November 21, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

5 Week Push for Your Art Goals

Caught you!

You were looking at your calendar. You're counting the days until a fresh start. Thanksgiving … Christmas … New Year's Eve … and, at last, January 1. Or, rather, January 2 because no one works on the first day of the year.

Painting by artist Rose Tanner
©Rose Tanner, Fleeting Moment. Oil on linen, 9 x 12 inches. Used with permission.

Maybe you're lamenting the fact that it's the end of the year and there is much left undone. (Incidentally, the core message in this post applies regardless of the time of year.)

You had big plans last January, right? Big goals for your art. That's when you were wearing rose-colored glasses with glitter on them and sipping the New Year's Kool-Aid.

Now you'd rather think about next year and give up on this one. You are so ready for a fresh start. After all, the holidays are upon us and, if we're being honest, very little gets done during the holidays what with all the baking, decorating, wrapping, card-writing, shipping, egg-nogging, and Hallmark-movie-watching (no judgment).

Stop This Nonsense

If this is you, stop it. This is unproductive, and it's no way to run a profitable art business. You can't make progress or maintain momentum if you're effectively writing off more than 5 weeks at a stretch.

Five weeks is plenty of time to make an impact. It's plenty of time to get sh*t done. It's plenty of time to cross a few things off your list.

Every day is precious.

More Faithful Than Contrivance by Jennifer Anderson Printz
©Jennifer Anderson Printz, More Than Faithful Contrivance. Graphite on Epson Ultrachrome Inks mounted on panel, 17 x 52 inches. Used with permission.

Every day presents an opportunity that you can either grab with gusto or thumb your nose at.

High achievers don't write off weeks at a time because they prefer the excitement of a New Year to the hard work of the current one.

Reevaluate Your Priorities

If you find yourself looking forward to the New Year rather than putting your whole heart into finishing this one in style, you have some difficult questions to answer.

Do you really want an art business? Is being profitable important to you?

Are you committed to your work and sharing your message with the rest of the world?

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your goals?

What habits or routines are you willing to change to make room for your art career?

Artichoke painting by Pamela Talese
©Pamela Talese, Artichokes in Glass Bowl. Oil on gesso panel, 6 x 8 inches. Used with permission.

Once you are clear that your art business and career are top priorities, you can dive in. Recommit yourself to a daily schedule. Take ownership of one thing you wanted to get done this year.

End-of-Year Push

Back in September we asked our clients to create a push goal: What is one thing you will achieve in the next few months?

Notice that we didn't ask them for push goals (plural) but for a push goal (singular). We asked them to focus on one thing they could mark off their list.

Our request had a caveat. The push goal couldn't be anything new. Now is not the time to add new goals and projects to your already busy schedule. It's time to commit to finishing something you started.

You can do this exercise at any point in the year, but it is especially relevant right now. And you don't need months. Try it for yourself.

Painting by Karen Lynn Link
©Karen Lynn Link, Steel Storage Tanks Near Dacono. Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 12 inches. Used with permission.

Look at your calendar again. You have 5 whole weeks to focus relentlessly on one big goal you wanted for yourself. Think of how proud you'll be to apply yourself in this manner … to not give up on yourself just because of the date you see in front of you.

What will it be?

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37 comments add a comment
  • I am going to finish labeling all my art on Artwork Archive into “Collections” so I will be able to import different Collections into my web site in different places. (Also finish reading and absorbing IRBITS)

  • I loved Daryl’s commitment, and will hitchhike on it: I will set up, categorize collections and input artwork into Artwork Archive (I signed up for it but have not done the hard work of putting everything in yet).

  • I will finally research best newsletter site to set up a mailing list for a regular newsletter.

