If we look at the basic version of what an artist’s job really consists of, it becomes clear that the biggest problem is time. Don’t you think an artist is having to play too many roles? Trying to find the time to juggle being creative whilst prioritizing marketing and business strategies is a really hard thing to do.
I am planning for my success
So, for 2018 I have decided to be completely in charge of my career and create an achievable action plan for the next 12 months. Normally, I am very focused and have my projects planned out. But the thing is I have two small kids, a husband, a cat, a job and my art business and I find that I am always busy, always slightly behind and always feel like there is so much to catch up.
I decided on everything I want to achieve and get done in 2018, created a step-by-step achievable plan and put it in my outlook calendar.
It feels great to identify goals and establish what needs to be done and to figure out how to achieve them. It takes some time to break down goals into smaller tasks, but it is so worth it in the end. Seeing exactly what needs to be done to get things moving forward is very exciting and makes it so much more real and achievable.
Ask yourself, over the next 12 months, what do I need to be focusing on and achieving to move my career forward?
If you want to have a successful year and reach your goal you must plan.
How? Follow these guidelines
Using a vision map technique, made the planning so much easier. My vision map, is a detailed description of where I want to go, it’s where I write down in detail what my goals looks and feels like. If I have a clear idea of what my goals are it’s much easier to break them down into manageable tasks.
I continuously encourage myself and want to encourage you not to limit your vision in any way.
“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is to low and we reach it.” Michaelangelo
There will be people who will try to talk you out of your vision. They will tell you that you are crazy and that it can’t be done. There will be those who will laugh at you and try to bring you down to their level. Don’t listen to them.
I like to get comfortable and sit quietly on the sofa after the kids are in bed and I know I won’t be disturbed. Then, close my eyes and ask myself what my goals look like for my art career. I visualize the perfect career, exactly the way I want it. What I am working on? Who am I collaborating with? Where am I working? What does success mean to me? What am I doing? What kind of clients or customers do you have? What is my compensation like? What is my studio like? What is my office like?
I prefer to write down my answers as I go along, but you can do the whole exercise first and then write them down. Either way, make sure you write down everything and review the notes every day. This will help your conscious and subconscious minds focus on your vision.
Also, share your vision with a good friend or mentor. I used to be afraid that friends will think my vision it impossible or unrealistic. But you will find that when you start sharing your vision, people will want you to make it happen. Others will introduce you to friends and resources that can help you. If you don’t share your vision how will anybody know what you are trying to achieve? How will anybody be able to help you make it happen if you don’t let them in on your plans?
You will find that each time you share your vision it becomes clearer and feels more real and reachable. You will also find that when you share your vision that you feel more committed to do everything possible to stick to your plan.
Get there step by step
Yeah, goals are identified — this is excellent and not a time to get overwhelmed.
I totally understand how easy it is to get overwhelmed by big goals and the enormity they represent. Keep in mind that big goals get achieved by breaking it down into small tasks and doing them one by one.
Start by breaking down big goals into small manageable chunks with specific deadlines, plan out all the individual action steps needed to accomplish the goal.
Get help if you are not sure which steps you will need to take to accomplish your goal.
There are many ways to figure this out, for example:
· Ask fellow artists
· Consult with more experienced artists or industry experts who have already gone through this process, they may be able to help by sharing what steps they took
· Network, ask questions on industry-specific forums
· Purchase a book or search online for a guide or manual
· Be open to learning new tasks and skills if needed and keep in mind that it’s impossible to know everything. Keep researching and asking until you can create a realistic action plan.
Map it out
A simple process for creating a detailed to-do list for achieving your goal is a mind map, it literally “maps out” your ideas and captures your thoughts.
For example, if your goal is to “Set up an online shop to sell my original paintings” you might want to capture thoughts on the following tasks:
·Research online art market places
·Research online art galleries
·Research website builder and hosting services
·Talk to friends about online art platforms they use to sell their work and learn the pros and cons of each
·Create a budget
·Create a content strategy
·Write bio and artist statement
·Take professional photos of your artwork
·Write descriptions of artworks
·Establish a pricing structure
·Determine what platform to you will use to sell your work
·Determine what shipping supplies are needed
·Build and design a website or upload artwork to a chosen art platform for sale
·Maintain your website
What does your mind map look like?
I have converted all of the to-do items from my mind map into daily tasks by listing each one in my calendar in the correct order. Now, I do whatever it takes to stay on schedule. To stay on schedule is important, so I do the following:
· I don’t watch TV in the evening, instead I work until 10 pm most evenings.
· I get up one hour earlier to work before my kids wake up, this is my most productive hour of the day.
· I have blocked out dedicated work time in my calendar on Saturdays and Sundays every week
· I don’t check social media during work time.
Use a google or outlook calendar, whatever works well for you and set a daily email reminder for each task and stick to your schedule.
The night before
I used to enjoy making my to-do list the night before, but guess what you can throw away your to-do list as all your tasks are already scheduled on your calendar. So, no more getting stressed due to unactioned items on your to do list. I schedule time to process emails in the morning and block time for marketing activities and website updates and time for art.
I work one hour before the kids wake up in the morning, so time is limited, and I want to know exactly what needs to be done and in what order. This way, I feel productive and I have not wasted precious time figuring out what needs to be done instead I wake up and know what is on the agenda.
Be in control
You are in control of your career and you make choices to build your creative path. It takes artists time to create a name for themselves, persevere! Many small breaks will create a sustainable career if you take one step at a time towards your future goals. All great achievements are made up of many small acts. Feel good about your choices and stay connected to your creative process.