How I Became the Boss of My Inbox

Be the Boss of Your Inbox

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 time. Become the boss of

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Entrepreneurial Freedom

M.G. Ferguson oil painting

Many people become entrepreneurs because of the freedom it affords them. When you own your own business, you are free to set your own goals, get out of bed when you like, and control your brand.

Of course, most people who seek this path of independence have no idea what they’re getting into. They don’t realize how much harder it is to be a successful entrepreneur than to clock in for an 8-to-5 job.

©MG Ferguson, Summer Walk Home. Oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches. Used with permission.

Still, on this (almost) Independence Day holiday in the U.S, we should celebrate our entrepreneurial freedom and all the things we are free to do.

May you be . . .

Free to explore new creative ideas. To not be tied to the past. Tradition

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Activate Your Marketing for a Bigger Audience

Yellow Male Cat

Is your marketing too passive? Are you putting your art out there and hoping someone will see it, buy it, or give you a show?

Jack isn’t always interested in being active.

I’ll confess that I’ve become complacent with my marketing. I write my blog posts every week and post to Facebook and Twitter. Then I sit back and wait for something to happen.

And I rely too much on my existing list without reaching out to new potential audiences.

Fortunately, my coach is correcting my ways. She’s amazed that I have had such good results, and pointed out that I could help a lot more people if only I’d become more active with my marketing.

This got me thinking about all of the passive marketing that we do. How could we approach it more actively in a way that puts us in the driver’s seat of

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A Solution for the Mailing List Conundrum

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

Have you been baffled by what to do with the two lists that many artists have: one list for newsletters and a second one for blog posts?

My predicament (and solution) might be of interest.

Please read on even if you don’t have this issue because I’m sharing big news that affects your Art Biz Coach and Art Biz Blog subscriptions.

For years I have been struggling with confused artists who don’t understand the difference between subscribing to the Art Biz Blog and subscribing to my Art Biz Insider newsletter. I get it!

The sign-up form for this newsletter on the Art Biz Coach home page.

I was confused myself. What do I post on the blog? What do I save for the newsletter?

Many of you probably struggle with the same thing. You have one list for your newsletter, while also offering subscriptions to your blog. Two lists – it’s

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3 Artist Stories To Inspire You

Brad Reyes Art

I haven’t been telling you about all of the amazing thing my members, students, and followers are doing and I’m going to try to do a better job of this. Starting now.

I hope these three stories inspire you.

1. Holly Wilson

Holly Wilson presents her audacious idea at Art Biz Makeover in October of 2013.

Holly Wilson, a member of the Art Biz Incubator, was nervous and shaking as she presented an audacious product idea at my Art Biz Makeover event last fall. After receiving lots of laughter and positive feedback, Holly immediately put her plan into action. The concept is in response to the sexism she has faced from gallerists.

The result of Holly’s action was a successful Kickstarter campaign, which got picked up by Continue Reading…

The Best Idea for Unloading Unsold Art

Black Forest Fire painting

We received loads of good ideas for what to do with earlier artwork that is taking up emotional energy and inventory space.

Many of you wanted to donated it to charity, sell it at a steep discount, repurpose it, or destroy it. On top of this, a number of you said that if it’s not up to your standards, you should rework or destroy it rather than give it away. I agree.

As promised, I have selected a winner. Be sure to keep reading for the honorable mentions.

The Winner

©Carol A. McIntyre, Nature’s Promise. Oil on panel, 20 x 20 inches.

The best idea for “how to get rid of earlier art” is from Carol McIntyre. Knowing Carol, this solution fits her m.o. Like her painting and personality, Carol tackles unwanted work with a flair.

She writes

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My Top Teaching Secrets

Teaching at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas. Photo by Rafael Aguilera.

I have been teaching artists online and at live events since 2002.

While students pay to get valuable content from me, I learn almost as much from them as they do from me. That’s one of the great joys of teaching, and why I will continue to offer live learning.

I can’t possibly put all I know about teaching into a single article, but I have selected a few gems in hopes that they help all of you instructors out there. Take note!

For-Hire Venues

If you teach for hire, you must be clear up front about what your expectations are for the venue. Everything must be in writing.

Speaking to members of the Tennessee Arts and Crafts Alliance. Photo by Mary Claire Crow.

The venue organizers who hired you will never

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Earlier Work Hasn't Sold: What to Do?

Deep Thought

You are up to your eyeballs in unsold work!

What you’d really like to do is just get rid of it. It’s taking up your energy and you can’t afford to rent storage just for early work.

Deep Thought: What do you do with early work that hasn’t sold and no one seems to want?

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An Appreciation of Fathers and of My Dad

Dad's love of animals has led him to feeding the stray cats in Oklahoma City for two decades.

Here’s to the fathers who are artists.

And to the fathers who raise healthy, informed artists who make the world a better place.

To My Dad

Neil Stanfield’s love of animals has led him to feed, neuter, and spay the feral cats in downtown Oklahoma City for two decades. Just don’t ask to put anything in his trunk because it’s full of cat food.

Who loves history and culture and encouraged this curiosity of the world for me.

Who paid for all of my extracurricular art lessons that Mom found for me.

Who praised my art.

Who paid for my undergraduate and graduate degrees in art history, even when I didn’t know what in the world I was going to do with them.

Me at the Musée Rodin in Paris. 1989. Thanks, Dad!

Who sent me to France for two weeks while

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Twitter Tweekly for June 13, 2014

Follow Alyson on Twitter

It’s a very lucky Friday the 13th, indeed, for you. It’s time for my top tweets (according only to me) from the past two weeks!

Art & Marketing

Strict anti-spam law goes into effect in Canada on July 1. Are you compliant?

See @lisacall ’s weekly schedule. Marvel at the detail! blog.lisacall.com/2014/06/spendi…

RT @kiffaniestahle: Stellar advice by @mariabrophy on how to deal with a client who doesn’t want to sign contract. shar.es/PcBHi

Google Is Documenting Street Art Around the World buff.ly/1s5UGvu

I’m asking for “how you got started as an artist” stories on my FB page. Please tell us your story facebook.com/artbizcoach/po…

Being Organized

If you schedule a lot of appointments with students or clients, I recommend @timetrade It’s a life saver for us!

How to Organize Your Digital Photos with Photo by Emilie Continue Reading…