    • Hi Kat,
      Just read from art Biz, and saw you share a message about newsletter. You said you had found a good website to send out newsletter to your customer.
      Can you share what website is that?
      I’m new to ArtBiz, still trying to find my way to share my art and selling opportunity:)

      I’m kooHon from Florida by the way:)

      I’m just so overwhelmed with so much effort and time in making art and yet promote our business, it is the most difficult for me..lol

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Welcome, KooHon! I believe she said she’s researching them.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Kat: You can do this in one afternoon. Really! Talk with a few artists about what they like and don’t like and do it.

    • I spent a long time researching tools for newsletter/ email marketing. I struggled with what to choose and I flipped flopped between several of them before deciding on Flodesk, which is a new company.
      I just launched my website and I’m new to all of this so the simple design and templates made it a lot easier to jump in. I have been very happy with it and it’s way more affordable than other options.
      They are in beta right now so they’re still evolving their features but it’s been intuitive and easy for me as a newbie so it might be another good one to look into as well.

  • I will set up a production schedule for my long-neglected newsletter and art blog.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Yay for editorial calendars, Flora! Don’t get overly ambitious. Be realistic about what you can handle.

  • I’m mostly painting like a crazy woman every day.

  • Just really grateful for you sharing the wisdom of staying on course through the holidays. Momentum is a great word, feeling and action – much more satisfying to enjoy your family time when you finish up knowing you left it all in the field!

    • Alyson Stanfield

      That’s an even better way to put it, Alan. Hard to enjoy the festivities if you have a lot hanging over your head.

  • I will finish my DH mentoring modules (I still have 8 out of 12 to do) and I have had them for over a year now. I want to get them finished so next year I can start fresh with your Art biz Courses. I really do need to get my shitzu together.

  • I’m destashing old (but still awesome) bead weaving supplies that I am not going to use that are hanging around the studio taking up space. (I need the space, I’m painting more and have an exhibition coming up).

  • I submitted a proposal to someone today, and have two more started. I am going to do a submission for a residency by the end of the year. paint a public piano, teach a vision board workshop the first week of January – so I will promote it. Research and start working on press releases. Send out a blog every other week minimum and at least two more newsletters! Laying the foundation for starting the year organized and knowing where I’m going. Remember what my mother always said – what you do on New Year’s Day you will do all year long – so I make it a mission to finish up all loose ends by the end of December to start the year with a plan and use the day to do things for me!

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Ummmmmm. VICKIE! (I can do this since you’re a client.) That’s a lot. That’s more than finishing one thing. What’s the 1 thing that you will finish?

  • Great post, Alyson! I will finish 5 more paintings that I’ve already started for my Ancestors Project.

  • Marsh

    I am up to date on my editorial calendar for this month. Will post December newsletter and blog 1st week of December. Then it’s studio time for the rest of the month while I re-evaluate where I will focus in 2020. Will visit OMA during the holiday for a pick me up and find out about their docent program to stay connected.

  • Prepared to be the January featured artist at local gallery.
    Paint every day, with breaks to visit friends and help my husband on his projects. My inventory is already categorized. Goal – to have newsletter go out about reception at gallery and mail postcards.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Sounds like a pretty full December, Ree, since you have a January show. Hopefully you have deadlines for that newsletter and postcards.

  • Sooo much to do! I hit my sales goal for the year last week (happy dance), next year doubling that! Finalizing all my goals for 2020. Including, research/application for pleinair festivals.

  • 2 months ago I signed up for and began working on Collector Relationship Essentials. I than “got to busy” and ignored it. Last week I restarted, than this email from you. I’m committed to finishing the course by the end of the year. Thank you!

  • I will finish a new group of paintings. That’s it.

    We travel at least twice during the Christmas season, so I try hard not to over commit. I use the extended time in the car to work on anything I can do on the computer – writing drafts, updating inventory, mulling over new ideas. It’s a forced grunt work session!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

  • I will complete my monthly income and expense reports. I’m admitting it here, I am several months behind!
    I notice that Artwork Archives now has a section for reporting this. As I already use them for my I inventory, I will try using it.
    Thank’s Alison!

  • Alyson, as usual your advice is “lovingly” tough, in a very good way. Thank you!

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