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Hints for the Business Side of Art

by Linda Dubin Garfield,

Create A Powerful Art Business Plan

Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity. You can plan for success or wait for failure — it’s up to you. Statistics prove that most businesses that don’t have a business plan are doomed. I encourage my coaching clients to prepare their business plan during the first session. It provides them with a foundation, direction and enormous self-esteem.

Don’t Expect Art to Sell Itself

Occasionally someone will fall in love with your art and have an overwhelming desire to buy it. Most of the time, however, prospective art buyers need reassurance from you. Supply support materials for them to peruse. Provide an up-to-date résumé and biography that includes exhibitions and awards. Share positive testimonials from previous art buyers. Quote favorable excerpts from your reviews. Describe the important details of your art that emphasize the quality of your art and materials. Also, show images of your art in situ on your website so that potential buyers may visualize it on their walls.

Follow The “Rule of Thirds”

Generally speaking, one-third of your time is spent creating the art; one-third of your time will be spent focusing on marketing and promotion; and one-third is spent doing those pesky administrative tasks. My solution is to delegate or hire others to do what you don’t enjoy doing and/or find ways to become more efficient at accomplishing those necessary tasks in order to increase time doing what you love.

Build Positive Relationships

The most powerful tool in your career arsenal is the art of building and sustaining relationships. Every successful artist follows these basic principles: Hunt (seek out relationships); Farm (cultivate relationships) and Feed (nourish your relationships). Also, avoid burning any bridges because you never know when the young gallery intern you offended will later become a museum curator. Learn how to create your network.

Don’t Be Shy About Promoting Yourself

If you don’t make self-promotion a habit, it is likely no one else will want to do it. Replace feelings of shyness with self-worth. Share enthusiasm for your current art project, announce recent honors and awards you received, and share the news about your sales. Make these events the subjects of your social media posts, blogs and email newsletters. Practice self-promotion with dignity, sincerity and confidence. And, when you receive publicity share the good news far and wide.

Get Comfortable Discussing Your Art

You should be able to answer in a brief statement, “what kind of art do you do?” without any hesitation or stumbling. When someone asks you this question, speak about your art in a succinct, compelling, enthusiastic, confident and informative manner. Write about your artwork in the same way. Avoid using language that is either simplistic and superficial or complicated and difficult to understand.



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