5 Ways Artists And Creatives Can Get Over Their Fear Of Selling

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5 Ways Artists And Creatives Can Get Over Their Fear Of Selling

If I had the opportunity to meet you face to face and ask you how selling makes you feel, what would your response be? Would you just want to run and hide from the conversation or would you gladly jump in?

If you are like most artists I know, selling is not your forte. You might be telling yourself that you are bad at it or that “selling” actually means “selling out” to convince yourself that selling just isn’t for you.

Reality check: you CANNOT have a profitable art business if you are not selling! 

Whether you are selling directly to your collectors or through galleries and reps, it really doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, you need to develop the skills to be able to sell yourself. Unfortunately, the amazing artwork you pour your heart and soul into to create.

Once you start internalizing the fact that “selling is helping,” then it becomes much easier to take the “ickiness” out of the selling process because your work and your business becomes truly aligned with your values and who you are.

So to help you get started and excited about sales conversations, I thought I would share 5 ways to get over your fear of selling. They go a little something like this:

Step 1: Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people

When I started my business, I rapidly felt like people in my life just did not care about what I was trying to build for myself and my family. After a while I even started becoming resentful. But that was only until the moment I realized that it wasn’t that they did not care, they just did not understand.

They didn’t understand the implications, hard work, loneliness, struggles and excitements of being an entrepreneur in the start-up phase.

So slowly and without even noticing it, my social circle started to change and I started attracting more like-minded people in my life. Fast forward to today, I can confidently say that some of my best friends are self-starters and entrepreneurs!
The same way that when you start having kids, you start hanging out with people who have families, when you start a business, you need to hang out with people who get it. Remember what Peter Voogd said: we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with!

Step 2: Gain clarity on your WHY

I have a huge biz crush on Simon Sinek and I think he is spot on when he says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Just think about the latest brands you purchased and you’ll notice how this principle almost always applies.

I’m often asked by artists how they can attract the right people to buy their art. My answer to them is quite simple: get laser clear on why you do what you do and how you are helping your clients and then craft compelling messaging that communicates this specifically.

Step 3: Know your market

How can you be confident about your value, your pricing strategy and your positioning if you don’t know your market? Would any other business owner, in any other industry, start a business without knowing what their market dynamics look like? Of course not!

As an artist, you are not an island. You need to know what your market is like because your clients and collectors are looking at the market and they’ll see right through you if they feel that you aren’t.

Step 4: Up your marketing game

Once you’ve got your message down and a better understanding of your market, now’s the time to create a compelling marketing strategy. Having your ideal collector in mind, start planning the content you can create and the actions you can take to address questions and objections your potential clients would have during the sales process and build momentum for your work.

Start by getting crystal clear on what your ideal collector would need to know to make a decision to buy your work and then, using marketing tools like social media, your website and email marketing, create content to address those issues in an engaging way and build momentum for your work. Don’t know what these objections / questions could be? I’ve got two words for you: Just ask!

Step 5: Consistently work on building your confidence

Confidence is like a muscle, if you want it to work for you, you need to exercise it on a consistent basis. So how can you do that? First, I strongly recommend journaling. If you’ve read either The Artist Way or The War of Art then you know what I’m talking about. Journaling will help you put words on what you are going through, push through blocks and calm the negative voices you keep hearing in your head (yes, you are not crazy, we all have those, but the good news is, you don’t have to listen to them!).

The second thing I recommend, which in my humble opinion is the key and often forgotten ingredient to being confident about selling, is to PRACTICE! You can’t and shouldn’t “wing it” when it comes to your sales conversations because they are an art in themselves.

Mastering selling doesn’t happen overnight. But it is possible, even for artists! And the best part of it is that once you start getting the hang of it, selling actually becomes fun! This is because you get to connect with your fans and collectors on a deeper more engaging level. And wasn’t this one of the reasons you started your art business in the first place?

Join thousands of artists who have done this before you, and download my FREE “7 Step Guide to Building Your Art Business + Career“ today!

 

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My very own 3 steps to dealing with procrastination

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My very own 3 steps to dealing with procrastination

If there is one thing I’m constantly encouraging you to do is to take action in your life and in your business. Because when you come to think of it, if you aren’t taking action on a consistent basis, then how can you expect results? Am I right?

But as I’m writing these words, I hope you’re not thinking that I don’t know what procrastination is. To be completely honest, I decided to write on this topic after spending 15 minutes sitting in my car, numbingly scrolling through my FB feed instead of coming in and getting some work done… So yeah, I know all about procrastination!

