I recently came across this quote from a student from 2005:
I have adopted the habit of NEVER leaving my studio dark! … Nothing positive EVER happens in the dark. Life comes from the light around it. Art is created to live and to be seen and felt, not to be hidden away in some dark studio (even overnight). Your attitude will change about your work environment when you enter the space and find “it” awake and waiting for your presence.
While I’m not a fan of wasting energy, I do appreciate the sentiment behind the practice of leaving on a light in the studio. (Perhaps the studio is next to a streetlight, and you could just open the shade. Just a possibility.)
But I’m getting off topic.
What strikes me about the quote is the notion that nothing positive ever happens in the dark. Even if it’s not completely true, I got to thinking about all the parts of our businesses that we choose to ignore.
If you shined a light on areas you’ve been kept in the dark about, will your attitude change? Will it lead to more productive behavior? Will you see better results?
Where are you stuck in the dark?
Shine a Light on Your Finances
Ignoring your financial situation doesn’t make it any brighter. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Only when I became very clear about money was I able to improve my income.
How much does it cost you to run your art business? What’s your profit margin? What makes you the most money, and what is an energy drain?
If you’re running a loss, you need to do two things: 1) look over your expenses to see what can be cut and 2) create a plan to make more money.
Shine a Light on Your Marketing
You can’t put up a website or Facebook page and say you’re done. There must be a consistent effort to connect all of your marketing, and it should include a good deal of personal contact and list building.
Too many artists are marketing passively by hoping people will magically find their posts and images. You will get better results by making an extra effort to reach out with a personal touch.
Relationship marketing takes more time, but yields a higher quality and more enduring list of contacts.
Shine a Light on Your Studio Time
Without the art, you have nothing to market and you aren’t an artist. Making art must be your #1 priority when you’re trying to build a business from your work.
How many hours a day are you spending in the studio? How many hours a week?
Is studio time first? Or do you go into the studio only after you’ve taken care of all of your personal chores?
Shine a Light on Your Relationships
It takes a village to build an art career. You need people to show your art, buy your art, and support your dreams.
You also need to meet more people because the more people who know about your art, the more people there are to buy your art.
Are your relationships supporting you or bringing you down?
Are you giving back to your supporters as well as asking and taking from them?
What do you need to shine a light on?