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Art Business: You Are a Business Owner!

This month Aletta is working on the publication of her forthcoming book, "My Real Job is Being an Artist - What You Should Know Before you Quit Your Day Job (or Get One)" and so you'll only see my weekly tips for the rest of November. Stay tuned for upcoming info about the book because I've never seen anything like it. It's amazing.


Fair warning about this tip:  My intent, as always, is to help you get what you want in life, and what I hear y`all asking for is lots of sales of your art. So let's get something straight: Unless you are making your art as a hobby (you never sell it), you are a business owner. Yes you are. You own a real, live, art business. It might be a part-time business, a part-time business that you want to become full-time so you can quit your day job, or a full-time business (lucky you!)  


Unfortunately, I often see artists running their art business in ways that sabotage their success.  These artists consistently demonstrate  "putting the cart before the horse," practicing "ready, fire, aim" and if they do manage to "climb the ladder of success" they get to the top only to find that it's leaning against the wrong wall. 


Juggling BusinessMaybe it's this dicey economy and they feel that they HAVE to do something, anything, right now! Maybe it's because doing marketing and business plans can be intimidating. Maybe they really do think they can build a successful career out of just reading newsletters and taking free classes. Whatever it is, I can tell you from experience that it mostly doesn't work and usually leads to a long, slow, painful, expensive, unproductive journey. 


On the other hand, I've been helping artists grow their art businesses for years now. I've had the privilege of seeing many grow into full-time artists making their living entirely from their art, and many more make big jumps in their income. I just love it!


I've consistently observed one BIG difference between artists who succeed and those who constantly struggle without much progress: Artists who succeed and get where they want to go make ongoing investments in getting and staying really, really clear about their art and their art business AND they take consistent action over time. They know that without a clear strategy, a plan to work that strategy, and ongoing learning, they are just practicing "ready, fire, aim" and that's a waste of time, a waste of money, and r-e-a-l-l-y frustrating.


Artists who succeed also know it's wise to invest some money in their art business, and into ongoing learning, consistently, for as long as they are in business. It's a BUSINESS, it doesn't run on just good intentions. Successful artists get help from an expert coach or mentor who helps them make (and update) their business and marketing plans, who helps them strategize about what are the best actions to take now and what they need to do later, who helps them see their strengths and build on them. They supplement their learning with art business products and classes to strengthen their weaker areas.


They do this consistently over time. They work at it, little by little, putting the pieces into place, learning as they go, all the while making sure they get enough studio time to create their art. They schedule time for their art business too, and they get help when they need it, when they realize that they can't do it all themselves and still make their art.


Parachute JumpYes, what we do here at Artist Career Training is what I'm talking about. It's why we exist. Aletta de Wal is a MASTER at strategy and helping artists make their business and marketing plans. Then once an artist is clear about what they want to do, and when is the best time to do it, I can help them make it all happen. It works, truly.

What we do is, as far as I know, unique in the art world. I got some confirmation on this from some artists I met while working a client's gallery opening last weekend. One asked if I was an art rep, I'm not, so I explained about what we do and how we don't just take you to the edge of the cliff and say, "Jump!" We give you a parachute and then jump with you. He said, "Wow!  I've never heard of that. Sure, there's lots of good advice out there, but I never know what applies to me and what is better for me to do now, what is better to do later. A team to actually go the distance with you, that's unique!" I wanted to hug the guy. He gets it!


It's up to you. Go fast, go slow, don't go at all. Just be honest with yourself about where you are and what you want from your art business, and no matter what you do (on your own, with us, with someone else) please realize that you ARE a business owner and that the most successful business owners have a plan that they work at and invest in, ongoing.    


So what about you? If you're content with your success so far, great!  Keep going!


If you're not content with your success so far, and if you're ready to seriously "put the rubber to the road,"  I WANT to hear from you! 


Don't forget, 15-minute consultations are complimentary. Can you build a career on one? Of course not (you did read this article, didn't you?) What you CAN expect is some additional clarity and advice about your next steps. To set one up with me or with Aletta email me:


As always, all my best to you and yours!


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Reader Comments (2)

Wow! Thank you! I really needed to "hear" that today! Thank you for the reminder and the motivation!

July 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElise

Glad you liked it Elise! You go girl!!

July 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterRobin Sagara

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