All of this to say that I’m just like you and everyone else. On some days, I’m super organized and energized and excited about my upcoming projects. On other days, I get “shiny object syndrome” and distracted by everything that will keep me from doing what I had intended to do on that day.

The good news is I procrastinate 90% less often that I used to and when I do procrastinate, I’ve come up with a mechanism to either push through it or embrace it. 

Yup, you read me right, I just said that sometimes, I embrace procrastination. 

Why? Because I’ve found that procrastination is often a symptom of something else. A signal to go deeper and listen to what your little, usually very wise, inner voice has to say.

As part of today’s blog, I thought I would share with you the “3-step process” that I use when I start procrastinating over a task or situation in my life and business. 

1) Acknowledge the situation: 

First, I immediately stop doing what I’m doing and openly acknowledge that I’m procrastinating. (Side note: procrastination can take many forms and sneak up on you when you least expect it, so it’s important for you to be vigilant. For a complete low down of how procrastination is one of the truest form of resistance, I recommend Steven Pressfield’s book “The War of Art”.)

2) Question the REAL underlying reason: 

Once I’ve acknowledged that I’m procrastinating, I don’t beat myself up over it because doing this will accomplish nothing. Instead I ask myself the reasons why I’m procrastinating and listen carefully to the answers that come up. And when the answers start coming, I don’t stop there. I push myself to be brutally honest by asking “what else?” a few more times. I want to go to the bottom of it so I can settle it once and for all with myself and move on.

3) Take action or change something: 

Now that I know exactly what’s keeping me from doing what I “should” be doing”, I’m in a better position to make an informed decision as to what I will be doing next. 

OPTION A: If I realize that my procrastination is coming from a place of fear and self-doubt then I know that it is not serving me so I committo making one decision, even if it’s a tiny one. Making one simple decision in your life or in your business will improve your sense of control over things and that can be a powerful tool to overcome procrastination. For instance, when I procrastinate about writing a blog, I often make a conscious decision to start drafting the middle part first, followed by the conclusion and then the intro. That way I don’t stay stuck trying to figure out how to start.

OR

OPTION B: If I realize that my procrastination is coming from a place of overwhelming, self-imposed deadlines or because what I had planned simply doesn’t feel good, then I take some time to revisit my long term vision + 90 days goals and make a conscious decision to either stick to the plan or make the changes I need to make to be happy, while seeing results in my business. 

When even making a simple decision seems impossible, I reach out to a mentor or someone I trust to get that extra kick in the pants I need to get rid of that resistance that is keeping me from reaching my goals.

Because what’s the point of being your own boss if it doesn’t make you happy, right?

If you are anything like me, you’ve been raised and taught in school to stop caring about “what you feel like doing” and just do it. 

Although more often than not, “just doing it” or pushing through resistance is what needs to be done, if we want to have a fulfilling life and a sustainable business that will drive us in the long term, the reasons why we procrastinate are definitely worth being questioned and addressed.

Hopefully, the steps I use to conquer procrastination will help you next time you are stuck and can’t seem to move forward.

Whether you decide to push through or make changes, the important thing is to keep moving!

As always, I’d love to hear about you!

What do you procrastinate over? Is it in your business or in your personal life? Do you see this as a form of resistance / fear of what could happen or the symptom that something is wrong and that you should be making some changes?

Tell me all about it in the comments section!

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How to create a sustainable art business with 1,000 raving fans

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How to create a sustainable art business with 1,000 raving fans

The following is a guest blog post by Andy Derrick of ArtSquare. ArtSquare has invited me to give a free webinar on Thursday, May 12th to help artists get clarity and create a plan to move their art career forward– sign up here!


Despite how vulnerable it may make us feel, as artists we love when people go crazy for our art. We love when our creation resonates so deeply with someone they immediately become a fan. Not only is it personally affirming when another human being connects with our art, but creating raving fans is the best way to build a sustainable art business.

So, how do we define a “raving fan”? 

These are the people who want to know everything you’re creating. They come to your gallery shows. They’ve signed up for your email lists. They buy your originals and prints. They’re emailing you for commissions. Put simply, they love your art and they love you.

Kevin Kelly introduced the idea that an artist would be successful if they could find 1,000 true fans. His theory is that a raving fan will spend at least one day’s wages per year on your artwork (which is being conservative as they’d likely spend more). If 1,000 fans spend $100 a year on your artwork, you’ve made $100,000 in a year— not bad.

