙂 Thank you for the feedback, I’m honored 🙂

  17. My goal over the next 12 months is to be supporting myself through my art photography and then transition to portrait photography as my health improves.
    1. Start the series on “My Journey to Healing” on post series on my gallery.
    2. Create the butterfly and lake calendars.
    3. Create the equine series.
    4. Organize and tag images.
    5. Work at least four new pieces a week.
    6. Go out and shoot at least 2-3 times a week
    7. Find a part-time sales person to work on commission to sell art photography, take pre-orders on calendars and selling to or partnering with local businesses. This person will also be networking for me until I get stronger to do that on my own.
    8. Post 4-5 times week on social media and blog.
    9. Send out a monthly email to potential and past clients.
    10. Make a list of potential creative photo events for when I can do portraits again. See if any local businesses would like to partner with me in these themes/locations.
    11. Join and participate in a local art association.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Jillian: You have a good thing going here. Now put numbers to it. What’s it going to take to make $x ??

  18. Planning for our second exhibition 20th – 26th Sept
    Products required
    24 original acrylic paintings – have 12 currently. Need to paint another 12 = 1 per week!
    24 A3 mounted prints and 24 A4 mounted prints. Purchase mounts online by end of July.
    Local and expat market; tourists on holiday; and local businesses.
    Create press pack.
    Provide high quality images for promotion materials and ensure expat newspapers and FB contacts advertise for us. Send press pack out on 7th Sept to ensure coverage is one week before event.
    Maintain email list of contacts and keep updated – send a monthly newsletter.
    Update website with press pack and information from 15th August.
    Pricing – maintain pricing as for first exhibition
    A3 mounted £25, A4 mounted £15
    Acrylic paintings £75 – £95
    Profit margins have been calculated, along with all costs and expenses. Excel spreadsheet up and running!
    Completing enough paintings on time alongside other commissioned work – overcome by setting a target of one painting per week and create a list of possible ideas on Evernote and tick off each one completed!
    Measure against success of first exhibition – aim for 25% increase in sales and 50% increase in commissions.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      You’re the winner, Alyson! I love the variety and specificity you crammed in here.

  19. Here’s da plan….
    Get up.
    Drink coffee and eat protein.
    Pet cat.
    Water garden.
    Go to the basement studio.
    Make more paintings on the new theme.
    Let my sense of fiction and adventure lead the way.
    Make drawings and prints. (see above)
    Keep meeting with art crit group.
    Keep challenging my assumptions.
    Keep getting the work out there.
    Make enough moolah to not feel totally foolish.
    Be grateful for new contacts and opportunities.
    Give back, be a mentor, volunteer.
    Die happy.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Nanci: Delightful! Thought I’d have to put “pet cat” in there several more times throughout the day.

  20. Through this exercise, I created three business plans. Below is one of them. Thank you, Alyson for the tools and incentive to get this done. I found it very helpful.
    Self-Help Creative Process Workshops and Products. This offering makes up 30% of my Income Plan.
    Women, ages 40 – 60
    How it helps people?
    My business idea helps free women to think about their life in creative terms. It helps them tap into their heart to listen to their inner wisdom for personal development and growth.
    –In Person — Mini Three-Week Group Session: $125 each person
    –In Person — Full Six-Week Group Session: $225 each person
    –Online Recorded Mini Three-Week Group Session: $99 each person
    –Online Recorded Full Six-Week Group Session: $199 each person
    Get paid?
    –Upfront, in cash, or receive money through PayPal
    Other ways to make money from this project?
    –Products such as a Journal, inspirational cards, membership site.
    –One-on-One sessions.
    –Local advertising in newspapers, flyers around town, word of mouth
    –Online advertising, directories, Google ads
    –Social media: Facebook, Linked In, Twitter
    –Provide excellent service.
    –Ask clients for them.
    –Implement an affiliate program.
    –Implement a commission on sales/referral program.
    Success: Annual net income $10,800
    –Marketing, advertising, getting the word out about the value of the workshops
    –Making the videos and products
    –Finding venues both online and in person
    –Creating a membership website

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Mary, you did a fantastic job. The only thing you didn’t mention (and the reason I couldn’t give you the prize) is how you were going to overcome these obstacles. I can’t wait to see how this works out for you. Please keep me posted.

