Art Career Goal Planning – 5-Steps to Success

Study successful visual artists. You will find they use some form of goal setting to help them make informed career decisions and to reach their art career goals.

Setting Art Career Goals Is Critical to Your Success As a Visual Artist.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. ~ Lewis Carroll

goal planningWhat Are Your Art Career Goals?

As a visual artist and a creative entrepreneur, you must have clear goals for what you want to happen in your art career?

Your goals should be realistic and prioritized with workable plans for reaching them. Otherwise, you have a hobby, not an art career.

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I have a visual artist friend whose ultimate career goal is for her sculpture to become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Everything she does is driven by that singular goal.

One Ambitious Artist’s Goals

Does she have other goals? Of course, but in one way or the other, they all feed towards her primary goal. These include:

  • Steadily increasing sales and value of her artwork.
  • Representation by top galleries internationally.
  • Respect from her peers, art critics and art collectors both for the value of her work and for her unique artistic vision.

Those are lofty goals for any artist. To be fair, I think they are not realistic for many artists. Anyone can say they want their work to be found in MoMA or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney, or some other highly prestigious and elite place, but few have all the necessary ingredients to make good on such a goal. Your idea of What Is Success might be quite different.

Learning to Assess and Evaluate Your Art Career Goals Is a Process

Being able to honestly and accurately assess the value and quality of what you do is a gift. It comes easier to some artists than others. However, if you have worked at making art for a few years, you should have a decent take on where your work fits in the art world.

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In my bestselling (Amazon.com “Business of Art” & “Prints” categories) book, How to Profit from the Art Print Market 2nd Edition, I devote a chapter to Goals and Vision. If you are interested, you can download Chapter One here for free. In it, I challenge my readers to seriously ask themselves what they want to achieve from their artist career.

I mention from marketing art and sales perspective there are only three choices:

  1. Full-time artist.
  2. Part-time artist
  3. Hobbyist

These are choices, of which there is no bad choice. It is simply a personal decision by the artist to determine what makes the most sense for them. Basically, hobbyists can paint or create whatever they want whenever they want.

For those who aspire to be a full-time artists, or to make a serious part-time career, which is the most realistic route for many artists, then having clear goals and a workable plan to execute around those goals is necessary.

Goals Are Essential Building Blocks to Success

Solid goals form the foundation upon which an art career is built. They act as a guiding light to help artists make the best choices for actions they need to take to keep their art career moving forward. Things change in our lives and in our business, as such goals are fungible meaning they need to be exchanged or replaced as necessary to keep your art career on track.

It is easier if you break your goals down in time. For instance, setting five-year, one-year and quarterly goals makes adequate planning for each period possible and realistic; you might wish to amend this suggestion to add longer or shorter time frames, such as a ten-year goal, or having monthly, even weekly goals.

Here is a five-step plan to help you get in creating realistic goals for your art career.

smart goals

  1. Determine Your Goals. Take the time to figure out what is important to you and your family. Use the Goldilocks theory and make them neither too hard nor too easy, but just right for your situation.
  2. Prioritize Your Goals. Your priorities will be for what is most important what is doable now versus what is doable as a future goal.
  3. Create a S.M.A.R.T Action Plan. Smart is well-known goal setting acronym. Read this informative blog post for more details and insights on using it:
    S = Specific
    M = Measurable
    A = Attainable
    R = Realistic
    T = Timely 
  4. Revisit & Assess Your Goals & Actions. Get it on your calendar. Set aside the time to routinely review your goals and your success in achieving them. In time, you will know if are on track, or need to revise your plans to align with the reality of your situation. Maybe you have had a breakthrough, or maybe you have had a setback. That’s life. Just learn to adjust and keep moving forward. 
  5. Share Your Success. Share your success with others. Share it with yourself. When you achieve a milestone, let others know you have gotten there. Take the time to enjoy your achievement. Find the time to share your success with others. Show them how you got there, or share your goal planning techniques, so they can emulate what you have done.

 If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things. ~ Albert Einstein

The better you plan, the easier it is becomes to breakdown the necessary steps you need to take to advance your art career. You can enjoy great success on your own terms when you make realistic achievable plans and use your determination to follow through on the steps you outline in your plans.

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Barney Davey

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

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