It doesn’t have to be 1,000. It could be more, it could be less. The point is— developing these sorts of long-term relationships and growing your fan base is a much more reliable way to grow your art business than hoping for random people to find your work.

Growing your community of raving fans should be a major, front-of-mind focus.

If you’re not there yet (most of us aren’t), don’t get discouraged. None of us start out with this base of fans and it’s not an overnight endeavor. It takes some time.

Let’s talk about some of the principles to follow to grow the number of your raving fans.

1. Be generous

The most powerful thing you can do to get new fans and sell more art is to be generous. Give. It might sound like an oxymoron, but go with me here.

How do you feel towards a person who gives more than is expected? A business that gives you something you find valuable for free? What type of feeling does it create?

Finding ways to delight your potential fans is the easiest way to turn them from admirers to raving fans.

Give them something THEY find valuable for free. It could be a free print when they sign up for your email list. It could be sneak peeks into your creative process through videos or blog posts. It could be a steep discount on their first purchase after joining your community of fans. You could host an exclusive show just to connect with these fans.

The ideas are infinite, but the premise is— think about what would delight your fans and do that thing without being asked.

Many artists hear this and think, “I don’t want to undervalue my work by giving things away for free!”

And I hear you. I’m not telling you to prostitute your gift. I’m simply saying that people respond to value and when you go above and beyond their expectations it’s the quickest way to create a raving fan who will follow your career and purchase your artwork.

Be different, be creative, and set yourself apart in the mind of your potential fans.

2. Find ways to connect

This goes along with some of the ideas about being generous, but is specifically focused on making yourself accessible to your fans. Don’t be the wizard behind the curtain. People buy art as much because they love the artist as they like the art.

Be personal and find ways to cultivate relationships. Reach out to your fans. Find ways to get their input and feedback. 

Many successful authors will ask their email list or Facebook fans to vote on different book covers for their new books. It allows their fans to feel part of the process and actually have a say in the final product. There are so many opportunities to do similar things with fans of your art. 

Blog about your passion, make videos of you creating, connect with local fans in person.

Creating fans is all about letting them see behind the curtain— giving them more and more chances to see who you are, why you do what you do, and why they should care.

Again, be different, be creative, and set yourself apart in the mind of your potential fans.

3. Make it easy to buy

As you’re building your community of raving fans, you want it to be as easy as possible for them to actually buy your artwork. 

First, they have to know about your new work. And, second, they have to know how and where to buy it. 

Anytime you share an artwork on social media make sure you link to the place where fans can actually buy that artwork. If you have an online shopping cart and sell through a personal artist website, make sure the images in your website portfolio display the prices and have a “Buy” button.

If you sell through a 3rd-party art sales website like Vango or Etsy, make sure you include links to those pages anytime you share your work. Every image on your website should link to where that specific artwork can be purchased. If you’re sharing new artworks on your email list or social media, include links to that specific artwork where it’s being sold.

Don’t make your fans jump through hoops to buy your work. If they can’t easily figure it out, you’re losing sales.

No matter what number of raving fans you want to reach, the point is— it’s doable. 1,000 people who love your art is attainable and it’s enough to sustain your art career. Raving fans rave. They share you and tell other people about your work, creating other raving fans and smaller fans on the periphery (who will also buy your work on occasion).

My hope is this gives you a sense of possibility. You don’t have to become a “famous” artist to everyone. You just have to be famous to a small number of people who love what you do. That is enough to sustain your creative journey and earn a living.


Andy Derrick is the Head of Artist Community with ArtSquare, a service that helps artists build and manage their digital portfolios. He spends his days helping artists push their career forward and take advantage of the endless opportunities to connect with art fans online (as well as offline). Click through this link to check out ArtSquare and get a free month trial: https://www.artsquare.com/signup?asq_affiliate=the-artist-entrepreneur-networkOrganization&asq_plan_promo_code=trialMonth
 

 

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You Only Need These 3 Things to Make a Living Selling Your Art

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You Only Need These 3 Things to Make a Living Selling Your Art

Having worked on the art market and with artists for a few years now, I’ve come to one simple conclusion as to what it takes to sell your art. I know this might sound a bit simplistic for some of you, but who said business had to be complicated? Or maybe we, as artists and entrepreneurs, just like to overcomplicate things?

