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In Episode 64... "How do I make the best use of my time when starting my art business?" - Heather Kiser

Heather Kiser is a self-taught painter and mixed media artist who lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her husband and three children. She has a PhD in English Literature and because of her lifelong interest in art, she did her dissertation on the idea of the woman artist in the 19th century. Following the birth of her first daughter, Heather decided to leave the academic world and become an artist herself.  

Still in the exploratory stage as an artist, Heather is progressing rapidly. She's been working in a semi-abstract impressionistic style using different mediums like acrylic and watercolor, in digital and mixed media, as well as embroidery. She draws inspiration from her academic background, motherhood and her faith. 

Heather officially started her art business in November of 2023 by diving headfirst! The push came when she decided to sign up to do her first market. Heather had yet to even take the steps to set up her business, and she had never sold any of her work.  It was a whirlwind month, but she is proud of the things she was able to accomplish in such a short period of time.  

Having learned some valuable lessons from her very first market experience, Heather wants to add multiple facets to her business in the future. In the not-so-distant future, Heather sees herself as a career artist with a self-sustaining business. The downside is that because there is so much to do, Heather is finding herself very overwhelmed. There are so many opportunities, and everything feels urgent. She is feeling a lot of pressure to get it all done, and she’s not sure what to do next.  

Listen in as I help Heather decide what should occupy her time right now, and what can be set aside till a future date.   

Key takeaways:  

  • Markets can feel deflating but there are always valuable takeaways. (00:06:18)
  • Focus on the lessons learned that will guide you in the future. (00:10:57)  
  • Look for opportunities over sales. (00:17:08)
  • Remember there are three pieces of successful marketing: visibility, nurturing and selling. (00:22:21)
  • Determining what you want the most will help you know how to prioritize your time. (00:28:02)
  • Remember to use your current connections for sales. (00:32:27)
  • Find a balance between time spent making art and marketing. (00:37:10)

Resources and links mentioned:

  • Connect with Heather on Instagram @HeatherKiserArt
  • If you'd like to create a plan to sell 5X more art for the holidays in 2024, click here
  • Apply to Be a Guest on Intuitive Art Sales here
  • Apply for my mentorship program, Consistent Income here.

Learn more about selling your art:

  • For more practical and energetic strategies to create consistent income and life balance, follow Jessica on Instagram @artistmarketco
  • Would you like to know where to spend your time in order to create consistent sales, without letting it take over your life? Awesome! Grab your free training, "The Artist's Day" here: https://theartistmarket.co/
  • For information on working with Jessica, send your questions/thoughts to jessica@theartistmarket.co

Read the Transcript for this episode

Jessica Craddock: Welcome back to Intuitive Art Sales. I am here with Heather Kiser, who is an artist who's still in that exploratory stage. She's been working in a semi-abstract impressionistic style using different mediums like acrylic and watercolor and digital and mixed media and embroidery, which is such a cool little. To that sentence, She is got three kids between the ages of two and seven. And eight years ago she did her dissertation on the idea of the woman artist in the 19th century and ended up loving it so much that she decided she wanted to be an artist herself. And that was about five years ago. And last month she officially started her art business. How are you doing today, Heather?

Heather Kiser: I'm doing well. It's been a busy day already, but it usually is.

Jessica Craddock: Ah, yeah, I feel ya. So what are we gonna talk about, Heather? Tell me a little bit about, you said you started your art business last month. What have you been doing?

Heather Kiser: Yeah, it feels like it's been a very busy month. I ended up starting officially my art business getting like the, business structure set up last month or earlier this month actually because it's still November .

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. So, LLC, sole proprietor?

Heather Kiser: So sole proprietor because that's easiest way to get started. And eventually I may go to LLC, but it's not necessary at the moment. So I didn't do that. So I got that set up. And the reason why there was urgency for that is because I was doing my first art market and I guess two and a half weeks ago.

Jessica Craddock: Congratulations. Lots of firsts.

Heather Kiser: Yeah, it was there was a lot of stuff. I had to get the business set up. I had to get all the materials to sell. I had never sold anything before. So I had to figure out how I was gonna do that. All the infrastructure, my display, prepare my materials. There was a lot that happened.

Jessica Craddock: Wow. Yeah, like dive in the deep end. Ready, Go.

Heather Kiser: Yes, So it's been a very busy month so far. And I actually have another market this coming Saturday.

