With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing millions to stay and work from home, it can be a worrying time, particularly for artists who have seen events cancelled and business opportunities lost.

From ArtSHINE, we hope you’re staying safe and healthy. Like many businesses, we’ve had to temporarily close in line with government orders. We hope to reopen soon, but for now, for the safety of our clients, we’re doing all coaching sessions and meetings by phone or online.

ArtSHINE is planning ahead with future shows, like August’s Reed Gift Fair, and BLE Brand Licensing Europe, London. We will launch a wholesale online store selling artists’ products. We’re working ABOVE our business, so as the situation improves, we’re ready to go.

We recommend you continue doing your art, prepare for the future and build a good foundation during this current situation so you will be ahead when the norm resumes.

Here’s a helpful guide – split into three segments using ArtSHINE’s OPIC business model for artists – that will keep you inspired, creative and positive. 

‘Working ‘IN’ your Creative Zone: Goals to create your art

Maintain your art: It’s important to keep up the momentum. Your creativity shouldn’t stop. Focus on your craft, and build up your current or next art series. 

Housekeeping:  Time for a spring clean so organise and clean your studio and home. Staying home means all the jobs you put off can now get done. You’ll feel so much better, and will be one task less on your to-do list.

Review Your Workspace: Isn’t it time to review your studio and look at ways to become more efficient. We’re all working differently, so find a way that works for you. We have artists who have transformed their studios and even garages to showcase their works for art buyers to visit. The key is to create a space that inspires buyers when they visit.

Stocktake: Your art materials and supplies are essential so make sure you have the essentials and prepare your art process like mixing colours, prime your canvases, etc. Get the process ready so you can dive in and create amazing works.

Inventory Management: If your art is stored in different places, create an inventory of where it is. There are software and platform solutions for art stock management. We use Art Galleria, a cloud art database solution for artists, collectors and galleries, to manage our galleries stock and art licensing images. We highly recommend them, but you can also use a spreadsheet or an exercise book to keep a record. But create a system that works for you.

Database Management: Time to review and update your mailing list. If you don’t have one, create one. Your list will grow if you set a goal to improve it. A mailing list is crucial for your business and the best way to communicate and build relationships with your audience. Make a habit of sending out a regular newsletter to update your audience. To manage your list you could you use Mailchimp, it’s free, and you only pay if you take your mailing to the next level.

‘Working ON’ your Creative Practice: Goals to promote your art

Actively review projects: If art commissions/commitments are drying up, contact clients and see if projects can be postponed not cancelled for the entire project. 

Adaptability: Change your business model. See if your workshop or art events can be formatted differently. Can teaching, group communications or speaking be done online?

Touch base with clients: Now’s the right time to speak to clients personally to wish them well and reconnect, rebuild and maintain relationships via email. Leverage social media to reach out to audiences or make a call and wish them well. Both are vital to your business and by keeping them connected will, in turn, build potential future sales.

Online sales platform: The lockdown will force you to find ways to do business online because that is the future. So online sales could be the most effective platform for you to connect with your audience.

Review third-party sites: Are current platforms, such as Bluethumb, Society6, Red Buble, working for you? When was the last time you updated new art images/products on those sites? Remember these portals only work for you if you promote them and drive traffic to your artist page. The reality is these sites have thousands of artists and products, and you’re just a number as they only promote artists or products that make lots of sales for them. So it’s down to you to take action now.

Leverage social media: Use these platforms as a marketplace by selling directly. We have artists who successfully market their art on Instagram and Facebook. Platforms such as CommentSold can also help turn your social posts into a shopping cart.

Email campaigns: Send out offers to your database offering VIP sales, offer online art tutorials via Zoom, Skype or Facebook. Or ask them to book a virtual tour in your studio. Invite your collectors to a virtual private viewing.

