Before I get into today’s topic, I’d like to ask you this: Do you sometimes feel frustrated by the lack of support you receive from your friends and family for your art business + career? Do you feel like they simply don’t get it?
I know exactly how you feel! When I started my first business several years ago, it seemed like everyone was super supportive. At first, everyone was cheering me on, telling me how courageous they thought I was, and how they were looking forward to giving me some work.
But when the big day arrived and I officially launched my business, all these people who were allegedly “so happy and excited” for me vanished. They were nowhere to be found.
I felt incredibly frustrated and hurt. I simply could not understand why these people who had encouraged me to leave my day job were now totally MIA.
It took me a while for me to get over how I felt, and it took an eye-opening epiphany to get there: It wasn’t that people didn’t care, they were simply busy with their own lives.
This epiphany changed the whole way I run my business.
You see, once I stopped being frustrated and angry, I was able to put myself in my friends’ and family’s shoes. That’s when I suddenly I understood something very important – and that realization changed the course of my business.
1) They did not really know or understand what I was doing
2) They felt somewhat intimidated by my new “entrepreneurial” status
3) They did want to help, but they simply did not know how
The minute I understood these 3 things, my perspective changed. The way I engaged with friends and family changed. The way I felt about my business changed.
And a funny thing happened, the way people in my network supported me and my business changed too.
Because there was no more thinking, hoping, or assuming that others would do what I wanted them to do.
I became super clear on what I did and how others could help me.
So what does this mean for you?
Do you have people in your network that you think could help you grow your art business + career but you just don’t feel comfortable approaching them for yet another sale?
I totally get that! So what if you did not have to ask them for a sale? What if you asked them to help you in a way that wouldn’t cost them anything, but would still help you develop your business?
Crazy? Not at all! Efficient? Definitely!
So how can you go about and do that? Here are few ways you can help others help you.
1. Start by helping
There are certainly people in your network who could help you grow your art business + career. They could be business owners, connectors, or simply people that fit the description of your ideal collector. But before asking them to do something for you, try asking what you can do for them. Engaging in a conversation over coffee or simply through social media and getting to know them better and being of service can go a VERY long way!
Once you have done something nice for someone else, that person will usually want to return the gesture. Now, I’m not suggesting that you expect everyone you do something nice for to reciprocate. But people tend to want to help those who also help!
2. Reach out and ask for a small gesture
You’ve probably already tried posting your work on Facebook and asking friends and family to share. But have you reached out personally to some key people in your network and asked them to share one specific post, letting them know why it would mean a lot to you and how it could benefit them? If you start sharing posts from people you would like to receive support from it will be much easier to get support from them next time you ask.
3. Consider finding a mentor
You probably have successful business owners or business executives in your network. How about asking for some of their time to discuss how you could grow your art business? Doing this serves two purposes. First, you’ll get some valuable insight from people who’ve been through it all and who can tell you how to avoid common pitfalls and where your energy is best spent. Second, by showing your mentor that you are serious about your business + career, they’ll be more inclined to keep you in mind next time they are thinking about buying or encouraging the arts, or even recommending you to their network.
Don’t think that people in your network are not supporting you on purpose.
Everyone is busy with work, family, and friends. So don’t assume that it’s lack of interest preventing you from getting the encouragement and support you desire.
Instead of pouting, be proactive and start showing support the way you want to be supported. Then engage with your network, and be clear on how others can support you!
You’ll be surprised by how happy people are to help!
What have you done recently to support other artists, entrepreneurs and leaders in your network? How would you like to be supported? Leave us a comment in the comment section below! You know I love to hear from you!!
Need help creating a simple, yet profitable plan for your art business? Then download my free guide "The Seven Steps You Need to Build a Profitable Art Business + Career" where I help artists develop a strategy to take their career to the next level. Or, connect with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need!