Jessica Craddock: Can I just say that one, congratulations. Two, I'm proud of you because most people, when they think about starting an art business, they're like, okay, now I have to figure out how to write content, and then I have to build a website, and then six to 12 months after that, then I'll figure out what I'm gonna sell and how I'm gonna sell it and, you went all in and just said. I don't know how to do any of this and I'm gonna figure it out. Ready? Go!

Heather Kiser: Yes. So there's an and a downside to that. The upside I got it done, and I got a lot of things figured out on the fly, it feels the The downside is I was overwhelmed because I was trying to do so much, and there's just so much to do that one of my issues right now is I get overwhelmed, and I'm not sure what to handle first. Everything feels like it's urgent.

Jessica Craddock: That's very true. Next time it won't be so bad,but I understand the overwhelm, especially when there's 1800 things you feel like you need to focus on. But I, before we get into any of that, you sell anything?

Heather Kiser: So it wasn't as well. Overall, it was a good experience 'cause I learned a lot from it. It wasn't very well attended. And this year I think it was just because the particular market, it was at a church at my daughter's preschool and they had a benefit for one of the ministries they do. And they, last year I was there and there was a lot of people there. But this year there wasn't, it was a really warm day and I just think the organizer just thought maybe people just didn't wanna come indoors for this.

Jessica Craddock: They wanted to play before it got cold.

Heather Kiser: I guess so. Yeah. But nobody really did very, none of the vendors did really did very well this particular time, just because there wasn't a lot of foot traffic. And also I think in retrospect, most of the people who were there were probably not there to buy art. sales that I did make were off of a greeting cards that I had made. Easy to pick up to buy. And I had a few originals sold to friends who probably would've bought them anyways, which I'm grateful for and one ornament to another vendor.

Jessica Craddock: On the one hand I feel like you feel proud of that, and on the other hand, I feel like maybe it didn't quite meet your expectations.

Heather Kiser: Yes. I was very disappointed in the immediate aftermath of it because there was so much buildup and I was expecting, I've been told these are gonna sell really well. These are gonna be great. It's, I figured out the pricing I thought was reasonable. It looked beautiful. The display was there, and then I just hardly got any sales. And it felt like a lot of work for nothing, it was deflating. But then I've tried to put it in perspective since then and realized not everything is gonna work. And all of that work is not lost, and I can still learn from it. Maybe this isn't the right one to do for my limited time in the future. I should try to find another market that would be better suited. Maybe it was just that particular day. But I think also. Overall, it probably wasn't the best fit for my type of art because I think the people who were there were probably not primed to buy my art.

Jessica Craddock: Can I tell you a secret.

Heather Kiser: please.

[00:06:18] Markets can feel deflating but there are always valuable takeaways.

Jessica Craddock: In my experience whether things go really good or really bad or anywhere in between, I feel like in the aftermath I don't wanna use words like always, but many, artists that I talk to feel deflated. Even if it went good, even if it went bad. I think because there is so much work and buildup that goes into these things that no matter how it goes, it doesn't feel like it was what you wanted it to be. or. Almost like we put this pressure on these types of things to be the world and to solve all the problems and to, sell out our art and all of those. But before we do anything else, I wanna help with a little bit of a confidence boost, think. I want you to tell me five that you did that you've never done before wins you had just basically reflected back on it and seeing the good that came from it?

Can we do that?

Heather Kiser: Yeah. Yeah. From the market specifically. Okay. I put together a display. And I loved my display. It was a lot of to figure out,

Jessica Craddock: And you can use it again.

Heather Kiser: and I'm, yeah, I'm using it again at this next market. And I thought the display looked beautiful. I was very happy with how it turned out. There were a few details I would've changed, but overall, I think it looked great. It showed off my art very well, so I was very proud of that. out different product lines.

had several different product lines that I felt worked pretty well at different price points for people. So, I had hand painted mini canvas ornaments, then I had, like art prints, fine art prints, a selection of those. I had greeting cards, and I had watercolor and ink originals. So, there was something for everyone there. And I even

offered framing if they wanted that.

Jessica Craddock: That's a ton! I started my art business, and I've already got all these product lines.

Heather Kiser: Yes.

Jessica Craddock: and the display model.

Heather Kiser: Yes. So, I figured out the financial end, which was huge for me. was one thing that was scared of that before, so I didn't really try to sell that much because I was worried about the taxes and how to figure out all these different details regarding the financial end.