    2. Alyson,
      Ahhhh… shoot… I really wanted to win that book! I appreciate the Honorable Mention.
      I actually have figured out some of them…
      Overcoming the obstacles:
      — Marketing, advertising, etc….
      1. post flyers around town,
      2. email flyers asking for help in spreading the word,
      3. advertise in free local newspapers where I can add events listings,
      4. post information and dates on my website and social media pages (FB fan page, LinkedIn, Twitter, and SkillPages),
      5. tell everyone I know about the workshops / products,
      6. ask for help from everyone on getting the word out,
      7. send out a newsletter, and
      8. possibly snail mail.
      –Making the videos and products…
      1. I found an online source recently for teaching classes online… which sounds good.
      2. I have begun creating an introductory video to upload to Udemy, Youtube, and my website.
      –Finding venues both online and in person…
      1. I have researched through searching google and found a few good resources both online and venues in town.
      2. Venues will also come from personal contact with people signing up for my classes. I like to do the workshops at someone’s home and give them the workshop for free or a really reduced amount.
      –Creating a membership website…
      1. I have started this with my WordPress site by downloading the BuddyPress and S2Members plug-ins. I need to learn how to implement them and how they actually work.
      Thanks again. This helped writing these down.

    3. Alyson Stanfield

      I love your last sentence there, Mary. That’s why I wanted these particular items – not because I need them, but because they help you. Nice!

  21. Thank you for the initiative, Alyson. Planning always gets me going and I try to always make short term goals and divide them into easier chunks to work on. Below is my 200-word plan for 2012.
    What: Greeting cards for various occasions, inspirational prints about life and God that are digitally designed, homemade bookmarks, digital illustration prints on mugs, notebooks, papers, pins, etc, Watercolor paintings, Watercolor painting art prints, Painting on blank tote bags, pouch, stones, handkerchief prints, cloth prints and patterns etc, Offer of design services for companies, home, commercial purposes, Accept commissions on design and painting
    Who: People ages 13 and above
    How: My artworks and design services are for all people who are in need of inspiration in their life. The products that they buy from me will serve as an uplifting reminder of the goodness of life, our mission on Earth and God’s great love for us.
    Charge: Depends. Price starts at 40 Php for a greeting card.
    How to get paid: Bank deposit, PayPal, Meet-up
    How will customer learn about my business: FB, Twitter, Tumblr, my website (, Ebay
    How to encourage referrals: create genuine artworks that people can relate. Keep practicing on my craft. Identify and work on my niche.
    How to overcome challenges: Keep going & keep practicing. Change if needed. Stay genuine.
    My business will be successful if I am earning an annual net income of 600k Php.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Elisa: Really good work here. I wanted to see your challenges identified and a little more personal contact with potential customers.

  22. I didn’t write this as much as transcribed it (my fiancée dictated it):
    “My Business Plan”
    by Phil McCollam
    My business will focus on graphic design. My clients will be — uh, what will some of your clients be? Like people you know? You have to answer that question. I will market to these people via a website and distinctive button wear and — I’m adding on to the last sentence — and monthly email correspondence — or, quarterly — quarterly email correspondence. I will pursue this plan for 5 years. Fine. I will pursue this plan for 3 years. I will charge for my services. Um. Did you like — something about money? Maybe: my hourly rate will be $25. I don’t know what the going rate is for a graphic designer. I will overcome obstacles by researching effective solutions. I will know if I have succeeded if I make more than $10,000 a year for my services.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Thanks for making me smile, Phil. Sounds like you’re lucky to have your fiancée on your side.