The truth is, you really don’t have to feel overwhelmed by sales or feel “salesy” for that matter. Because you all know it and have it in you to thrive, I (not only me, but most sales experts out there) believe that you just need to trust yourself enough to step out of your comfort zone and step into a world of infinite possibilities for you and your art.

Simply put, you can’t live out your purpose if you aren’t selling and that’s why sales is a critical skill for artists to develop. And this skill is one that can, and should, be developed with ease.

But before I share with you the three things, I believe you need to do to grow your sales, I just want to remind you of something I’ve shared with you in the past: People buy from people they know, like and trust.

So whether you want to sell to a team of designers or to art collectors directly, or you simply want to sell to an art gallery the idea to represent you, here’s how YOU can do it.

1. MAKE SURE YOUR AUDIENCE KNOWS YOU

Visibility is a huge part of selling your art. If nobody knows you exist, if you don’t have an audience, then nobody will buy from you. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge following to do well in business, you just need to have the right following. That’s why pinpointing who you want to target is key. Once you’ve identified who these people are, go out and find them through networking, offline and online. Being visible in the online world, means being present, engaging and showing up consistently... much more often than you think!

2. GET YOUR FANS TO LIKE YOU

Once people start knowing who you are, how do you get them to like you? Well, most probably, it will be through a little something I like to call storytelling. How can you tell a story about who you are, what you do and why you do it? Use your existing channels such as social media, email marketing and live events to share your story and engage with your fan base and collectors.

3: BUILD A RELATIONSHIP BASED ON TRUST

That’s a big one, because no one will buy from someone they don’t trust, right? So how do you build that trust? You can start by being authentic and honest in everything that you share and communicate with your fans. Respect for your collectors is essential because they can smell a phony from miles away.

Ok, so you’re already genuine and honest, what else can you do? Reassure your collectors that they are making the right decision when investing in you by sharing with them your credentials, press clippings and interviews, images of past shows and events as well as testimonials from past buyers. Show them that you know what you’re doing and that they’ll be getting great value and potential by buying from you.

Some people wonder why I give so much of my knowledge for free to my community and through my blogs.

Now that you’ve found out my secret recipe, you know why I do it... Because I know that the more I give, the more you get to know, like and trust me.

As always, I’d love to hear from you! What have you done (or will do) to get people to know, like and trust you as a credible and talented artist?

Want to learn how to sell your art without feeling like a sell out? Learn more here

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Is it Spring Yet? 5 Ideas to Help you Bring Some Sunshine Into Your Art Business

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Is it Spring Yet? 5 Ideas to Help you Bring Some Sunshine Into Your Art Business

This blog was also published on The Huffington Post

Spring officially arrived last a few days ago, but where I live, we still have to put on winter boots, scarves and hats before going out, and by the looks of it, we’re going to have them on for a couple more weeks...

But I’m not going to let the weather come between me, my business and... my spring cleaning, and neither should you!

I don’t know what it is about us humans, but every year, as soon as we hit mid-march, we collectively seem to get an urge to clean. Maybe it’s our body telling us to soak in as much sunlight as it’s humanly possible, by cleaning as many windows as we can! Whatever the reason, it feels so good!

But all this activity is not just for the home, it should also be a practice for our businesses as well! And while I was doing my own cleaning, I thought of you and how I could help and motivate you to start YOUR “Business Spring Cleaning”.

So here it goes: 5 suggestions to start the new season on a high note!

1) Clean up your studio and set up a comfortable spot to work on your business

Working on a kitchen counter is neither ideal nor productive because it distracts you from your main focus by reminding you of everything that needs to get to get done around the house. Find a corner in your home or studio that you enjoy and make it your own by surrounding it with pictures, books and objects that mean something to you. Show your workspace some loving so sitting down to work on the business side of things doesn’t make you want to run the other way! Every time you’lI step into your office, you’ll feel like you’re exactly where you should be. If you want to spend more time and be more efficient building your art business, make sure you are setting yourself up for success and it all starts with creating a space you’ll truly enjoy working in.

2) Get organized
Confession time: I’m really bad at everything related to administrative work, accounting, taxes... If you can name it, I probably hate it! But this year, things are taking a different tangent. Instead of waiting for the last minute to get my paperwork together, I’ve decided to set up systems once and for all to make it more fun (or at least less painful) to get it all done. You know the saying “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body”, well that also applies to your business. Get your paperwork in order and set up systems that will make it easier to perform your administrative and financial tasks in the future. The return on your (time) investment will no doubt be well worth the effort.

