(part 2) 10 Ways to Play Full Out at Being a Professional Artist

play-full-out-part2Are you playing full out or just dabbling in your art?

It’s okay to just be playing. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe you’ve got another job that pays the bills, or you are retired and you create for fun.

Being a full-time professional artist can, at times, not be fun. It does have it’s ups and downs. That is, until you find that formula for success. It can be full of trial, experimentation and lessons!

However, if this is your livelihood or you are trying to establish yourself as a professional artist… what’s preventing you from playing full out?

10 Ways to Play Full Out at Being a Professional Artist

  1. Banish Drains
  2. Get Organized and Be Efficient
  3. Stay Focused and Be Productive
  4. Have a Strong Voice & Brand
  5. Know Your Ideal Client
  6. Set a Price That is Brand Ideal
  7. Know Your Bottom Line & Forecast Your Profits
  8. Spiderweb Your Marketing
  9. Strategize Your Campaigns
  10. Implement Visual Marketing

3) Stay Focused and Be Productive

Webster says “psychological studies of highly creative people have shown that many have a strong interest in apparent disorder, contradiction, and imbalance, which seem to be perceived as challenges.”

We may seem to be disorganized, unfocused, and distracted, because we are! We get ideas. Tons of them!

Ideas are distracting, invigorating, exasperating and full of our passion!

Which passionate idea do we pick first to work on and complete?

We might start working on one idea and get distracted by another and then go work on that for awhile. We lose track of time and before you know it, the day has passed by and nothing is completed.

Not to mention that we probably have 5 projects going at once and then we’re off doing something else. Does this sound familiar?

Do you have a bunch of unfinished projects or do you know you need to get your sales tax filed but now they are past due and you still haven’t started on them because you got distracted doing too many other things?

Focus and productivity is key! Key to not only being successful but also feeling successful. When things are completed we get a sense of resolution within us. It’s a sense of accomplishment that makes us strive to complete the next goal.

“I did it” is powerful!

So how do you take that time and energy and focus it like a magnifying glass?

First try separating out your goals. What’s your 3 biggest priority goals? The rest will need to go on the back burner until these goals are completed.

Next is managing your self in the time you have allotted. There are 8 work hours in the day, give or take. Being able to take that time and batch it in a way that allows you to make the most of that time in a focused manner is going to be key.

I live by batching and a timer or I would never get half the things done that I do.

4) Have a Strong Voice & Brand

There are thousands of products available. In fact there are thousands of people in every profession as well.

What makes one product stand out so that you purchase that particular product? What makes you select one service provider versus another?

Why do certain artists get opportunities, like great booth spaces, or being published in a magazine, invited to be in shows, teach at stores, etc while another can barely sell 2 or 3 pieces a month on Etsy?

It’s not only about creating a great product or providing a great service, that’s a given. It’s about finding a way to stand out so you can be seen, be heard and be remembered™.

That starts with clarity of your voice, of who you are and who you serve. That includes understanding who your ideal customer is, where you can find them, what they like to buy and at what price point.

Then develop your voice so clearly that it stands out and people know that it’s your work. When they hear your name they “see” a visual of you or your work. When they see your ad they have an emotional connection.

Have you heard that saying that “you can’t be everything to everyone”? Well this includes what you offer others through your brand. People get to know brands (which include products and services) because they have a clear memory or recollection of what it is that you offer. It connected with them, they saw it, and they remember it.

If you do a lot of different things, no one can remember that.

The brand experience (the experiential process that a client takes from first introduction through completion of use) needs to be represented clearly as a visual and as a an experience that will best represent your brand identity.

You’ve probably heard the other saying “You need to pick a horse and ride it”. Ride it well and the best that anyone can. Polish your showmanship and make the performance perfect. Then once you start to be known for that thing you do, you have a following and you are established, you can begin to add to your repertoire of other offerings.

Until then, if you confuse em, you lose em. So it might sound difficult to pick just one horse to ride or to focus your skills on one offering, but it’s far more difficult to struggle for years doing it your way but never connecting with your ideal clients.

There is a definition of insanity (by Einstein). It’s “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. So is it time you try something new to play full out as a professional artist?

I would really love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment and let’s connect!

Join me July 24th for part 3 of this series!

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6 Responses to (part 2) 10 Ways to Play Full Out at Being a Professional Artist

  1. There is so much substance in this ezine, I for one, know if I lose sight of managing my time I quickly get behind. If I stay on track, batch my time and set clear intentions for my work day,everything is much more enjoyable.
    Thanks again tonya for being so insightful. I would love to become a teacher for your coaching classes.

    • Thanks Barbara! I hadn't thought of certification for others (Foundations for Artful Success for Artists licensed coaches), but if there was enough demand, I might consider it!

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Time is elusive and unmanageable so we must focus on managing ourselves! It's something that I too must work on daily just like exercising and eating right.

      Sending you hugs!


  2. Tonya,
    You are spot on about the branding. I have SO many ideas, and I like to try SO many different things, that I do not have a brand. I have told myself over and over again that I need to create one, but distractions win over. Thank you for this article. Starting today, I am going to create a brand and stick with it for 1 year and see what happens. I'll let you know.

    • How's it been going Judith? I know it's been a couple weeks and so I thought I'd see where you were in the timeline of creating a new habit (which takes 25 days).

      How will you create your brand? Do you have a method that you'll use to discover how you will communicate your brand?

      I'm working on a new program all about defining your genius and branding it. Stay tuned!



  3. This article is quite relevant to me as I keep finding more and more of my gifts ands passions and ways of communicating those! I am curious about what you mean by "batching your time". Do you mean blocking out a set amount of time to work on a specific project or task?

    Thanks for your wonderful articles.


    • Hi Erin,

      Yes, batching is something that I teach in the Foundations for Artful Success Program and try to follow myself. It's a discipline that will make you more productive, for sure! Time management is not possible because obviously you can't manage time, but you can manage yourself.

      Essentially you are selecting 40-45 minutes per hour where you focus on accomplishing one action item (not goal). Action items are steps that need to be completed in order to accomplish a goal. I use a timer and nothing else is worked on during that time period.

      I reward my focused time or batched time by having 15-20 minutes of recess time where I can return calls, emails, post on social media, play with the dog, get a drink etc.

      By scheduling this out the night before you are less apt to run your day according to others who decide to pull you in different directions the next day.

      By scheduling in the tasks you will work on each day, even if they aren't completed in the 40 minutes you will get more done than you would if you made a list and tried to multi-task on many items throughout the day.

      Try it! You'll love it, but it does require discipline.



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