You don’t have to be on social media 24/7... if you do THIS!

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You don’t have to be on social media 24/7... if you do THIS!

Hey there Artrepreneurs!

Did you join me and over 200 artists last week when I did a Facebook live video on The Artist Entrepreneur Network and shared my top productivity tips? If you missed it, check out the replay here.

There was a general consensus amongst the group that we all want to spend more time doing what we love (in many cases that was creating art) and less time doing things that drain our energy…

…And social media came up (more than once) as something that really drains our energy!

Do you agree?

We’ve all, at some point or another, fallen into the trap of spending way too much time scrolling through our Facebook or Instagram feed for absolutely no reason or purpose whatsoever, and then ended up upset because we’d lost all this time accomplishing absolutely nothing.

There’s no shame in admitting this. I’ve done it, my clients have done it, and I’m not sure I would believe you if you said it’s never happened to you!

If we don’t use social media as a way to help us reach our goals, it can often leave us feeling empty and isolated, rather than bringing us closer together as per its initial purpose.

So what should we do? We all know that social media is a great tool that gives us the opportunity to connect with our audience, but at the same time, we all want to spend less time on it.

In today’s post I want to share 3 strategies to help you spend less time on social media, while continuing to build your creative business in an effective way.

1. Meet people in real life and build genuine connections

Did we all forget that there are people right outside our door that could become buyers of our work? I feel like we’ve all been focusing so much on social media lately that we have forgotten that there are people, in our community, who could become either clients or strategic partners for our business and who could help us grow our reach.

It does require getting out of your comfort zone and getting in front of people you don’t know, but the results are always meaningful.

Think about your end game: who do you want to sell your art to? who can help you reach more people? Identify organizations and events in your community that you can join to network with these people. Focus on meeting one new person at a time and you’ll notice huge progress in your business!

2. Reach out to media, bloggers and influencers to be featured on their platforms

Getting press for you and your work is a great way to build your credibility and increase your visibility. And it’s easier than you might think. It only requires a good dose of commitment and research to find the right people to connect with and the right story to share with them.

Getting featured on blogs, podcasts and media that pertain to your ideal client will generate traffic to your website and ultimately, get you sales.

3. Use social media purposefully

I don’t want to make social media the evil here because I know firsthand how great a tool it can be, if you use it the right way. We all have some work to do in disciplining ourselves in the way we use it.

Do we let social media take over our lives, or do we leverage social media to reach our goals? Of course, we all want the latter. Whether it’s by using a timer to control how much time we spend on each platform, decluttering the number of pages, groups or people we follow or simply allowing ourselves a couple of days off social media every week to focus on other things, we are all responsible for using technology in a way that serves us, not the other way around.

Saying that social media is not going away is probably the understatement of the century! But we don’t have to be victims of it. Yes, platforms change, algorithms may decrease our visibility, and people’s needs evolve, but if we want our businesses to keep growing over the long run, it’s our job as entrepreneurs to evolve with these changes.

We can either complain about it or embrace it. Again, I choose the latter.

How are you managing social media for your creative business and what additional tips do you have for us to find balance with it all?

Let us know in the comments below, or join the artist community The Artist Entrepreneur Network over on Facebook!

Can’t wait to read you!

 
 

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

 

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You won’t be getting a medal for this…

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You won’t be getting a medal for this…

“Wonderful, you did it all by yourself!”

Did anyone tell you this when you were a child? Or maybe, if you are like me and have children at home, you’re probably constantly telling them this to encourage them to do things on their own, and develop their autonomy.

While that is absolutely true growing up, trying to do #allthethings by ourselves, without support or community is probably the worst way to go about things when we are starting and growing a business, whatever that business is.

Why? Because building a business is difficult and it takes a lot of dedication, patience and resilience.

Of course, at first, the idea of working for ourselves, by ourselves can seem like paradise! No one to report to, no one pushing us to do things we don’t want to do, no need to put on make-up in the morning… Like I said, paradise!

Yet, after a while, the same things that we were so much looking forward to, can become the things that make our entrepreneurial journey the most difficult.

Don’t just take my word for it. In the 2013 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 34 percent of entrepreneurs - 4 percentage points more than other workers - reported they were worried. And 45 percent of entrepreneurs said they were stressed, 3 percentage points more than other workers.

And one of the top stress factors of being an entrepreneur, is without a doubt: loneliness. 

That’s right. Isn’t it ironic?

We are conditioned throughout our childhood to be proud of doing things “by ourselves”, yet when it comes to building and starting a business, that’s probably the worst thing you could be doing!

I see it first hand with my clients, but also with the artists that actively take part in The Artist Entrepreneur Network, those who seek support AND those who reach out to others who need it by giving them support, do much better and feel much better about their business.

Whether you are just starting out or at a point where you are ready to scale your business, you should surround yourself with people who can listen, help and lift you.

Here are 5 ways you can get out of isolation and thrive in business:

1)    Join an online community: I know, we all want to spend less time on social media, I get it. But finding a space where you can connect and share with like-minded creatives can be a constructive way to use it. Did you join The Artist Entrepreneur Network yet? It’s full of artists and creatives ready to support you!

2)    Join a local support group for entrepreneurs: There’s definitely power in meeting and connecting with people face to face. You’ll learn from each other’s experience and this networking opportunity could lead to new friendships, and wait for it, new clients! Check out Meetup or look for local business associations on Google.

3)    Create a Mastermind: Mastermind groups are great because we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. But who said you had to pay for them? Know a few people who are in business and could benefit from a support group? Offer them to join your mastermind. My tip to make it work: Make the rules of engagement and what is expected from each participant very clear AND have a start and end date so that everyone knows what they are getting themselves into.

