It’s time to tie a bow around 2014 and prepare for 2015 by organizing your systems.
The ideas here should take you less than 1 hour, and they will bring peace of mind to your New Year.
1. Update the copyright notices on your website, blog, and newsletter.
Too many sites have old copyright dates on them. I’ve seen some as old as 2007! Blogging platforms will automatically update your copyright, but static sites need your attention now.
I’m not talking about the copyright notice on individual images. I’m referring to the copyright statement on the site, which is typically located in the footer of your pages.
If your website says ©2014, it doesn’t look fresh. Change that to 2015 before you forget.
I took this screen capture of my site earlier in the week. If you scroll down to
Would you like to get more done in less time? Then quit multitasking!
Multitasking is working on diverse tasks simultaneously and, usually, doing them all half-heartedly: driving and talking on the phone; attending a webinar and responding to email; or writing a blog post and texting.
Research shows that only about 2.5% of college students can multitask effectively. Two point five percent!
©2011 Corrina Sephora, Hull Trilogy (dtl). Mixed media. Used with permission.
Studies now show that multitasking is a myth. You simply can’t give your attention to more than one thing at a time.
Health magazine gives 12 reasons to kick the habit, including the insight that multitasking dampens your creativity: “… multitaskers often find it harder to daydream and generate spontaneous ‘a ha moments’.”
Kick the Habit
To embrace single-tasking, take the first step and turn off
©Tara Pappas, The Release. Mixed media, 12 x 6 inches. Used with permission.
The biggest lesson from last week’s Art Biz Makeover: Let go of control.
After several discussions with my guests, it was clear that few people were willing to bring others into their art businesses.
When someone asked me if I ever slept, I happily responded that I got 8 hours sleep the night before. Really. And I did it because I hired people that I trust to stuff the goodie bags, get the name badges together, staff the registration table, select the music, order the food, and put out fires.
I learned a long time ago that if I was going to build my business to be more profitable, I was going to have to trust others.
I have read plenty of books over
Tomorrow is the final day of this year’s Art Biz Makeover event, and I have scheduled a special session on pitching your art that includes a panel of art world folks who are pitched to by artists all of the time.
©Lisa Cirenza, Tubers. Acrylic and oil on board, 70 x 100 centimeters. Used with permission.
As I was preparing for this event, I approached someone that I wanted to sit on this panel of art experts. I broke all of my rules for pitching ideas to people and couldn’t have screwed up the situation worse than I did.
Here’s how it went down in an only slightly edited, simplified version.
Me: We’ve never met, but I teach artists how to build their businesses. I’d like to stop by and introduce myself.
Other person: I
The reason you’re out of ideas is that you’re out of practice.
I was so proud of saying this to a client the other day that I asked her to hold while I wrote down the quote.
I knew to write it down because I’m in the practice of gathering ideas for my writing. I have a regular writing schedule. I can’t say the same for a studio schedule.
No Studio Practice
When Barbara Gilhooly and Ayn Hanna called for “heart art” for their commitment ceremony, I wanted to make a heart for them so badly. I stewed over it for three months before giving up. I had a twinkle of an idea, but no vision for making it happen.
Barbara and Ayn in front of the wall of hearts, a beautiful ceremony that I had wanted to contribute
Do you ever wonder what a regular marketing schedule for your art would look like?
Every week I comb through the hundreds of ideas I have for articles because I always find something new. Something that didn’t strike a chord a year ago suddenly calls my name.
I found this request deep in my filing system: I find it helpful to be reminded of what I can do or perhaps really should do on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.
©Jane LaFazio, Artichoke Family. Watercolor and color pencil. Used with permission.
The cheat sheet that follows is for Julie and everyone who finds comfort in knowing what to do and when. Here is a simple marketing schedule to follow.
Read something about art to fill your content well and to be inspired.
Update your status on your Facebook
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.
©Randy Gallegos, Exit Within 5. Oil and acrylic on canvas panel,
Commissions for artists are limited only by one’s imagination: people, house, and pet portraits, funerary urns, custom jewelry, garden sculpture, and more.
Regardless of the commissions you might be offered, use these pointers to make sure you pull off your project with flying colors and enjoy the process.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Create a special section on your website for commission information. Include steps for commissioning a piece and testimonials from happy patrons alongside images of the finished work.
I snapped this photo in the garage of the Milwaukee Art Museum and I’m happy to say that, according to her site, Susan Weres is still doing her thing. And she’s probably surprised to see this photo. I wonder how many commissions this tire cover has landed her.
See that your marketing materials have both an email address and
I’ve been reading Delivering Happiness by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh. I highly recommend it as an inspirational story about sacrifice, drive, perseverance, and personal mission.
One of the things Hsieh stresses repeatedly is how much more interested he is in experiences than in acquiring things. It’s no wonder that Zappos has become known for its superior customer service.
This got me to thinking about how artists and arts organizations treat their guests at openings. Here’s what I came up with.
Artist Karen McLain addresses a standing-room only and overflow crowd at the fundraiser for The Cloud Foundation, which she worked on for over a year.
When you host an opening and invite people, you are the host.
The people who attend, whether they pay or not, are your guests. They have gone out of their way to show up
As I write this, I’m sitting with an inbox with far more messages than is comfortable for me. I usually keep a relatively sparse inbox, but the messages accumulate from time to time.
Here’s the ugly truth.
I know that 177 messages isn’t a lot for most people, but it is for me. Instead of beating myself up over it, I’m going to hold myself accountable to under 20 messages before this post is published. Because, I’ve learned . . .
I am the boss of my inbox.
I refuse to let email messages control my life. I’m in charge. You, too, are in charge. You have to be.
If you’re going to be in control of your art career, you have to control every aspect of it. Stop allowing things like email to monopolize your