The Art Biz ep. 32: Success Is Complicated

What does it mean to be a successful artist?

We readily throw around the word “success” without defining what it means for us.

I am guilty of the same. My business is Art Biz SUCCESS. My signature program is the Art Career SUCCESS System.

But what does Success mean to you and to me?

Alyson's wall of handmade cards from artists
Handmade and handwritten cards from students and clients are sweet reminders that I've made a difference.

In this bonus episode of the Art Biz Podcast (accompanied by a complete transcript), I explore the word Success.

I’ve been examining this on my own for a few months now and, confession—or perhaps it’s a warning—I can go a million different directions on this topic. I’m not going to give you a nice package so that, by the end of the episode, you’ll know exactly what success means to you.

I ask you to go on a messy journey with me. One that takes twists and turns.

But maybe … just maybe … hopefully … it will serve you.

Listen Now

Music by Wildermiss


  • Why I haven't been feeling successful lately.
  • What makes me feel successful.
  • The 3 ways most artists define success, and what each definition overlooks.
  • Stop the comparisons to other successful artists. You're more creative than that.
  • Why we must start embracing success in much smaller increments.
  • “The happier you are, the more successful you are.”–Jeff Haden
  • What it means for you that success is repeatable and predictable.

I also ask that you join the conversation. Leave a comment below or use #ArtBizSuccess or tag me, @alysonstanfield, on Instagram.

ResourcesDownload the Transcript

The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

How to Be More Successful and Lucky

What makes you feel like a successful artist? Read the comments here.

The Art Career Success System

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10 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 32: Success Is Complicated”

  1. Wow, you just blew my mind!! I have only been measuring my success by big achievements. I am achieving a lot on my art bucket list but still felt like something was missing until I just heard your podcast and how it’s more about taking a thousand microsteps with my art and how it’s related to my level of happiness. I love huge ahha moments and rewiring my brain. Thanks SOOOOO much Alyson, you’re the best!!♥

  2. Thank you for this, Alison! I’m going through a transition myself, and needed to be reminded that the journey is more important than the goal. I haven’t figured out what fear or worry I’m grappling with, and yet this is the most productive I have been in my studio. I finally have time to create the quality work I have been wanting to for a long time, and I am experimenting with new techniques. This all feels weird and vulnerable.
    I promised myself I would go back to my lessons learned in The Art Career Success System starting today, because I feel a little derailed. I think I have lost focus on my goals and the big picture, because I’ve just been focused on surviving. Thank you for your guidance with getting me back on track!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Always good to see your name here, Sabra. I do hope the ACSS lessons help inspire you. I would also suggest finding a community of artists to help keep you on track. (I am building a new community for 2020, but we still have a looser community in the ACSS for repeaters.) xoxo

  3. I’m in the library (it’s Monday – I’m doing my desk learning & writing) and I just listened to your podcast.

    I always learn from you, even after doing Inner Circle and other programs.

    We artists appreciate your revamping, updating, recreating your programs (even if it is frustrating for you :)! Your work is so helpful to us! Thanks for all you do for us.


  4. Alyson, you always know where I’m at when I get another podcast explaining where I am stalled. Just like Hurricane Dorian, i got stalled in my studio. Yes, i refined 4 paintings I had stacked up, but have done NOTHING more to get myself to look for a venue. Then, your previous Pod hit me when you described making art for sales. Ouch. I realized I was not honest with myself and my talent.
    I’m in a stall, can’t get moving to get out there. I’m frustrated with myself because I have all the tools from ACSS to be a success, An inward look told me fear was keeping me back. How many others have been here? Yet I see so many of my fellow ACSS artists forging ahead, ready to defeat the dragon of self-doubt and nail a boatload of opportunities. Therefore, I look at ACSS with hope and comfort that I have a coach and others pointing the way. I’m chalking it up to a season in my life, as I never have been a quitter, I’m a learner and always move forward and will once again. I know my work is good.

  5. Wow, loved this podcast. Success is so complicated! And it changes over time. I’m learning that I am the key to my success and it cannot be given to me by someone else. That makes me happy. And successful. Thank you so much!!

  6. Thanks Alyson,
    Another beneficial podcast with much to ponder and implement.
    I took your template and consolidated into a front and back worksheet to use monthly. Tracking more than numbers gives a much more holistic view of success. One of my new affirmations will be, “The happier I am, the more successful I am”.

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