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Theresa Brown

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Follow this six step plan to get your art business back on track and re-energized!

There is nothing harder to do than to walk into your studio and start (or finish) a piece of art when you already have a number of unsold pieces sitting around. The energy is suddenly not there. The phone is not ringing. And every time you turn on the news, the top story is the downturn of the economy. If you need to sell what you create in order to make ends meet, then motivation becomes critical. You may be in enough of a panic to be unorganized and not thinking clearly. There is a direct correlation between need and motivation and the key is to organize that motivation! Slumps ARE a normal part of any business. But to successfully pull your Art business out of the slump and make it through these economically challenging times, you need a plan.

Step 1. Re-think your Business Plan. No matter where you are financially, if you want to sell your art, you need a thought out marketing plan. If you are not selling your work, or your work has stopped selling, then you either don't have a plan or you need to rework the plan you have. Who was your target market and why are they not buying? Be prepared to re-invent yourself and your art product. That can be a tough concept for artists to deal with, but an objective look at the facts can make the difference between success and struggle. If your large paintings are not selling, create smaller ones. If your gold jewelry is suddenly not selling, create sterling pieces. If your abstracts are not selling, try realism. Do you need to broaden your target market or find a new one altogether? These are tough questions and demand some tough decisions by artists who are in a slump mentally and financially. Need creates nerve. Think outside the box.

Step 2. Make a financial plan. Your art product may have brought in 15% or 100% of your income before the slump. Regardless, the only way to replace, earn or create that needed income is by knowing exactly where you are financially. Only then can your new business plan be effective. The income from your art product may be worse than you thought or it may be better. But knowing brings a certain mental relief because now you know exactly where you are financially and what you need to do!

Step 3. Make a plan of action. You have examined your art products, re-written your business plan and know how much additional income you need to earn to get through or banish this slump. So how are you going to do that? Make an action plan. A How Do I Make the Money? plan! The goals in a business plan are worthless if you have no plan on how to achieve those goals. With any art product, look at what and where you have been selling. Examine what art product you create has sold the most, where it has sold and what else you could be creating. What can art product can you tweak? Look at every possible marketing tool that is available and economical. Social networks, free classified, blogs ,websites, forums, friends, organizations, galleries, art shows, sidewalk, flea markets, etc. In tough economic times, every marketing opportunity need to be implemented and worked.

Step 4. Create deadlines for your new business plan. It is a fact repeated over and over by the greatest marketing minds of our times that if you write down your business goals as well as expected financial goals, and give yourself a deadline, you will achieve it. An example: Artist #1 says "I need to sell my art and make lots of money." Artist #2 says: "I need to sell 10 paintings for $200.00 each by the end of each month. I will sell them at the local art festival, on my website and send out postcards to my past clients" Which artist do you think has a better chance of attaining that goal? By giving yourself a deadline to achieve your marketing and financial goals, you have subconsciously engaged your brain. Your brain will keep nudging you about the deadline. And as the deadline approaches the urgency increases. By setting a deadline for your financial goals, you will find it much easier to ask for the payment or ask for the sale because you know what bills are coming up. It works.

Step 5. Limit the negative influences in your life. Re-working your old business plan can be re-energizing simply because you know what you need to do and how you're going to get there! But all of your new found enthusiasm can be negated by surrounding yourself with too much negativity. Take steps to distance yourself from negative people and places. There is always someone within a family, neighborhood or organization whose job in life appears to be complaining or making other people miserable. Don't give them that power. Don't let negative media distractions have a daily place in your life either. All can zap your energy level and motivation. Right now, you need positive energy. Make a point each morning to make some quiet time before starting your work day. All batteries need to be charged.

Step 6-work the plan. No plan will work if you don't work the plan! Every evening you need to make out your list of things to accomplish the next day in order to reach the goals that you have outlined. Your new business plan should be hanging in plain sight in your studio. Your To Do list needs be taken with you everywhere. Each new marketing method or art product that you create needs to be given an opportunity to be successful.

These 6 steps are designed to help you focus your attention, resources and energy on your art business and give you a jump start out of that slump! You may not be able to change the economy but you can change and adapt to whatever current trends there may be I that economy. Due diligence, persistence and perseverance will be the factors that will see you through your art slump and on the road to success!

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