Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alyson Stanfield Blog Tour & Free Book give-away

Today I am honored to be hosting Alyson Stanfield, author of I'd rather be in the studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self Promotion.  I've been an Alyson groupie for years.  In fact, (and I'm sure Alyson doesn't even know this, tee hee) if you open my filing cabinet you will find her Visual Artist Kit plus class notes from  Shameless Self Promotion and Double Your Audience.  I value all of my "Alyson resources" so much and don't know how I could ever have written my first Artist Statement without an Alyson guide by my side.   

I am thrilled she has now written and published this amazing reference for the professional artist.  This book is a must-have!!  So, without further ado, I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to Alyson Stanfield - here today as part of the blog tour to help promote the book.  She is also giving away a free (did you'll hear that!?!?! ) copy of her book - more on that later.   

But first, she has kindly invited me to pick her brain for advice, so here goes.....

mb:  How can an artist transition into a different distribution area without losing income?  For instance, breaking into a wholesale business is an all-consuming venture that may require an artist to cut back on art fairs or other shows.  How is this best managed?

as:  Oh boy.  There is no easy answer to this one, Mary Beth.  It's kind of like the artist who is transitioning from a "safe" job that comes with a steady income to the "real" job of being an artist.  Both are, as you put it, all consuming.  

mb:  Well leave it to me to try the impossible :-)

as:  Before starting any new venture, I would encourage you to dig deep and make sure it's really what you want.  Because you have to want it badly enough in order to succeed.  And are you willing to give it 110%?  If the answer if Yes, you might need to decide what you're willing to give up.  Sleep?  Free time?  Time with family?  Money?  Then figure out what your limits are for each sacrifice.

To make the transition, start your new venture while you still have steady income.  You must realize that you will be overloaded.  You will basically be performing two jobs at once and you can't neglect either.  Commit to researching and taking classes that contribute to the knowledge you need for your challenging path.  Meet and talk to people who are involved in the direction you're headed.  This stuff is legwork.  With the results, you can create a business plan and put everything on paper.  

1.  Write down everything you need for your new business.  This would include people to hire ad help, training, equipment, materials, marketing matter, a Web site and so forth.  Estimate costs and a timeline for each.  Be realistic and question your assumptions.  

2.  Make a list of everything you do that someone else could do.  Whether it's priming a canvas, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the house, there are certain things you don't need to be spending your time on.  Estimate what it costs you to continue doing it and what it would cost you to hire someone else.  Prioritize these tasks (which you would release first, second, third, etc) and write a detailed description of the type of person you might hire to do each job.

3.  Plan to cut back on your other commitments.  What's bringing in the least amount of income?  Drop it first!  As you're cutting back......

4.  Start building your other business.  You can do it by task ("I'll research wholesale shows this month") or by time ("I'll spend two hours a day, five days a week wearing my wholesaling hat").

While you'll be working harder than ever, your transition doesn't have to be all-consuming . Balance and self discipline are required for any new venture.  But don't forget what is putting food on the table.  And don't forget about your well-being.  Take care of yourself--financially, emotionally, and physically--throughout the process.

mb:  Gosh, thanks so much, Alyson, what a terrific answer! 

Interested in winning a copy of I'd rather be in the studio! The Artist's Guide To No-Excuse Self Promotion?  All you need to do is CLICK HERE and follow the instructions.  You can visit other blog tour stops as well and read more questions/answers from Alyson.  And get the book.  Seriously.  If you strive for success with your art career, you need this book.

Thanks so much to Alsyon for sharing her expertise with us.   


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  2. Hi Mary Beth.
    I'm so glad you had Alyson on your blog! What a great question. I have often thought your abstract pieces would work well in wholesale and licensing.

    I'm also hoping to win one of Alyson's books. Here is the link to my blog with my post about THE book all artist must have.


  3. If wholesale is specifically your focus, I strongly recommend Luann Udell's latest blog posts about "how to half wholesale". This series is specifically about easing into wholesale. Hope that helps!

    Barbara J Carter

  4. Anonymous7:53 AM

    I work in clay and this year chose to do exactly what you're talking about...email me and we can have a side chat (too long for here). I'm a big Alyson fan too and on her book tour this Friday.

  5. Thanks for asking the question that I have been asking myself for some time now! While I am not quite ready for wholesale, am strongly desire to transition from my day job to being who I really am--An ARTIST!

    Alyson's outline gives me the steps needed to shift to the life that is meant for me and for that I am grateful to both you and Alyson.

    Love your work and wish you much success as you travel this new turn on your life's journey.

    Linda F. Hawkins


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