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

Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an artwork business coach and guide “who operates with ambitious artists who want to take control of their careers”. She is the founder of Art Biz Results, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and writer of I’d Instead Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Justification Guidebook to Self-Promotion.

As an artist, I have benefited from the a lot of assets out there on her platform and I was delighted to be lately a guest on her podcast about my weblog and how it has nurtured my journey. It is consequently a terrific pleasure to job interview her and acquire her suggestions and testimony.

You have labored with hundreds of various artists in your dwell workshops, on-line courses, and consulting. Are there some typical issues that artists should prevent?

The place to begin? I assume I obtained on a roll with this listing, but I want to preserve every issue, which I have ranked in order of importance. 

#1 Blunder: Neglecting their studio practice. I under no circumstances assumed I’d have to convince artists about how important it is to present up for the function, but some artists would practically do nearly anything other than experiencing the tricky career in the studio. You just can’t wait for the muse. You just have to get to do the job. Devoid of the artwork, you are not an artist and have no possibility of a effective small business or occupation.

#2 Slip-up: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing hues or being aware of intimately about the products you use. You require to know your products within and out. You will need to know how to prepare, entire, and finish an artwork, including how to properly mat, body, cling, or put in it. It’s evident when an artist attempts to choose shortcuts or doesn’t know what they are performing.

#3 Mistake: Not comprehending how important it is in the artwork enterprise to commence, nurture, and manage experienced and personalized relationships. When you don’t observe up with potential customers or possibilities, or when you never stick to by way of on guarantees or meet up with your deadlines, you will immediately get a track record as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Oversight: Sending the wrong information on line. It all commences with very good pictures of the get the job done. If you can not get great photos of your artwork, employ the service of someone. They’re that important—especially when you’re submitting them to demonstrates and options. I’m terribly irritated by social feeds that really don’t exhibit any art. I observe you simply because you’re an artist. Present me your get the job done!

#5 Slip-up: Declaring Sure to tasks that are not aligned with their targets. For example, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Really don’t. Do. It. You are going to despise each moment of it, loathe the person for inquiring you in the 1st area, and despise yourself for pondering it was a sensible conclusion at some stage.

#6 Miscalculation: Relying on a one profits venue, be it a gallery, your website, or social media. You cannot handle social media platforms and in no way know what will take place to them or when they’ll adjust their algorithm. And you by no means know how long a gallery will stay in organization. You genuinely want to diversify how, when, and the place your artwork is noticed.

The term good results can protect distinctive elements. How do you aid an artist recognize what achievement is for him/her?

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

For some, it’s about visibility and recognition from institutions. For many others, it may well be product sales and money. But I suspect it is a combination, as you reported, of numerous distinct features for most artists. It requires into account their ambitions and their limits that may appear from loved ones, monetary assets, deficiency of coaching, etcetera.

When I operate privately with a client, we start with their eyesight. I question what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but usually perplexing to artists. This question is a way to get at their definition of good results. 

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

Sure! Many thanks for asking. 

I like to start by mentioning that my weblog has been about considering the fact that 2004 and The Art Biz podcast considering the fact that 2016 (and in a unique structure than that a lot previously). My point: I deliver a large amount of no cost information and it can all be accessed day and evening. The lookup function on the weblog webpage is excellent. I inspire artists to appear all-around and get to know me by what’s cost-free for them.

When you require more structure, I can assistance you by way of my online applications, which improve three situations a year. They’re developed about a seasonal focus space, with content produced from practically two a long time of encouraging artists.

In 2022, our concentrate spots are Create Opportunities, Improve Your Online Marketing and advertising, and Get Organized. These plans are hybrid on-desire discovering modules + stay coaching + reside Zoom periods so our customers can interact with just one another. We have an active local community discussion board crammed with intentional and formidable artists.

I also have mastermind groups for artists who already have a solid basis in put. 

I’m rethinking (often!) a good deal of what I do and am seriously savoring doing the job privately with large-achieving customers. It is fulfilling to perform so intently with anyone and witness their development and transformation. You might see me streamline my offerings in the long term.

At last, you began your occupation performing in art museums. How did you start off your possess business?

Apologies in advance for this longish reply, but there are some excellent business classes within just the story. 

In early 2001 I made a decision that existence was way too limited to go the place the museum work were being and that I required to live in Colorado. I determined to begin an art consulting business. Acquiring artwork with other people’s funds sounded like a whole lot of pleasurable to me! And I was critical about this.

When 1 is significant about a company, one particular gets business playing cards. In advance of I remaining the Wichita Artwork Museum, I employed our museum’s contract designer, who was very gifted, to structure my small business cards, logo, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even experienced letterhead printed up.

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

When I labored in museums, it was our membership listing that was our bread and butter. People folks obtained totally free entry, invites by mail, newsletters, and reductions at the retail store. Our membership listing was generally up to day. They were being who we worked for above all.

So I commenced my individual list of contacts employing my FileMaker Pro software.

To this working day, I contend that your make contact with listing is every single businessperson’s–artist or not–most useful advertising and marketing asset.

I anxiety this all through my packages, and outlined it as the #3 blunder artists make in the past problem: Neglecting own and professional relationships.

I begun sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to everyone I understood telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I despatched push releases to the metropolitan areas and establishments I was related to and got a small create-up in the Oklahoma Metropolis business journal. Then I started off sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts local community.

Really small came of this. I acquired just one consulting gig in Tulsa for an old significant-faculty buddy who observed my write-up in the Oklahoma City paper. And I got a framing and set up gig from my landlord who was linked to the City of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this encounter every time an artist suggests, “I sent out 500 postcards and acquired no responses.” You’ve acquired to have a lot more of a plan than a solitary marketing approach.

The letters of introduction had been my complete plan, if you can get in touch with it that. Sending letters isn’t a prepare. It ought to be a smaller portion of a larger sized program. I did fulfill some gallerists and other folks in the artwork organization for the reason that of the letters, but I had no steady follow up or abide by by.

I had no procedure. I had to figure it out, and which is why I’ve designed it simpler for artists to nurture associations by giving artists with reliable business programs in all of my applications. There are areas of staying in contact with men and women that may possibly seem to be risky (like that initially speak to with them), but there is nearly a confirmed payoff for it. In my ebook, that eliminates a great deal of the chance.

Soon after that bust arrived the surreal period of time close to September 11. The final matter anyone was thinking about was buying artwork. The very last thing I preferred to imagine about was promoting my new small business.

What I was getting at this time was inquiries from artists who experienced read that I remaining the museum and was starting up my personal art consulting business. They didn’t precisely know what I was seeking to construct. All they realized was that they wished aid offering their art.

Just about all of them ended up wanting for an agent. So, I imagined, “I could do that!” Then I assumed some extra. I did not know any individual in my earth of galleries and museums who wished to offer with agents.

As a substitute of serving as an agent, I made the decision to assistance artists master to be improved brokers for their do the job. I have in no way looked back again and could not envision staying in any other line of work.