So, I figured that out and got it set up in a good way. that was huge as well. also got to talk to other vendors there, which was a positive experience. It was nice to be able to talk to other people who do this more often than me and just get their perspectives on it and realize I wasn't alone in that. And it's hard to do that when you're only selling online, I think.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah

Heather Kiser: And then it was also, it was exposure. get people to sign up for my email list. I'm not sure how good that's gonna be given the types of people who are there. got a little postcard I did of one of my paintings, up for the email list as, people wanted the postcard, so they signed up. So

Jessica Craddock: That's awesome.

Heather Kiser: But it was something I got started on it, so I'm, glad I did.

Jessica Craddock: Can I just say that you forgot the most, I, maybe not the most important one, but the one that I feel like is the most ego boosting. Know what it is?

Heather Kiser: Just getting out there?

Jessica Craddock: And within a month of starting your art business, you sold original paintings. You sold greeting cards. You sold an ornament, like all of that in one month. Most people don't get to that they just keep getting ready.

Heather Kiser: Mm-Hmm.

Jessica Craddock: You’re doing it. You have already made money in your business.

Heather Kiser: Yeah, but I'm in the red because I had to invest to get things started. But it wasn't a huge investment. But I did sell.

Jessica Craddock: But the whole investment is not just into that one show.

Heather Kiser: No.

Jessica Craddock: It’s spread out over however many shows or markets you decide to do in the future.

Heather Kiser: And I'll say the people did buy my originals. I had two originals sold, and they loved them. They had been on Instagram. They knew about these particular pieces. They loved it. They loved how it turned out, and they were very happy with their purchases.

Jessica Craddock: Amazing. I'm very happy with your experience. I know that you used the word deflated, but I'm very happy with it.

Heather Kiser: That’s good to hear.

[00:10:57] Focus on the lessons learned that will guide you in the future.

Jessica Craddock: Let's think about this for a second. And you told me all the things that you did, which are all amazing and all are going to benefit you from now till forever. They will change over time and that's okay. That's, but that's where you start. You start at the beginning. There some lessons you learned by doing this experience that you'll bring into your next one.

Heather Kiser: The first practical lesson that I learned is how to streamline my setup, an in-person market.

I spent a ton of time trying to figure out the display and even setting up took so much time because I didn't know exactly how I was doing and what the best way to handle that was. I spent 45 minutes trying to attach a banner to my table ridiculously tough.

Jessica Craddock: I am sorry. I don't mean to laugh. I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing at 45 minutes on a banner.

Heather Kiser: Yeah, I know.  

Jessica Craddock: It’s a frustrating thing to take so long, but next time it'll take you five.

Heather Kiser: It will because I figured out the best way to do it, and I know how everything's gonna go. And I know how to do one of the things that's on my list for the next one is to have an a different storage solution for all these items so I can just get it in and take it out really quickly. So, it won't take me as long. So that practically, that's something I learned. I another thing just broader is that I'll keep it in perspective. Two things I'll keep in perspective. I think this is a long game too. If the more you do, probably, the less you feel deflated about each one. So

Jessica Craddock: Maybe.

Heather Kiser: It's possible. The other thing is to think, really think about the types of markets that I invest my time in and who's going to be there because I, don't have a lot of extra time to be spending on these. When I do a kind of a sacrifice for my whole family. Like my husband to take all my kids for the day. There's lead up to it. I can't do this every weekend. So the few that do, they have to be a good. I wouldn't say a payoff per se, but it has to be something that's worth my time way.

Jessica Craddock: So, from this experience, what did you learn would or would not be worth your time?

And I know we’re not really getting to a to solve. And maybe we will, maybe we won't. But I, I think just this process of thinking, how to think about what I've done, the wins I got from it, the lessons I'm learning from it, and taking those into the next thing is tool all on its own. Llet's just keep going.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: You said I can't spend a lot of time on these,

Heather Kiser: Mm-Hmm.

Jessica Craddock: It needs to be a good fit.

Heather Kiser: Mm-Hmm.

Jessica Craddock: Did you learn about the fit? about what would be a good fit.

