Helen amazed herself by making 5x more in her small art business in 9 months

By Jessica Craddock

Dec 16

Jessica: Hello. I'm here with Helen Phlen and I am starting a new series called The Artist Success Series. I want to help every one of you, first of all, to believe in your ability to make money as an artist, but also give you some tools, tricks, tips, tricks to get there.

Jessica: Helen is a wonderful multi-passionate artist who does so many beautiful things. She is a crystal healer. She paints all sorts of crystal grids and Zodiac type... How do you describe that Helen?

Helen: Like birth month flowers and crystal stones?

Jessica: Yes. Yeah. And that's what she's currently working on.

And by the time you watch this, it may be something different. She's got so many wonderful ideas.

So Helen, would it be okay if I shared what you told the group the other day about your, what you have accomplished lately in your career? Yeah, that's fine. Okay. So, three, four or five months ago, Helen messaged me and said, "Hey, I'm making that consistent $1,500 a month" because I was offering a bonus call for anyone who is above that level in my group.

And I was so proud of her, but. Just this last week, she on one of our group calls said, "I just made $4,000 this month and it felt so easy and it felt so good. And I'm feeling so confident that I can hit $10,000, $20,000." And so I, the idea popped in my head for this series and I wanted to use you as my first person, Helen..

Helen: I'm really grateful for that.

Yeah. Well thank you for saying yes to this. And so really what this is I'm just going to ask three simple questions, keep it short and simple. And then I would love to hear what your takeaways are after this. 

Biggest Mindset Shift

Jessica: So, Helen, first question, what has been the single biggest mindset shift that has occurred that has allowed you to increase your income?

Helen: I think if I have to pick one thing, it's definitely the belief. It's definitely the belief in myself, my products and services and my business and also actually my clients that they are out there.

Jessica: I love that one and that was not an answer I was expecting. So thank you for sharing that one. But I completely agree.

Yeah. Really that's the whole point of this series is to help all of you have some of that belief that she has been able to grab onto. And question, how did you find that? Where did it come from?

Helen: Yeah, I think it's I've been working with you, I think about eight months now. And it's almost like a progress or like a step by step to that.

you put to us together. I still you'll remember vividly, after two months in the program, my goal was to make $1,250 that was the early part of the year goal. And then. After that within three months I already achieved the goal of the whole year's income and how it happened

I think it's like all the momentum you set in place for us. I think like the biggest take away from the whole process will be definitely connection. I'm going to this program so eager to build this business, but however I was done, I didn't know how, like I just need the, how so I can execute with.

And you that's exactly what you gave me. Like the, how so, connection. It's a key thing that you talk about throughout the program. And and the second thing it's it's momentum that, it pops up in my head. It's once you make the connection like that, how it happens, it's one ball rolls into another, and I think the foundation thing is the Manifest your Dream Life. What exactly would you want? Like I have a very, detailed vision of what I want in my life. And then I write it down. I still remember, I want to teach painting workshops. I want to sell my original art. I want to do crystal healing and the spiritual course.

So those are the four things that I wrote down the Manifest Your Dream Life. And then I started to be, and then, so, so I intentionally to make the connection that goes towards that direction. So, I contacted the the garden that I wanted to teach my painting workshop in and that's set my 1,500 goal.

That's about 100 per person, 15 to 20 people per participant on a monthly basis. So that's like the one thing. And then I remember that I told you that, I mean, I wrote down in the Manifest Your Dream Life. I really want to sell original paintings. And you gave me the idea, like maybe crystal shops or other shops, if it is not gallery, because, if I, and I, and now I'm in two galleries and two shops and I'm talking to the fifth one.

So from that connection, that's how it rolls. Right. And then It's not like I called them and it happened, I need to make consistency. That's another thing, consistent doing this. Don't just make a call. Oh, I failed. It doesn't work because you didn't try enough yet.

You need to try at least 10 or dozen times. With that 10 calls, because one will say yes. And then once you make that connection, this person will lead you to, another person will make another connection and that keeps the momentum keeps going.

I'm telling you that so much is going on. So I don't need to make any effort anymore. It's just rolls.

Jessica: Yeah. So, okay. Just to summarize, first of all, you figured out what you wanted. A really big piece of that. Right? And then you picked out specific steps to go toward that thing that you wanted, and then you just started doing it.

And as you did it, it worked, you started to believe more and things just continued happening because you had been doing it, making these connections, building those relationships. Is that a good summary of what you just.

Helen: Yeah. And a big part change this switch of believing is that because through the connections you get feedback from your audience and they are the ones that give you the belief that, your audience is out there. They believe in your work.

They're believing our message. It's two-way dance. Right? And then in turn you realize that what I'm creating is worthy. People resonated with it. So that's why it's so important that you need to just talk to people. Without talking you're just in your head.

You don't know, yeah. You just worrying about your work. Is it good enough? It's not? Well,

Jessica: I put it out on Instagram. Nobody's doing anything.

Helen: Right, right. Getting to talk to people and hear their feedback about your work. It's absolutely mind changing. It's yeah. That's yeah. So towards the believing part.

