April 2, 2019 | Alyson Stanfield

Why Putting Your Plan on Paper Matters

Since I started my art career, I had this one figure in my head that if I made that figure as my annual income, then I would consider myself successful. I also made this my Art Biz Accelerator income goal. Well, I just tallied up my annual income for 2018, and I EXCEEDED THAT FIGURE!!!!

©2017 Sabra Lynne Crockett, Come Dance with Me. Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 40 inches. Used with permission.

I love seeing messages like this one from Sabra Lynne Crockett in my inbox, and I think it's important for artists to see what is possible when you apply your knowledge.

She continued:

Before I enrolled in the Art Career Success System, I was directionless. I was flitting from one project to another. Now I have a vision, and a plan to make it happen through actionable goals. Quantifying my accomplishments shows me that I'm not just spinning my wheels.

Shifting my focus was huge. It also helped to keep that goal in the back of my mind throughout the year. I was able to eliminate the doubt that I would never be able to make that amount.

After receiving this, I asked her a few more questions in hopes of helping others.

ABS: How did you shift your focus?

Before I even knew that the Art Career Success System existed, I had to get myself in the mindset that I was an artist. It took me almost two decades to declare that I was an artist, even though  I made my living doing artistic things.

I always skirted around the idea. I would be asked, “Are you an artist?” I would say things like, “Well, no. I’m a decorative artist”, or, “I am a scenic artist.” I was limited by my own thinking. It was when I made the declaration to myself, and owned the label “artist” that the floodgates of opportunity opened up for me.

One of the opportunities that arose was enrolling in all four courses of the Art Career Success System.

ABS: What has made the biggest difference?

Taking the Art Career Success System has shown me what questions I needed to be asking myself to prepare myself for the next step of my career. Your classes  have exposed me to the questions I needed to ask that I didn’t even know existed before. I saw where I wanted to be and what I wanted to accomplish, because I saw others doing it. However, I had no idea how to get there.

After participating the ACSS program, I have a better idea of what my focus needs to be and a vision of what I want my life to look like. I feel like I have a way to accomplish goals that feed into that vision, and I feel that I can accomplish those tasks that feed into my goals.

©2017 Sabra Lynne Crockett, Glory. Acrylic, composition metal leaf on canvas, 24 x 18 inches. Used with permission.

The financial goal just happened. I wasn’t hyper focused on it, but it was in the back of my mind. Just being present with it, and taking small decisive actions toward it brought me to that goal. I didn’t obsess about it, but I didn’t ignore it, either. It was more of an attitude shift that made it happen for me.

Sabra Recommends

Which of the 4 courses in the Art Career Success System would you most recommend and why?

Well, honestly I would recommend them all.

ABS: I sure love hearing that!

The one that made the biggest impact is the Art Biz Accelerator. It's a great one to start with, because it helped me do the work to evaluate what I have accomplished, celebrate that, and focus on the future goals.

Being able to see it on paper makes such a difference instead of it being in your head. Also, the brilliance of setting time each month to plan, assess, and reassess is a game changer. I feel like I am in control instead of someone else calling the shots. That can also be a little scary sometimes, too, because now there are no excuses.

As you often emphasize, I have to take full responsibility for my artistic career. I can’t blame anyone but myself for my shortcomings. However, I also know that I am exactly where I need to be in my life right now. All of this I have learned through these courses, and having the understanding and support of the ACSS community has enforced that belief.

Sabra Lynne Crockett working on Arms Wide Open in 2018.

ABS: Anything else?

I want people to know how well worth the investment of time and money it was to go to the  Art Biz Mastermind Workshop in Asheville last year.

While there, I had a huge Aha! moment that, again, made me realize how I was getting in my own way of my success. I also met some fantastic artists that I am in frequent contact with.

ABS: How have you stayed on track?

The thing that has kept me on track is accountability: a group of equally serious artists and a partner that I met at the workshop.

It’s critical to schedule studio time and time to review goals.

I find that the opportunities that spark joy are the most satisfying, and saying no to the little jobs makes room for the bigger, more satisfying experiences. I’m less worried about making money, and focusing more on being involved in great opportunities, which has lead to making more money. It’s a scary leap at first, but necessary to get to what really matters.

Next Steps

What are you working on for 2019?

My goal is to increase my 2018 income by 25%. I'm really nervous to commit to it, but I am also really excited and confident  I can do it.

It seems these days that there are boundless opportunities, and I can now discern between which ones will support my vision, and which ones won’t. Thank you for the blueprint I needed all these years!

About Sabra Lynne Crockett

Sabra Lynne Crockett’s artwork focuses on  the natural world through intimate portraits of North American birds and trees.

Good things are happening for Sabra. She has been invited to participate in 3 gallery exhibits this year. One is at the Kentucky Artisan Center, where she is the only woman artist of the 4 participants. She is also exhibiting three pieces at the Kentucky Living Arts and Science Center in Lexington, Kentucky. The third exhibition is a solo exhibition at DIY Printing in Cincinnati.

She was also awarded a retreat residency from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and was invited to speak about herself and her art for International SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day.

Sabra does most of her reflecting in Louisville, Kentucky.

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