  23. -I will sell Mediterranean and Caribbean inspired watercolors and acrylics on canvas.
    -Buyers will be local beach lovers or friends of same as well as visitors who are in town
    for the 2012 Hampton Roads Op Sail event in Cape Charles.
    -My idea will promote an international sense of unity and community.
    -Originals will range from $395 to $750.
    -Artist paid by the local sponsor less a 10% credit card commission if credit card
    is used for purchase there.
    -I will be able to promote my website, blog, and online shop with art geared to
    multiple price points.
    -Clients will learn about my business through business card and copies of newsletter
    already displayed at site, Mailchimp newsletter sent a week in advance, and posts on
    my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In.
    -I can encourage referrals by calls to action in ‘The Coastal Brush’ newsletter and
    blog, and in personal interaction at the event.
    -AHH ! (Art Happy Hour) will be successful if it results in the sale of one or more
    originals and/or commission deposits.
    -Specific challenge: artist’s time with public is often brief and interrupted.
    -Solution: have sales consultant present during meet and greet.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Kandy: You have a lot going on here. I was a little confused as to how it all fit together. I think it’s all about AHH, but I wasn’t quite sure.
      I can’t help but sense some tentativeness in this plan – like you don’t believe it can be successful. Am I wrong?

  24. I am an American artist working in Scotland. My day job is as a marketing manager which is how I afford a studio and support my family. I get up at 5am three times a week and go to the studio before work.
    I took Alyson’s very good advice to look at the numbers and this weekend looked out the figures for (2008-2011). To my horror I realised I have made a loss of £8799.12 (that’s £ not $. For dollars multiply by 1.6 = $14078!!) With these kinds of losses I need to cover my studio rent and art supplies at least OR QUIT!
    But the biggest challenge is that I want to ditch the day job and support myself with my art career in the next two years– I know NUTS. So my first stab at a business plan is:
    The Business Plan
    What am I am selling?
    The business is the WORK I make:
    The business is the PEOPLE I collaborate with:
    Sound artist
    Visual artists
    The business is COMMUNICATION:
    Above all the business is my reputation as an artist, a collaborator, someone with ideas.
    How do I sell that and to whom?
    This is a tough one. I make objects but they aren’t necessarily something you would hang over your fireplace – some of the stuff I make is but some of it isn’t. The Scottish market is small it’s either traditional or very contemporary with a very small retail component. My work fits into both camps which is good and bad.
    I need to:
    -Explore other markets (London/UK, USA) and also start selling online.
    -Think of ways to monetise/build awareness of my work through online content -my blog, social media
    -Plan art/poetry/sound events to get new people in
    -Explore Kickstarter & public/private grants to subsidise work
    -Plug this all in to a diary and plan how I will achieve my goal in 24 months
    -Build my network, meet other artists, keep working, keep motivated.
    Thank you Alyson for setting this challenge! It has really helped me focus and see that there might be a way forward from sitting at a desk all day!
    Michele Marcoux

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Michele: This blew me away. I can tell you’re going to make corrections and start thriving.

  25. Mary Mulvihill

    My business plan for the next three months is to move from teaching art to marketing my paintings and to focus on the local and internet market while I develop a portfolio and track record to take to galleries.
    • Paint set hours
    • Finish paintings
    • Do quality work
    • Focus on plein air and daily painting
    • Identify my product
    • Identify my market
    • Write an artist’s statement
    • Re-focus website and blog from teaching to marketing
    • Add email sign-up box to website and blog
    • Develop an email list
    • Develop a newsletter
    • Utilize my Facebook Page and Twitter account
    • Business card and promotional materials
    • Explore two markets – local and internet
    • Test drive Daily Painting auction sites and eBay
    • Use social media to promote my auctions (and brand)
    • Show at the City gallery (local)
    • Enter juried shows of professional organizations in my medium
    I will have met my three month goal if I routinely produce quality paintings and offer them for sale on internet sites; my social sites support my goals; and I have entered work in professional juried shows.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Mary: You have huge tasks ahead of you. I would encourage you to prioritize and put a timeline to this. Otherwise, you’re going to be quite overwhelmed. Good luck!

