5-Step Income-Generating Plan for 2013

Decide now that you will make more money in 2013.

You with me so far?

Okay, so how are you going to do it?

Let’s think through this.

income generating plan for 2013

It’s never a bad idea to make more money, but your idea has more of a chance to become reality if you create a plan.

Your Income Plan

Step 1: Review your financial records from 2012.

What were your gross sales? What was your net income?

Where did the money come from? Break down sales of original works, reproductions, and any other markets you have into categories. For example, you would want separate categories for different forms of art, such as paintings and jewelry.

What was most profitable for you? Compare this to sales numbers for the past two or three years.

Step 2: Set your goal.

Your income goal should be challenging, but also grounded in reality. If you made $10,000 from your art business last year, setting a goal of $100,000 probably isn’t realistic.

Step 3: Break down your goal into categories.

Using the same categories that you used in Step 1, what do you have to sell and how much of it do you have to sell in order to reach your goal?

Are you able to keep up with the production rate required to make that goal?

You don’t want to set an income goal that is beyond the scope of what you can actually make in a given time period!

Step 4: Distribute your goals over the course of the year.

We business owners know that there are times of feast and times of famine. Smart business owners prepare for both.

For example, your plan would reflect the April event that you know will bring you more income than you expect in February.

Likewise, look at the lean months and see what you can do to boost sales when times are slow.

Step 5: Work the plan.

Add a Strategy Day to your calendar at the beginning of every month. Review your income from the previous month and look at what’s ahead.

Make adjustments in your marketing in order to reach your goal.

What did you discover?

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33 comments to 5-Step Income-Generating Plan for 2013

  • Thank you, Alyson! What a simple and effective way to help us focus on setting our income goals for 2013. Happy New Year!


  • Thank you very much for your advices. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

    I am looking for a representative or a manage merchant for America. Don’t hesitate in taking contact with me in the case you love my artwork.


  • Thanks Alyson. Love the idea of a Strategy Day. I can see where that would bring my focus back around to my annual goals.

  • Thanks. This is really simple which makes it more likely that I’ll do it!

  • This is a very simple plan for strategy. I just marked on my calendar setting aside a day each month. I also like that idea since I always have a little trouble keeping on track. thank you for the idea.

  • Alyson. Nice post for the New Year. I have reviewed the links within the body of this post. They are also helpful, although some date back to 2008 and gives a good picture of what our economy has done since then. I have an age-old question that relates to this subject of moving into the new year with a plan for generating income. I am what you might call a re-emerging artist. I have been in marketing for over 20 years, have always had a full-time job outside the studio, so my time to seriously market myself always took a back seat. This year my son went off to college and I have more time to devote to putting my work out there. The other big thing is that I decided that gallery commissions are too high and, with my experience, I should be able to do better marketing myself directly to patrons. Probably TMI, but I say all of this as prelude to my question. I was always taught and have believed that, to really “brand” yourself and establish a reputation with buyers, you need to present one solid image and body of work so that people recognize your work and your name. Good advice, but have I practiced this? Not really. I don’t mean this to sound conceited, but I have the ability to work in different mediums successfully. I do abstract and mixed media work on paper and canvas. I do assemblage. I have made jewelry. I do impressionist landscape painting. I don’t have a lot of examples of this work lying around the studio because I have managed to sell it all here and there. But this goes against the focused, “branding” that I provide for others in my full-time job. Is my thinking old school when it comes to art marketing? How do others feel about say, showing your work as a painter in a gallery show or street fair and then also presenting yourself as a jewelry maker or collagist at a craft show? I welcome opinion and advice from any and all. I love doing it all. My time is limited, so I do need to focus my efforts. Help!

    • Hi K. Wayne, I like you enjoy working in different mediums. I am also a designer/marketer and do a lot of marketing research for my clients but don’t always practice it for myself. I am thinking this year of having my different works in different venues. I think that is the best approach to keep some consistency among the different items I make. For instance a local shop may sell my jewelry, a gallery my artwork and I may sell other works that don’t fall into any other category I create online myself. Not sure if it’s the “right” approach but, it’s what I am thinking about trying this year. I think being able to diversify is a good thing! Good luck and much success.

    • You can work in as many media as you like, but you usually have to market them separately if they look like different artists did them – especially as you are building a reputation. After that reputation is made, it’s easier to add things to the pie.