3) Set your Q2 Goals
The first quarter of the year is almost behind us. So, how are the goals you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year coming along? Now’s not the time to find excuses for why you didn’t reach your goals or procrastinated. You should rather take this time to look back on the first 3 months of 2016, assess what worked and what didn’t and set three realistic and measurable goals for the next 90 days. Once you’ve done that, break down each goal in bitesize action items that you’ll plug into your calendar. No more excuses necessary.

4) Commit to networking at least once a month
Selling is all about building and nurturing relationships, you know that already. But what are you really doing to create new relationships? Sure, social media is great, but nothing beats an actual face to face “meet and greet” where people get to know you and discover what you and your art are all about. This probably means you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone, but you know I’m right... Right? Think about who you want to reach with your art, figure out where they hang out and show up!

5) Find an accountability partner
Being an Artrepreneur has its perks but it can also be very lonely. Your “buddies” Overwhelmed and Isolated have no business in your art business! Find someone you can trust and who will tell it to you like it is when you need it. Then commit to being accountable to each other. Even if you only meet once a month for 30 minutes over the phone, you’ll soon see the many benefits of having someone keeping you on the level when things aren’t rolling as well as you’d like. Connecting with another entrepreneur will no doubt give you a new sense of purpose and you will also help you gain a different perspective, one that might help you down the road as you grow your art business.

Here’s your opportunity to start fresh! Take it, embrace it and commit to it!

What are you going to do during this second quarter to turn your art business around?

Need some help building your art business + career? Then sign up here to get my free starting guide and other tools to help you reach your goals:www.theartistentrepreneur.co/guide

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4 Things Artists Can Learn From My Experience at Miami Art Week

@BurnAway via Flickr

@BurnAway via Flickr

I recently had the immense joy of spending a few days at Miami Art Week, a.k.a. Art Basel Miami, the most important contemporary art event in the Americas, where I got to view more art than I did during the entire year (talk about a sensory overload!).

While in Miami, I met with wonderful people who had so many interesting insight on the art world and where it's heading.

As I was heading back to my hotel on Saturday, I started thinking about a few key "Ha-Ha" moments of my weekend and made a mental note to myself to share those with you this week.

Because what's the point in learning all of this, if it all stays in my head, right?

So here it goes... 4 things I learned during my visit at Miami Art Week and that can help you in your art career!

#1 Creating a body of work that people can recognize is the first step

I know you love working with different mediums, styles and subjects, but if you want to make it to the big leagues, you need to choose. People (especially gallery owners) need to be able to spot your work among a hundred others. You can experiment as much as you like in your studio, but when it comes to showing your work publicly, make sure that your style is consistent and constantly evolving into something that is more substantial and meaningful.

#2 Nailing your storytelling is essential

How good are you at telling a story? Whether it's your own story or the story behind specific pieces, how you can draw people's attention and invite them into your world is key. Not only is it important to position yourself and your work to potential buyers, but it's also absolutely necessary if you are looking at getting gallery representation. How can a gallery represent and sell your work if they have nothing to say about it? This takes practice, a lot of practice, but it's well worth it.

#3 Building a following will open you doors

I had a conversation with a gallery owner at the SCOPE art fair and we were debating about whether or not artists really need gallery representation to make it. Of course, we both agreed at the end that gallery representation can't hurt. So I asked him how artists should go about to get that representation. His first answer was "the work needs to be solid and credible." Well, that's a given, right? When I asked him about networking with the right people and building a strong following, his answered was: "Well, that won't hurt either." The conversation continued around the fact that the more an artist can demonstrate that he/she has something to bring to the table, whether it's an audience or a collector base, the more open a gallery will be to discuss future partnership opportunities.

#4 Perception is EVERYTHING

And this brings me to the most important lesson I learned over the weekend, a lesson that I've been confronted to more than once working in PR for the last 15 years... That lesson is: Perception is everything. What do I mean by that? Well, how confident are you about your work? your career? your worth? I was looking at gallery owners doing "busy work" in their booth, art collectors boasting about their recent acquisitions and artists doing more name dropping than a Kardashian on a Friday night and that's when it struck me, half of the battle is about looking and feeling confident. Just to make myself clear, I'm not saying you should be misleading or lie. But rather, work on developing your confidence and building on the positive you've got going in your business instead of dwelling on what could be.

Remember this: people who buy your art are investing not only in your work, but also in you.

