The Geothermal Genie
Stuck in Customs / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

It’s important to have an organizing system to help you build on your business from year to year, and not just go off half-cocked all the time – distracted and diffusing your energy without getting anything actually accomplished.

(I’ve been there)

Focus people. We want focus.

A lot of people love the Harvest. It’s intuitive, useful – it just makes sense. Record the wins, the losses and the major take aways. Done like dinner.

The brainstorm part.

I love brainstorming – it’s every idea out on the page without judgement, structure or meaning.

In a sense it’s a free-form association technique where I let my mind dwell on the question and then just record what comes.

Sometimes you may have to be patient – but it will start to flow… just wait for it.

Patchie's getting in some head rubs while I take the picture.

Patchie’s getting in some head rubs while I take the picture.

That 11″ x 14″ coil sketchbook is my business planner. I brainstorm and outline broad plans in it with markers.

Patchie's still getting pets. She's so cute, how could I refuse?

Patchie’s still getting pets. She’s so cute, how could I refuse?

This page is my business plan and idea for setting up new landing pages on my website. I love the colours and adding value and titles…

Who said our business plan had to be boring?

Pffft… we’re artists!

Back to brainstorming your year.

The brainstorm is the large catch-all part. Include everything that you think you want to accomplish in your art year.

It’s going to be messy – and there’s probably going to be just a tonne of stuff. There’s no way you’ll be able to get everything done, unless we all get free clones from the government next week.

This is when you touch base again with your Harvest.

Focus on the Take Away

Iconscollection - Exclamation Mark
Simon Adriaensen / Foter / CC BY-ND

Remember your major take away for 2012? The main theme or word or whatever that you need to focus on in 2013?

Look at your brainstorm list through the focus of your major take away. What items on your brainstorm list mesh best with your 2013 focus?

Mark the most vital and resonant ideas on your brainstorm list that support your goals for 2013.


Say your major take away more sales, more exposure.

You want more people to know about and buy your art (so that’s also more people on your list too…).

To support these goals for the year, you’ll want to concentrate your check marks on those items that support more sales and more exposure:

  • support your painting goals
  • commit to regular studio time
  • decide on an exhibition schedule and stick with it
  • join community art groups that have member shows
  • source local venues for art exhibitions – source whole year in January (this is important!!)
  • commit to a more regular schedule of promoting current work for sale through online media: twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, ebay, etsy, storenvy… etc.
  • People can’t buy if they don’t know about it >> research low-budget ad options, like Facebook ads

Okay, so that’s a very small list, but those are some legit ideas that support your goal of more sales and more exposure.

Fossil Sitting In Sun Light
A Guy Taking Pictures / Foter / CC BY

What you wouldn’t include on the list are intensive retreats to experiment with your craft and find a new direction.

Or start developing a program of art therapy modules that you’d like to run with your sister’s autistic children.

Art therapy is an incredible rewarding and vital practice, but your goals were more sales and more exposure. The art therapy development doesn’t support your sales and exposure goals.

If something like the art therapy example is vitally important to your happiness for the year – consider changing your major take away to reflect the passion.

Or just suck it up and let the art therapy incubate while you work on exposure and sales.

Write that sh*t down.

Great, now you’ve got a bunch of stuff checked that supports your goals… now THIS is where everyone seems to run into problems.

NOW what do I do with THIS?

What you do… is you make an editorial calendar.

I print this from my iCal so that it's got all my other responsibilities (and holidays!) listed too.

I print this from my iCal so that it’s got all my other responsibilities (and holidays!) listed too.

That’s fancy talk for write that sh*t down.

  • print off a blank calendar – there’s a downloadable one further in the post for Library Members
  • schedule all your major events, exhibitions, sales – everything for the year
  • now work backwards from each event:
    • schedule all the tasks that need to be accomplished to make that even come to fruition >>
    • marketing
    • promoting
    • the actual creating of the art
    • prep & framing that needs to be done
    • printing… etc.
    • schedule blog posts associated with your event to be published on your blog at the right time to further promote your event to your audience

Get your editorial calendar.

There’s a lot involved with an editorial calendar >>> USE PENCIL because it will always be in flux.

You don’t have to get so detailed that you know exactly what each blog post or item will be about – you’re just “place holding” that space for [blog post], for [email list], for [paint stuff for show].

You’re getting a clue for what you can actually, reasonably manage in a year. You’re making sure that you’re putting priority on those items that support your goals and how you want to grow your business.

The calendar helps you stay focused on what the best actions are for you to grow your business with consciousness and understanding. This will help you not get blown off course for months.

Here – I made a calendar for you, my lovely Library Members:

Blank, reusable and customizable to your needs.

Blank, reusable and customizable to your needs.

[show_to accesslevel=”Library Access”]
Download it here.
If you’re not already a Library member – consider joining:

The last step.

The last thing you need to do is schedule into your to do list the tasks that are next required to bring your closer to your goals.

It’s getting granular and actually scheduling in the nitty gritty, a-b-c-d tasks.

This is a screenshot of the task list on my iPhone.

This is a screenshot of the task list on my iPhone.

I use Things on my desktop, synced to my iPhone to handle all my to do lists, schedule repeating tasks…

My whole thought process is that I need to concentrate on just one thing at a time. When I take the time to schedule stuff in and make it pop up “due” when I need to pay attention to it – I don’t have to think about it until it’s necessary.

It’s a drain on your brain and on your energy to try and hold a bunch of “to do” things in your head at once.

I don’t advocate my task management tool – it works for me. You’ll need to find a to do list/task management system that works for you.

I get a great deal of satisfaction being able to flex both sides of my personality >> the creative, marker-yielding, brainstorming artist AND the anal, organized, check off the to do list business woman.

I hope you gain some direction from the system I’ve just shown you. Take what works, discard what doesn’t and put together a plan for you 2013 that will bring you joy, accomplishment and more money in the bank.

Want more tools to help grow your successful art biz?
Get in the Library for TONNES of videos, downloads & resources!
We hate spam just as much as you

Discussion (7) ¬

    I'm testing this Facebook Social Plug-in… plug-ins upon plug-ins to make the plug-ins work properly.

    My IT Grrrl hates me – "Minimum PLUG-INS!" is her constant reminder. I have the most of all her clients. Derp.
    Lets see if this finally works properly.

    Lezley Davidson says:

    It kind of worked – the photo is flipped… but at least it's the one I selected in the first place.


    Adam Michaud says:

    She's right. Minimal plugins. Zero, if possible. She's a clever IT Grrrl, that one.

    Lezley Davidson says:

    But they're SO USEFUL.

    Adam Michaud says:

    And a pain to maintain, update, ensure they aren't colliding with other plugins, … From a tech perspective, plug-ins are eeeeeeeevil.

    Lezley Davidson says:

    You're right – this is already going wonky. The comments are posting here… and on Facebook AND they're being duplicated below in the regular WP comments area.

    I AM evil. 😛 Heh heh.

Comment ¬

You must be logged in to post a comment.