How do you plan the upcoming year? My husband told me about the Start, Stop, Keep, Theory. Consider what you should start doing, what you should stop doing, and what you should keep doing for the New Year in your business and/or personal life. Here is my list, raw and uncut. I hope it will give you a little insight into who I am and some things I’ve learned in my two years in business.
- Start making time to sketch/paint for myself.
I’m passionate about working with my clients to create art, but I also love to make artwork from my own inspirations. It helps me relax, refines my skill, and reminds me why I love art. I want to start a better balance between client and personal work, while still
being able to pay the bills.
- Start a YouTube channel and continue my online blog.
I’ve determined marketing is 94% of what it takes to run a successful business. I feel like I’ve mastered my first goal of creating a newsletter. Therefore, I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel and curate ideas to better my blog, to help my audience get a “behind the scene” look into Asphalt Canvas Custom Art. This will include taking better video and photos of my art work and the creation process.
- Start making branded merchandise, including gear, high quality prints, and posters.
This is a long term goal because of its very expensive up-front costs in time and money. However, I feel that it is imperative because of the long term payout with minimal effort. Therefore, in 2020, I want to start building a relationship with a company I have had my eye on that can help transform my artwork into posters, prints, stickers, t-shirts, and patches.
- Stop finding “inspiration” on social media.
STOP THIS! I added this to my list because I feel like scrolling through Instagram for inspiration is creating a collective culture of boring art that is literally the same thing over and over again. In my own opinion, good art is when a learned skill is combined with creativity. My personal goal as an artist is to stay away from creating art “on trend”, but to commit to making unique art that is crafted with knowledge and originality. I want to stop mindlessly scrolling. I want to nab inspiration from books, documentaries, nature, music, or travel. I want to go back to a time in my life when inspiration was found by communicating with world organically.
- Stop saying “ I don’t know how I got here”.
I’ve heard this said by some really successful people. In my opinion, if I were to say that, it would completely discredit all my hard work and any audience support in one fell swoop. I own a business and I feel that I am a successful artist— But I know exactly how got here. It was building business relationships with people who purchase my work and thanking them. It was working hard into the morning hours. It was passionate determination that I continually poured into a skill, that I feel has been gifted to me by God.
- Stop making art with sights set on “just getting it done”.
Making art for a living sometimes leads to the mindset of “if I just finish this one, I can cover the mortgage and move onto the next one”. This thought creeps up on me gradually, until I’m overcome with stress that hinders my customer service and creativity. I want to stop making art with the mind set of “getting it done”, so that I can more thoroughly enjoy the actual process while still making a living. Therefore, I’ve decided to re structure my business model and estimate my time more accurately, which will ultimately benefit my customer with focused service and an even better custom piece of art in the end.
- Keep sending hand written notes.
As simple as it sounds, this is what I think “shopping small” is all about. Special care in presentation or wrapping, and hand written notes set successful small business out from the rest. I will continue to hand write every thank you note for as long as I can, because I want my customers to know that they are not just another face in the masses, but a valued aspect of my art and my business.
- Keep pushing through my fear of failure at every new opportunity or project.
Fear is a part of life. With every opportunity and every blank canvas that I’ve come across in my work, I’ve recognized my fear of possible failure. Fear used to paralyze my decision making, but now I use fear as a spring board, knowing that failure is only a small learning curve in the process. My greatest accomplishments have stemmed from pushing through fear.
- Keep creating art to donate to the community.
One of the greatest parts of being a craftsman is our unique opportunity to give back to the world. Donating art to charity auctions or gifting art are just some of the ways I will keep giving back to my community. Giving is one of the cornerstone attributes of my business because I strongly believe that happiness (creating art) is only real if its shared with others. We all reap what we sow.
So what will you start, stop, or keep in the New Year?
Cheers to 2020!