Tuesday, January 05, 2016

the art of forward thinking

When it comes to art and creativity- either for personal or for business, one of the best and only ways to grow is to have forward thinking in all of the things that you do. When I was younger, while I knew I wanted to an artist, I spent a lot of time only thinking about the present. But the minute I began planning for the future and dreaming about the big things I wanted for my art and career, things really began to change. Nothing happened over night but I did start seeing movement and growth. I learned fast that "forward thinking" is the best way to move toward growth.

Today I wanted to share a few of the ways that I have applied the concept of forward thinking to my art and my creative business:

MAKE BIG PLANS: Begin making larger plans. They don't have to be GIANT but try to figure out what types of projects and plans feel big to you and what types of goals can create growth for your business.

EXAMPLE: Once upon a time opening an online shop felt HUGE to me, then traveling and teaching at retreats was a big decision, then creating online classes felt really, really big. Over time my definition of "big plans" has changed, it often changes as I conquer each of my goals. But every time I challenged myself to try something a little bit bigger I was met with a lot of positive growth in both my art and my business.

Back when I had to work a 9-5 job I kept my goals small(er). Yes, I had big dreams about earning a real living working as an artist but I had to work, live on a budget, was limited with time, etc. I had to tailor my goals and plans to fit my reality. I planned according to what was going on in my life and that typically meant setting smaller more attainable goals. There were some periods of time when I was able to set and meet a lot of small goals while other times I was lucky if I met 1 small goal in 6 months.

EXAMPLE: As I met goals and had success, I gained confidence and the inspiration to keep trying. In my opinion this was key for my growth and development as a working artist. When I met a goal I really loved the way it felt- I was able to get a taste of what being an artist was like and it felt great- which made me want that feeling all the time- which inspired me to stick to my plans and keep setting goals! The momentum of this process snowballed and my business slowly began to grow. The outcome was that I was actually making some real money on the side.

JUGGLE MORE THAN ONE PROJECT: If you want to grow, it is inevitable that you will need to start juggling multiple projects- they don't all have to be big projects but taking on more tasks and trying different things, often at the same time will create momentum and often more income.

EXAMPLE: When I began juggling my online shop with teaching, my income grew and I was able to grow different sides of my business.

Over time I have learned to embrace the things that are working and throw out the things that just don't fit into my life or my schedule.

During the time that I wanted to quit my day job I spent a lot of years saying yes to just about any creative opportunity that came my way. From working with companies and products to writing articles to guest posting on other blogs to teaching anywhere and everywhere. I was building my creative resume and trying to grow my business. This process of saying yes worked for me. My business and network grew and evolved and I was bringing in a really nice side income. But there came a point where I just didn't have the time to say yes to everything. I had to start making more intentional decisions about what was working and what wasn't working. This is something that I now rely on to stay organized and centered. Reminding myself of the things that work for me, my process and my schedule has been an important factor in keeping myself on the right track.

THINK AHEAD: Fashion designers, magazine editors, photographers all tend to work at least 6 months ahead. And while it is not always realistic to operate this way, thinking ahead a little bit (even if it is a few weeks ahead) can help you make decisions for the direction you want to go and the projects you want to tackle. 

EXAMPLE: I like to plan and create my blog content at least a couple of weeks ahead. This way I know what is happening in this area of my business. I can schedule specific posts to coincide with shop updates and other projects. Not only does this help me stay on task with my blog but it keeps me thinking more about the future- instead of spinning my wheels at the last minute!

To read more about my journey as an artist-

taking the leap into full time artist and entrepreneur- HERE

jump start a creative career- HERE

coping with creative burnout- HERE

managing life and a creative business- HERE

the art of chasing a dream- HERE

the art of setting goals- HERE 

the art of blogging- HERE and HERE

the things I haven't shared- HERE

stronger than I ever knew- HERE


Helen said...

Thanks for another positive and inspiring blog post. X

Unknown said...

Your posts are timely and inspiring - my resolution is to think ahead this year. Been treading water too long!

Unknown said...

Thanks Alisa! Your posts have been really helpful for me...

Helen said...

Yours is the only blog I consistently read - ever since I sat at my desk in an office I didn't like in a job that was dragging me down and day dreamed of a better life. Since the days when you were more of a graffiti style artist. I love your blog posts and this one has made a huge impact on me, especially since my word for the year in Intentional. Thank you for always being such an inspiration to me, for your honesty and for your colourful wonderful art. Happy New Year to you and your family x

Grace said...

Alisa, thank you for being so generous about sharing your experiences. I am just starting my third act as an artist and it is blogs such as yours that provide guidance and inspiration. x

SewPaperPaint said...

Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom on this matter, very helpful!

Kaili | Weird Wonderful Wanderlust said...

Great advice, as always. Thanks for sharing your journey here with us!

Mia Bloom Designs said...

Wonderful and timely post. I'm planning this year to push myself in my art career. Your advice is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

Bonita Rose said...

I struggle w my creative life.. and reading this reminds me I am not alone.. things take time... and although yes, I hv big dreams and big goals.. I know the smaller ones hv to be attained first. Thanks for being so open with all of us. you are one of the few artists out there that shares genuinely from your heart.. and it really shows.. thank you for that. xo

Janet said...

Thank you for giving us so much good, useful information.

Anonymous said...

Great post, really practical view of thinking about your creative life. xox

HayleySarah said...

great post, very helpful xx

Stephanie said...

Alisa, great post and inspiring!

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Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...

GREAT POST, Alisa!!!!!

Erika johnson said...

Thank you so much! I love your blog and it has really encourage me in my life as an aspiring artist. Erika

Amy Maricle said...

I so appreciate this post! In one moment I am good at planning ahead, and at the next I fight against it. I am finding my middle ground and really appreciate your input.

Pippin said...

Very helpful blog post. I really like how you gave an example for each point. I plan to re-adjust my plans and goals as an artist. Thanks!


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