A Realist’s Strategy for Increasing Your Income

It’s unnatural for many artists to talk about money – especially when the money seems like barely enough to bother counting. And, yet, you can imagine how important it is to have a cozy relationship with money when you need it in your life.

What I share here is one of my favorite things to teach because I know that if you go through this process earnestly, your art business will be transformed.

The transformation occurs because you commit to a new relationship with money – one that puts you in charge of your destiny.

Let the Transformation Begin

One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of success in any area is to create a plan. If you’d like to make more money, that means you need an income-boosting plan.

Before you object, I know what you’re going to say because I have heard it many times before: How can I plan for money when I don’t know when my art will sell or who will buy it?

You make a plan because you’re the CEO of your art business and that’s what CEOs do. They make business projections. They have to in order to attract buy-in to their products and services.

But first things first – in order to boost your income, you have to know what it is currently and where it came from.

For the purposes of this exercise, you’re going to focus on your gross sales. Ready to get real?

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Where Motivation Comes From

I want to help you expand your art business and grow your art career.

Each of my blog posts, class lessons, or live events is carefully designed to help you get one step closer to your dream.

In these formats, I can teach you:

  • What strategies you could be using to promote your art.
  • Why these strategies are helpful.
  • How to implement strategies.
  • About artists who are getting good results by using these strategies.

Still, as much as I would like, I cannot teach you how to get motivated to do the work.

I’d go so far as to say that I can’t teach you anything if you are not motivated.

I can give you information, but that information is no good if it is merely collected – put on a shelf in hopes that it will somehow magically work just because you paid for it.

I can write motivational articles or respond with positive feedback if you comment on my blog or Facebook page, but I cannot give you the motivation to take action.

Motivation must come from within you.

If you aren’t motivated to do the work, it doesn’t matter how many books you read or classes you take. You’re throwing your money away if

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How To Plan Your Year

Paris Watercolor by Lis Zadravec

What’s on your calendar for the New Year?

I’m not talking about your appointment calendar. I’m talking big picture. What are you doing that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to work?

If there’s not much there, it’s time to get busy. You can’t earn more money or increase recognition without exhibitions and events on your schedule.

You can use a desk or desktop calendar for appointments, but for this job you want to get a clear overview of your year’s rhythm.

You’re looking for periods that you know will be particularly busy and others when you might be able to sneak away for a well-deserved vacation.

You also want to be aware of potential for too much overlap on your calendar. There might events you’d like to schedule, but might bump up against others that are already in place.

It’s confusing to schedule events that occur too close to one another.

It’s confusing to your fans and followers because everything looks to have the same level of importance. They don’t know which message to pay more attention to.

It’s also confusing to you because you’re promoting more than one thing at a time. You don’t know how and where to spend your energy.

There are numerous ways to plan your year so that you can envision its rhythm. Here are the two most important ones that I use.

The Wall Calendar

The framework for all of my planning is a wall calendar so that I can see the entire year at once.

I’ve shared previously that I love the Seize The Year calendar by Neu Year. Its biggest asset is that it can be displayed either vertically or horizontally.

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What Did You Do This Year? Your Annual Review

Julie Anderson ceramic art

You survived another year as a working artist. Congratulations!

Now it’s time to step back and look at all you have accomplished in the last twelve months. This is an annual ritual to take your mind off of the long task list in front of you and remind yourself that you really have done a great deal.

If you do nothing else, stop reading this right now and set aside time in your schedule to review your year. It’s too easy to neglect this exercise if you try to squeeze it in whenever you

I suggest committing to two one-hour sessions to start this process. You’ll need to gather your data from calendars, bookkeeping, and journals.

The format here is based on The See Plan (8 Cs for a balanced business). Please adjust and add personal accomplishments if you like.

And … begin!

1. Challenge Creativity

What artistic medium or skill did you attempt or master?

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My Favorite Things 2017 Edition

Jack in the Cat Cave

You won’t find raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens on this list, though I’d argue that they are both delightful. Instead, here’s a peek at the things that made me happy over the past year (or longer).

I hope you’ll read and share your own favorite things in a comment.

Food

Bert’s Eggnog

On last year’s favorite things list, I saved the best for last. This year, I won’t make you wait.

This family recipe has made many a doubter into an eggnog convert. I’ve tried others that professed to be THE BEST, but they’ve never come close. I defy you to make a single batch of it.

