The Bumpy Road to Success: Stories from Our Clients (Podcast)

Robin Edmundson painting

I believe in the power of being part of a dynamic group of ambitious people.

You can’t possibly get everything you need from a single person, and I can’t possibly know everything there is to know about artists’ businesses and careers. That’s why I created the Art Biz Inner Circle and why it has grown over the years.

Our members represent a wide range of media, personal goals, and geographical regions – including quite a few who are overseas. Yet they rely on one another for inspiration, motivation, strategies, and accountability.

Throughout the year, we have watched many of our members create and attain their stretch goals – several of them doubling (and more) their income from last year.

We supported members as they struggled and reorganized their plans. Yes, even the ones who attained their big goals encountered bumps along the road to success.

Our team of coaches is top-notch (I don’t trust just anyone with my clients).

In this podcast, I talk with Debby Williams and Cynthia Morris, who serve as coaches for our members in the Art Biz Inner Circle. We discuss the celebrations we witnessed as well as the many struggles our artists faced and we provide numerous tips to help with your artist journey.

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How To Warm Up a Cold Email List

You were told you needed an email list, so you asked people to subscribe. And they did.

But you didn’t do anything with their subscription. Those poor people sat in your system. For months. Maybe years. Never hearing from you.

Your list has gone cold. Ice cold.

Now you realize how silly it was to ask people to subscribe only to neglect them. You’re ready to commit to staying in touch with your list on a regular basis, but you wonder:

Will they remember me? What will they think if I just start emailing them after all this time?

You’re right to be concerned.

Regular emails – regardless of whether you call them newsletters or not – are so valuable because they keep your name in front of people. And they keep the list warm.

If you are ready to pay attention to your list consistently (and clear that you will keep the commitment), you have a little bit of work to do.

You need to reintroduce yourself to your list before you ask them to attend an opening or to buy your art because it’s not polite to call on people only when you want something from them.

There’s no sense procrastinating your first-in-a-long-time email because the longer you wait, the more painful it will be to write. Not to mention the energy it will use up in your head and heart in the meantime.

Once you’re clear on the commitment, there are three options for an opening email to reestablish a relationship with those on your list. You can use them individually or in combination with one another.

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7 Ways You Might Be Scaring Off Potential Buyers

Art buyers often have as many insecurities about the process of buying art as you do, which means they are sensitive to the signals you’re sending.

It’s your job to reassure them that they are making the right decisions – and you can do so in very subtle ways without resorting to sales speak.

And it has just as much to do with what you don’t do and say.

Here are seven practices that will scare off your audience and potential fans.

1. Being indecisive about prices.

Indecision makes you appear less confident.

Set your prices after you’ve done your homework and be ready to share them in person and online.

If you’re ever pushed for a price that you aren’t certain about, say, “Let me check my list and get back to you. I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong price.”

2. Apologizing for your art.

The apologetic artist who brushes aside compliments about her art is not market-attractive.

I am not in any way condoning arrogance. I’m saying that you need to hold your head up and say “Thank You” when you are given a compliment.

As Julia Child said in Julie & Julia, “Never apologize. No excuses. No explanations.” Along the same lines . . .

3. Playing down the fact that you’re an artist.

Heart surgeons don’t look at the ground and say, “I’m kind of a heart surgeon.” When someone asks what you do, you shouldn’t respond meekly with, “Well, I’m kind of an artist.”

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Portrait Project and Museum Exhibition with Lisa Kovvuri (Podcast)

Little gives me more pleasure than watching a client successfully attain a major goal.

In this podcast episode, I share the story of Lisa Kovvuri, with whom I worked in my Art Biz Inner Circle as she was starting her project, The Portrait Experience.

We discuss:

  • How The Portrait Experience was conceived and executed at Whistler House Museum of Art.
  • How she found people to sit for her.
  • What she learned during the process.
  • What’s next.

We also find out that most of the paintings have since sold.

It’s been a joy to watch her progress and the ultimate culmination of her efforts – the opening of her museum show.

I hope you are inspired by this conversation about how Lisa accomplished her colossal goal. Listen now …

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You’re Probably Going to Fail

My definition of failure is not taking a chance. Not risking it. Playing it safe.

Everything else that other people might call failures, I prefer to think of as lessons.

Failure would be giving up without absorbing the lessons that might contribute to my personal and professional growth.

You’re probably familiar with this well-known quote:

What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail? – Robert Schuller

It’s a good one, huh? What would you try if you were assured a successful outcome?

There’s zero risk, so why not?

