fbpx

Build an art business that starts with you

By Jessica Craddock

May 14

I've had a hard time lately nailing down a weekly tip "series" I've felt inspired to share - something that would bring real value to your life and make you excited to take your art selling to the next level.

So finally, I looked inward and went back to my core.

What do I share about over and over? What are the topics that show up on my Instagram feed and in my coaching?

Here's what I came up with:

  •  
    Identify your Ideal Art Buyer: Building your art business and marketing to perfectly fit you, so you can shine like the one of a kind gem you are.
  •  
    Content that connects: Creating your posts and emails around what you love to talk about that will help people see your art in a more meaningful light.
  •  
    Simplify your marketing: Simplify your marketing and selling strategies, so they support you instead of taking over your life.
  • Build your relationships: Create an orbit of people around you that love you, your art, and want to support your dream life.
  • Shift your mindset: Pay attention to where your inner critic tries to hold you back from what your heart wants, so you can do what lights you up.

Then I asked myself, what do these all have in common?

The answer was easy: They all start with YOU.

Put together, they build an art business that aligns with who you are and brings you a deep well of satisfaction.

There are hundreds of art consultants out there who will teach you different ways to sell art. They all have their methodologies - but none are quite like mine. 

I've created it over the past eleven years studying marketing (starting with an art gallery internship in 2009), building businesses, and working with artist clients to find the golden nuggets that make a business worth having - both in terms of money and fulfillment.

Starting next Wednesday, I'll update the blog with the next section over five weeks, talking about how using each of these components in your marketing will help you sell art in a way that feels good and true to you. 

You have two choices now:

  • 1
    Comment below and tell me which of these pieces excites you most.
  • 2
    If this doesn't resonate with you, go ahead and head out. (You won't hurt my feelings, it's ok!)

Are you ready to learn more about creating a business that's all about you? I'm excited to share it! 

Do you ever feel like if you had more of an idea who your ideal client really is...

  •  
    you could connect with THEM on your Instagram >>
  •  
    get THEM on your mailing list >> 
  •  
    your pieces would sell quicker and more easily?

BUT you don’t know who they are, so you just spin and spin and spin. What if I told you it doesn’t have to be so hard?

If you’re looking at your technique/style/subject and then trying to nail down one specific type of person who will buy that… of course, it’s gonna be hard.
  •  
    First of all, you aren’t a mindreader (if you are, please tell me. I could use a million dollars!)
  • You can’t name a hair color, physical location, and job title and expect everyone who fits that description to love your technique/style/subject

That’s completely unrealistic and puts you back at square one. Only now you have a headache to accompany you.

What you CAN do is look at what is in your control -- you.

You already know:

  •  
    The type of people who gravitate toward you
  •  
    What you love to talk to people about
  • Why people connect with you on a deeper level
  • What has caused people to buy in the past

If you roll THAT into a nice little package, then you have a great idea of who will love your art -- because it is a reflection of you, right?

Instead of naming a bunch of demographics to define your ideal client, name what those people have in common. 

What gets them out of bed in the morning? What do they think about all day? What are they anxious to talk to their best friend about? <— THESE should be the things that define your ideal client.

Mic drop. Problem solved.

Next week we’ll talk about content that connects with that person, so you can start building up those “hey, that artist really gets me” moments and stand out from the crowd.

Guess who they’ll think of next time they need a piece of art? Yep, you. See you next week. 🙂

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to please everyone and wanting to make sure that no one disagrees with anything you have to say. The problem with that is that it creates mediocre content. No one disagrees, but no one connects with it either.

It’s just another thing to scroll past on their feed.

What if you stirred their mind a little bit instead?

One of the seven types of content I teach in Shortest Path to Sales is called personal insights. The gist is to show your beautiful soul and tell me what makes you, you.

Think about the person you envisioned when you read about nailing down your Ideal Art Buyer. What are the things you would talk about with him or her? What conversations would you have that would make you both think “this is why I love this person so much - they get me”?

Those are your topics that you should talk about on the regular.

Now when your engagement is particularly low, or you just aren’t feeling that connection with people, it’s time to pull out a personal insight. What specific story or thought can you tell me about one of those topics?

I’ll be fascinated to hear — I promise.

Now, if it REALLY doesn’t resonate I might unsubscribe or unfollow — but I’ll appreciate you for your honesty — and you’ll be left with a space filled with your people.

The more you do this, the more your online space will start to truly feel like a community of people who want more of you. Who you’re excited to share with, be around and talk to.

