Tag Archives: strategy

Narrowing Your Focus

A little while back, I wrote about goals and formulating your strategy to meet them (which you can read here).  I had also mentioned that part of that process involves revisiting your goals and reworking them.  So as I am revisiting my own, I thought it would be helpful to go through some steps and specific examples.

No matter where you are at in relation to your goals, let’s stop for a minute and revisit them.  This is something you should do every few months, but even if it’s been years, now is the time to go over your list.  What is it that you set out to accomplish?  There should be a list of several things that will lead to this accomplishment.  Whether you have completed a task or not, here are a few things to consider:

Out of the tasks that you’ve completed, what were the results? Positive?  Did they help you get any closer to your goal or not really?  If it’s the latter, you may want to alter it or even consider removing it from next year’s goals.  Example: You get your work featured on a website you’ve been submitting to and it doesn’t lead to any website hits.  Maybe the website is not worth your marketing efforts so you might not want to submit in the future.  Maybe reconsider the types of websites you are submitting your work to.

Of the completed tasks with positive results, what worked the best? What resulted in the most contact/sales/exhibits, etc.?  When you are making your new goal list for the following year, be sure to include those tasks again and add similar goals to increase those results.  Example: If a certain exhibit yielded many sales, what contributed to this and how can you do it again?  Show at the same venue next year, do the same type of promotions and broaden the range, or maybe the exhibit was during the holidays.

What can be improved upon? Maybe some tasks are not quite what you expected but still have some benefit.  Is there anything you can do to improve this or is it time to cut bait?  You want to spend your time on the things that are improving your career and get rid of the time-wasting tasks that are of little or no benefit.

What is missing from the list? Before completely writing off one of your goal tasks, is there anything you may not be doing to help bring that goal to fruition?  Example: If an exhibit didn’t go as well as expected, was there anything on your end that should have been done to make it a success?  Did you attend the opening?  Did you promote the exhibit?  Did you send out press releases?

Focus on your “best bets.” Maybe you are hoping to get an exhibit or find gallery representation.  While this is a great goal, you should focus your efforts on the venues that will be the best fit.  Example: If you are an abstract painter, you should focus on galleries that predominantly show abstract work.  What sells well for the gallery?  Where are they located?  What direction are they going in?  Just because it is a well-known space, doesn’t mean it’s a good fit unless it meets these criteria.  Focus on the ones that do.

Is there anything you can delegate to someone else? Some tasks are necessary, but may rob you of the time you need to complete your high-priority goals.  Do you have an assistant that can take care of such tasks?  Or can you afford to hire one?  Do you have a business partner that can handle certain tasks better than you can?

Once you evaluate what tasks are best suited to your career goals, it will become easier to work on future goals.  You will eventually streamline your goals and learn what to focus on and get the best use of your time.

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One of the awards I won early in my career for my painting "Mike"

Goals- simple title, and seems like such a simple concept, but there’s so much more there that most people don’t realize.  We take them for granted, even I do sometimes despite myself.  I was at a reception the other day for a fellow artist and started talking about how I made my goals and strategized in order to become a full-time artist.  One person in the conversation said that I should look into giving courses on goal attainment because it’s a “big” business.  That latter part may be true, but I will stick with my art.  However, I thought it would be a great post to help out those in the arts, whether they are new or old to it.  So here goes:

– First, make a list of the goals you’d like to achieve.  Brainstorm and write down any and all goals.  This can apply to all areas of your life, but let’s stick with your art career.  Write whatever you want to achieve, desire, dream, etc.

– Cull from that list the things that are more attainable given your career at this given time.  This will be your list of goals for the year.  I like to have two lists, so that one is more “now” and the other is for “later.”  Reason being, it may not be feasible to get your work in the Louvre within a year.

– Put your goal list somewhere visible- maybe on your studio wall?  You might even want to make copies of it and put them elsewhere- on the fridge, in your car, your wallet, etc.  Sounds silly, but it will keep these ideas in your mind and help you stay on target.

– Now come up with your strategy.  On a different piece of paper or your computer, etc., come up with a strategy(ies) to attaining your goals.  What are the steps you need to take in order to accomplish goal 1, goal 2, etc.?  Be specific.

– Be flexible.  You may come upon the end of the year and find that not all of your goals were reached or maybe they weren’t what you expected.  Maybe you took all the steps needed and the goal didn’t pan out.  It happens.  So what can you do about it?  Look at what has worked for you and what hasn’t.  Get rid of the goals that aren’t the best use of your time and energy and focus on what does work.  Make changes or alter your strategies in order to meet goals the second time around.  And continue to meet goals that do work well for you.  For example, if showing in a particular city has resulted in good sales, you should plan to show there again next year, or maybe more often.

– Prioritize your goals.  You may need to accomplish one goal before you can realistically meet another.  Or you may find an urgency in accomplishing a particular goal before others.

– Revisit your goals often.  Aside from marking off goals as you reach them, you should be reviewing your goals list every few months to stay on track.  Bigger decisions such as what worked or didn’t work for your career should be left to the end of the year for a better analysis.

– After analyzing your goals at the end of the year, make your new list for the new year with your accomplishments in mind.  Continue to do the things that work.  Include goals that were not reached and devise a new strategy to meet them.  Remove goals that turned out to not be such a good idea.  And, of course, add new goals that you should tackle.

Seems like such a simple concept and many of you may find this silly or unnecessary, but holding yourself accountable is the only way to accomplish something.  You’d be amazed how 15 years can go by without making any real progression in your career, if you do the same thing day in and day out.


How to Be an Art Star 2.0

Recognize this blouse?  Answer at www.AmyGuidry.comOkay, that may be misleading since this is not the second edition, but a second time around for this class. For those of you who are not familiar with my Art Marketing class from last fall, this is your opportunity to to take part. As part of Frederick l’Ecole des Arts in Arnaudville, LA, I will be teaching another Art Marketing and Self-Promotion course. The first class was quite a success and a great, interactive opportunity to get together with aritists and gallery owners. In addition to my course outline, we had a group session covering individual questions and sharing ideas.

So if you missed out the first time, or are new to this blog and will be in the area, please sign up for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. The class will be May 2nd (a Saturday) from 10AM-12Noon. Of course we did stay late last time because people had lots of questions and ideas to share, but if you need to leave at noon, feel free to do so.

To give you an idea of what the class is about, here is a general course outline. Overview: Risk assessment; getting out of your comfort zone. Changing your mindset. Goal-setting. Portfolio Development. Gallery submissions and approaching galleries. Alternative exhibition opportunities and juried shows. Marketing Materials. Pricing. Sales. Some of the additional topics discussed included shipping work, Ebay, vanity galleries (just stay away- that’s a free tip you can get from me right now!), and what else, but blogging, of course.

Some of these are very basic principles, and some of it boils down to good old-fashioned common sense, but for many artists, their expertise is in their medium and not in marketing. Unfortunately marketing is not a course requirement when getting your art degree, and quite frankly, it’s just plain scary to people (not just artists!). In addition, to succeed at ANYthing requires goals, planning, and organization. All skills that most people don’t think of or skip when trying to succeed at anything. How many people do you know who blame things on bad luck or lack of luck? Or think the only way they can do what they truly love is if they “win the lottery?” I can think of many.

Okay, ready to sign up yet? Go to http://frederickarts.homestead.com/Classes.html to register for Art Marketing and Self-Promotion. Sign up early to ensure your spot in the class. And it doesn’t matter if you are in high school and planning on your future career as an artist or if you’ve been an artist all your life. If you want to improve your marketing skills, ask questions, or take your career to the next level, this is your opportunity. And meet some great people, too!