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I picked up Alyson Stanfield‘s “I’d Rather Be in the Studio” a couple weeks ago and highly recommend the book. It has helped me organize myself and my ever growing TODO list. It has made me think of things I hadn’t realized I should be thinking about and provided endless tips on self-promotion.   I’ve read most of the book at least once and acted on several of the “action” items but am hitting a road block with the first one: Define Success.

…Success…

It makes sense, decide what you want and THEN start chasing it, but it’s turning out to be a tough one to nail down.

For instance, I could say success is earning a living by selling my art. This is the obvious first definition; we’re all responsible adults after all. But the problem is when the only metric is money there are usually short cuts. I’m left wondering what exactly I will sell to the devil to get to success? Will I lower the quality of my materials to increase profits? Will I mass produce instead of creating one of a kinds? Would I be okay with these things if it meant I was successful? Probably not. I probably wouldn’t feel successful.

Let’s pretend I do not have to support myself or my family. Maybe success could be having a large enough clientele base that I can sell my art at the same rate I produce it? This definition of success sounds a lot like every artists’ dream. But it is also not quite right. It deemphases  profits, which alleviates some of the problems with the first goal, but it stresses self-promotion more than anything. It will force me to spend a lot of time away from art and doesn’t necessarily require me to improve my art only my promotional tactics.

Am I just making excuses? I’m afraid defining success will take away the freedom to follow my nose and learn. I have a lot to learn.

What if I started out smaller – with just me? What if success was keeping a running self-improvement to-do list with deadlines and sticking to it. Some items that come to mind…

  • Read “I’d Rather Be in the Studio”… CHECK
  • Start a blog…CHECK.
  • Add social media links to http://juliadziuba.com
  • Find 5-10 art blogs and contribute to their discussions with comments.
  • Introduce myself to 10 local artists.
  • Have my jewelry sold in 5 boutiques.
  • Find another art/biz book and read it.
  • Learn more about silversmithing.
  • Work on art or develop ideas for pieces at least every other day

Now this self focused definition of success may not necessarily be what Alyson Stanfield had in mind. Depending on the to-do list such a definition may not require you to leave the studio. But my to-do items do include self-promotion and building networks. So to refine this definition of success:

I will be successful when I have reach a point of continuously learning, network building and self-promotion and I see it paying off in sales.

I like this definition and method because it is all about the process and it can be as flexible as I need. With two small children, 30+ hours at Archimedes and general life priorities very often have to be juggled.

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