2015 Goals for Artists and Creative Professionals

Planning Checklist

When developing goals for your art business, a great place to start is with a simple checklist

OK, with the New Year just getting started, now is a good time to think about your art and business goals for the year(s) ahead.  You may have goals that are creative in nature or goals that are more in the realm of business and marketing.  Most likely you have both.

Spend some time soon to decide what your major goals should be and then write them down.  These could be major things you want to accomplish in the next few years to much shorter term projects.  After you have them written down, be sure review and revise them monthly or what ever works best for you.  In the following artice I will give you some ideas on art and art business goals for the New Year.

Just like any other business, artists need to set goals as well. Your goals will help guide your art business direction and help you answer the question of “where are you going?” When artists typically think of goals they think of their creative direction and what types of art they are going to create. If you have an art business you need to broaden the scope of your goals to include the major business functions.

Some ideas to help you in developing your art business goals

Creative Direction / Products / Services

What are your goals with regards to your creative direction, the art you produce and services you provide? If you have been dreaming about a new creative project or direction, turn it into a goal! Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your creative direction and product/service goals:

  • Start new projects or finish old ones
  • Explore new subjects, styles or genres
  • Create new products or services
  • Utilize new materials or techniques
  • Start a line of limited prints or editions
  • Develop new uses for existing art/products

Finance & Accounting

What are your goals with regards to your financial situation and your internal accounting and record keeping systems? Finance and accounting may not be the most exciting subjects but you need to have these areas covered. Some ideas of goals and objectives for finance and accounting include:

  • Save for retirement
  • Reduce costs
  • Raise money for my art business
  • Pay off debt
  • Develop better accounting information and reporting
  • Create and monitor a budgets for my business
  • Spend less time spent on paperwork and financial reporting, taxes
  • Develop a system to cost my art projects and determine pricing

Marketing / Sales / Brand

The most important activity in your art business besides creating art is to market and sell your creations. Without sales and marketing you don’t have a business but perhaps more of a passion or hobby. Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about your marketing goals and objectives:

  • Increase sales to existing clients/customers
  • Expand the type of distribution channels where my art is available
  • Sell more art in my existing distribution channels (galleries, shows, online…)
  • Increase my advertising effectiveness, quality and awareness
  • Develop my brand and increase brand awareness
  • Get new clients
  • Open new markets, expand geographic coverage
  • Develop or improve my web presence, sell art online
  • Spend more time networking
  • Develop or improve my social media / social networking efforts
  • Utilize public relations in my marketing efforts
  • Get my art into more galleries, shows and festivals

Studio & Facilities

You probably spend a lot of time in your studio and have ideas on how you want to improve your workspace. Maybe you want to get into a larger space or have a retail outlet. Here are some ideas to help get you thinking about your goals for your studio, facilities and physical space:

  • Move into a (new, larger, smaller) studio
  • Join an artist’s Coop
  • Move to a different geographic location
  • Open a retail space
  • Spruce up my studio
  • Convert a part of my studio into a retail space / gallery

Production & Operations

With your creative direction and product goals you decided what you were going to make. In production and operations you will look at how you are going to make your art, products or provide your services. Think like you are running a factory and the need to organize and plan the production of your art. Here are some ideas on goals for production and operations:

  • Increase the quantity of art I am able to produce
  • Organize my workspace and make it more productive
  • Organize my materials and supplies
  • Create an inventory system to keep track of and store my art/products
  • Look for ways to become more productive and efficient
  • Reduce my production costs
  • Develop a scheduling system

Management & Organization

You have an organization whether you have employees, assistants or even if you are a solo entrepreneur. Strive for having the best run company no matter your size. Here are some ideas on management and organization to get you thinking:

  • Hire new employees or assistants
  • Create an organization so I can take time off
  • Learn more business skills
  • Motivate and reward my employees / assistants
  • Hire new employees or assistants
  • Develop an employee benefits program such health insurance, retirement

The bottom line…

Ok, now you have a few ideas of goals for your art business. Get a piece of paper and write down your goals and then begin to think about what it will take to achieve them – these will become the basis of strategies for your business.  And don’t forget that your art and art business goals should be a part of your overall life goals – choose your goals carefully.


Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver.

Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto