Be S.M.A.R.T. about your Art Business

Artsy Shark is pleased to present a guest blog article written by Aletta de Wal, a career coach and consultant.  Her company Artist Career Training has helped many emerging artists plan and execute strategies to build their businesses and put their careers on the fast track!  Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.  She makes art marketing easier and the business of art simpler.

  • Please join me on a FREE teleconference call with Aletta coming up in October.
  • ART MARKETING Q & A – Use Marketing Effectively to Grow Your Business!
  • October 13, 2010, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time
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Aletta de Wall

Be S.M.A.R.T. about your Art Business

New Year’s resolutions typically fizzle out as fast as the champagne bubbles from the holiday celebrations. You will get more lasting results from a little planning.

It helps to have a system.  Artists in the A.C.T. Community learn how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals to focus their business instincts. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. describes how to write your goals so that you have a better chance of succeeding. Each letter directs you to one of the five elements of getting things done.

Just follow the template and soon you will get the hang of it.

Write S.M.A.R.T. Goals
S = Specific Set your intention and describe
precisely what you will do;
M = Measurable Decide how you will know you
have been successful;
A = Attainable Stretch your comfort zone but
not too far that you scare
R = Realistic Assess whether you have the skills
and the resources required;
T = Timed Set a time frame to take these
actions and review your results.

Three Rewards to reap for your efforts

Writing S.M.A.R.T. goals has its own rewards, aside from creating a way to manage your year.

  • You increase your results. You find previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
  • You decrease your distractions. You filter out activities, obstacles and people who do not support your desired direction.
  • You increase your confidence and your competence. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to achieve what you want. Nothing reinforces your motivation better than getting results.

Three Mistakes to avoid a planning hangover
Every system has the possibility of “operator error.”

  • Setting goals beyond your abilities or resources. Being impatient acts like retardant and slows your progress on all counts. What’s worse is that you usually berate yourself for not achieving them even though they were unachievable in the first place.
  • Setting goals too low for your career stage. Playing safe sends you (and others) the message that you aren’t very capable or confident.
    Growth requires “stretch” goals.
  • Setting goals without scheduling action. Without an end point, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Nothing is achieved without action.

Research has proven that it really does help to write down what you want to achieve. Make sure to add enough sizzle to make it worth giving up chocolate, shopping or whatever else distracts you. Put in enough sensory details that your artist mind can enjoy the process of mining your resolutions for goals. And remember to monitor your progress – it’s half the fun of getting there.

Here’s to your success!


  1. If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A Vision Wall (inspiring images attached to yor goals) is available too.
    Works also on mobile, and syncs with Evernote.

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