Heather Kiser: think having. Investing time into a market that would have more people who are selling the that were similar to what I'm selling, where people who there would be more likely to be interested in that or that it would get more traffic, especially for holiday things. And it's hard to predict that. 'cause you can have weather or something, and I'm not willing necessarily to get an outdoor setup right now, because that's a big So that kind of cuts some things off. But I think that might be something that I would be more in pursuing in the future.


noticed, like I was the only there was another artist there, but felt, felt like she, she had beautiful work, but she was underselling it . And like my pricing was good. But it was on the higher end of what some of the other things. And the other things were more craftsmen type, were like crafty type things.

So, it just wasn't people aren't gonna buy higher art there. So, I think I'm gonna be thinking about the type of market, the type of what they're putting on, the organizers are looking for. of things that people that, go to it would be interested in before I spend my time doing that.

So, the next market I'm doing is a pop-up shop at Anthropologie and I think our local Anthropologie, and I think that will be a better fit.

Jessica Craddock: That's amazing.

Heather Kiser: Yeah and the, store manager actually looked at my stuff and thought it would be good for what they're looking for, watercolor. So I think that already there's a vetting there was also the types of things that are gonna be there are probably a better fit for what I am offering, I think.

Jessica Craddock: Do you know how many artists have been in business for years who have told me? I just want a foot in the door with Anthropologie?

Heather Kiser: I know, I was very, very happy to get that opportunity.

Jessica Craddock: That's incredible!

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: How did you get that opportunity? How did that about?

Heather Kiser: So, I ended up, last month I joined a female entrepreneur group in my city and it's been wonderful. I've gotten a lot of leads and just helpful information through that. It's for women entrepreneurs in Charlottesville and manager of month, had a post there saying they're having a pop-up market. Or anyone interested, this is the type of thing they're looking for. And then message her if you're interested, so I did. And I said, I'm interested. You can look at my Instagram if you want to see what types of things I do, and I'd be happy to do it. And then she looked at it, liked it, and then signed me on. So that was really, that was a good thing.

Jessica Craddock: You looked for it. And you asked for it.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

And there's been a lot of other things through that group where I just try to stay aware of like for small business Saturday there was another a consignment store, like a higher end consignment store that's woman owned. And she was looking, they were putting together gift bags and wanted coupons for local businesses. So, I offered to send little inserts with my postcards attached with a little coupon people and with a QR code to follow me on Instagram. And I did 40 of those and they put them in their gift bags, it's exposure. It's something.

[00:17:08] Look for opportunities over sales.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. You may or may not have heard me say this before, but I share this with you as a way to go forward with all of these amazing things that you're doing, like great job. And it's to look for the opportunities over the sales, because think the statistic is somewhere between 20 to 30%, I'm not sure exactly what it is, but in that range of people who are gonna impulse buy your work, the majority of the sales come afterwards and this female entrepreneur group, instead of saying, Hey guys, I have paintings, do you wanna buy them?

You're looking for the opportunities to use them to get into, of more and more people.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: so it's a great mindset switch for even when you do your Anthropologie show and even when you,

Heather Kiser: Mm-Hmm.

Jessica Craddock: Does anyone actually buy my stuff from that coupon? Maybe not, but maybe they come from the coupon, and then you've got them in your orbit and then that leads to sales down the road. So, I think you're doing a great job of looking for those opportunities and going after them.

Heather Kiser: Great.

Jessica Craddock: Just think about it even more neatly inside of, in the Anthropologie show.

Heather Kiser: Mm-Hmm.

Jessica Craddock: Can I find more people to help me spread my art more as opposed to just, can I make a sale today.

Heather Kiser: Yes.

Jessica Craddock: I weigh those heavily or maybe even more heavily than how many sales did I make that day?

Heather Kiser: Yeah. And that's how I'm thinking of it. I only I have three hundred and seventy, seventy-eight followers on Instagram right now. It has been, it's been hard for me to I, it's slowly grown, but it's been slow. And what I realize is that I need to focus on building an audience right now.

That is more important and when I get my newsletter signed up or started and everything else, just having an audience base getting exposure is super important for me right now.

Like you said, probably more than actual sales because I need to start getting established. And I also am trying to prioritize local connection right now because people can, can, see me, know me, get some connections locally so that I'm more known in my area. Online is great, but also locally is fantastic too because like that will also be, potential to be more loyal followers over the long term.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah.

[00:19:41] Remember there are three pieces of successful marketing: visibility, nurturing and selling.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah.

