I don't have much patience for myself when I start questioning my choices.
But regardless, sometimes I wonder if when I graduated with my painting degree, would I have eventually created a living out of art if I had kept exhibiting and selling art?
The answer, I believe, is no.
Not back then, anyway.
Not because my art wasn't good enough or because I didn't know how, but because I wasn't ready to believe that I could.
Ironically, I learned all the inner lessons I needed by choosing a marketing/business path instead. I'm incredibly grateful for my choices, because now I get to condense my twelve years of lessons for artists around the world as marketing became my next art form.
If we were to sit down and have coffee tomorrow, and you asked me how to make a living with your art, I'd tell you these five things:
1. Having a successful art business is a self-development journey.
Making money with your art requires pushing your comfort zone constantly. Every time you do, you create a new level of belief in yourself and your abilities, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of you again pushing your limits.
This belief is the most essential ingredient, and luckily, it's always possible to make more belief when you learn how.
2. Success will most likely not come from an outside source.
You are directly responsible for creating what you want in your life.
Most people will wait for someone or something else (an algorithm, a gallery, a magazine article) to start it for them. While these things can help, waiting for them to come to you is a recipe for disappointment.
If you find yourself waiting "until X happens," creating more belief in yourself that you can make things happen is the prescription I'd write for you.
3. Connections open massive doors.
People buy art because they know you, feel connected with your subject/love your style, or connect with your message.
Learning to find, build, and cultivate these connections is what creates magic in your business... aka organic growth.
You never know what doors a connection will open. Maybe it's a sale. Perhaps it's an introduction or referral. Maybe you get introduced to a perfect new pool of buyers. Maybe you get invited to an event... the list is endless.
Following connections that light you up is worth everything.
4. If your dreams feel too big to go after right now, think again.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "I'll (submit to that gallery*) after I finish (my next collection*)," I'd have already built the porch of my dreams onto my house.
(*fill in your own blanks)
If you want to have an art show in Hong Kong, the time to try is NOW. Of course, you're going to question yourself, think three things need to be different before you are ready, and feel totally scare-cited, but if you gave it a real shot and submitted to ten galleries, your chances of living your dream life now are huge!
Just imagine how much confidence that would build! The level of activities you do to market your art after that would escalate to a whole new level, and so would your results.
5. Knowing "how" can help, but it can also hold you back.
I love a good plan.
Whenever I want to do something new, the first thing my brain does is map out the exact path I need to follow to get there. The problem is when I try to force myself to follow it. I feel resentful and stagnant and trapped checking to-do boxes.
Having a plan in place is great, but instead of scheduling it all out, I execute the first thing on the to-do list then look for opportunities that come from it and follow those. If nothing happens, I have a plan to fall back on, but I'd much rather follow those intuitive ideas that come from taking action.
P.S. if you aren't excited about your marketing, you won't put your full energy into it, and it rarely works as well.
That's all you need!
It doesn't matter if your website is finished, your Instagram feed is flawless, or you have a plan for the next six months.
If you follow these five pieces of advice, you'll be able to create your dream life and your dream results.
Were you surprised by any of these?
If you liked this article, sign up below to get more just like it in your inbox every week!
Do the work & create your luck,