And the more you talk to people, the more you believe that the people are out there, like believing your clients. Meaning that you actually know that you just haven't met enough of the right people yet, but they are there. Figure out a way to meet them. Yeah,

Jessica: exactly. 

Single biggest action step

Jessica: Okay. So that is a very nice segue into my second question, which you may or may not think you've already answered.

So just tell me either way, but what do you feel like is your single biggest action step that you have taken that has resulted in this growth for you? So first we did mindset and now what is the practical? The everyone's "well, yeah, that's great but how do I do that?"

So, what do you do?

Helen: Connection, connection. So important because I did not learn this.

It's so funny that I grew up in China. Connection is such a big deal of doing business in daily life. I forgot about it. So then I pick it up because you tell us, how you should do it because I took so many different courses about setting a pretty Instagram page, nice website and all that, as you said, people come and no one gets any response.

The problem is you haven't talked to anybody yet. You haven't let that personal connection that they feel. Connect you with your work or your person or your message. Once I started to make calls and then I still remember the first call I made was that garden manager that now I'm teaching a workshop.

They're almost like a monthly paycheck. She looked at my website like "wow, I didn't know your work exist. I like it so much." She personally purchased a painting and 12 of my art prints. Who would have known that? Because it's now the thing is that I think this connection you need to be intentionally choose those that are you're vibing with them so much.

You can create a giant list of contact lists, but you need to pick those that you're like, so resonate with maybe just three, right? Maybe one organization. One is a person like a single individual. One is a small business, something like that, so you have an sense and because like you, once you pick up that you get the momentum, like once you pick up, wow, because, you're so vibing with this person. And I didn't know, they actually purchase so much of my work. Actually, my work is worthy. Hey, I should find more of these type of people. So I think that's the single most important step.

Like making connections, same thing like on Instagram. And you told me that, why don't you DM them? Right. And now I thought of you know people follow me. I can DM them. Well, what is that? Right. Like I message. I just personally welcome them and see why they following me. And now I can make cause like video calls with someone. Also you need to handpick them, you cannot, do video calls with everybody that comes in.

But but like those that you feel like you resonate with, like you want to follow them back. It would eventually lead to something. It might not be a direct sell. It might be a collaboration. It might be they give you a shout out which indirectly give you, 10 more clients on your way.

So, definitely. Yeah. Same thing, connection, momentum. And I, some, I remember there was the call that I was in, a group call, I said "it takes one minute or 10 minutes of courage to make that call."

Jessica: Yeah

Helen: It literally just takes that 10 minutes. You know that you never think that it's possible. It might open the door.

It's like a Pandora box once it's open, it just grows. So that's what I learned from you the most.

Jessica: I love all of that. And I'm just going to say my favorite thing that you said is they have to, you have to vibe with them. You have to energetically connect with them. You got to feel it on both sides, like it's not connection is not a, Hey, let's talk.

You like me? Let's be friends. That's not how connections work. It's I like you. You like me. Oh, okay. Let's dance and play and have some fun together.

Helen: Yeah, exactly.

Yeah, it's fun. And it's so natural and it's not sales anymore. So you don't need to sell. It's just sharing what you want to put out to the world.

And don't worry about it. Don't attach to the result because sometimes they might not buy it immediately, sometimes they might not buy it, but what happens is that they might bring other people that they think, they might introduce you to someone else.

Which is even more helpful. You never know. Right. Or sometimes they buy it, but pay maybe next month when they have to budget out of that this month. So don't get too attached. Like when I make a connection, I have to make a sale.

Jessica: No that will ruin the whole thing.

Helen: Exactly. So let's dance and it might, something might come just like good karma, just good karma,

I think the first step is to believe what you offer and believe, your mission. It's almost like a mission that you want to do. And once you're so passionate about it, once you are like, I am literally entering into this business, I get, I have to do it or I'm dying.

So there was no. If you're still committed to this mission, like to the work, you put it out to the world and you're so passionate about it. You cannot stop talking about it. You'll know. You're hoping it's radiate the energy that I'm offering " this is going to help you, come get it."

So then, and yeah. So when you mentioned the connection yeah. Don't just, chatting about yeah. You can check about your thoughts or grocery shopping, but like the main goal for you to talk about is the thing that you are passionate about, the thing that you create. So that's your role, right?

Advice for someone not sure they have what it takes to reach their next goal

Jessica: Okay, Helen, I got one more, one more question for you. Yup. Thank you so much for doing this. Do you have any advice, any particular piece of advice you would like to share with someone who is not sure that they have what it takes to make that next goal of theirs? Whatever that might be.

Helen: So funny. I always answered a question ahead of time.

That 10 minutes of courage. Go ahead. 10 minutes of courage. I think that's the,

Jessica: Can you elaborate on that a little bit for people who weren't in the call?