    • Hello K. Wayne Thornley! & Happy New Year to you & yours! My mother brought me home a watch recently that says “Secessionist” on it…The Viennese Secessionists (think Gustav Klimt) believed in “Gesamtkunstwerk”, or a comprehensive body of work…That one should show one’s sculpture with one’s painting with something else & something else…That an artist should not merely be a painter or a sculptor or a weaver or a dancer…It is a powerful view, perhaps more powerful than the North American branding view…The way I do it is to not bundle my works into a lump…Each one gets its own path…& though they are in different forms or media, they are all characteristic of my soul…So, they actually could be part of the same brand anyway…It is quite common for artist to work in different forms- but they keep their signature style all the way through…Sari

  • Thanks for this opptimistic post. I never thought to actually look at and catagorize where my $ come from. Looking at my income streams is a left brain task that my right brain never thought of. You are a big help!

  • this is the perfect post to start the new year! I’ve always just looked at the bottom line but am inspired by your post to break it all down and see what is selling and what venues i have sold the most thru. thanks…sometimes i overlook the most common sense things!

  • Thank You Alyson and Happy New Year! I have already done most of all the things you suggested, but the Strategy Day is one I had not. I have picked the last day of each month as Strategy Day to gear me up for the new months ahead. I have discovered that so many small, simple things can make a huge difference, thanks to your advice and insight.

  • ” look at the lean months” …. I love this advice. I do keep monthly paypal print outs on my commercial portrait commissions, so yes, I know exactly where those lean months are. Do I try to crank up the commercial dollars those months or do I choose instead to follow my recent trend of using them to make my personal fine art work? Tough call. Chase the money or the love?

  • Alyson, great advice across the board! You really do have to set goals and make plans on how to achieve them. I really like the idea of breaking down your revenue streams into categories. This can also help artists determine where they should focus their energy.

    The “strategy day” is a fantastic idea. This day can also be set to occur during a specified time frame (say first two weeks of the month) and utilize one of those days when your muse doesn’t show up. You have to have discipline here.

    As always, great post!

  • Nile Livingston

    Recently I added GoogleAdSense to my online portfolio at http://nilelivingston.com/ and this also brings in some pocket change monthly. Considering I don’t have to worry about updating the ads once I paste the code in- this is also a great way to generate a little extra income and still be able to focus on my art work.

    Thank you so much for these excellent organizing tips. An artist’s financial career relies on how efficient our strategy is to obtain the means to produce more works and survive.

    • Nilé (if you switch to french character generator you can add your é at the end of your name)(I see you did it once on your About page, but it is important…I thought you were a boy for the first part of my visit…Unless that was your intention? Due to female probs in the art economy?)…
      Anyways I just wanted to say that your site & your work is fabulous & that the Google Adsense thing, the way you have it, & the ads that seem to be chosen for your site, works really well if not enhances…When I was there a Yonge Street Mission ad came up & a doctor/medicine ad came up, when I returned there was a financial aid ad- so they seem to be appropriate & the slick graphics bump your site up not down…
      Sari p.s. The mosaic work makes me want you to do sculptural mosaic work…Like a whole building…

  • Nilé Livingston

    I appreciate your feedback and kind words Sari. You’re right, I should take the extra steps to add the apostrophe over the é in my name. Knowing my gender might effect a viewer’s perception of my work.

    I’m really looking forward to your future mosaic work. Philadelphia’s filled with the works of Isaiah Zagar who creates mosaic murals on whole buildings.

    Your drawings are beautiful. I’m especially attracted to this sketch http://www.grovecanada.ca/#!amaryllis/crq9

  • http://nilelivingston.com/shattered-mosaic/ No, I meant you Nilé! In my broken English (& it is my first language, but french my second which gums up things), I meant to say that your mosaic work is really piercing…Ok, the spitting up coloured liquids was hilarious, & the documentation on every toilet seat you have known was just over the top, the gorilla glue dripping on the screen kindof scary, but I felt your mosaic work was really serious…I was saying, in my presumptuous way, that your mosaic work is really groovy…But I guess if there is a dude already marking his territory in Philadelphia in mosaic, then I don’t know your market…But thanks for the great website visit- like visiting a gallery show…The Google Call me button is a great idea too…(for those who think I don’t know I have strayed off the business topic)…

  • Love all of your wisdom, as a very focused artist and not so savvy business person I am reeeeeealy appreciative of your offerings here!! Gratitude!!

  • […] it’s still early in the year, I’m even on track as far as income goes so far this year (and I thought my income goal was an over-ambitious stab-in-the-dark). So, […]

  • I feel so fortunate to have discovered your blog and am learning so much from your insight and expertise! Your artist bootcamp has made me finally start to create a “plan” for my art business! This is a great post that makes one of the things I was struggling with actually seem simple to break down. Thanks, Alyson!!!


  • […] Absolutely! It might lead to sales, but an email newsletter that has several articles, images, and calls to action is not a good mechanism, by itself, for generating sales. […]

  • Everything I read here from Alyson and everyone else is so helpful, and I understand how much I need to work on that which I have neglected. It is not enough to work on my art…
    Thank Alyson, Thank you all.