Top mistakes artists should avoid (and more business tips) by art coach Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an artwork small business mentor and advisor “who operates with formidable artists who want to take handle of their careers”. She is the founder of Artwork Biz Achievements, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and author of I’d Instead Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Manual to Self-Advertising.

As an artist, I have benefited from the quite a few assets available on her platform and I was delighted to be not long ago a visitor on her podcast about my web site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is for that reason a terrific pleasure to interview her and obtain her assistance and testimony.

You have labored with 1000’s of different artists in your stay workshops, on the net courses, and consulting. Are there some frequent mistakes that artists must keep away from?

Where to get started? I assume I acquired on a roll with this record, but I want to hold every single issue, which I have rated in get of relevance. 

#1 Miscalculation: Neglecting their studio practice. I under no circumstances believed I’d have to encourage artists about how vital it is to demonstrate up for the perform, but some artists would pretty much do anything other than going through the really hard position in the studio. You can not hold out for the muse. You just have to get to operate. Without the artwork, you are not an artist and have no prospect of a thriving organization or career.

#2 Slip-up: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colours or realizing intimately about the components you use. You will need to know your resources within and out. You need to know how to put together, entire, and complete an artwork, like how to properly mat, body, cling, or put in it. It’s obvious when an artist attempts to get shortcuts or doesn’t know what they are performing.

#3 Error: Not understanding how essential it is in the artwork small business to begin, nurture, and retain experienced and own relationships. When you don’t abide by up with potential customers or alternatives, or when you do not follow via on promises or meet your deadlines, you will speedily get a name as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Blunder: Sending the improper concept on the net. It all starts off with great photographs of the get the job done. If you simply cannot get very good pictures of your artwork, seek the services of somebody. They are that important—especially when you are distributing them to demonstrates and alternatives. I’m terribly irritated by social feeds that never clearly show any art. I observe you due to the fact you’re an artist. Exhibit me your work!

#5 Blunder: Indicating Sure to tasks that are not aligned with their goals. For case in point, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Never. Do. It. You are going to detest each and every moment of it, loathe the person for inquiring you in the initial area, and despise your self for wondering it was a sensible final decision at some issue.

#6 Miscalculation: Relying on a one revenue venue, be it a gallery, your website, or social media. You cannot control social media platforms and never know what will occur to them or when they’ll regulate their algorithm. And you never ever know how lengthy a gallery will stay in enterprise. You actually will need to diversify how, when, and where your artwork is viewed.

The time period results can cover unique factors. How do you assist an artist detect what good results is for him/her?

You are accurate! The word “success” is loaded and, if I’m becoming straightforward, it is a word I’d like to drop in 2022. But for the sake of your dilemma, let us think that there is a way for every single artist to arrive at a unique definition.

For some, it is about visibility and recognition from establishments. For other folks, it could be revenue and profits. But I suspect it is a combination, as you said, of lots of various aspects for most artists. It requires into account their ambitions and their limitations that could possibly come from loved ones, economical assets, deficiency of instruction, and so forth.

When I work privately with a consumer, we start with their eyesight. I ask what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but normally perplexing to artists. This issue is a way to get at their definition of good results. 

Can you share about the various techniques an artist can function with you?

Certainly! Many thanks for asking. 

I like to begin by mentioning that my site has been about given that 2004 and The Artwork Biz podcast due to the fact 2016 (and in a distinct format than that a great deal previously). My level: I make a whole lot of free of charge content and it can all be accessed working day and night time. The lookup perform on the website webpage is excellent. I motivate artists to glance all-around and get to know me by means of what’s no cost for them.

When you require additional framework, I can assistance you by way of my on-line programs, which improve 3 situations a 12 months. They’re developed all-around a seasonal emphasis space, with written content developed from almost two many years of encouraging artists.

In 2022, our concentrate areas are Create Alternatives, Improve Your On-line Marketing, and Get Structured. These systems are hybrid on-demand understanding modules + stay training + reside Zoom periods so our associates can interact with a person yet another. We have an active community forum filled with intentional and ambitious artists.

I also have mastermind teams for artists who presently have a sturdy basis in area. 

I’m rethinking (constantly!) a large amount of what I do and am definitely enjoying functioning privately with higher-reaching clientele. It’s worthwhile to perform so carefully with an individual and witness their advancement and transformation. You could see me streamline my offerings in the potential.

At last, you started your job performing in artwork museums. How did you start off your own organization?

Apologies in progress for this longish solution, but there are some very good small business lessons inside of the tale. 

In early 2001 I determined that life was also brief to go where by the museum positions were being and that I wished to live in Colorado. I made a decision to begin an artwork consulting business. Getting art with other people’s income sounded like a lot of enjoyment to me! And I was significant about this.

When just one is serious about a business enterprise, one will get small business cards. Prior to I still left the Wichita Artwork Museum, I employed our museum’s deal designer, who was incredibly talented, to style and design my enterprise cards, symbol, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even experienced letterhead printed up.

Stanfield Artwork Associates was conceived in Kansas and designed in Colorado.

When I worked in museums, it was our membership list that was our bread and butter. People people acquired absolutely free entry, invitations by mail, newsletters, and bargains at the retail store. Our membership list was always up to date. They were who we worked for higher than all.

So I started off my individual checklist of contacts applying my FileMaker Pro software.

To this day, I contend that your speak to checklist is just about every businessperson’s–artist or not–most precious marketing asset.

I stress this all over my programs, and outlined it as the #3 mistake artists make in the previous issue: Neglecting personalized and expert relationships.

I commenced sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to everybody I knew telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I despatched push releases to the towns and establishments I was related to and obtained a brief produce-up in the Oklahoma Metropolis company journal. Then I started out sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts group.

Extremely minimal came of this. I bought 1 consulting gig in Tulsa for an previous large-school buddy who noticed my article in the Oklahoma Metropolis paper. And I got a framing and installation gig from my landlord who was connected to the Metropolis of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this working experience every time an artist claims, “I sent out 500 postcards and gained no responses.” You have acquired to have far more of a strategy than a single marketing strategy.

The letters of introduction have been my whole plan, if you can simply call it that. Sending letters isn’t a approach. It ought to be a modest part of a bigger program. I did satisfy some gallerists and other individuals in the artwork company simply because of the letters, but I experienced no reliable observe up or follow as a result of.

I experienced no procedure. I experienced to determine it out, and which is why I’ve designed it much easier for artists to nurture interactions by delivering artists with reputable business devices in all of my plans. There are elements of staying in touch with people today that may possibly feel risky (like that 1st get in touch with with them), but there’s nearly a confirmed payoff for it. In my book, that eliminates a good deal of the risk.

Immediately after that bust came the surreal time period all-around September 11. The final matter any individual was thinking about was acquiring artwork. The previous detail I wanted to consider about was promoting my new organization.

What I was finding at this time was inquiries from artists who experienced read that I still left the museum and was setting up my possess art consulting business enterprise. They didn’t particularly know what I was striving to create. All they understood was that they preferred aid providing their artwork.

Almost all of them have been hunting for an agent. So, I considered, “I could do that!” Then I believed some additional. I didn’t know any one in my world of galleries and museums who desired to offer with agents.

As an alternative of serving as an agent, I resolved to enable artists learn to be much better brokers for their do the job. I have hardly ever appeared again and could not picture becoming in any other line of get the job done.

Angelia S. Rico

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