I also wanna say, you said that might be the most important. There are really three pieces I also wanna say, you said that might be the most important. There are really three pieces to marketing. One is visibility. Which is what you just said. One is nurturing, which your newsletter can be a piece of that and one is selling. So I just wanna make sure that you are not just focused on growing your audience and just focused on getting your art out there, but where are these opportunities? Let's say the gift bag ladies. Now that we've got our foot in the door with them, how can we get to know them better? Is there a collaboration we can do? Like how can I grow that relationship, that nurturing portion of it to then maybe have a sales event at their store or, don't know, host a pop-up shop with them or things like that.

So don't forget the other two steps. I don't think that you are, but just remember that there's three. and in the coming months, think about three of the above. I personally have a hard time going from thing to thing to thing to thing So I will use one month as, okay, this is my month for finding opportunities to get in front of more people. This is my month for thinking about, okay, how can I use the opportunities I've found and have to Nurture those relationships. Next month how can I really focus on selling this month?

Heather Kiser: Yeah, and that's a couple of things. Like one of the reasons why I wanted to do it that particular shop is that they do have wholesale opportunities. They're relatively difficult to get into because they're pretty, they're well known, and they're booked a lot by artists. And I thought if I do this thing that they're asking and I get in and they know that I did this, nice, then that's a foot in the, maybe, potentially in the door later on because they know who I am and I've been trying to be visible that way and just do these little things so that I'm on people's radar, later on. Like I said, it's a long game. I know that that's really important. I've just been overwhelmed. And part of it is like everything is coming together at once and it's also the holidays. And the holidays, there's just so many opportunities, and there's so much to do. And I'm feeling like pressure, and not really sure what to do first and when, how to go about it. Because I have these markets, so that's great, but then I also I have to think about how I'm gonna market on my own.

Am I gonna do a release? When am I gonna do that? Should I get my newsletter set up before I do that? Should I try to get an Etsy shop set up to do this too? I know I wanna do that, and I don't have time to get a website. I'm gonna do that soon. It's gonna have to be after the holidays, but there's just all this stuff. And I'm not really sure what to do, and there's all these opportunities. Like I have to get, if I'm going to sell my ornaments, they have to get out soon. I have to do a lot of different things. So I've been, I wouldn't say I've been paralyzed, but I've been trying to do it all and, it's been hard to prioritize with it and to figure out what is something that I should say no to this year because it's just too much. And what is some opportunities that I should prioritize because this is really a good thing to do, and I shouldn't pass up the opportunity when I have it.

Jessica Craddock: What if we spent the next 10 to 15 minutes looking at, what are the sets of criteria that make this a yes or a no for me?

Would that be helpful?

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: And I'm not just talking about an opportunity where you need to say yes or no, but should I worry about getting the ornaments out? Should I get my Etsy shop set up or should I prioritize my newsletter or what, where should I prioritize my time?

Quick exercise. Five years down the road, you have set up your art business. It's running perfectly. It's making twenty thousand dollars a year. What does it look like?

Heather Kiser: Let's see. I think, eventually I wanna set up sustainable business for me that is making money, that is a good career, that has different facets to it, but I'm able to do. And I want it to scale up as my kids get older. I want this to be a career And I realize like down the road it's going to have different aspects to it. I want to have different income streams. I wanna have a lot of different things that I'm doing. I realize I'm gonna have to figure out how to prioritize all of this at some point and get the time because eventually, I will want to have these different facets to it. And I want it to be, but I want it to be sustainable as well.

Jessica Craddock: Can you quickly summarize what those facets are that you're thinking about?

Heather Kiser: Like the different income streams?

Jessica Craddock: Yeah.

Heather Kiser: I'd like to do wholesale. I'd like to do licensing at some point. I would like to do gallery work. I actually have some work that's going to a gallery. I have an agreement set up. I would like to do more of that.

Jessica Craddock: Look at you.

Heather Kiser: It's been a lot that's happened.

Jessica Craddock: If anything, you need help what not to do,

Heather Kiser: Yes. That sums it up pretty well. Eventually, I would like to do some education or community type focused especially among artists. I'm not sure exactly what I would do right now.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah, you don't have to know exactly.

Heather Kiser: Yeah. I like teaching.

[00:28:02] Determining what you want the most will help you know how to prioritize your time.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. So, of those facets that you just listed, wholesale, licensing, gallery, education, and community, you also said at some point I wanna be able to scale up. I would like to have a local focus, at least starting out. I want to have different income streams. Those are just some of the things you said. Of those four, is there one that stands out to you as, if I were gonna build one income stream and get it working and then go to the next one? Which one would that be?