  26. I did plane with all above suggestions for the last 10 years, I did took a lot of action. I acted consistently and with purpose.
    make art+, show art+, sell art+, 4 group shows just this year 2012, 7 paintings soled+two on commission, just got in the book, did other work just to support my self to be an artist.
    An today as a result I have no idea how to push trough any more.
    all the best to all.

  27. My business plan for the next 6 months:
    ART: Original paintings based on recipes; 11”x14” black and white works on paper; and giclee canvas reproductions
    AUDIENCE: women who love abstract art and bright colors
    PROMOTIONS: 3: Pastry/Painting Party. create an art event that combines my recipe-inspired abstractions with cake & pastries by a local cake maker; 11×14” works on paper will be part of an event in November selling 50 pieces for $50-$100 just ahead of the holiday art sale season; Giclee special event: 2 pieces that everyone wants will be offered as canvas art reproductions for a limited time.
    MONEY: Pastry Paintings are $125-$500.; 11×14” works on paper are $50-$100 for the holiday season event; Giclees will be $120.
    CHALLENGES: Venue- aim to do events at my home.: 50 for $50 event will be at my home. Getting the word out – sending personal invitations to help people feel comfortable coming to a private home.
    SUCCESS: I will be successful when I sell 10 paintings during the pastry event and add 50 names to my list.; 50 for $50 event should draw new names – would like 5 new; Sell 20 giclees.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Amantha: I absolutely love the Pastry/Paintings event idea. I know it’s going to be a smash hit!
      The only thing missing from your plan is the promotions of the event. So I think the event itself needs to have a plan to support it. How will you get people there and who are they? How will you find the women who love abstract art and bright colors?

  28. In preparation for the upcoming Fort Collins Studio Tour June 23rd- 24th I will:
    -sell large and small paintings priced between $100-$3000.
    -Find 2 new and exciting places to exhibit my work in 2012.
    -Create 5 to 10 new buyers.
    -Expand my email list by 50 to 100 people.
    -Create 1-2 new collaboration opportunities around “ArtMap Fort Collins” idea.
    -I will promote this event through:
    4 June blog posts sharing images and ideas from my sketchbook/life in studio
    2x a week inspiration/sketchbook ideas thru facebook and twitter.
    write hand written “sketchbook page” invites to current and former buyers
    and new potential clients.
    send evites to email list.
    -I will encourage refferals by inviting people into my space, being warm and genuine, and following up on June 26th on all contacts made during the weekend.
    -The project will be successful when all paintings currently in my studio have sold and have cleared the way for the next creative endeavor. I have established relationships to show in two or more new and exciting, professional art venues. I have doubled my customer base and am actively and consistently using on-line tools to share and connect with artists and art collectors.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Jennifer: Those first few items sounded like success measurements.
      The “sketchbook page” invitations sound fantastic. Would love to see those!