4) Reach out to a mentor: So many entrepreneurs have been there before you, so why try to reinvent the wheel? Reach out to someone you know who’s been there and see if he/she would be open to the idea of mentoring you for a few months. Don’t know anyone? Many local organizations offer mentor-matching opportunities.

5) Hire team members: I know, it might sound counter intuitive, how can you think of hiring someone if you can’t even make ends meet. I get it, investing in your business is scary, but growth almost always requires some sort of investment. I’m not saying you should hire a full-time assistant, rather look at what your needs are, and see if you can find a freelancer that could help you a few hours a month. I promise, it will cost you less than what you think.

Because, like my mentor told me *again* last week, “No dear, you won’t be getting a medal for doing it all yourself.”

You see, even I have to be reminded of the importance of community and team work once in a while!

What are your thoughts? What do you do to feel supported or support others? We want to hear your ideas and experiences. Leave us a comment below!

 
 

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

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3 things I’ll be talking way more about in 2017… And how it all relates to building a house.

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3 things I’ll be talking way more about in 2017… And how it all relates to building a house.

How are the first couple of weeks of 2017 treating you? Still excited and motivated about all the opportunities that you will create? Or are you starting to feel like that proverbial deer in the headlights, i.e. confused about what’s coming your way?

I get it, we all (myself included here) deal with January the best way we can. 

Even if we are super energized and excited about what’s to come, it can be a difficult time for many.

Because I know and can relate, I want to help! That’s why this week, I started working on my 2017 content calendar and outlined the themes I wanted to write and talk about this year. 

As I was brainstorming ideas, it quickly became evident that 3 very strong themes kept coming back to the surface. These 3 themes are concepts I’ve already talked about with you in the past, but this year, I want to go more in depth so you can learn to MASTER them all (because I absolutely know you can).

Ready to hear what they are? Here we go!

1) Proven Strategies

Who said you have to reinvent the wheel every time you release a new body of work or launch a new program? Not me! On the other hand, isn’t doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results the definition of insanity? According to Einstein, yes it is! 

So what is a creative to do? 

I’ll tell you: it’s all about strategy planning. 

Could you imagine building a house without having blueprints for it first? Of course not! So why would you think building a business would be different?

If you want your business to be sustainable, then you need a plan for it. I’m not talking about a 250 page plan that no one will ever read. I’m talking about an actionable plan that you will review every 90-days to help you stay focused.

2) Consistent execution

Having a great plan and amazing strategies are great, but they will be worth less than the paper on which they are written if you don’t put them into action. Being consistent day in, day out, when implementing your strategies is key to growth.

I don’t believe in overnight success. Those who are described as such, have usually spent weeks, months and even years toiling in the shadow in order to create that success. 

Patience might not be one of my biggest qualities (just ask my kids!), but over the years and especially since I’ve been an entrepreneur, I’ve realized how important it is. 

If strategy is the blueprint you will use to build your business, then consistent execution could be compared to the laying of the bricks, the plumbing, the electricity… It will take time, you will need to follow your plan thoroughly and you probably won’t be able to do it all alone and as quickly as you would have hoped. 

But if you work through your building plan consistently, you will one day get it done and you’ll be grateful you invested in quality materials and qualified professionals, because you will have a house that will keep you warm and cozy for years. 

3) Entrepreneurial mindset

What if I told you that strategy and execution will be work zilch if you don’t actually work towards becoming the creative entrepreneur you want to be? Continuing with my house building analogy, if strategy = blueprints and execution = the steps to building the house, then mindset is without a doubt, and you’ve guessed it, the house’s foundations.

A house is only as solid as the foundations on which it sits. 

Let’s be honest here, being an entrepreneur is hard. Being a creative entrepreneur is even harder.

Why? Because most of us have been raised to believe that creativity, art and emotions don’t mix well with business. We’ve grown up with this belief and most people you meet on a daily basis feel the same way. 

Even worse, some will go further and say that it is wrong for artists and creatives to want to make money.

How can we build sustainable, profitable businesses that gives us an opportunity to create a positive impact in the world if we perpetuate those kinds of beliefs?

We can’t. And we shouldn’t.

It’s only through mindset work, community and engagement that we will be able to break through the “starving artist” myth and grow and prosper as creative entrepreneurs.

Ready to build the creative business of your dreams in 2017? 

Maybe you have a question or something you feel is holding you back or keeping you from moving in the direction you know you were meant to go?

If so, now’s the time to ask! I’m just about ready to start recording my new audio series which will come out (I’m hoping) in the next couple of weeks. This audio series is dedicated to YOU and will answer YOUR Qs.

So if you’d like me to answer one of your Qs, it’s as simple as clicking on the follwing link and telling me all about what you are struggling with! https://catherine65.typeform.com/to/j8T9rb

Who knows, I might choose your question and answer it on my show! 

Get your Creative Business Q answered here: https://catherine65.typeform.com/to/j8T9rb

I can’t wait to read you, and most of all, help you build that creative business we both know you were meant to have!

 
 

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

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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

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

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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!

 
 

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

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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 that entrepreneurs 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? 


 
 

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

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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?

 
 

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

 

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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!

 
 

Want to grow your creative business + career but feel stuck and overwhelmed? Then I've got exactly what you need! Download your free "5 Steps to Growing Your Art Business + Career Blueprint" here, or click on the image above, and get the simple yet effective approach I teach my clients who want to build personally fulfilling and financially successful businesses with marketing, PR, and sales strategies that work.

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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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