1. Build up portfolio: People keep saying, "Why don't you display your art somewhere?" Well, the truth is, I don't really have all that much to display....that I'm willing/ready to sell, that is. Most of what I've painted in the last 2 years have been commissions. And what I do have, I love too much to sell (unless the price is right, hehe).
2. Display in business(es), i.e. coffee shop or veterinarian offices. Perfect clientele, right?? But #1 must be achieved first! Anyone have a vet office that's lacking adorable wall art??
3. Create a virtual press package: Right out of college I tried to get my stuff in a few coffee shops. If I only knew the things I know now about being an artist-for-profit, I would've saved myself the embarrassment and would've properly "packaged" myself to potential curators. A virtual press package is a glorified portfolio but all digital. It's a MUST.
4. Update business website: I'd like to link my main website (bluegiraffeartworks.com) to my Etsy shop (etsy.com/shop/bluegiraffeartist); possibly create a PayPal button there; rework the pricing to distinguish between pet and people portraits; maybe use flash to display my gallery instead of secured images; say everything in fewer words; and so much more.
5. Develop new products from my paintings: I already did this a little bit toward the end of 2010 by creating stationary, coffee mugs, and mousepads, but I need to take it to the next level. Jewelry? Address files? Buttons? Do YOU have any ideas??
6. Attend more and bigger craft fairs. The first craft fair I did last year was "Shop Til You Drop" at the Berry Center in Cy-Fair. It was fantastic! Cheap booth fee, great service, and a ridiculous amount of foot traffic. The last craft fair I did of the season, on the other hand, was not so great. I didn't even cover my booth fee. BUMMER. The difference- the first was a convention center, the second was at a church. Goal? To find bigger "convention"-oriented craft fairs, possibly art fairs, maybe even try my hand a trade fair. If there are any craft fair regulars reading out there, I'd love to know your favorite shows!
7. Bookkeeping: I've generally been good at writing down all my sales and collecting/paying taxes, but what I haven't done is any inventory lists or determining my profit/loss based on costs and revenue. Now, if you know me, you know I LOATHE math. BUT, thanks to Excel and high school CISM class, I have memorized a lot of otherwise meaningless formulas (too bad those wouldn't come in handy on the GRE). I really like to WRITE things out...somehow typing things down just doesn't seem enough sometimes. I've been on the hunt for a good record-keeping book, but have been unsuccessful thus far.
8. Create prints of my artwork. I get this a lot: "I love your art, but my wallet sure doesn't." -or-"I'll order from you soon after we've saved up some extra money. I'm really excited though!" My conclusion: create prints that are relatively (but not too) small that I can sell for $40 or less. I've already researched this a bit and am tempted to try out kinkos. I did stumble on Costco's canvas printing and after comparing them to many photo printers, their costs were unbelievably awesome. But canvases are bulky and the cheapest I could sell a canvas print would be about $60. A customer might as well buy an original painting for $40 more.
9. Networking: Link to other people's blogs, comment and connect with them. As many artists tend to be, I'm on the shy side when it comes to communication. (I think that's why working at home is a dream job for me- hours of solitude.) Networking is frightening, to be honest, which is interesting because I've been a receptionist at a very prominent engineering firm where I talked to people way more intelligent, educated and make more money in a year than I will in my lifetime, and I had NO problem being a chatty kathy. Networking issues is why I'm thankful for my extroverted hubby who promises to help me in any way he can :)
10. Create a newsletter! What a great way to connect with people! I've been collecting email addresses at craft fairs and have sent a couple emails with discount coupons, but haven't seen a response. I think maybe they're not personal enough or interesting enough to motivate someone to buy. But a newsletter that puts me and my work in the spotlight with behind the scenes photos, tells of my struggles, hears from those I've painted portraits for, and illustrates my business life might just do the trick!
So, as you can see, I have A LOT to do. Wish me luck because one of the downfalls to being self-employed is that you're your own boss and you tend to procrastinate without self-discipline and a nagging boss over your shoulder.
Here's to 2011 and goals and dreams becoming reality!!!