Last week, in celebration of my 10-year anniversary at Art Biz Coach, I gave my top 10 pieces of marketing advice from the decade of this newsletter.
Today, let’s look at some sound business advice that it pays to review from time to time – another top 10.
10. Proceed with caution when donating your art.
Most artists can’t afford to run a charitable business at a loss. Artists in the U.S. can’t even write off the full-market value of donated art, which is a fact that most non-art organizations aren’t aware of. Donating too frequently (1) lessens the value of your art; (2) weakens the art market in your area; and (3) encourages people to wait to buy at the next event you donate to – when they think they can get a bargain.
Since September 13, 2004.
Nobody ever got anywhere by playing it safe. Break out of your rut. Stop showing in the same locations and entering the same juried exhibits. While you’re at it, try a different medium or work with your eyes closed. Grow!
Since May 6, 2002.
8. Acknowledge your achievements.
It’s too easy to focus on everything that you want or have to do. When you get into the habit of writing down your achievements (daily, weekly, monthly, and/or annually), you learn to give yourself a break. You know that you didn’t waste your time on Facebook or reruns of Seinfeld.
Since December 22, 2003.
7. Ask a lot of questions.
Don’t accept things at face value. Don’t trust your interpretation of a situation (an exhibit agreement, a gallery contract, a commission arrangement) that isn’t clearly defined. Trust other people, but verify what they say by asking a lot of questions. This is key for maintaining control of your career.
Since October 18, 2004.
6. Figure out how you will make money.
Saying you’d like to sell $50,000 worth of art is one thing, but getting there is quite another. How much art do you need to make in order to reach this goal? Is this possible? What must your marketing machine look like to get you there? Drill it down!
Since January 12, 2011.
5. Express your gratitude.
Say Thank You often in handwritten notes, short emails, and via social media. Write silent gratitudes to yourself in your daily journal.
Since May 19, 2003.
4. Under-promise and over-deliver.
I believe in this business commandment so much that I think about it before ever promising a deadline to anyone. No one likes to be disappointed, but everyone likes a pleasant surprise.
Since November 28, 2005.
3. Get (or Put) it in writing.
This goes along with #7 above. Don’t assume anything. See it for yourself in black and white. If there is no written agreement or contract, make one of your own and get the parties to sign off. This isn’t just legal protection. It will deter potential headaches and might just save a friendship.
Since April 3, 2006.
2. Treat your art like it belongs in a museum.
It’s appalling to see artists schlepping their art around in plastic tote bags and framing work with crappy mat board that looks like it’s been cut by a child. Until you start treating your art like it has value, why should anyone else?
Since August 26, 2002.
1. Break the rules.
I give you advice for best practices in my book, in this newsletter, on the blog, and in my classes. They’re just starting points. You have to figure out what’s best for you and your situation at this time. Great artists throughout history didn’t become known because they did what had always been done. They made a name for themselves because they did something different.
Since February 15, 2010.
What advice serves you?