Forecasting Your Art Practice Sales

Forecasting/planning our vacations comes to us far easier than committing to processing what it will take to get us to the goals for our art practice.

Most artists I know have no idea what they’ve made so far this year. They go by their bank statement. What does that tell you?

It doesn’t tell you what you owe or what income you have coming in. It’s a snapshot of liquidity. They have no idea is they are making a profit or what the future holds for them in the coming months.

Businesses that are making a profit, are doing so by careful calculation and planning.

What holds you back from taking hand-to-pen-to-paper and writing down your dreams, desires and expectations for your art practice? Is it self-doubt, fear, lack of confidence, or you just aren’t sure how to do it?

What would it feel like to you if you could have a plan for how to reach your fiscal goal for the end of 2011?

3 Starter Questions to Ask Yourself About Forecasting Your 4th Quarter

1) How much do you want to make in your art practice fourth quarter sales?

A little math scenario…..

If you want to make $15,000 gross over the next 3 months, you’ll want to figure out what your average sale is first. Let’s say your average sale is $45. That’s 334 pieces you’ll need to sell (give or take 20 or so).

Don’t forget you need to also add in inventory overage so that customers have something to choose from. So you’ll want to make 20-35% more. That adds about 85 more pieces. So about 420 pieces needed.

420 divided by 3 months = 140 per month
140 divided by 20 working days = 7 per day
**if you start by August 15th because you don’t want to count the last two weeks of December**

Is this reasonable or do you need to re-evaluate how much you “can” make?

2) How can you best order materials to take advantage of lowering your costs of goods sold (COGS)?

If you can order in bulk, you can make deals with vendors for additional discounts, especially if you pay with cash or check.

You will save on shipping. Shipping a larger order is much more advantageous than shipping out several smaller orders. The first 3 pounds cost the most.

I can’t tell you how many artists order at the last minute and pay to rush shipping. This is a huge waste of profits!

Watch the metals market and take advantage of the fluctuations. If you have a good relationship with your vendor, that will help. At Whole Lotta Whimsy, I have regulars that contact me when they are ready to order 50+ packs of silver and I watch the market and try to get them the best possible deal. I always save them hundreds of dollars!

Figure out roughly how much material you will need to make for at least half of items you need to make. If you have enough credit or liquidity, invest in the materials now and save. Metals always go up during November and December!

Can you alter the design to use less materials or incorporate another material into the design that lowers the cost of goods sold?

3) What’s your marketing plan to create sales?

Who will you promote to and how?
Will you sell at shows, shops/galleries and which online venues?
Are you already signed up for shows? Deposits paid and arrangements made for travel?
How many of the show attendees are on your list? When will you market to them?
Do you have marketing materials to send them prior to the show?
When will you order these materials and who will do the art/graphics?
Do you have your show schedule on your site?
Have you written a press release (s)?
Do you have plans in place to build your list and take advantage of new customers for future sales?

In marketing there are 3 key things to remember:

  • consistency
  • the fortune is in the follow up
  • they must know, trust and like you in order to buy from you

Want to know more about forecasting your sales, marketing your art, pricing, and creating clarity in your art practice? Sign up for the Take Flight eZine and watch for details to join the next Artful Success Mentorship Program!

Don’t forget to leave a comment and get entered to win a FREE give-away from Whole Lotta Whimsy! Drawing is August 15th!

21 Responses to Forecasting Your Art Practice Sales

  1. Everytime I write down with a plan that includes goals, I acheive them. Sometimes, it is difficult to remember that! This is a very good reminder.

    • Love it! True creation is not in your head, but what comes from committing or active movement of your hands (or some other physical manifestation of movement).

  2. Recovering from two surgeries is giving me plenty of time to digest all I'm reading from you, Tonya, and I'm eager to be able to put my new insights, experience and new goals to work for my future. It will take perseverance and effort and you give me courage to try. Thank You!
    Melody Whittemore

  3. So much of what I am learning from you is priceless information. Some I already knew (writing down my goals) but it is easy to forget that they also need to be re-evaluated and kept up to date.
    You also remind me of things like consistency and follow up.