When it comes to your art business, do you have too many ideas? If so, you're in good company! I find there's normally two reasons artists feel flooded with ideas:

  • 1
    The inspiration just won't quit and you don't know what to do with them all.
  • 2
    You're not selling enough art now, so you think you can increase your income if you offer more types of things.

I love BOTH of those reasons. There's nothing wrong with either one, they just need to be managed properly.

Inspired ideas are fantastic and create a fun workspace (at least in the beginning until you try to implement them all). Creating more ways to make more money is great too, except if you haven't learned how to sell one thing well, selling three or four is just going to make things worse.

How do I manage all my ideas?

First, keep a running list of all these ideas so you don't forget them and can pull them out when you're ready.

Second, commit to learning to sell one thing really well first. Do whatever it takes to get this done fast because it's going to be your bread and butter. This is the thing that will bring in that base income - the money you need to make. Once you've got a system down, then you can add your ideas on top (one at a time).

How do I start simplifying?
FIGURE OUT THE MONEY

Look at your expenses and add up what you need to make as a starting point this year. Divide it by 12 to figure out how much you need to make monthly. Divide that number by two or three. 

This means if you can make two to three sales per month, you can make the money you need. 

Compare this to the price of what you are selling now. Is your pricing too low?

DECIDE WHAT YOU'RE SELLING FIRST

What is the thing you are selling that you love most + can bring in the highest income? This is usually either commissions or originals. I like to teach my clients to create and sell one series of originals at a time. This is a pretty easy model that also allows you some creative freedom, because you can change it up every round.

When you simplify what you are trying to sell and what it costs, it's a lot easier to figure out what you need to do to make that money. Instead of trying to learn and juggle *all the things*, you create a consistent income first, and then start adding more sources of revenue on top one at a time!

Ready for a little preamble?

My grandfather passed last week. (Of course I’m sad, but at the same time I’m also glad for him. I’m doing ok.)

Before he died, I was able to sit and make chit chat with him in the hospital. He wasn’t fully aware of who I was anymore, but he really tuned in when I told him about The Artist Market Co. and how much it meant to me.

He kept saying things like “keep it up,” “keep going,” “that’s great” with a little sparkle in his eye. It made me proud and even more fired up for what I had built.

I wouldn’t love The Artist Market Co. so much if it weren’t for you. The chats, the relationships, the support… this community means an awful lot to me. (Thank you.)

Which leads me into the previously planned lesson:

Make a mental note of the artists you admire who are most successful.

What do they, most likely, all have in common? A community.

Simply noticing this is key, but it doesn’t end there. Spending some time making an effort to connect with other people is highly valuable.

You don’t have to be the most popular kid in class. I’m not, I never will be, and I don’t really want to be. And that’s ok. 

What I’ve learned is to build that community full of people you love to spend time talking to. What do they have in common? What draws you to them? <— THESE are the type of people you should make an effort toward. 

Not just anybody. That doesn’t work.

When you love connecting, you’ll do it more often. It will show people you care about them. It will fill you up. It will build your community and it will sell your art.

Make a list of five people you’d like to start interacting with more often and make the first move!

The most important foundational piece of any good art business is not your email list (gasp!), your website, or your social media. 

It's digging out all the nasty thoughts holding you back.

These are self-destructive things like: 

  •  
     
    Suzie has more followers than me, and she charges less, so I need to keep lowering my prices
  • Talking to people sounds uncomfortable… I think I'm going to do something else instead.
  •  
     
    I want to put my art in that gallery, but I can't reach out to them yet. I don't have everything together perfectly, and they'll think I'm not good enough.

Of course, many times, you don't even notice these thoughts. They're just there… a lousy habit running behind the scenes. Stopping you. 

You're not the only one. Every artist I've ever worked with has them. (I used to have the worst of all!) 

While these thoughts may sound similar across the board, they are powerful because of what makes them unique to you. 

Underneath each of these thoughts is a more deep-rooted core fear. Yours is most likely different than the person next to you. And if you don't know what that REAL fear is, you can't call it out, and you can't start to change it. 

I created a short video to show you how to find that real fear and start to change your perception of it. 

Want to know more? Watch the video below.

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,

About the Author

Jessica Craddock is a consultant for artist entrepreneurs who have started building their following online but haven’t figured who would buy their art. They’re tired of being all over the place and don’t know what to say or how to say it. She teaches them to work smarter and be “authentically them” so they can sell more through their website & spend their days creating beautiful things.

>