SMART Goals for Artists

Use this technique to help you visualize your goals and create better outcomes.



SMART is an acronym which stands for a method of creating and defining goals that is clear and achievable.

S = Specific. Define your goal in detail so that you know exactly what you want to do.

M = Measurable. How will you know when your goal is achieved? Put a number or a parameter on your goal. Do you want to sell $10,000 worth of your art? Open 5 new accounts? You should be able to measure progress and completion.

A = Attainable. Your goal shouldn’t be so easy that it doesn’t challenge you. Nor should it be so difficult that you invite failure. 

R = Realistic. Are you in a position to achieve your goal? Do you have the skills, time and resources to make this happen?

T = Time-based. Plan enough time to accomplish your goal, and be able to set a completion date so that you are motivated and focused.

Write down your goals, using the SMART formula. Imagine what achieving your big goal feels like and looks like. You might consider using a vision board or mind-mapping tool like Popplet which can be very helpful. Both of these methods lay your work out in a non-linear way so you can look at different aspects of your business.

As you describe what you plan to do, create smaller short-term goals along the way. This step-by-step planning will help you better define your time frame and understand what’s involved.


Workflow chart


If your end goal is a year away, write down quarterly and monthly goals so that you make steady progress, and back up your plan to what you can do today. Taking action immediately sets your plan in motion.

One of the most important aspects of any artist’s success is to work consistently and also persistently. A studio practice requires a regular commitment. So does goal-setting. As you create and realize smaller goals, give yourself plenty of credit and move forward to fulfill the vision you have for your art business.


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  1. Nice breakdown and easy to follow!

  2. This is just what I need to get me going.

  3. So many times I *think* I know this in my head, but it makes it much more real and manageable if it is written down. Thank you for providing so many helpful articles!

    • Lana, it’s so common for artists (and other businesspeople, too) to have an idea of what they want, but not to have a roadmap drawn out with steps to get there. Definitely write yours down! And best to you with your goals!

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