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

Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an artwork business mentor and expert “who will work with formidable artists who want to just take manage of their careers”. She is the founder of Art Biz Success, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and writer of I’d Relatively Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Information to Self-Marketing.

As an artist, I have benefited from the numerous resources offered on her platform and I was delighted to be recently a guest on her podcast about my site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is therefore a good satisfaction to interview her and collect her tips and testimony.

You have worked with 1000’s of diverse artists in your stay workshops, online programs, and consulting. Are there some prevalent mistakes that artists ought to prevent?

Wherever to begin? I feel I got on a roll with this record, but I want to hold each individual issue, which I have rated in order of significance. 

#1 Error: Neglecting their studio exercise. I in no way thought I’d have to influence artists about how important it is to exhibit up for the work, but some artists would almost do everything other than dealing with the hard job in the studio. You simply cannot wait around for the muse. You just have to get to work. Without the need of the artwork, you are not an artist and have no prospect of a prosperous business enterprise or profession.

#2 Error: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colors or being aware of intimately about the materials you use. You require to know your supplies inside of and out. You will need to know how to get ready, total, and finish an artwork, like how to correctly mat, frame, hold, or put in it. It is evident when an artist tries to acquire shortcuts or does not know what they’re carrying out.

#3 Miscalculation: Not comprehending how essential it is in the art enterprise to get started, nurture, and preserve experienced and particular relationships. When you don’t follow up with prospects or options, or when you don’t adhere to through on guarantees or satisfy your deadlines, you will speedily get a name as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Oversight: Sending the completely wrong information on line. It all begins with good images of the operate. If you just cannot get excellent pictures of your art, use another person. They are that important—especially when you are distributing them to displays and opportunities. I’m terribly aggravated by social feeds that do not exhibit any art. I abide by you mainly because you’re an artist. Display me your do the job!

#5 Blunder: Expressing Certainly to jobs that aren’t aligned with their plans. For example, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Do not. Do. It. You are going to despise every moment of it, loathe the man or woman for asking you in the to start with position, and loathe by yourself for contemplating it was a sensible conclusion at some level.

#6 Miscalculation: Relying on a single profits venue, be it a gallery, your website, or social media. You simply cannot manage social media platforms and never know what will transpire to them or when they’ll change their algorithm. And you never know how extensive a gallery will keep in business enterprise. You actually need to have to diversify how, when, and where by your art is observed.

The time period achievements can address unique areas. How do you help an artist discover what achievements is for him/her?

You are right! The word “success” is loaded and, if I’m getting honest, it’s a phrase I’d like to shed in 2022. But for the sake of your question, let’s presume that there is a way for each and every artist to arrive at a specific definition.

For some, it’s about visibility and recognition from institutions. For some others, it could possibly be profits and revenue. But I suspect it’s a combination, as you mentioned, of a lot of unique features for most artists. It normally takes into account their ambitions and their limits that could possibly appear from spouse and children, financial means, absence of coaching, and many others.

When I get the job done privately with a client, we get started with their vision. I talk to what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but typically perplexing to artists. This problem is a way to get at their definition of accomplishment. 

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

Sure! Thanks for inquiring. 

I like to start by mentioning that my web site has been all around considering the fact that 2004 and The Artwork Biz podcast given that 2016 (and in a various format than that significantly before). My point: I develop a good deal of cost-free material and it can all be accessed day and night time. The lookup purpose on the blog site web site is superb. I encourage artists to glance all over and get to know me by means of what is absolutely free for them.

When you need more structure, I can help you as a result of my on the web plans, which improve three instances a calendar year. They’re produced around a seasonal concentrate space, with written content made from almost two many years of helping artists.

In 2022, our concentration locations are Make Possibilities, Enhance Your On line Advertising and marketing, and Get Arranged. These courses are hybrid on-desire discovering modules + live schooling + reside Zoom periods so our associates can interact with one particular a different. We have an lively local community discussion board crammed with intentional and formidable artists.

I also have mastermind groups for artists who by now have a strong basis in spot. 

I’m rethinking (constantly!) a ton of what I do and am truly enjoying performing privately with significant-reaching consumers. It’s worthwhile to work so carefully with someone and witness their growth and transformation. You may possibly see me streamline my offerings in the potential.

Last but not least, you started out your career operating in art museums. How did you start off your own small business?

Apologies in progress for this longish solution, but there are some good business enterprise lessons within just the tale. 

In early 2001 I determined that daily life was way too limited to go the place the museum employment were being and that I required to reside in Colorado. I made the decision to commence an artwork consulting company. Getting artwork with other people’s money sounded like a whole lot of fun to me! And I was really serious about this.

When a person is major about a company, 1 receives enterprise cards. Just before I still left the Wichita Artwork Museum, I employed our museum’s contract designer, who was incredibly talented, to design and style my organization playing cards, logo, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even had 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 individuals received free of charge entry, invitations by mail, newsletters, and discounts at the retailer. Our membership listing was always up to day. They have been who we worked for above all.

So I started my own checklist of contacts employing my FileMaker Pro software.

To this day, I contend that your make contact with list is every businessperson’s–artist or not–most useful promoting asset.

I anxiety this throughout my plans, and pointed out it as the #3 oversight artists make in the preceding problem: Neglecting individual and expert interactions.

I began sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to absolutely everyone I realized telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I despatched push releases to the cities and institutions I was related to and obtained a brief write-up in the Oklahoma Metropolis enterprise journal. Then I started out sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts local community.

Quite small came of this. I got one consulting gig in Tulsa for an aged higher-university buddy who observed my post in the Oklahoma Town paper. And I got a framing and set up gig from my landlord who was connected to the Town of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this experience each and every time an artist claims, “I despatched out 500 postcards and been given no responses.” You have received to have a lot more of a plan than a one promoting approach.

The letters of introduction were my whole program, if you can connect with it that. Sending letters is not a system. It ought to be a little element of a bigger system. I did fulfill some gallerists and many others in the artwork business for the reason that of the letters, but I had no regular stick to up or abide by as a result of.

I experienced no program. I had to determine it out, and that’s why I’ve designed it simpler for artists to nurture relationships by offering artists with reliable enterprise methods in all of my systems. There are facets of staying in touch with individuals that may well seem risky (like that 1st contact with them), but there’s practically a guaranteed payoff for it. In my book, that eradicates a great deal of the hazard.

Immediately after that bust arrived the surreal period around September 11. The previous point anyone was considering about was obtaining artwork. The final point I needed to believe about was marketing and advertising my new business.

What I was receiving at this time was inquiries from artists who experienced heard that I still left the museum and was starting up my individual artwork consulting organization. They didn’t precisely know what I was striving to develop. All they knew was that they wanted assistance selling their art.

Practically all of them had been hunting for an agent. So, I imagined, “I could do that!” Then I considered some a lot more. I didn’t know everyone in my world of galleries and museums who required to deal with agents.

Instead of serving as an agent, I made a decision to enable artists find out to be greater brokers for their operate. I have in no way appeared back and couldn’t envision currently being in any other line of work.

By arnia