Every January, we intend to do things differently in the upcoming New Year. “New year, new me” is easy to say but the follow through isn’t always quite as simple. However, establishing a few goals and creating an action plan for your upcoming year is never a bad idea. It can help you stay focused and give you a sense of accomplishment. Look at this list of suggestions to see where you can improve, remind yourself of that thing you’ve been meaning to do forever, or as inspiration to create your own list to start your new year with a purpose.
Document your art
We don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but documenting your artwork is one of the most important parts of being an artist. The earlier you start in your career as an artist, the better.
Make those business cards (or that other thing you’ve been putting on the backburner)
Don’t forget that you are a business owner! Get to work on those business cards you’ve been meaning to design, updating your website, or upping your social media game. Whatever it is that you’ve been putting off or weren’t sure was important, make time for it. If you don’t have a local printer you use, we really like MOO.
Get your receipts, invoices, and contracts in order
We all have one; that pile of papers you swear you’ll organize, next week. Get yourself an accordion file organizer or digitize everything (or both) and get to it.
Train Your Brain
Learn how to photograph your work
Hiring a professional photographer to document your work is great, but it isn’t always budget friendly. At the same time, not everyone can afford a nice DSLR, but most people have a smartphone with a pretty decent camera. You can find tutorials online on how to photograph art with a phone (some examples here and here.) It’ll help you with documenting your work, social media, and adding new works to your website.
Learn how to code
Kids are learning it in school and you can learn a little bit too! A basic understanding of HTML and CSS can help you with your website. Some artists are even using code to create artwork. You can take free classes online at Codeacademy. Udemy is also a great resource for learning pretty much anything, including how to code.
Pick up a musical instrument
Anyone who quit music lessons as a kid will probably tell you they wish they hadn’t taken them for granted. Maybe that’s you. Or maybe you wish you had learned an instrument at all. Hey, adults are allowed to learn new things. Try something new!
Read more books
When was the last time you read an entire book? Maybe you’re an avid reader, maybe you haven’t touched a book since high school. If it’s the former, try a book outside of your usual genre of choice. If it’s the latter, now is the time!
Take More Risks
Apply for a grant
Have you ever considered applying for a grant to help fund a project? Or a residency or fellowship with an arts organization? If you’re not sure where to look, try Art Frankly. Also, don’t forget to Google! Start with ‘artist opportunities’ and go from there. You’ll find a wealth of information if you just search. To narrow your options, add your city or state/province to the search bar.
Reach out to an established artist you admire
There is so much to learn from established artists. Try reaching out to an artist whose career or work you admire and ask if they’d be willing to meet you for coffee for some advice or just to talk shop. There is always a possibility they will decline (sometimes people are busy), but it’s worth taking the risk.
Network more often
Go to art openings. Join an association and attend the meetings. Support other artists by buying their work, letting them know how much you like it or offering to help them grow if you’re most established than they are. Networking is a lot of work but a necessary and often rewarding part of growing your art business and feeling fulfilled in your work.
And don’t forget to carry those business cards you finally made. Happy New Year!