By Carolyn Edlund
The Christmas season is over, and it may well be the quietest time of the year for your art business. You can still make the most of this slow period, even if you’re not meeting customers and selling your work.
1. Take Inventory. Do you even remember what you have? Make sure you have a complete inventory of your art or craft, and that you know where it all is. Which pieces are being stored? Others in an exhibition? Do any galleries have possession of your work? What was sold, and what is available? Consider Artwork Archive to keep your inventory with ease. And because they store your inventory online, it won’t get lost like paper records or computer files can.
2. Clean Out Your Studio. This can be therapeutic. My studio had a tendency to collect all kinds of stuff, and it just felt good to clear it all out once in a while. If you tend to be a packrat, or even feel like you might be on the next episode of Extreme Hoarders, vow to use the coming weeks to recycle, give away or discard anything that you don’t need and haven’t used.
3. Evaluate the Past Year. Here’s where you need to get real about your small business. What is working and what is not? If a show you have tried for several years isn’t cutting it, move on. If you consigned your work and got nothing for it, end that relationship. The truth is that today artists need to be very savvy about where they put their time, money and efforts. It can be stressful making changes, but push through the tendency to remain complacent and search for the best ways to sell your work going forward.
4. Do some SMART Planning. Here’s where you start for the new year. What is your goal, specifically and measurably? Do you want to sell $50,000 worth of art? Increase sales by 20%? Create thirty-five new paintings? Open ten wholesale accounts? Do three trade shows? Unless you know where you’re headed, you will lose direction and motivation. Break down your yearly goals into quarterly and monthly milestones. You can even back it all up to what you need to do today to start making your goals happen.
5. Get Your Records Together. January 15 is the deadline for fourth quarter estimated tax payments. Make sure you will pay enough tax to avoid penalties later on. Pull your records together for mileage, supplies, labor, and everything else, so you are ready to see your accountant (or roll up your own sleeves) and do your taxes early if you have a refund coming. You can use that windfall to move your art business forward.
6. Relax. Everyone needs their batteries recharged, and this may be the perfect time to do it. Take a trip and put yourself into a new environment that will inspire you. If you need to stay near home, just getting out into nature can clear your mind and help you with more creative ideas. Take time for yourself to recover and renew your attitude and your motivation.