What I'm thankful for this year? You of course!

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What I'm thankful for this year? You of course!

Although I’m Canadian and our Thanksgiving took place last month, I didn’t see any valid reason to not take this opportunity to be grateful for all the people, things and events that have showed up in my life and my business this year.

In fact, I felt so inspired that I created a short “homemade” video just for you!

Once you've watched the video, I’d be so grateful if you left us a comment below by sharing with us…

  1. Where do you need support to grow your art business and career? How can The Artist Entrepreneur best support you in 2017?
  2. What is your favorite Foundation or NGO that supports the arts and/or education? The Artist Entrepreneur is committed to consistently giving back to the community and we want your suggestions on the best ways we can do that!

So leave a comment below and let us know! I look forward to reading you!

Not a member of The Artist Entrepreneur Network and interested to join? Click here to connect with over 13,000 artists and creative from around the world through this free community.

And in the meantime, I want to wish you, wherever you are in the world, a happy Thanksgiving day, spent with people you love! 

With all of my love,

Catherine

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7 Mistakes That Are Keeping Starving Artists From Thriving

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7 Mistakes That Are Keeping Starving Artists From Thriving

This blog post was first published on the Huffington Post.

If you are anything like me, then you are more than tired of hearing about the “starving artist” myth. If there’s something I don’t believe in, it’s the notion that artists can’t succeed in business. As a matter of fact, I wrote a blog arguing the complete opposite last Fall.

I truly believe artists can run profitable businesses without compromising their artistic and creative integrity. In fact, this should be true of all business owners and leaders.

The starving artist myth is a limiting belief that’s been passed on from generation to generation and it’s about time we put an end to it. Not only is it disempowering to artists trying to promote themselves and their work, it’s also a barrier for many talented teenagers and young adults who will not pursue a career in the arts from fear of not being able to support themselves and later on in life, their families. Many will major in a more “socially accepted” program and pursue a career they don’t enjoy. No wonder depression and infidelity rates are through the roof. Our society just doesn’t value doing what ignites your passion when it comes to earning a living. Instead, we are conditioned to do “the right thing”, even if it makes us incredibly unhappy.

So what should you do when the thing you are really good at, the thing that really drives you and excites you come Monday morning isn’t putting food on the table?

In my opinion, you have two options:

Option #1: Keep your passion as a hobby and suck it up at your day job.

or

Option #2: Make a personal, professional and financial plan, push through resistance and turn that passion into a thriving business.

I know both options very well. I’ve tried them both. No, I’m not a professional artist, but I work in the art business, and let me tell you, I’ve had to jump over my share of hurdles before I got to where I am today.

As I evolved in the art world and worked with artists from all walks of life, some starving and some thriving, I was able to pinpoint very concrete reasons why thriving artists are thriving and starving artists are, well, starving...

In a nutshell, here are the 7 mistakes that keep starving artists from thriving:

Mistake #1: They aren’t clear on their goals
When I ask artists what their vision is for their art career, the answer I often get is “to sell my art”. That, my friends, is neither a vision nor a goal. To be able to thrive in your art career you need to know what you want and create a plan to get it. Without a clear vision, everything you do is just hoping and guessing.

Mistake #2: Their pricing strategy isn’t working for them
Way too many artists sell themselves and their art short because they think that their prices are what’s keeping them from getting sales. The fact that the art industry has one of the least transparent market out there doesn’t help artists to be clear and confident about their prices. But one thing is certain, people will only take you seriously as an artist and value your work the day you start valuing your own work. Not the other way around.

Mistake #3: They aren’t using the power of storytelling
Social media has completely changed the way artists communicate with their fans and collector base. Only a few years ago, all communications from artist to collector were made through the gallery owner. Today, artists have the opportunity to create a brand for themselves, build relationships and connect directly with their collector base through powerful storytelling. It’s not to say that galleries don’t have their purpose, they still do, but artists can now control their message and stop relying exclusively on galleries for exposure.

Mistake #4: They don’t follow through
Call it consistency, call it follow-through, call it showing up, call it whatever you want, as an entrepreneur, because that’s what today’s artists are, entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to stay focused on what’s important and do what needs to get done. Building an art business takes time. So when artists jump from one thing to the next, I see so many missed opportunities simply because they simply don’t follow through.

Mistake #5: They aren’t comfortable promoting themselves
Selling has a bad reputation in the art world. Many artists feel that selling is beneath them or that collectors won’t take them seriously if they promote themselves. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Collectors want to see the artists they are following get visibility and sales, because it reassures them that they are making the right decision to invest in them.

Mistake #6: They can’t handle rejection
As entrepreneurs, artists need to learn that rejection is simply part of the process, that there will be many no’s before they get a yes. And the persistent artists, the ones that don’t stop after being told no over and over again, but rather listen to feedback and act on it, are the ones who end up making it.

