Art business 101:

10 steps…a learning curve.

well its New Years eve at 11.49 and I needed to put up my post…feels like a plan rather than a resolution. All I know is that it is all about learning. I hope you all have a wonderful new year that welcomes in 2016 with warmth and joy.

I have decided that 2016 is about building my business and that means learning about marketing. I have found lots of helpful resources such as with Christine Renea and the Abundant artist and the creative dream incubated with Andrea Schroeder. I am layering the understandings and immersing myself in ideas and knowledge. This is how I learn. I let the knowledge surround me and as I start to absorb it I see what rises to the surface. The 10 steps are what I have begun, still need to do and am developing so far. I will share bits of this business journey along the way. I would really love comments, thoughts, ideas and any amazing business tips that you might have. In fact if art business marketing is your thing…I invite you to contact me and do a guest post….already working on number 9. Are you part of this same journey where you are looking for openings and ways to make those tentative first steps to create your own online business…the easiest way to do this is to share what works. I am excited that I am making these baby steps but the journey awaits and it’s time to set off on the next step. Starting points to launch my art in 2016.

10 steps…developing an art business.

1/ I have started a wish book which is my art journal and a type of book based vision board. This is where I am collecting ideas around my business and also exploring my new series on soul journeys. I have shared some of my starting points but this is a living wish so it keeps evolving as I add the next wish.
2/ The emphasis on consciously creating a list using chimp monkey is one I haven’t yet started but know that I need to. I did set up an account but need to go the next step. That means setting up a newsletter so people can opt and get updates, special offers and info. I realised as I kept listening and learning that I hadn’t started because part of me wasn’t ready and had missed a step.
3/ I needed to define my essence and what I was offering to you when I shared my art. I knew all the words around what I loved to do and so created a page of words in my wish book to help get clear on what this essence was as it felt like it linked to the idea of branding me. A big and scary idea that I had been avoiding by focusing on my name as my brand. I needed something more. I played with the combinations of words that I had scattered across the page looking for something that felt right. For me art is about emotions, heart based, stories and the journey of possibilities….oh I just clarified how I was adding possibilities as I do keep coming back to that word. I decided on heart art stories. I knew saying heart art storytelling would make it a correct sentence but felt like that separated you…my audience..into an observer whereas using stories invited you in.
4/ I designed a simple logo in my wish book and it just seemed to flow as the visual heart image merged into the text used for ‘art’ and ‘stories’.

Why ‘Heart art stories?

For me, my art is a spiritual practice and a place where time stands still. My creative process always works best if I trust whatever comes up and flow with it. That’s where emotions = heart comes in. The danger for me is allowing the head…my inner critic …to disrupt the flow. Heart art was a way of honoring the importance of this link.
Meaning making, art and stories are central in my art world. Each art work is an invitation for you to come and share the stories and bring your own stories to add to the meaning of the created symbols and images within the art. The addition of your own stories as you participate in the story make the work complete.

5/Then of course I come back to the idea of possibilities and the tag line that works with my logo and develops the idea of what my brand is about. I want you to know that anything is possible and you have choices in this journey of life. I was going to have the short phrase after the logo piece as ‘imagine possibilities’ but as I was writing this out it shifted to ‘journey possibilities’. I am still playing with this phrasing in my head. Heart art stories …imagine opening….that feels right. I don’t need to use the word possibilities to get the message across and perhaps possibilities is not the right word as it is harder to visualize than imagining choice to open at each step along the journey. ‘Opening’ seems to fit better as an opening is allowing possibilities. It gives rise to questions such as ‘what am I opening to?, What lies beyond the horizon? or even the image of a gift in the process of being unwrapped, a flower opening, a doorway or a body of water with the horizon opening into distant vistas. So many visual metaphors. I am rambling but I guess you can see my thought process here as I refine the words so that the image they create has the best fit to my desired aim. Now I keep seeing the things around me as opening. I know this is a choice; to stay closed or to open and I am about choices.

6/ Step back and clarify my mission statement and update my about page.

7/ Work on my website design so it clearly links to my logo and tag. The myriad choices feels like a huge task but as my sister said, ‘if you do it for 20 minutes at a time you will be surprised how quickly you get there’. I think this is about simply beginning, as it is with every step of the journey. I will consciously link posts, headers, colors…everything …to my branding and the feeling that I want to achieve. The aim is to get a balance between my heart and my head.

8/ Once I am happy that I have begun all the above ( not finished or I will never take the next step) then I need to look at how I am presenting my sales sites, how my website links and that all the imagery is consistent. This involves taking my inventory number system to the next level. Each series will have a different letter code with the number to help make the work searchable across sites as I have learnt many people search several sites before committing to buy. I have worked out my codes in my wish book which is step 7.1. Yes each task will be broken down further as I get my head around it.

9/ Keep learning and connecting and starting to strengthen my community links with a focus on finding like minded blogs. Hopefully get to guest blog on someone else’s blog who has a similar vision and they get to blog on mine.

10/ Go back to number 1 through 10 and check I am happy with the results. Continue refining and updating using a business plan. Yes I have one but it is still rough and needs refining. When I am selling my art I am selling me so it is challenging, unique and very personal. I would not have got this far without it.

Imagine opening

My original logo design by Cheryle Bannon©…a simple roughed out design to capture what my art is abour It seemed to draw itself…

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