New Years Resolutions for a Fabulous 2018
Happy New Year! Wishing you a healthy, prosperous and creative 2018!
Speaking of having a prosperous year, I think a few Artist Resolutions may be in order-items in your art show exhibition business. The goal: increase sales, reduce costs and, overall, expand your business by doing what you do as well as possible.
First New Year's Artist's resolution: Organize Your Finances. Know how much is coming in (easy task) and how much is going out (the hard part). Your financial records should guide all of your business decisions, such as when to hire staff, expand inventory, or invest in equipment. But your decisions will only be as good as the information you have.
Falling behind on your bookkeeping makes it easy to fall behind on bills as well and that usually has a financial penalty. Without accurate records, you won't be able to keep straight who owes you what--which means it will take you longer to organize and send invoices. And the longer it takes you to invoice outstanding accounts and get paid, the longer you'll go without those funds.
Or you may overlook sending an invoice at all, and never receive payment. Cleaning up your books will help you speed up and streamline your invoicing so that you can get paid in a timely fashion.
If your books are a mess, they will take time to get in order. It's a hole that's difficult to dig out of--but absolutely necessary. If this is too overwhelming, consider hiring a bookkeeper just to make sense of your current records and to set you up with a system for the future, regardless of whether they take over your bookkeeping long-term.
Second Resolution: Be less "materialistic". What we mean here is not to give up the love of things, but rather don't buy more than you need to create your art masterpieces. Artists are nearly like tech junkies: many of us simply must have the latest...of everything that goes into our work.
Start with taking inventory of what you have and a hard look at what you need. Move on to what sells and which size or design has been "hanging" around for a significant period of time.
Take the time to clean your studio - it is cathartic to throw out or, better yet, donate materials that have been taking up space.
Third Resolution: Avoid Show Burnout. There is no simple answer to how many shows you should do in a year. Be realistic about your abilities to produce your art, stay financially, mentally and physically healthy.
Yet that is in itself incomplete. Many words have been written about maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For the artist, it's even more than that: creative burnout can be accelerated by stress over having to produce enough salable work for the next show or round of shows. Note the word "salable". With too many festivals on your schedule, quality can suffer, shortcuts proliferate and, generally, a dissatisfaction with the work/life balance may ensue.
Fourth Resolution: Take good care of yourself at shows.
Eat well, avoid injuries (especially back injuries) and account for the vagaries of weather, heat stroke being a good example.
If you've vowed to make positive changes in your lifestyle this year, you're likely to be more successful if you don't take on complex new regimens. "People can achieve remarkable changes in their lives one small step at a time," says Dr. Edward M. Phillips, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. Add water, eat better and exercise (in addition to setting up and tearing down your display!).
Fifth Resolution: Know your customers.
Knowing your customers will also help you recognize future potential buyers who share similar traits and which shows attract your clientele. It's a mistake to think you can sell your art to anyone and everywhere. The truth is that within the broader market, there is a niche of people who are going to be interested in your work and who are going to be able to purchase it. The more you know about this niche, the better you will be able to target it.
Does your artwork appeal to buyers of a certain age? Do your buyers tend to come from a certain professional background? Do your buyers share common interests or hobbies?
So how do you get to know all of this information? By building relationships with your customers. We encourage you to work toward building lasting relationships with your buyers, not just selling to them once. This takes time and organization. Get email and physical address, maintain an inclusive email marketing list (anyone who expresses interest in your work) and a dedicated snail mail list (those who have purchased from you), send information about yourself from time to time that is not a sale pitch. Check out the Blog Ideas in this Newsletter.
If you haven't read Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People (or if it's been a while) I highly recommend it. The book is a classic, but the principles are just as true today as they were when the book was written over 60 years ago. The link is to a free download of the book
So... there are a few suggestions for ways to increase your business happiness and hopefully income in 2018. You very likely can think of more. I would love to hear from you about them.