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

Alyson Stanfield is an art business coach and specialist “who is effective with bold artists who want to take management of their careers”. She is the founder of Artwork Biz Good results, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and writer of I’d Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Justification Information to Self-Marketing.

As an artist, I have benefited from the many means available on her system and I was delighted to be recently a visitor on her podcast about my site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is for that reason a excellent enjoyment to interview her and gather her guidance and testimony.

You have worked with hundreds of different artists in your are living workshops, on the net courses, and consulting. Are there some widespread problems that artists really should avoid?

The place to commence? I assume I obtained on a roll with this list, but I want to preserve just about every issue, which I have rated in order of significance. 

#1 Oversight: Neglecting their studio apply. I never believed I’d have to persuade artists about how vital it is to display up for the get the job done, but some artists would virtually do anything at all other than facing the challenging job in the studio. You just can’t wait around for the muse. You just have to get to function. With out the artwork, you are not an artist and have no prospect of a thriving enterprise or occupation.

#2 Blunder: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colors or realizing intimately about the resources you use. You want to know your resources inside and out. You need to have to know how to put together, entire, and end an artwork, like how to adequately mat, body, hang, or put in it. It is obvious when an artist attempts to take shortcuts or does not know what they’re undertaking.

#3 Slip-up: Not comprehending how crucial it is in the art small business to start, nurture, and sustain expert and private associations. When you don’t comply with up with prospects or chances, or when you really don’t abide by by means of on claims or fulfill your deadlines, you will swiftly get a name as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Mistake: Sending the mistaken message on the internet. It all commences with very good images of the perform. If you can not get good pictures of your artwork, employ anyone. They’re that important—especially when you are publishing them to reveals and prospects. I’m terribly annoyed by social feeds that do not exhibit any artwork. I comply with you mainly because you’re an artist. Demonstrate me your do the job!

#5 Mistake: Saying Certainly to jobs that are not aligned with their objectives. For example, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Really do not. Do. It. You’ll hate just about every moment of it, hate the person for asking you in the first spot, and hate your self for considering it was a wise decision at some place.

#6 Slip-up: Relying on a single sales venue, be it a gallery, your web page, or social media. You can not handle social media platforms and by no means know what will materialize to them or when they’ll adjust their algorithm. And you hardly ever know how extended a gallery will continue to be in organization. You truly will need to diversify how, when, and where by your art is noticed.

The expression success can deal with unique areas. How do you aid an artist detect what good results is for him/her?

You are accurate! The phrase “success” is loaded and, if I’m remaining sincere, it’s a term I’d like to get rid of in 2022. But for the sake of your question, let us believe that there is a way for each individual artist to get there at a specific definition.

For some, it’s about visibility and recognition from institutions. For many others, it may be income and profits. But I suspect it is a combination, as you said, of numerous distinctive facets for most artists. It requires into account their ambitions and their limits that may arrive from family members, monetary means, deficiency of instruction, etc.

When I perform privately with a consumer, we start out with their vision. I check with what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but generally perplexing to artists. This question is a way to get at their definition of good results. 

Can you share about the distinct ways an artist can operate with you?

Of course! Many thanks for inquiring. 

I like to start off by mentioning that my web site has been around due to the fact 2004 and The Art Biz podcast given that 2016 (and in a various structure than that substantially before). My level: I generate a ton of totally free articles and it can all be accessed day and evening. The research purpose on the blog site is superb. I encourage artists to glimpse about and get to know me by means of what is absolutely free for them.

When you want additional framework, I can help you as a result of my on-line plans, which alter three moments a year. They are made about a seasonal concentration spot, with articles created from just about two decades of aiding artists.

In 2022, our concentrate places are Make Options, Increase Your On the web Promoting, and Get Arranged. These packages are hybrid on-demand mastering modules + are living education + reside Zoom periods so our associates can interact with a person an additional. We have an lively neighborhood discussion board stuffed with intentional and bold artists.

I also have mastermind teams for artists who by now have a powerful basis in location. 

I’m rethinking (usually!) a lot of what I do and am truly experiencing working privately with large-achieving purchasers. It’s rewarding to perform so intently with an individual and witness their progress and transformation. You may perhaps see me streamline my choices in the upcoming.

Last but not least, you began your career doing work in art museums. How did you get started your personal organization?

Apologies in advance for this longish answer, but there are some very good organization lessons inside of the tale. 

In early 2001 I resolved that everyday living was way too short to go exactly where the museum work were and that I wanted to are living in Colorado. I determined to get started an artwork consulting company. Obtaining artwork with other people’s income sounded like a lot of entertaining to me! And I was significant about this.

When one particular is major about a small business, one receives business playing cards. Before I remaining the Wichita Art Museum, I hired our museum’s deal designer, who was unbelievably proficient, to style my company playing cards, symbol, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even experienced letterhead printed up.

Stanfield Art Associates was conceived in Kansas and developed in Colorado.

When I labored in museums, it was our membership checklist that was our bread and butter. Individuals people been given no cost entry, invites by mail, newsletters, and discount rates at the retail store. Our membership list was normally up to date. They were being who we worked for previously mentioned all.

So I started my very own checklist of contacts using my FileMaker Professional application.

To this day, I contend that your make contact with checklist is each businessperson’s–artist or not–most valuable internet marketing asset.

I pressure this in the course of my systems, and talked about it as the #3 error artists make in the previous issue: Neglecting private and qualified relationships.

I started sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to everybody I realized telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I despatched press releases to the cities and institutions I was connected to and acquired a small produce-up in the Oklahoma Town enterprise journal. Then I commenced sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts neighborhood.

Extremely minor arrived of this. I acquired just one consulting gig in Tulsa for an previous large-school buddy who observed my report in the Oklahoma Metropolis paper. And I bought a framing and installation gig from my landlord who was related to the City of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this practical experience each individual time an artist claims, “I despatched out 500 postcards and been given no responses.” You have obtained to have far more of a program than a one marketing system.

The letters of introduction were my overall strategy, if you can call it that. Sending letters isn’t a prepare. It really should be a compact component of a much larger plan. I did meet some gallerists and some others in the artwork small business since of the letters, but I had no dependable abide by up or adhere to by means of.

I had no method. I had to figure it out, and that is why I have produced it easier for artists to nurture associations by giving artists with responsible business units in all of my systems. There are aspects of being in touch with folks that may well appear risky (like that first contact with them), but there is virtually a certain payoff for it. In my guide, that gets rid of a good deal of the risk.

After that bust came the surreal interval all-around September 11. The last factor everyone was pondering about was shopping for art. The final detail I required to feel about was marketing my new enterprise.

What I was getting at this time was inquiries from artists who had heard that I still left the museum and was starting up my own art consulting organization. They didn’t accurately know what I was trying to build. All they knew was that they desired aid offering their art.

Practically all of them ended up hunting for an agent. So, I believed, “I could do that!” Then I imagined some extra. I did not know any individual in my environment of galleries and museums who desired to offer with brokers.

In its place of serving as an agent, I determined to assistance artists study to be better agents for their work. I have never ever looked back again and could not consider getting in any other line of do the job.

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