Aspiring artists often imagine what it would be like to make money from their artwork. They have high levels of ability, talent and desire, but find themselves working in less than rewarding day jobs. If you expect to eventually get paid, or increase the prices your work commands, then you must have a business plan
A WHAT??? I’m an artist! Doesn’t it get in the way of creating my artwork? I don’t want to do this. It drives me crazy. It makes me cringe. So why do I need one. Someone once said “Being a successful artist requires two things. 1. Getting paid for your work and 2. Dotting your “i’s” and crossing your “t’s. If you don’t know what it takes to be a success in this industry, it will teach you the hard way.” So, unless you plan to give your work away, you need a plan. A business plan is a process that will help you learn.
Jennifer Lee, a noted author in the subject put it this way: “If you don’t have a business plan, it’s like going to an unknown destination without a map, You’re going to make a set of turns and not have any idea of when you’ve arrived or how you got there. Having a business plan makes clear…Here are the goals I want to achieve; Here are the customers I wish to attract; Here’s how much I am willing to invest in time and money, & Here’s how much money I want to make.” When you give thought to these areas, you’ve begun the planning process.
A business plan can be as simple as identifying where you want to be in 1, 3, & 5 years. Having a well thought out plan will keep you focused. Get it out of your head, and write it down on paper. You’ll need to refer back to it from time to time to make sure you are still on course. If you have been honest with yourself in putting it together in the first place, it can be a real useful tool in keeping you on track. What are your strengths and weaknesses? They should become apparent once you build the plan. What do you tend to put off or not be involved in? Once you know where you stand, a business plan will help you eliminate them. When you put a plan together, you’ll become more focused, and the “Shot-gun” approach you may have been using will disappear.
Your business plan is your personal road map for reaching your goals. Customers won’t necessarily beat a path to your door, no matter how good your work is. You must plan on how to market it. (Will it be through shows,galleries, agents or direct sales?) Don’t be afraid of the word S E L L! What you are selling is YOU as well as your work. Don’t ever lose sight of that fact. I’ve come up with a list of 7 “P’s” that I remind myself of frequently….Prior proper planning prevents pitifully poor performance.
There are several templates out there; many you can down load, but I don’t use them. I suggest you make your plan YOURS. It is an A – Z plan of how you plan to accomplish the goals you set in the first blog in this series.