Heather Kiser: If I had to say no to everything else.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. If you had to say no to everything else right now, income stream would you try to grow first?

Heather Kiser: My own art.

Jessica Craddock: Your own art.

Heather Kiser: Yes. That's what I would do. I want to establish my own art. The other stuff is peripheral to what I'm creating myself.

Jessica Craddock: Let me make sure I understand correctly. When you say your own art, you can sell your own art through wholesale or licensing or make money with education, but are you saying person to person sales? Is that what you mean by that?

Heather Kiser: Yeah, person to person sales or gallery sales. That would be either through myself or through a gallery? So not wholesale, not licensing.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. Person to person sales, what does that look like for you in your mind today?

Heather Kiser: Like today, right now?

Jessica Craddock: What is your vision for that today? It might change, but right now if you're thinking about what you just described, person to person sales what does that mean.

Heather Kiser: I wanna be able to, eventually, I wanna set up so that people are buying my art from me, like original prints.

Jessica Craddock: In person? Online? I mean, probably both, but like online?

Heather Kiser: Online is probably the major driver. mean,

Jessica Craddock: Okay.

Heather Kiser: In person I see it as like being a support, like a supporting element of online.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. So, what you just said was, my number one priority is growing my online business.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. You said I have people who signed up for a newsletter. I would like to make an Etsy shop someday. I don't think I have time to build a website right now. If we could simplify, the easiest way for you to make your sales online. If we didn't have time to do all these other things, what would you do?

Heather Kiser: Yeah, the easiest right now is at sea, which I'm planning to do. eventually I want my own website, but I realize I can't drive my tr own traffic as easily right now. So Etsy or some other SEO type way of doing that search engine type thing. the way to do the short term?

Jessica Craddock: Do you have any experience or knowledge of SEO?

Heather Kiser: No. I've listened to trainings on it, but I, don't, so I am gonna be learning.

Jessica Craddock: We don't have experience, but you do have some knowledge because you've been listening to some stuff.

Heather Kiser: Mm-Hmm.

Jessica Craddock: So, to me, this isn't always gonna be my answer, but based on your answers, Etsy gets top billing. Besides all these other local things that you were doing to supplement, getting your name out there, having an Etsy shop sounds like the next priority. Does that feel accurate for you?

Heather Kiser: Yeah, that's how I was thinking myself is that I need to do it. I wanted to be able to sell some things during the holiday season because I have these ornaments. I can rebrand for Valentine's Day because they’re round canvases, mini canvases. So I could do them, rebrand them for Valentine's Day, because they're roses. But it would be nice to sell them now. thought I wanted to get selling and so I wasn't sure I had the time to be able to set up an Etsy shop from scratch. I thought maybe I would sell just on Instagram. But then that kind of, stresses me out a little bit too because it's not a structure that's set up. Per se. So I'd have a lot of that. So now I've been going back and forth on whether I should sell, try just try to do it from Instagram in the short term and set up Etsy in January. Or to try to put some time to devote some time to setting the Etsy shop up so that I can direct people to my Etsy shop. And also make use of whatever SEO I'm getting from them for the holidays.

[00:32:27] Remember to use your current connections for sales.

Jessica Craddock: All right, so here's my suggestion. Take it or leave it. If I were your coach, what I would tell you is, you have less than one month before Christmas and you wanna take some time off, right? I would take the next two weeks or so to throw yourself in like you have been in person into, how can I get people interested in these ornaments. And say they're for sale and tell them how much they are and tell them to DM you to buy them.

Heather Kiser: Okay, so you would do it over Instagram then?

Jessica Craddock: I would simply because there's not a whole lot of time between now and then to one figure out how to set up an Etsy shop, start getting traffic generating to that Etsy shop in between now and then. There's just not much time.

And so I feel you said, that would be a better use of your January and maybe use your couple of weeks in December as I'm going to experiment with ways to sell to my 378 followers that I already have on Instagram, playfully. How can I play with this? Not go find out a launch structure from someone else, because that's a whole other curve, but just how can I promote these and tell people that they're for sale on my Instagram?

Also, I have names for a newsletter. You can get really complicated with newsletter setup or you can just like kind of turn it on and put in those names and hit go, which is the route that I would take. Say, these are available. The shop is open till this date.