Update your portfolio: This is the right time. Highlight your most current works and the direction you are heading. Update artwork images and remove those that no longer work for you. For an Art, Licensing portfolio organises images into collections. If you are new to art licensing, put your images into three categories, so it is easy for potential licensees to remember you. Create art in a series or a collection of 6-8 images. This way, licensees can see how your art could sell their products if they licensed your artwork. Keep your collection consistent and cohesive. Do lots of mock-ups by translating your art into products in many categories. Use lifestyle shoots to sell lifestyle experience so potential licensees can relate your art to their categories.

Review your artist statement: Are you satisfied with it? Update and refine your statement to reflect your current work, what you stand for and be known for.

Update CV: When was the last time your CV was refreshed? Highlight achievements and emphasise rewards you have achieved in your art career.

Revise your art website: Review all pages and keep information current. Add a blog, and post regularly as it can help drive traffic to your site. Here’s a tip on how to start an art blog.

Enhance your website’s SEO: A good start is to focus on keywords that you and your art associate with. Add tags to images that will help your site appear in more online searches.

Update site links: Make sure all work and remove any that are dead.

Evaluate traffic: Become acquainted with Google Analytics. Add this feature into your site. Evaluate website traffic, pages viewed, and visitor demographics to understand how your site functions and can improve.

Do you publish a blog? This is a good time to catch up with a new article and schedule new and for future blogs. Have a weekly blog post strategies, schedule regular outreach through different channels, including email, social media, newsletter, etc. Focus your work and your story, this is what viewers are looking for.

Plan marketing and publicity: Craft social media posts that share your story with your audience and offer an authentic approach that others relate to. Also create a press release for an upcoming exhibition, event or new release, leaving space to revise dates/details.

Connect with other artists: To form business discussion groups and invite members to share their experience and expertise. Meet online using tools like Zoom that are free to use.

Sign up for a social media management tool that allows you to pre-schedule content for your followers. Buffer, Hubspot, Loomly and HootSuite are good examples. We use Buffer to schedule our social media posts.

Create YouTube video: This will enable you to share your artwork, talk about your technique, working in progress or offer educational content. YouTube is a the most effective search engine that can drive high traffic to your website.

Create a Media kit. This can be a terrific tool to present your work in a cohesive way as the same time build a brand for yourself and your art.

Press-worthy story? Reach out to the press for an interview or other coverage, and generate publicity for your work.

Grow Your Network: Establish or update your LinkedIn profile and make connections with other people who could be valuable to know. Join groups on the site for industry discussion. Many speciality groups such as Facebook groups are particularly valuable for artists. They offer answers, resources and feedback from others in the business.

‘Working ABOVE’ your Creative Practice: Future goals for yourself and art

Review your business plan and objectives: What do you want to achieve in the next year, five years, ten years? Be clear on what your ideal business would look like. this is a key element for Working ABOVE your art business.

Review short, middle and long-term goals: Plan how you will measure progress and results. Have you created systems to consistently market, develop prospects and close sales? If not, what are you missing? Make a list of what you need.

Finances: Straighten them out, do your taxes and plan a budget. Review last year’s income, where did the majority of it come from and what are you doing to build on these streams?

Check your pricing: Is it time for an increase? Are you leaving money on the table?

Investing self-development: Enrol in an art business learning program.  join ArtSHINE accelerator program to commercialise your art and design. Find a course that can upskill your skills.

ME TIME  & Family time: Dive into that stack of art magazines and catch up on your reading. Read an inspirational book about the business of art, designs and entrepreneur artists. Relax, meditate, eat well and focus on a healthy body and mindset.

Pay it forward: Donate art or auction your work and give a percentage of the proceeds to charity. You may want to support a cause that resonate with your art and brand. Participate online in discussions and social media with artists and friends to keep up morale, share news and encouragement. We are human and connect with people is so important during this period of self-isolation.

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  1. Just starting outCLICK HERE
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We’re here to help you to take action just like we’ve helped thousands of other entrepreneurs, business owners and creative professionals all around the globe.

Now is the time to let your passion SHINE.

Now is the time to Make Tomorrow Today!

To your success,

Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex

Your Coaches ArtSHINE industries