They'll have more interest in buying if they feel you have a bright future ahead of you.

Looking to grow your art business + career in 2016? Then join me and over 4,000 artists from around the globe at The Artist Entrepreneur Network.

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The Difference Between Giving Away and Giving Back... and Why I Recommend The Latter

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The Difference Between Giving Away and Giving Back... and Why I Recommend The Latter

This blog was first published on the artist blog Artpromotivate.

When having discussions around the strategy of pricing art, one question almost always comes up: What to do when people ask or hint that they want your art for free? I’m sure it’s happened to you: someone sees your art, loves it, but says she just can’t afford it right now… But boy, would she LOVE to own it! It wouldn’t make a big difference in your life, right? That piece has been lying around your studio for a while now, it would help declutter the room… It’s not like your making money anyway… So, why not? Why not? Here’s why… 
 

#1 It’s not building your business

People asking for free art will not become buyers down the road. They just don’t get it and there’s no point investing time or money towards them. You have to focus on who your buyers and collectors are and make sure you are giving them the best value and attention there is. 
 

#2 It’s not respectful for your present and future buyers

Why should someone get a freebie when the others have to pay? That doesn’t make any sense. Would you see that happening in an art gallery? What would your current or future buyers think if they knew you were giving your art away? They probably wouldn’t want to buy from you again and would also start worrying about the value of the work they already bought. I know I would. 

#3 It’s sounds kind of desperate

Look at any entrepreneur that you admire and who’s succeeded. What is their common denominator? You’ve got it: confidence. What does it say about you and your work when you’re ready to give away a piece that you’ve invested time and money to create? Not so sexy is it? 

#4 It’s not helping your profession

Artists need to stick together and share a common message with the world that the work they do is important and valuable. When you are lowering your prices and giving your art for free, you are not just hurting yourself, you are hurting the artist profession in general. You are part of this community and you too have a role to play.

Ok, so what should you do with your work that’s not selling or when someone asks for a freebie?

My answer: Be generous!

How? 

#1 Lend it

Offer to lend one of your pieces for a set period of time and let that person know that if she wants to keep it, then she can buy it or simply return it. (Be sure to have insurance though.) Even if that person doesn't buy your piece at the end, maybe someone else you’ve never heard of will have seen it and show interest. 

#2 Offer a payment plan

If a person can’t afford your prices right away, maybe she would be interested in a payment plan. Try to find ways to make the sale interesting for you and for your client without having to reduce your prices. 

#3 Give back to the community

This one is my favorite. There are so many places in your community that would appreciate your work and show it proudly. Think about a local charity you’ve always wanted to volunteer for but never found the time or a NGO you’d like to make a donation to. Meet with them and see what their needs are and offer them your work either to decorate their space or to sell during a fundraising event. This is a win-win for them and for you because it will give your art new exposure.

Those are just a few ways to get your art out of the studio and in front of potential buyers, without having to give it away. Learning to be generous in your art business is so important. But being generous doesn’t mean having to sell yourself short.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to “give back”, not “give away”.

Remember, if you want people to take your art seriously, start by taking your art business seriously.

 

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What You Can Learn From My Entrepreneurial Journey…

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What You Can Learn From My Entrepreneurial Journey…

Have I ever told you about how I became an entrepreneur? It might seem like I have all my sh** together these days, but believe me, it wasn’t always so.

It all started when I was in College and one of my favorite teachers told me I should forget about majoring in Art History. I remember his words as if it were yesterday. He said:

“I’ll speak to you as if you were my daughter Catherine because I truly believe you have what it takes to have a brilliant career. Don’t go into the arts, you’ll struggle all your life.”

My teacher had hit a nerve. My family had been struggling financially for as long as I could remember, so there was no way I was going to let that happen to me.

No way José!

So I listened like the nice young woman that I was and majored in PR and Marketing instead.

As soon as I got my diploma (in fact a couple of days before graduation) I was hired by a major brand to do PR and within a few months, I was promoted to a high profile PR position. That’s when the phone started to ring and head hunter were offering me jobs all over town. I finally accepted one which had everything I was hoping for: new exciting projects, travelling opportunities and of course, a crazy high salary.

At 25 years old, I was head of the PR department of a major multinational corporation.

But I was more miserable than ever.

Of course, nobody knew about this. I was doing my work, performing and showing results but a few times a week, I would close my office door so I could cry for a few minutes. I could not keep it all inside, I had to let it out.

