How to Set Goals as an Aspiring Artist

Deciding to start an art career is a life-changing moment for any aspiring artist. It takes a lot of courage to take this step and a lot of hard work and discipline to turn your art into a business that will pay your bills. Creative people may easily feel overwhelmed by the business side of their art, and for this reason, they postpone taking the first steps towards building their brand.

One of the biggest challenges that artists have to face when getting involved in the art business is the amount of complex business-related practices they have to learn about. Another concerning issue is the financial struggle that comes with this decision to turn your art into a full-time career. It may be a good idea to keep a day job as an alternative source of income that will support you and your artwork until you create an established art brand.

Aspiring artists may feel like they have landed on some alien planet when they enter the business world. They seek answers to two vital questions: “Where do I start?” and “What should I do first?” This article will try to provide practical answers to both questions and help emerging artists set career goals and determine the direction their art business will take.

Building an engaging and recognizable art brand is a time-consuming and demanding process that requires strict organization. Therefore, you should set goals as a foundation for growing your business. Here is some useful advice that will help you organize better and start developing your art career.

Photo by Sergio Rota @sergio_rota on Unsplash

What to Focus on When Setting Goals as an Artist

  • First, you need to determine the way you want to build your art career, but do not mix business goals and dreams. Dreaming big and envisioning your future is positive. However, if you want to make a sustainable business plan, you have to focus on achievable goals instead of vague, general ones. The best way to stay focused and well-organized is to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound.
  • Make a difference between short-term goals and long-term goals. Short-term goals need to be specific and bound by a deadline, like widening a network of professional contacts or setting up and promoting your website. On the other hand, long-term goals can be more general and not so time-related. For example, build a reliable client base or make enough money with your art to quit your day job.
  • Choose goals that motivate you. This should not be a difficult task for artists who rely heavily on motivation and inspiration. You already know what your inner drive is; now you need to turn it into a practical and feasible goal. Passion-driven goals are always the first to be achieved because people love that feeling of accomplishment when they check these off their list.
  • When determining your career goals, make sure you stay within your limits. We do not mean to discourage you from fulfilling your potential. However, it is essential to be aware of the current circumstances and focus on achieving realistic goals. By focusing on smaller goals, you will be able to tick a goal off your list and stay on track, even when you do not feel inspired to create.
  • Remember that set goals are not written in stone. Don’t feel bad if you need to adjust your deadlines because of unexpected circumstances. You may have a personal situation or some other project that will deter you from working on your art. Do not stress over being behind schedule. Keep putting daily effort into the development of your art career, and the results will come.
  • Have someone close to you remind you of the goals and deadlines you need to achieve. Procrastination may be a hidden enemy that will prevent you from achieving your goals and boosting your art business. Once you are reminded of tight deadlines, you will not need additional motivation to work and accomplish the set task. 
  • Finally, treat yourself when you finish a significant amount of work that will promote your art and business. Tackling numerous business issues while trying to create memorable art pieces is a highly-demanding undertaking. For this reason, make sure to treat yourself when you accomplish an important career goal. 
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The Importance of Networking

Besides setting and achieving goals that will jumpstart your artistic career, networking is essential for launching you and your work into the art scene. If you want to get much-needed visibility for your work, you have to get out there and start “selling” it. You can do this by participating in art exhibitions, visiting art galleries, and offering your artistic portfolio and business cards. You can always reach out to other artists from your community and your target audience by using social media as a tool for promoting your work worldwide. Setting up a website to showcase your art is a must, and connecting it to your social media profiles is a necessity. 

We live in times when technology offers artists an opportunity to present their work to the global audience. Something like this was unimaginable for artists from the beginning of the previous century. So make sure you use the Internet as much as you can. Keep an active interaction with your clients and regularly fill your profiles with updated information and relevant art projects. This way, you will gain an army of ardent fans and long-lasting customers.

Take Care of Your Budget

Handling finances has got to be one of the most intimidating things that aspiring artists have to face when tackling the business side of their careers. However, you should work on having a constant insight into the money flow. It is essential to get accurate and reliable answers to questions like, “Is your art bringing profit?” or “Are your prices competitive in the market?” You need to keep detailed records of money spent on supplies, bills, studio rent, and other similar expenses. Then you should compare these expenses with the income you get from selling art pieces. This way, you will find out if your art business is making money or not. Budgeting is a useful skill you will be able to master over time. In the beginning, you can hire an accountant to help you get through this money-tracking process.

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Manage Your Time Wisely 

Apart from keeping track of your money flow, time management plays a vital role in building a profitable and lasting art business. Many successful artists have struggled with balancing their creative work with hours spent doing business-related paperwork. You may think you can manage it all by yourself, but before you realize it, doing business may seriously shorten the time you spend creating your art. 

On the flip side, accepting a time-consuming art project that will take months to finish will exhaust you physically and emotionally, while not providing an expected profit. Thus, it is essential that you assess the situation, make an accurate plan of your working week, and determine how many hours you will dedicate to creating and what time you will spend doing business. Planning your week may be a stepping stone for setting more demanding career goals. 

Accept Business Advice From A Mentor

A mentor can become the most significant figure when starting your art career. Because they will guide you on your artistic journey, a mentor should be someone you trust completely, like a favorite art teacher or an experienced fellow artist. Mentors may offer advice on artistic styles and techniques. However, you should also focus on art-business-related tips, such as how to write artist statements. Setting rates, handling clients, or managing accounts are all familiar things to people who have been in the art business for years. Your mentor will offer practical knowledge in tackling these and many other business issues to help you gain some experience in running the art business. 

Conclusion

Handling business issues may be the most challenging thing in building a career in art. Discipline and goal setting are crucial in making a relevant business plan and for your career development. Setting and achieving goals will help you organize better and go one step at the time. Besides tips on setting career goals, this article presented other factors crucial for developing a profitable art brand like networking, budgeting, mentoring, and time-management.

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