The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Artists

By John R. Math in Art Business Advice > Motivation

In the early 1990’s Steven Covey wrote a book entitled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which became a huge best seller and still sells well today. It was a book that provided a holistic and a principled approach for problem solving, living and adapting to change by seeing opportunities rather than problems.

I believe that there are also seven habits which artists should follow to become highly effective and successful. And, though I am detailing only seven, I am sure that the readers of this article can contribute other successful “habits” as well.

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The seven habits of highly effective and successful artists are:

1. Being passionate about your art

Foremost, the artist must have a passion for their art and everything that is associated with being an artist. Why? Because there will always be barriers to being an artist. . . but, if you are passionate about what you do, these issues will be perceived as challenges or detours to success, rather than “problems” that halt your progress.

2. Staying focused despite distractions

A successful artist will not be distracted from their art and their commitment to achieving their goals. To be successful at most things requires a focus and a “singleness of purpose” and art is no different. Successful artists are focused, and their art is a priority in their lives.

3. Having a specific vision of your success

Artists who are successful have a vision and see themselves achieving great things in their chosen profession. Despite any roadblocks, problems or defeats, their vision kept them working towards their goal. Then, after achieving a goal, a successful artist will create new goals and a new vision to work toward.

4. Being persistent in the face of adversity

Most people face adversity and quit. People who get past the adversity do so because they persist towards their goal. Persistence is the difference between a successful artist and an artist who quits.

5. Choosing professionalism in all dealings

A successful artist is a professional in all of their dealings with the public, gallery owners, art reps and suppliers. It is as simple as that. If an artist is not professional, then no matter their talent, they won’t be successful for very long.

6. Open to maximizing all opportunities

A successful artist is ready to leverage any and all opportunities that come their way. Whether that opportunity is to fill in quickly for another artist at a gallery, give an interview, write an article for a blog or give a speech to a group, a successful artist sees that as a chance to network, promote their art and build their brand.

Unsuccessful artists see those opportunities very differently—as situations that interrupt what they were doing! But any artist who is engaged and ready to capitalize on those opportunities will get a LOT back in return.

7. Willing to view art as a business

Successful artists see themselves as business people. They understand that other people who they are connected with in the art world are also business people and they conduct themselves in that manner too. Now more than ever in today’s marketplace art is a business. Art is a competitive business and an artist will learn how to successfully operate it as such or they will eventually fail.

As I said previously, there are other habits and traits of successful artists beyond what I have outlined above. But I truly believe that if an artist is talented and applies these 7 habits to their craft, they will be successful.

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