    With your help Tonya I am making new habits to follow both in my business and my personal life.

    cheers Sheila

  4. Your tips are so timely. I'm planning for retirement from my day job in a few years, and hope to make my jewelry business full time. Writing down those goals will help solidify the plans. Thank you so much.

    • Martha you are so welcome! If you don't get the Whole Lotta Whimsy ezine you should sign up. You can read the archives too, which a lot of them cover goal setting. Good stuff for beginning!

      Most important thing is just to step out of the comfort zone and *take action* 😉

      Perfect time to plan, during the last few years before retirement. Congrats!

  5. There is nothing like good news from a generous soul! I so appreciate your sharing this with all of us, and always look forward to your news. This is a ministry of excellence in all respects.

    With best regards,


    • Jessica, it is all mindset and practice. Practice become habit and muscle memory. The first 25 days are the hardest. Discipline is hard, but it's what makes incredible athletes, business people and leaders.

      Just remember….
      if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten (and feel how you've always felt).

      Time for a change…for all of us. Time to be proud citizens, amazing artists and beautiful souls.

      Creative blessings to you, Jessica! Go get em 😉

  6. The jewelry business in our area dropped off so bad that now I teach more. Other artists I know are out on the road selling in other parts of the country, but I cannot do this. Any way to ensure if you deal with a gallery owner over the phone/email that you aren't going to have your work disappear? I had one store I had to threaten with a lawyer to get paid for items they sold – and it took 3 months to get it, which has made me very wary of leaving anything in a gallery that I can't physically check on a regular basis. Another gallery went out of business and the owner just stopped answering calls, or communicating in any way, and I lost stock there also – and this place was run by a "friend" I had known and previously rented a store space from for a couple of years previously. Anyone else out there have this problem?

    • Hi Colleen,

      Yes, it's time to get really creative with marketing and venues!

      Consignment is tough and always has been. Most galleries are not buying out right, because they've hit rough times too. I don't recommend consignment unless you know the gallery, it's got a great reputation, and you've got a contract with them.

      If you've got a comment for Colleen, please leave it here as well! Would love to hear other people's responses.

  7. After a series of setbacks, I'm trying to get back on track. Your tips are reminders that habits sometime need to be revived… and others need to be broken! Creativity and passion will only carry an artist only so far. Goals, practice, and discipline are critical to the business end of jewelry design.

    Thank you for mentioning muscle memory. Now I feel better about yesterday's wire-wrapped ring debacle. Three years ago I made them regularly but that ring would NOT go together yesterday! My muscle memory just needs to be refreshed – it's been on holiday too long!

    • Good for you you Kathryn…stick it out and have that determination. Everything we do is muscle memory (brain is sometimes a muscle *wink*). Once you practice it enough it's second nature (like brushing your teeth, driving, etc).

      Yep…if you have a rough day at the bench, work on something else, but at least you got in some muscle memory! All working toward that second nature habit.

  8. All good points. I find I tend to underestimate the time it takes to develop new work….so I probably should have started last month for fall sales.

  9. Thanks so much Tonya for all of your wonderful advise and direction. I have a terrible time disciplining myself so it is nice to see a plan in writing that I can use as a guide. I am traveling this month and am enjoying some extra time to focus on me and my life. There are so many wonderful, talented people in this world and I have come to "know" many of them through the Artful Success program and the fabulous WLWSSG. Life is good and getting better all the time – Hugs to you Tonya for exposing us to all of this;O) p.s. as soon as I can rely on my computer connection, I am going to fix my links that we discussed earlier. Maybe today is the day! Sally

  10. Tonya,
    Always great advice and I thank you! As a beginner your are potentially
    saving me/us so much time, money and frustration.

  11. Your suggestions are great – I have such a hard time marketing – yet, I know it's soooooo necessary. You're so generous with your knowledge. Thanks so very much – I'm sure you have no idea how many struggling artist (?) you help.

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