Years ago I went to a Blair Singer Sales & Leadership Conference. What I learned there, I actually now use on a daily basis, but there was one thing I got really wrong.  Blair is all about statistic – tracking what you do, so that you can adjust course, and also just keep track of progress.  Well, for years I tracked hours worked. How many hours I worked on marketing. How many hours I spent prepping for a show.  How many hours I spent painting.

While knowing how many hours it takes to paint a painting, or prepare for a show is important for work planning purposing, using hours worked as a key statistic isn’t actually helpful.  All it does is give you something to tell people who think that since you work from home, or since you are an artist you don’t really “work.”  So you can say “hey, I worked 60 hours last week on art!” So in a sense this is a “Vanity Stat” – a statistic that is created so one’s ego can give a “correct” answer.  And not a stat that is actually helpful to one’s business.  And is, in essence a complete waste of time to be tracking.

Every year, I keep statistics, and at least once a year I reevaluate what I am tracking and decide if it is worth continuing to track, or if there is something else, more tangible/ actionable, or just plan more relevant to my business that I could be tracking instead.

Sometimes, it’s helpful to not just evaluate once a year.  For example, one year I got involved with the Link Love movement.  For me, I was spending hours and hours a week doing Link Love, and while I did meet some really nice people, I did not get a single sale out of it.  I did however, meet some people who ended up doing some work for me (SEO and Graphic Design) so for them, doing something like Link Love really worked – because just about everyone in the group was in need of what they were selling.  Therefore, I’m not dissing Link Love – I’m just saying that because I was keeping track of my effort, and the results (which were no sales, although people did start reading my blog) I decided after a few months to completely remove myself from the Link Love lists so that I would not participate actively or otherwise. And if I hadn’t been keeping track of results, this might have been going on all year before I realized this wasn’t where I wanted to be placing my energy.

Peter Drucker (a business genius) said “What’s measured improves.”

Here’s a few things that might be helpful to you to track for this coming year.  But again, if they aren’t impactful to you, or they don’t help you adjust and expand/grow your business, try some new ones.  Or better yet, suggest a few below.

  1. Sales – How many and where they are coming from?
  2. Number of people in email list, and how often they are corresponded with and results of each campaign
  3. Number of people who received hard copy mail/ promotional material (and results)
  4. On Etsy I actually track which day of the week sales have occurred, as well as promotional things I do on Etsy (like treasuries, re-listing and advertising) to see if there is also a correlation to sales for a particular action.  For example, while I do find relisting helpful in getting people’s attention I realized that when I paid to be in the Etsy Showcases it was more effective from a sales perspective. 
  5. Number of locations that showcase my art and the sales/ leads results

What are some of your favorite statistics to track for your art/ business?