Heather Kiser: Okay.

Jessica Craddock: Here's some fun things about them, and just see what happens. It might go really well. It might not go really well. But I want you to look at it as, this is my myself in learning curve for can I sell an ornament on Instagram with what I've already got.

Heather Kiser: Okay. I had thought maybe I would do a giveaway Instagram for one of the ornaments that I have and do a sponsored post for that to try boost the post and try to get more traffic try to get more eyes on it. Do that a few days before either this week before I go to the Anthropologie market or immediately after. And then, do a release of the ornaments after the giveaway.

Jessica Craddock: What have you just started selling them today and did a giveaway?

Heather Kiser: At the same time.

Jessica Craddock: I think two weeks of content is more likely to sell more than one week of content.

Heather Kiser: Okay. Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: Uh, like the idea of the giveaway because you're using it as an idea following what we were talking about earlier, like how do I get in front of more people? But also, the top priority that you told me is learning to sell person to person. And so, we're doing that offline right now. So, your visibility's happening offline, but hopefully you're driving them to your Instagram page or your newsletter. Then we're going to do some of our nurturing and selling currently online. We’re taking those two pieces with what you're already doing and just giving them their places.

Heather Kiser: Okay. They're both, talking co concurrently is what you're saying?

Yeah. Okay.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. Instead of one month, one month, one month, you're doing them all at the same time in different ways, which is still fun.

Heather Kiser: Okay.

Jessica Craddock: Just to wrap up, we said, how are we going to determine what is worth your time and what is not worth your time? I asked you, what does your art business look like in five years? the thing that you would wanna build the most right now? And then that is how we decided where we put our priorities. So, it could be. I'm going to do these offline things as they come up as I can find them in my female entrepreneur group or wherever else to help me get those visibility to grow my Instagram account because that's easier.

Heather Kiser: Mm-Hmm.

Jessica Craddock: Trying to grow on Instagram when you're still trying to figure out how to make the content that gets you found is not so easy.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: And then using that content as your follow up to those in-person things. So that's the business structure I want you to play with for the next couple of months and see what that does for you.

Heather Kiser: In between doing like website and Etsy and all the other stuff.

[00:37:10] Find a balance between time spent making art and marketing.

Jessica Craddock: So how I think about that is I usually have one project that I'm working on, so that could be your Etsy account. That project gets a pretty small amount of my time, say 25% if it's an important project. Then the rest of my time I split up between art making, making content, and nurturing the people around me.

Heather Kiser: Okay. So, 75% of your time is making, like creating the art, nurturing and just doing something with what you already have. And then 25% is like what you say, your project, whatever you're focusing on. Okay.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. And even usually the project is actually a little bit lower than that, but because you're in that really beginning stage really trying to get a lot of stuff set up, I gave it a little extra.

Heather Kiser: Okay. Yeah, that's helpful because I feel like lately all I've done is business stuff. I've barely had time. I've been consumed by all this business stuff that needs to be taken care of now.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah.

Heather Kiser: I've been trying to think about how to balance those things together.

Jessica Craddock: And some people will split up their time that way, where I'm gonna take a chunk of time, and I'm gonna make art. And then I'm gonna take the next chunk of time, and I'm gonna market and then I'm gonna switch back. And it sounds like that's what you've done, but it also feels like maybe that's not as rewarding or not rewarding. Like you need that art making time. It's not happening, and you're just draining your tank as you push push, push. So, let's bring some of that art back into it.

Heather Kiser: Yeah. I get to the point where I feel like I have no choice but to do all this stuff because it needs to get done. But that's not always true, so that's good to put perspective.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. That's why I really wanted to give you some constraints on where is my focus so I can say yes or no to things.

Because there will always be more things that say you need to do me

and push out the art making.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: So, we pick what is the most important one that we need to do right now, let the rest go until they get their turn.

Heather Kiser: Yeah, that makes sense. that gives me a plan of action for at least. have the print collections and I have the card collections that I've already made, and I just thought maybe I'll just keep those until January and then promote them then. Because they're different than the ornaments. So, if I'm focusing on one thing, then that's what I should focus on, and then move to the next thing.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah,

Heather Kiser: It doesn't all have to get done for the holidays.