Helen: That's like kind of the first dose of realities that my work is worth and someone will buy it. It's when I, when I make that first call with, well, for me personally, is that with that garden manager, but for you, it can be individual, you want a friend, or a follower on your Instagram, that's reading every single thing with what you do, or it can be a small local business owner that you're your work vibing with them and you might put it

in that shop for sale, it can be anything, but you will need to make that connection. That's my first step from rolling anywhere, you know that you have to do it on your own. No one can help you to do that, to be yourself and talk about your art, but that's the single most important thing.

Just move. Don't wait for the perfect time. Don't wait for the perfect website. Don't wait for the perfect Instagram page, like start where you are, start where you are today. What you've got. If you've got one piece of art that you like, that's fine. Just use that one piece. And this is what my heart and soul, pick a piece that represent your heart and soul, and tell this person about your work and see where it leads.

And it might be scary at the beginning, but it will be scary. And that's yeah, exactly. It was like, my heart was pumping. I thought it's going to come out when I make the first call. Now I'm like, yeah, let's have a call. Now I'm just having fun, but I remember the first time my heart was jumping so fast.

Talk to them about what your goal is, why you want to become a full-time artist. Why you want to put your beauty to the world? I think that changes everything. I still remember. I think that was march? Right now it's August like March, I was still crumbling on my sales.

I am still worrying whether I can sell art to make a full living. Five months later from that call, I am like, I'm making actually almost 5,000 today. It's like half month 16. Awesome. No,

Jessica: YES!

Two weeks. 5 grand.

Helen: Yeah, not bad. It's also like you only, if you don't make that sell the first call you make, even if you don't make that sell, you will get three insights that I think it's going to help you.

Yeah. I got lucky that I make a sale, immediately, but it doesn't have to be

First, is that what they like about your art? What it sticks with them, what they resonate with them. You learn that's so important.

And second thing is that, you know that it's a sales potential. So you know that this is no, this is not a hobby anymore. This is this is mine. Right. That's my work. I'm trying to sell it. She might not be the right audience at this time yet, but like you put it out as this is my work, I am an artist, I'm a professional, that's such a big deal, so all those back to that belief. Yeah. What you learned from what they like from you, which you can use it over and over again. Next time when a conversation comes

Then the third thing is definitely instant confidence boost. It's I know if you vibing with that person, they will never say something harmful to you.

It won't happen. It's like an instant boost of confidence of " yeah, I like your work so much." I'm sure you get some kind of praise here and there, but I'm not saying that you go there for the praise, but I'm going there. You can feel that genuine talking about your work, using a different way of viewing.

work versus viewing your hobby. Oh, this is nice. No, they will say something like something, they thought of that blows you away. From this learning point, it just gave me enough to carry on like even if I didn't make that sell there. It gives me enough insight to carry on, to make my second.

one. it might take you a dozen to get there, but you only need one to actually pick it up. But from dozen, you will learn so much, you will learn so much what you can offer and who will be the right audience for that. So that's my one action in a long routing way.

Jessica: I love all of that.

I can hear whoever's listening to this going, but how do I pick up the phone and just start talking about myself?

What do you do?

Helen: Yeah. It's well, at the bean I just say that, I think, let me think it was very natural because they, I know that. Well go to their website. Whoever you're talking to please know something about them, but don't be like, you need to know something about them.

If it's an organization, if an individual like what their interests are, you know what they're do. And. Yeah, exactly. Because you generally interested in them already, right? I've been to that garden, I don't know, at least 20 times myself, and then I like every single thing they have to offer. And I know they're already offering workshops, from local artists and then it's a general number is not even to that manager, it's a general number I pick up the call is that, oh, hello, my name is Helen Phlen. I'm a local artist. I offer acrylic painting workshops in this area. And I love the garden who would be the best person that I should speak to. And then, and then she transferred me to Beverly who happened to be the garden manager.

And then I told Beverly the same thing. Say that you are the artist. You are not like, oh, exploring... No, you're the artist. Yeah. You need to command that. Believe in yourself, you're fake it until you make it right. Like I already teach a thousand different workshops.

What are you talking about? Right. Although that was the first ever, but you already teach a thousand because you want to manifest that life. Right. That's what your dream life is. So I just say that I'm a local artist and then she immediately asked, oh, "I want to check how your work do you have a website, Instagram?"

Like something like a picture even, you can text, email it to her if you don't have website. She looked at it. She didn't even go to what I did. She looked at it, "Wow, I didn't know your art existed it's such a good fit for the garden." And then it goes there.

Jessica: That's a beautiful first step. Thank you, Helen. Yeah, this is so good. I intended for it to be like 15 minutes and I just can't ever stop. So hopefully that you got so much out of that, that you are here all the way to the end.

Thank you, Helen. Again, if you want to check her out, her Instagram is @helencreatesbeauty. And your website is

Helen: helencreatesbeauty.com.

Jessica: There you go. Okay. Thank you so much, Helen. I really appreciated that.

Helen: Thank you, Jessica. I really love your program. Do sign up it's life transforming.

Jessica: Thank you. All right. CUT! 

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About the Author

I’m a mentor for intuitive visual artists to sell more work, more consistently, at higher prices — with better work/life balance. Founder @ The Artist Market Co.