It quickly became unbearable. I knew I could not continue living like this for the next 30-40 years. I was only 25, how could I have become so sad and cynical?

Everyone thought I had it all, how could I disappoint them?

I knew I wanted something else for my life. I also knew I could not make the leap all by myself.

The first thing I needed to do was to gain clarity about what I really wanted and how I could get it.

That’s when I decided to seek help.

And it all started to get clear to me, I wanted to work in the arts. That’s what I had always wanted to do and that’s what I was going to do.

What happened next? Within a year I quit my job and moved to Paris where I studied the business of art at Christies’ Education. While I was there, I networked my a** off and got a part-time job working in a gallery in The Marais neighbourhood and a short internship at Christies.

In the meantime, I had met the man who would eventually become my husband and the father of my children, so once the program was completed, we moved back to Canada where I started working for one of the top modern & contemporary art galleries in Montreal, promoting the work of artists at international art fairs and working one-on-one with artists to help them grow their business.

Since then, there have been many ups and downs. At some point I even had to go back on the job market to get a “real job” because I needed to pay rent.

But I always kept my eyes on the prize.

Today, I own a profitable business and spend my days doing what I love, helping artist grow their art business + career and contributing to society in a meaningful way.

Why am I telling you this? Because if it was possible for me, it can be possible for you.

  1. I did not have family or friends or any contacts whatsoever working in the art market
  2. No one paid for my tuition or studies, I had to work my way through it all and all the investments I made, I would make them again.

As someone who has been through it all, here’s what I’d like you to take away from my story as you make your way as an entrepreneur:

  1. Seek help. At first I was overwhelmed and thought I could simply not quit my job. I reached out to a professional and she helped me get back on track personally and professionally. Today, I still continue to seek help through coaches and mentors as my business grows because there is no way I can do it all myself AND have perspective.
  2. Have a plan. I had a vision for myself and a plan to make it happen, including a budget. I knew I had to spend money to go to study in Paris, network and start this new chapter of my life. So I created a spreadsheet and started tracking every dime I was spending so I could afford what was really important to me.
  3. Network. The first thing I did when I arrived in Paris and later when I was planning on coming back to Montreal was to connect with as many people as possible to grow my network. I was surprised at how much people were happy to help me and connect me with people they knew. Many opportunities started knocking at my door but none of those would have happened if I had not put myself out there.
  4. Push through resistance. Was it difficult? Yes. Did I want to quit? Of course. As I mentioned earlier, I even went out and got a “real job” at one point, but as soon as I did that, I started feeling miserable again. Although I was as scared as ever (and sometimes still am), I decided that being an entrepreneur was non negotiable for me and I stopped making excuses for myself. That’s when things really started shifting for me.
  5. Stop listening to everyone’s advice. Trust me, everyone has an opinion: raise your prices, lower your prices, be on Instagram, don’t be on Twitter. I’ve heard them all. You can’t listen to everyone’s idea of what you should be doing to sell more, especially those sitting on the sidelines waiting for the perfect storm to start their business. Unless we are talking about people who’ve actually been there, forget it and focus on your goals.

My teacher was right, I was going to have a great career (he was just wrong to think it wasn’t going to be in the arts).

I’m not smarter or more connected than you, I just got up and did the work every single day.

What has your entrepreneurial journey been like? Any tips or lessons you’d like to share? I’d love to know about your story. Hit me in the comments and let’s chat! You know I love to hear from you…

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4 Reasons Why You Should Increase Your Artwork Prices. . . Soon!

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4 Reasons Why You Should Increase Your Artwork Prices. . . Soon!

This blog was first published on the artist blog EmptyEasel.

 

Not a week goes by without an artist asking me about their pricing strategy. And with those questions, I almost always detect a feeling of uneasiness and self-doubt.

Why is that? Why the lack of confidence when it comes to pricing and selling art?

I’ve seen many artists get discouraged because no one will buy their art. They are frustrated because people don’t seem to see the value they do. Some artists think that the answer to that problem is to lower their prices – in short, to make their art cheaper.

Unfortunately, that line of thinking generally leads artists to start offering prices so low that they’ll never be capable of making a decent living selling their work.

So today I wanted to share with you, not the reasons why you shouldn’t lower your prices, but rather 4 reasons why you should INCREASE your prices.

I always prefer to take a positive spin on things :-)

I can hear you already! “What? Increase my prices? How can you possibly be thinking I should increase my prices if I’m not even selling at the prices I have now?”