Jessica Craddock: Let's not try to do all of that if, and you are already doing this, but if you give yourself one thing to try to sell at a time let's say you did one post today, which may be way more than you're gonna do, but let's say you did, that's 14 posts related to that. That's gonna be way more impactful than if I get two posts for a print and two posts for a painting, and two posts for an ornament, and splitting up that attention like that.

So go all in on these ornaments. Give it all you got. But not in a, I have to push and sell kind of way, but what kind of fun ideas can I come up with that I can just put out there and see what happens? So, the next time that I put something out there, I have, oh, this idea did the best. Let's not do that. kind of worked, but maybe I wanna do it a little better.

Heather Kiser: Yeah. I think that's helpful to think of it as a process of experimentation rather than, oh, it has to be good like this has to work. And being disappointed if something doesn't if you think of it as an experiment, then you're trying to figure out what works and what doesn't work.

Jessica Craddock: Yeah. Think about it like an art project.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: Because that makes it way more fun.

Heather Kiser: Yeah. And at this stage, I don't have any data to really work from either. So, I have to collect data to find out what works and what doesn't before I can plan for the future.

Jessica Craddock: And everybody will tell you what works and what doesn't. And some of it works for some people and some of it works for other people. None of it works for some people, and you need your own data.

Heather Kiser: Yeah.

Jessica Craddock: If one of those ideas sounds fun, maybe we execute their idea because it sounded fun for me, not because they said it works.

Heather Kiser: Yeah. That makes sense.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. Tell anyone who might want to go find out more about your work. Where should they go right now?

Heather Kiser: So, the best place to come find me is on Instagram. My Instagram handle is Heather Kiser Art. all one word. No extra punctuation or anything. Just all one word. So that's where I'm most active. I do have a Facebook under the same name, and I will have Pinterest set up and probably my Etsy shop. But those are under development.

Jessica Craddock: I would like you to make a list of all the projects you think you wanna do and just write them all down. And when you finish Etsy, then you can choose your next one. That way you won't lose them. They're in your head slash on the paper.

Heather Kiser: Yeah, that's a great suggestion because otherwise I feel like I'm flying off in multiple different directions.

Jessica Craddock: If I don't write things down, I think I'm going to forget them and, I panic. I can't stop thinking about them, and then I can't do anything.

Heather Kiser: Yep. I understand.

Jessica Craddock: Okay. So, I was also gonna spell Heather Kiser. H-E-A-T-H-E-R-K-I-S-E-R. Art, A R T.

Great. So that's where you can find her. Go make it 379 followers! I'm sure she'd appreciate it. Say hi, I listened to you on Jessica's podcast. It's nice to meet you. Help each other out… get to know each other.

Heather Kiser: Yes!

Jessica Craddock: Alright. We'll talk soon.

Heather Kiser: Yeah. Thanks for the chat. It was nice. It was very helpful.

Jessica Craddock: You're very welcome, of course. I'm so glad. Thank you.

Heather Kiser: Bye.

Jessica Craddock: Bye.


More about Intuitive Art Sales

This is the show where I, Jessica Craddock, am going to teach you how to source your art marketing from within. You're going to practice claiming that authentic art business that you want and leaning into the most natural way for you to get there. You're going to learn to get connected to your intuition, your confidence and your community, so that you can sell your art consistently while holding strong boundaries on your work life balance.

Most of my episodes are full of interviews with your peers. In these and all episodes moving forward, I explore what each artist wants and give them the next steps to get there. You can take their struggles and their challenges and learn how to navigate your own and create actionable steps towards creating more art sales, more consistently at higher prices than you've ever sold before.

Just a note to our long-time listeners: We're doing away with our "Seasons", but you can still find this designation abbreviated at the end of the show titles for Seasons 1 & 2. From now on episodes will be numbered chronologically at the end of the title as well as in the episode description.

You can find all the episodes here.

About the Author

Jessica Craddock

I mentor intuitive visual artists who are sick of one-size-fits all formulas sell more work, more consistently, at higher prices — with better work/life balance. My clients regularly make 3x more in art sales within a year.

Using my signature Consistent Income method, we’ll push you over the precipice of some really amazing growth so you can become the creator of your next chapter.

My secret sauce is that we focus on not just the "doing", but also the "being". Affirmations, trusting yourself, knowing when to go slow and when to go fast, practicing getting out of your comfort zone and making room for the feelings that go with that... all this is equally as important as the action steps.

For once, you'll be ahead of the game and understand what's right for you.

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