As an artist, you are an entrepreneur who has chosen to launch and grow a business around selling your art, and, in some cases, related products. How you perceive your business, and how you plan for its growth, has a huge impact on the outcome of its success.
While the wise saying, “Fail to plan is a plan to fail” holds true for visual artists, there is more to success than that. You not only need plans to follow in order to grow your business, you need a vision that underpins your plans.
Although your plans do not have to be over the top grandiose schemes for you to become the next Damien Hirst, they need enough meat on the bone to insure your success. In other words, you need to think big. There is nothing wrong with small successes if they are stepping-stones to larger ones.
When you stop asking, “Is this all there is?” you are dead in the water. It is possible and most likely you will start small. Just like acorns into mighty oaks, we can all trace to humble beginnings. Unrealistically shooting for the stars from the outset can be as bad as thinking small.
The point here is to routinely examine what you are doing and where you are heading. Take the time to think it through. You need to see clearly where the path you are on is taking you, and to be ready and willing to change course when you realize what you are doing is not going to get you where you want to go. Just because you are having modest success at doing something is not reason enough to continue doing it. There has to be a bigger picture.
Talent and ambition are keys to success in any creative endeavor. Your talent will help you to get noticed, but your ambition is what will power your art career. You can have misguided ambition in that you may be seriously pursuing a goal, but the goal is mired in small thinking.
If you can step away and see with the same amount of effort directed at a higher goal that you could have had a greater outcome, and then you have had an epiphany telling you to set a different career course. It is never too late to begin anew. Whatever you have learned up to the point of your epiphany will help you gain traction and grow faster on your new career trajectory.
The first step towards change is the recognition that better opportunities are available and within your grasp. The second step is to muster the courage to make the change. You may have gotten quite comfortable doing what you are doing. You may have achieved a certain amount of celebrity and success. To have the courage to step away from these things and take yourself out of your comfort range is what will free you to reach for the stars and take your career to new heights.
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