Here’s why:

NOTE: Please hear my very own little disclaimer: This advice is only valid if you are a professional visual artist with a solid body of work to back you up.

Reason 1. Buyers will take you more seriously

First, forget about your family and friends as potential buyers. If they haven’t bought your art by now, they’ll never buy it (and you shouldn’t be pricing your art for them, anyway).

Instead, go out and start building a fan base and collector base that will truly appreciate your work and your style. Once you get in front of those people you need to look professional and present a solid body of work. Art buyers expect to pay a certain premium for good quality art. If you have that, then your pricing won’t be a deterrent.

Just focus on providing good value—if you do that, they’ll be interested, and a higher price will simply reinforce the value you offer.

Reason 2. Galleries will show more interest in your art

Remember that art galleries are businesses like any other. They have rent, employees, and marketing expenses to take care of.

If you present work at a price point that is too low, there’s just no way they can make a profit with you. In addition, their clientele is used to certain types of standards, so if you don’t fit into those standards, then they’ll just pass on to the next available artist.

Reason 3. Collectors are buying an experience

Remember the last time you splurged on something you REALLY, REALLY wanted? Well, that’s what art is, a big splurge.

Let’s be realistic, art is not a necessity like food, shelter and clothing, it’s a luxury item. So you have to treat it as such. Don’t get me wrong, I have many art works in my house and I feel like they are part of the family, but when I buy art, I’m buying something that I want, not that I need, and price is only one part of the equation.

Work on creating a credible and enticing brand for you and your art, promote it consistently, make it absolutely irresistible to buy and don’t worry too much about the price.

Reason 4. Art can become your sole source of income

Have you calculated how many pieces you’d have to create and sell, at your current prices, to make your art a full time gig? Is that number realistic?

If you want to be taken seriously as an artist, you have to take yourself seriously. Consider the amount of time and money you’ve put into learning your skills and techniques and developing your own unique style. Think about what the big picture looks like for your business and career, and only then will you’ll be able to price your work in alignment with your value and your goals.

Of course, all of this advice only applies if you do your homework!

Go out, see shows, meet other artists, spend time browsing on the web, and upgrade your skills. Your prices reflect you, and you need to be capable of explaining them.

And one more thing: think about your role as an artist, and therefore as an ambassador of the arts. Is it time you stop selling yourself short?

Then raise your prices. . . your art, and you, are worth it!

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I'm Ready, Are You In?

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I'm Ready, Are You In?

Do you sometimes (or often) put off showing publicly your work? Maybe because you feel your work just isn’t perfect yet? Or that the timing just isn’t right (according to you)? Or you’re simply afraid of what other people will think?

I know that feeling. 

Being a recovering perfectionist and having a professional background in strategic planning, I’ve always had an annoying tendency to wait for every little piece of the puzzle to be exactly in the right place before making a move.

That was then. But this year, everything changed… 

I finally decided to tell the world (or at least my network) that I was launching my website and coincidently The Artist Entrepreneur Network.

The truth is, I wasn’t ready at all (according to my standards).

But I thought, if I don’t do it now, there’ll never be a right time. I’m a wife, mother of two young children and owner of two other businesses, the right time was never going to come… :-) And I wanted to start connecting with artists again so badly, I just couldn’t wait.

What happened next absolutely blew my mind. 

You, and so many other artists, welcomed me into your lives with open and loving arms. 

I truly could not believe it. Everyday, artists from around the world were signing up to my email list, joining the Network and liking my Facebook page. Artists like you, most of whom I had never met, but who had a deep desire to live out their life purpose and get recognition + sales for their work.

When I first had the idea of creating The Artist Entrepreneur, I wanted to empower artists and help them create a plan to have a career they would be proud of. Today, I see that idea unfolding and becoming a reality.

Watch out because today, I’m ready and this is what I did for you.

Like I said earlier, I kind of launched with many ideas in my mind but no exact path to follow for what was going to happen next. 

So I listened to what you had to say: your hopes, your fears, your questions.

And I came up with two things 1) A plan and 2)The 7 Step Guide to Building Your Art Business + Career.

This Guide is my gift to you, to thank you for being so present and engaged.

I hope this Guide will arouse controversy, start a conversation and, most of all, get you one step closer to the Art Business + Career you want. 

I’m committed to helping you grow and have that art career you always knew you were meant to have by becoming a kick-ass entrepreneur. 

Ready to get to work? The download the Guide today!

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