Nopalito

Luck steered my husband and me into Nopalito restaurant in San Francisco last spring. WOW! If I could live a healthy life on their totopos alone, I’d do it.

But I don’t need to wait to return to San Francisco because their cookbook had recently been released and, ever since, my husband been earning the title Chef. We have had many delicious meals from the Nopalito cookbook.

Rosemary-Mezcal Paloma Cocktail

Some people live on Mai Tais on Maui, but we lived on Palomas. If we have to have them away from that island paradise (twist our arms), we add our spin – inspired by the delicious version at Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver. We make it with smoky Mezcal instead of tequila and add homemade rosemary syrup. Heaven.

Cleansing

In last year’s favorite things post, I mentioned The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising “Healthy” Foods That Are Making You Fat–and Lose Weight Fast (2014)by Lyn-Genet Recitas. This approach to eating the foods that are right for you is right for me. Whenever I feel off-track with regard to eating (often!), I jump on her 3-day cleanse and lose a few extra pounds while gaining energy.

Reads

Both of these books were gifts from my wise coaches.

The Book of Joy

You can’t go wrong when the two main characters are

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Find a Niche for Your Art with Maria Brophy (Podcast)

Author Maria Brophy

Maria Brophy has served as an art agent to her husband, Drew Brophy, since 2001. Since then she has also helped thousands of other artists plan their careers, increase sales, and negotiate deals. Her experience and secrets are chronicled in her new book, Art Money Success.

I asked Maria what she was most excited about these days, and she gave me a pretty decent list.

I liked #1 on that list: niche markets. Done! Now we can talk.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, Maria and I discuss:

  • What is a niche market?
  • 4 types of niche markets for artists: 1. Style of art 2. Lifestyle 3. Geographic location 4. Purpose
  • How to find your niche audience.

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21 Snappy Things to Write on a Note Card Besides Happy Birthday

Jamie was my BFF in middle school. Though we were inseparable at the time, we drifted apart in high school and thereafter.

Over the past ten years, we rediscovered our friendship and have been trying it on as maturing adults.

Something lovely has happened recently: we’ve started writing letters. By hand. The kind you have to put a stamp on and drag your butt to a mailbox to send.

I see it as a way to use up my embarrassingly large stockpile of note cards and stationery. But it’s more than that. It’s nostalgic. It reminds me of the notes we used to write, carefully fold, and pass to each other in the hallways between classes.

I feel a little sorry for those who are wed to digital texts and social platforms – and the kids who will never know the joy that those paper notes can bring.

And there is something joyful about handwriting on paper.

I’ve always encouraged clients to distinguish themselves by sending handwritten cards (with their art on them) in the mail. The message you share is sincere and introduces people to or reminds them of your art.

Here are 21 reasons (as if you needed them) to send a card to a friend or potential friend.

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Delight Someone (Everyone)

©2014 Senga Nengudi, Jive. Site installation for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

A few years ago, I had the joy of hearing Senga Nengudi talk about her art in a gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver surrounded by the work.

Nengudi makes intimate installations and sculptures from discarded materials such as torn pantyhose. It started when she was living in a small space in New York and decided on a medium that would fit into her purse. (Further proof that making art is about solving problems, but that’s another topic.)

During a panel discussion, Nengudi warmed everyone in the room with her gentle, generous spirit and big smile.

When we (about 100 of us) were getting ready to leave, the artist said she wanted to give us a gift to remember her by. In line with her work, which transforms unwanted items into art, she considered a gift that we could transform into something new.

She confessed that she didn’t have enough pantyhose for the audience. We laughed! Many, particularly the men, breathed a sigh of relief.

That’s when she pulled out a large plastic bag and handed out . . .

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10 Affirmations for Artists

10 Affirmations for Artists

We all need a little pick-me-up when we’re overwhelmed, uninspired, or unfocused Please return to these 10 Affirmations for Artists whenever you need a jolt of motivation or confidence. Audio-only and printable versions included.

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Is Any Artwork Worth $450 Million? (Curious Monday)

Christie's video - Salvator Mundi by Leonardo

Last week, someone paid $450million for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.

Yeah, it’s Leonardo.

Yeah, there are fewer than 25 known works by Leonardo.

Yeah, it’d be pretty cool to have one of Leo’s works hanging in your home.

But … 4 hundred and 50 million dollars?

Is any artwork worth that amount?

Tell us what you think in a comment.

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