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


Alyson Stanfield

Alyson Stanfield is an artwork business enterprise coach and guide “who is effective with bold artists who want to take regulate of their careers”. She is the founder of Art Biz Success, host of the The Art Biz podcast, and creator of I’d Somewhat Be in the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guideline to Self-Marketing.

As an artist, I have benefited from the a lot of assets available on her platform and I was delighted to be a short while ago a visitor on her podcast about my site and how it has nurtured my journey. It is for that reason a terrific enjoyment to job interview her and collect her guidance and testimony.

You have worked with 1000’s of distinctive artists in your live workshops, on the web programs, and consulting. Are there some common faults that artists should keep away from?

Exactly where to start? I believe I bought on a roll with this checklist, but I want to preserve just about every issue, which I have ranked in buy of significance. 

#1 Slip-up: Neglecting their studio observe. I by no means considered I’d have to persuade artists about how important it is to clearly show up for the work, but some artists would practically do anything other than going through the hard occupation in the studio. You cannot hold out for the muse. You just have to get to do the job. With no the art, you are not an artist and have no opportunity of a productive business or occupation.

#2 Miscalculation: Skipping the fundamentals, like mixing colors or figuring out intimately about the elements you use. You will need to know your resources within and out. You want to know how to prepare, comprehensive, and finish an artwork, which include how to correctly mat, frame, cling, or install it. It’s evident when an artist tries to get shortcuts or does not know what they’re accomplishing.

#3 Miscalculation: Not being familiar with how crucial it is in the art business to get started, nurture, and maintain qualified and personalized associations. When you really don’t observe up with leads or options, or when you don’t observe through on guarantees or satisfy your deadlines, you will rapidly get a popularity as flaky and unreliable.

#4 Oversight: Sending the wrong concept on-line. It all starts with excellent images of the function. If you can’t get excellent photographs of your artwork, seek the services of an individual. They’re that important—especially when you’re publishing them to reveals and prospects. I’m terribly aggravated by social feeds that really don’t show any artwork. I observe you since you are an artist. Exhibit me your get the job done!

#5 Oversight: Expressing Sure to assignments that aren’t aligned with their ambitions. For case in point, agreeing to a pet portrait commission when you are a sculptor. Really don’t. Do. It. You’ll dislike every moment of it, hate the particular person for asking you in the very first spot, and despise you for contemplating it was a wise choice at some place.

#6 Blunder: Relying on a one gross sales venue, be it a gallery, your website, or social media. You simply cannot management social media platforms and in no way know what will come about to them or when they’ll modify their algorithm. And you never know how extended a gallery will stay in company. You actually require to diversify how, when, and exactly where your artwork is witnessed.

The time period good results can include different features. How do you support an artist identify what achievement is for him/her?

You are suitable! The word “success” is loaded and, if I’m remaining genuine, it is a term I’d like to lose in 2022. But for the sake of your question, let us presume that there is a way for each and every artist to get there at a specific definition.

For some, it is about visibility and recognition from establishments. For many others, it may well be income and money. But I suspect it’s a combination, as you stated, of several unique areas for most artists. It requires into account their ambitions and their limitations that may well arrive from household, monetary means, absence of schooling, and so on.

When I operate privately with a consumer, we commence with their eyesight. I ask what they want from their artwork, which is deliberate phrasing but usually perplexing to artists. This query is a way to get at their definition of achievement. 

Can you share about the distinct methods an artist can get the job done with you?

Yes! Many thanks for asking. 

I like to start out by mentioning that my web site has been close to because 2004 and The Art Biz podcast considering that 2016 (and in a distinctive structure than that substantially earlier). My stage: I create a large amount of cost-free content and it can all be accessed day and evening. The search operate on the weblog webpage is great. I encourage artists to seem close to and get to know me through what is no cost for them.

When you need to have much more framework, I can assist you by means of my on the net applications, which change three situations a yr. They’re established around a seasonal emphasis spot, with content designed from almost two many years of aiding artists.

In 2022, our aim regions are Build Prospects, Strengthen Your On the internet Advertising, and Get Arranged. These programs are hybrid on-demand from customers discovering modules + reside coaching + stay Zoom classes so our members can interact with just one a different. We have an energetic local community forum filled with intentional and ambitious artists.

I also have mastermind teams for artists who now have a solid foundation in area. 

I’m rethinking (always!) a ton of what I do and am really experiencing functioning privately with substantial-reaching clients. It is rewarding to operate so closely with another person and witness their progress and transformation. You may perhaps see me streamline my offerings in the foreseeable future.

Last but not least, you began your occupation functioning in artwork museums. How did you start out your possess organization?

Apologies in progress for this longish response, but there are some fantastic small business lessons within just the story. 

In early 2001 I made a decision that existence was as well quick to go the place the museum careers were being and that I needed to dwell in Colorado. I determined to start an art consulting enterprise. Obtaining artwork with other people’s cash sounded like a good deal of exciting to me! And I was severe about this.

When one is serious about a organization, 1 gets business cards. Before I still left the Wichita Art Museum, I hired our museum’s agreement designer, who was unbelievably talented, to layout my company playing cards, brand, envelopes, and letterhead. Yep, I even had letterhead printed up.

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

When I labored in museums, it was our membership list that was our bread and butter. Those persons obtained no cost entry, invites by mail, newsletters, and special discounts at the shop. Our membership checklist was often up to date. They ended up who we labored for higher than all.

So I commenced my individual listing of contacts utilizing my FileMaker Professional application.

To this working day, I contend that your contact listing is each and every businessperson’s–artist or not–most beneficial advertising asset.

I tension this all over my programs, and talked about it as the #3 error artists make in the former dilemma: Neglecting individual and specialist interactions.

I started sending letters of introduction (on my new stationery) to anyone I realized telling them what I was up to—asking them for referrals. I sent push releases to the towns and establishments I was connected to and acquired a short compose-up in the Oklahoma City organization journal. Then I started off sending letters of introduction to the Denver arts community.

Really very little came of this. I received a person consulting gig in Tulsa for an outdated high-college buddy who saw my article in the Oklahoma City paper. And I obtained a framing and installation gig from my landlord who was linked to the City of Englewood, Colorado. I’m reminded of this practical experience every single time an artist claims, “I despatched out 500 postcards and received no responses.” You’ve received to have additional of a program than a solitary advertising tactic.

The letters of introduction were being my total program, if you can get in touch with it that. Sending letters is not a approach. It ought to be a smaller component of a larger program. I did satisfy some gallerists and other folks in the art business because of the letters, but I had no steady adhere to up or follow by way of.

I had no system. I had to figure it out, and which is why I’ve manufactured it less complicated for artists to nurture relationships by offering artists with trustworthy enterprise programs in all of my packages. There are facets of keeping in touch with people that may appear dangerous (like that initially get in touch with with them), but there is virtually a confirmed payoff for it. In my guide, that removes a large amount of the danger.

Following that bust came the surreal time period all around September 11. The final issue anyone was imagining about was obtaining art. The last detail I desired to assume about was advertising my new organization.

What I was getting at this time was inquiries from artists who had heard that I remaining the museum and was starting off my personal artwork consulting organization. They didn’t precisely know what I was attempting to make. All they knew was that they preferred assistance marketing their art.

Pretty much all of them ended up hunting for an agent. So, I assumed, “I could do that!” Then I imagined some additional. I didn’t know any person in my planet of galleries and museums who wanted to offer with brokers.

Alternatively of serving as an agent, I made a decision to aid artists learn to be far better agents for their operate. I have in no way looked back again and could not imagine remaining in any other line of perform.


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