Mistake #7: They don’t follow-up
So many missed opportunities are due to a lack of consistent follow-up. Maybe it’s due to their fear of rejection, but many artists pass on sales or visibility opportunities just because they don’t follow-up with their contacts. It really is as simple as that.

Most of time, a few simple tweaks in terms of mindset and how artists manage their business can make a huge difference in revenue at the end of the year.

Which of these seven mistakes do you find yourself guilty of, and what is the next possible action you can take to remedy it? Let us know in the comment section below!

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!

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5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Quitting Your Art Business

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5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Quitting Your Art Business

This blog post was first published on the Huffington Post.

I don’t know about you, but the last few days have been quite hard for me. With everything wrong that is going on right now on earth, I feel it’s normal and ok to stop and wonder if it’s really all worth it.

I spent most of the last week speaking to people around me, artists and entrepreneurs alike who were asking themselves the same question: Is it really worth all the trouble?

Unfortunately, when you start thinking like this, it’s not too long before feelings of discouragement, resentfulness and failure start settling in.

That’s why, when artists come to me with this question, I invite them to take a sincere look at the actions they have taken to move forward with their business.

Whether they are artists or entrepreneurs (although you should know that I consider artists as entrepreneurs) I ask them to honestly answer this question: “Have I, (insert name here), been doing everything in my power to take my business where I want it to go?”

Most of the time, the answers I get are vague and apologetic. When it comes to artists, the most common reason I hear is that they aren’t getting recognition and sales for their work because they can’t get a gallery to represent them.

This could not be farther from the truth. In fact, the art market has changed so much in the last few years that it is now up to you, artists, (not galleries, not agents) to make thing happen for your career. In today’s ultra-connected world, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) wait for a gallery or agent to take you in so that you can have a healthy collector base and a thriving career. You can do it all yourself!

But where to start? It can feel overwhelming to get out of your comfort zone and into a business mindset when you are an artist, especially if you have never done it before.

That’s why today I’m sharing with you 5 questions you should consider answering as you start (or continue) making your way into a bigger and brighter art business + career.

Question #1. Have you set clear goals for your art business and career? 
No, “quitting my day job to do art full time” or “sell my art” are not clear career goals. What type of career do you want? How much do you want to earn? Who are you going to sell to? Those are the types of questions you need to ask yourself and you have to respond by being ULTRA specific. You basically need a very detailed plan. Clarity makes it so much easier to achieve whatever it is that you want.

Question #2. Do you have a professional body of work to present? 
You don’t become a professional visual artist overnight, you need to work to get there. What is your artistic process? Are you looking at what other successful artists are doing? Is your art up to par or do you still need to work on your skills? Do you know what the art market landscape is like? You need to take an objective look at your work so you can see where you fit in. Seek feedback from art professionals who will be happy to give you an objective view point.

Question #3. Are you investing in your business? 
If you want to make a great living with your art, you have to treat it like a business and invest time and/or money to give it a chance to grow. Did you know thatentrepreneurs invest on average 10% of their income and 20% of their time on marketing their business? If you want others to invest in your business, you need to start doing it yourself.

Question #4. Do you show up? 
Whether you have your own website or use an existing online platform for artists to sell your work doesn’t really matter because what you really need are leads. You need to find those people who will buy your art and chances are, they are not in your immediate circle of friends and family. You need to figure out who these people are and where they hang out (online and offline), engage, and find ways to get your art in front of them. You can’t leave it up to a website or gallery to sell for you, you need to be there and show up every step of the way.

Question #5. Are you going that extra mile for your clients and fans? 
The people who are investing in your art are, in fact, investing in you. Are you offering them an experience leaving them wanting more? Word of mouth is very important for your art career. You want your clients and fans to talk about you and your work often and in the most positive light possible. You have to consistently give them something great (good is not enough!), to talk about.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: artists make for great entrepreneurs. But you have to give yourself a chance to succeed and for that, you need to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and get into the habit of promoting yourself and your work.

I look forward to seeing you succeed!

Now that you've gone through my five questions, what action are you going to take to turn your art business and how you feel about it around? 

If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!

Follow Catherine Orer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CatOrer

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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?

Are you afraid of selling your work, or have you become comfortable with the idea of selling and know exactly who you are pitching to?

If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!

 

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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!

If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!

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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 you do) to get people to know, like and trust you as a credible and talented artist?

If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!

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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?

If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!

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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 "aha" 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 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 with 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 lying. 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.

Were these insights from my experience at Miami Art Week new to you, or are you already applying all or most of them to your own art business? Share in the comments below!

If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!

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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 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 shows 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.

Do you struggle with what to do when you are asked to give your art away for free? Share with us how you have dealt with these situations in the past (and what you want to do differently in the future, after reading this post)! 

If you want more support in moving your art business forward - while connecting with over 17,000 other artist entrepreneurs - join us at The Artist Entrepreneur Network and get the help you need! Also, if you haven't already, get my free "7 Ways to Increase Your Sales" cheat sheet and learn how to significantly increase your sales over the next 90 days!

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