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 guide “who performs with ambitious artists who want to take manage of their careers”. She is the founder of Art Biz Achievement, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and creator of I’d Somewhat Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Advertising.

As an artist, I have benefited from the several assets accessible on her platform and I was delighted to be just lately a guest on her podcast about my site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is hence a wonderful pleasure to job interview her and accumulate her advice and testimony.

You have labored with countless numbers of various artists in your are living workshops, on line programs, and consulting. Are there some frequent faults that artists must avoid?

Where by to begin? I assume I acquired on a roll with this listing, but I want to preserve just about every issue, which I have rated in get of worth. 

#1 Error: Neglecting their studio follow. I never considered I’d have to influence artists about how critical it is to present up for the function, but some artists would practically do anything at all other than experiencing the tricky work in the studio. You just can’t wait around for the muse. You just have to get to operate. Without the need of the artwork, you are not an artist and have no opportunity of a effective business or job.

#2 Oversight: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing shades or recognizing intimately about the materials you use. You need to have to know your components inside and out. You need to have to know how to prepare, finish, and complete an artwork, such as how to adequately mat, frame, hang, or install it. It’s evident when an artist attempts to take shortcuts or does not know what they are doing.

#3 Error: Not knowing how crucial it is in the art business to commence, nurture, and preserve experienced and personal associations. When you really do not follow up with leads or prospects, or when you really don’t stick to by way of on guarantees or fulfill your deadlines, you will immediately get a status as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Slip-up: Sending the improper message on the internet. It all starts off with excellent photos of the get the job done. If you just can’t get good photos of your artwork, use another person. They’re that important—especially when you’re submitting them to demonstrates and opportunities. I’m terribly annoyed by social feeds that don’t display any art. I stick to you due to the fact you’re an artist. Clearly show me your get the job done!

#5 Error: Expressing Sure to jobs that aren’t aligned with their goals. For illustration, agreeing to a pet portrait fee when you are a sculptor. Don’t. Do. It. You will hate every moment of it, detest the particular person for inquiring you in the first spot, and detest your self for contemplating it was a wise selection at some position.

#6 Miscalculation: Relying on a single revenue venue, be it a gallery, your web-site, or social media. You can’t command social media platforms and never know what will transpire to them or when they’ll alter their algorithm. And you hardly ever know how very long a gallery will remain in organization. You actually will need to diversify how, when, and exactly where your art is seen.

The expression accomplishment can protect distinct aspects. How do you support an artist discover what accomplishment is for him/her?

You are accurate! The word “success” is loaded and, if I’m becoming trustworthy, it is a phrase I’d like to shed in 2022. But for the sake of your dilemma, let’s assume that there is a way for just about every artist to get there at a certain definition.

For some, it is about visibility and recognition from establishments. For others, it may be gross sales and money. But I suspect it’s a combination, as you explained, of lots of distinct areas for most artists. It will take into account their ambitions and their limits that could come from household, economic methods, deficiency of coaching, and so on.

When I operate privately with a customer, we begin with their eyesight. I check with what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but generally perplexing to artists. This problem is a way to get at their definition of good results. 

Can you share about the distinctive means an artist can work with you?

Indeed! Many thanks for asking. 

I like to start out by mentioning that my website https://artbizsuccess.com/site has been about due to the fact 2004 and The Artwork Biz podcast considering that 2016 (and in a distinct structure than that much previously). My level: I develop a large amount of no cost content material and it can all be accessed working day and night. The look for functionality on the site site is amazing. I motivate artists to seem about and get to know me by means of what is cost-free for them.

When you want a lot more composition, I can assistance you via my on the internet courses, which modify three moments a calendar year. They’re designed close to a seasonal concentrate spot, with content made from nearly two decades of aiding artists.

In 2022, our concentration locations are Create Chances, Boost Your On the internet Promoting, and Get Structured. These programs are hybrid on-need finding out modules + stay instruction + stay Zoom sessions so our customers can interact with just one one more. We have an lively group forum stuffed with intentional and bold artists.

I also have mastermind teams for artists who previously have a solid foundation in position. 

I’m rethinking (often!) a whole lot of what I do and am truly having fun with functioning privately with substantial-reaching purchasers. It is rewarding to function so intently with another person and witness their development and transformation. You could see me streamline my offerings in the upcoming.

Eventually, you started out your career doing the job in art museums. How did you begin your individual small business?

Apologies in progress for this longish solution, but there are some superior business enterprise classes inside of the story. 

In early 2001 I determined that daily life was also limited to go exactly where the museum jobs were and that I required to are living in Colorado. I made a decision to start an art consulting business enterprise. Getting artwork with other people’s cash sounded like a large amount of fun to me! And I was critical about this.

When one particular is really serious about a organization, a person gets business playing cards. In advance of I left the Wichita Art Museum, I hired our museum’s contract designer, who was very talented, to layout my business cards, emblem, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even experienced letterhead printed up.

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

When I labored in museums, it was our membership listing that was our bread and butter. People men and women gained no cost entry, invites by mail, newsletters, and discount rates at the retail outlet. Our membership record was constantly up to date. They were being who we worked for above all.

So I began my possess listing of contacts utilizing my FileMaker Professional program.

To this day, I contend that your contact record is just about every businessperson’s–artist or not–most worthwhile promoting asset.

I pressure this during my applications, and pointed out it as the #3 oversight artists make in the prior dilemma: Neglecting personalized and qualified relationships.

I started sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to anyone I knew telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I sent press releases to the cities and establishments I was related to and acquired a shorter publish-up in the Oklahoma City organization journal. Then I started off sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts local community.

Very little arrived of this. I received a single consulting gig in Tulsa for an outdated substantial-college buddy who observed my post in the Oklahoma City paper. And I bought a framing and set up gig from my landlord who was linked to the Metropolis of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this experience every single time an artist claims, “I sent out 500 postcards and gained no responses.” You have received to have a lot more of a program than a single internet marketing method.

The letters of introduction had been my total plan, if you can phone it that. Sending letters is not a program. It need to be a small aspect of a more substantial program. I did meet up with some gallerists and other individuals in the art small business for the reason that of the letters, but I experienced no constant follow up or follow through.

I had no program. I had to figure it out, and which is why I have built it simpler for artists to nurture associations by supplying artists with responsible business devices in all of my plans. There are elements of staying in touch with people that may feel dangerous (like that initial get in touch with with them), but there is just about a certain payoff for it. In my reserve, that removes a ton of the hazard.

Following that bust came the surreal period of time about September 11. The final issue anybody was contemplating about was obtaining art. The previous matter I required to consider about was marketing and advertising my new small business.

What I was obtaining at this time was inquiries from artists who had read that I left the museum and was commencing my have artwork consulting organization. They did not exactly know what I was striving to build. All they knew was that they preferred support providing their art.

Virtually all of them ended up looking for an agent. So, I assumed, “I could do that!” Then I considered some much more. I didn’t know any person in my globe of galleries and museums who preferred to deal with agents.

Alternatively of serving as an agent, I made the decision to help artists find out to be superior agents for their perform. I have under no circumstances seemed back again and couldn’t think about being in any other line of get the job done.

https://artbizsuccess.com

https://instagram.com/alysonstanfield

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