  29. Hey Alyson! Thanks for the “nudge!” to create this plan and to pare it down to the essentials. Very inspiring and motivating! 🙂
    “Dreaming Cards” – line of art greeting cards
    Inspired by the quote “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” by Eleanor Roosevelt
    Since these images inspire and uplift, the ideal audience is made of people who go to:
    healing arts practitioners
    spiritual bookstores
    yoga studios
    $1.50 to $3.00 each, $9.00 to $18.00 for pack of 6, retail.
    I will be paid by businesses who already serve my ideal customers.
    Other projects:
    Affirmation Cards
    Sell original art
    Research and personal contact with retailers.
    Weekly blog postings and newsletter with new artwork and articles/info about creativity and dreaming.
    Donate originals to charities.
    Post images on Facebook.
    Signs of Success
    1. A major store putting in a second order.
    2. People who I don’t know contacting me for special orders.
    3. Exhibit with great results at Surtex.
    Overcoming Obstacles
    My biggest concern is lack of discipline to work consistently. However, I have found that behind my procrastination is usually fear. My new remedy for this is to simply feel the discomfort, rather than letting it be an excuse to do nothing.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Harriet: Beautiful job with this.
      While I don’t know exactly what you have in mind, I think an audience for “Dreaming Cards” is larger than what you have outlined. What about graduation? Even birthdays require some dreaming and future thinking.
      I wanted to see more measurable success benchmarks. What would a first order success look like? What does “great results at Surtex” mean?
      How about finding an accountability buddy to keep you on track?

  30. Theresa Grillo Laird

    My 6 month plan is to make my web site, print site, Facebook page and blog, a powerhouse to showcase and sell my paintings, prints and classes to online purchasers.
    -I’ll spend 1 six hour day each week on this project.
    -I’ll identify the current shortcomings of each site and draw up a list of needed changes.
    -A major challenge is that I don’t know how to use the technology to get the functionality I want. So, I’ll take my outline for each site and enlist the help of someone more tech able than me. Figuring on 10 hour of hands on tech help, I’ll budget 200.00 to pay for it and an additional 100.00 for self help resources.
    -When finished, I’ll use Facebook, my blog, a newsletter, pinterest and any other avenue I might discover during the process, to announce the revamped sites.
    -I’ll know my project is successful when the finished result is functional for the potential client, looks professional and generates activity and sales.

    1. Theresa Grillo Laird

      I have a 19 year old in mind for this. I think the tech help I need is the sort that anyone who has grown up with computers would know how to do. I may find that I’m wrong.

  31. For 2012:
    Expand my full-line of mandala coloring books with three new books ($18 each) and a ‘color-your-own’ 2013 calendar ($25) to be purchased via Etsy, “The Mandala Lady” website, and specialty shops, by people of all ages seeking peace and joy in a creative way.
    Expand my product line by making all designs available as individual mandalas ($5) and greeting cards ($4), and placing them on products-on-demand sites (cafepress, redbubble, zazzle).
    I plan to increase the number of physical shops that sell these products to five in Oregon and two out of state.
    To increase business I plan to:
    – write weekly blog posts describing one mandala and its meaning
    – offer opportunities for customers to upload their colorings
    – implement at least 5 new “Etsy Success” strategies
    – offer online coloring demonstrations
    – redesign the website to be more in line with “peace and joy”
    – offer give-aways at different Facebook milestones
    Success Benchmarks:
    – 1,000 likes on Facebook
    – 500 customers on Etsy
    – 50% increase in website traffic
    Working -ON- my business proves to be my biggest obstacle which I plan to overcome by itemizing, scheduling, and completing tasks on a weekly basis.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Maureen: I love your solid benchmarks. Terrific! (7 new sores, Facebook likes, Etsy customers, 50% traffic increase.)
      I think your audience description “people of all ages seeking peace and joy in a creative way” is a little squishy. I imagine you have discovered that you can be more specific than this. Mostly women? Certain age range?
      I had fun looking at your site!

    2. I appreciate this opportunity and your feedback…I’ll fine tune the squishy audience description…who wants a squishy audience 🙂

  32. Alyson Stanfield

    You guys have done great! I haven’t forgotten you. It will take me a few days to get through these, but I’ll contact the winner and follow up with a post.
    Thank you!
    Regardless, I hope you all follow through with your plans.

  33. Pingback: Is Over-Planning Killing Your Art Business? — Art Biz Blog « Virtuagirl HD

  34. Pingback: Winner of The 200-Word Artist Plan Contest — Art Biz Blog

  35. Pingback: Must Read Artikel der Woche (KW24) | Kleckerlabor

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