I’ll tell you why not. Because it doesn’t sound like fun. It’s a gimme. There’s no adrenaline rush or sense of accomplishment if you already know the outcome.

I like this updated version:

If something is important enough you should try, even if the probable outcome is failure.
Elon Musk

In other words, what do you believe in so passionately that you are ready to take a chance on it even if your success isn’t guaranteed?

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7 Ways to Expedite Your Breakthrough

I hope you’ll agree that breakthroughs come in handy. Yes?

It’s pretty awesome when the perfect answer appears or that nagging problem is solved. Suddenly, the barrier is removed and you can make progress.

You can’t identify the moment that a breakthrough will happen, but you can prepare yourself for it to come.

Breakthroughs happen as a result of doing the work and being present. Here are 7 ways to accelerate the process.

1. Solve a problem.

Any problem! Art is about solving problems.

How can I balance the composition?

How can I make this with less expensive materials?

How can I convey this or that emotion?

Faith Ringgold was researching shipping options for her paintings when she realized that if she just painted on fabric, without the support, she could roll it up and easily ship it in a tube.

2. Challenge yourself.

There’s very little motivation in the daily grind: update Facebook, schedule a few tweets, send a newsletter, write a blog post, work in the studio. If you’re not careful, you can get stuck checking off menial tasks without doing something extraordinary for your art and for yourself.

Pick a color or

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Self-Portrait: What You Do and Who You Want to Be

How do your close friends describe you?

How does your family describe you?

How do your students describe you?

How do you describe yourself?

All of those descriptions might be true, but they might also mask your potential.

If you grip too tightly to the stories of who you think you are, you’ll never be open to what you can become. [Tweet this]

For example, you know me as someone who is a no-excuse-action-taking-don’t-stop-working kinda gal. I have never had a problem taking action.

My reputation so precedes me that often the first thing many people do upon meeting me is apologize for their lack of action.

It’s cool with me if I inspire the need for action in artists, but I have many other sides and so do you.

We get to make our own self-portraits.

Who Do You Want to Be?

A number of years ago, I began

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Creative Organizing with Heather K. Powers (Podcast)

I used to teach an online class called Organize Your Art Biz. I quit teaching it when I realized that there’s no such thing as the right way to get organized.

My guest for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, Heather K. Powers, figured it out long before I did. As the founder of Creatively Organized Spaces, Heather customizes solutions for organizing systems and storage for her creative clients.

In this interview, Heather and I discuss:

  • The stereotype that artists are inherently disorganized.
  • Her philosophy for helping artists get organized.
  • The biggest pain point artists have when it comes to organizing.

Heather also shares a number of tips, including:

  • Know what you want before you start organizing.
  • Schedule time for organizing (3-4 hours at a time seems to be a sweet spot).
  • Make a plan before you go buy a lot of containers.
  • Create work zones.

LISTEN NOW …

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7 Ways to Segment Your Mailing List and Make It More Useful

Ever worry about bothering people with your emails or postcards?

You’re not alone. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do right by your trusted fans. You know what it’s like to receive tons of email and don’t want to contribute to the overwhelm.

Even though everyone on your list has opted in to hear from you, it still doesn’t feel right to email so many people so frequently. I get it. And …

There’s a solution to this dilemma: Send emails only to whom they are appropriate.

In other words, target your messages to the people who want and need to hear from you rather than sending every email to every person on your list.

Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Emma have the capability to segment an email list. Depending on your platform, you might find these features under Groups, Segments, and/or Tags. Some platforms use multiple names.

If you haven’t used this feature, the first step is to research how to segment a list inside of your email platform of choice. It’s worth it even if you have to pay a little for it.

After you’ve done that, you can make your list more useful by segmenting it in multiple ways.

7 Ways to Slice and Dice Your List

Your list segments will vary based on the messages you are sending, but these are the 7 types of segmenting that I suggest frequently to my Art Biz Coach clients.

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How to Feel More Abundant in Your Life and Art

Margaret Warfield painting

In this blog post I encouraged you to consider how your frugality might be hurting your art business by sending the wrong message to potential collectors.

At the end of that article, I posed 3 questions for you to think about, which we will now look at in depth. The intention is to ensure that you are not only living with an abundant heart, but that you are projecting that way of being into the world.

1. How do others treat you?

Perhaps a better question is this: How do you allow others to treat you?

For example … If you’re a member of an artist organization, what is the room like at your artists’ meetings? Is it dark, gray, and lifeless?

Do something to combat the drudgery and nurture abundance throughout the organization. Ask members to bring snacks on beautiful trays – preferably handmade by an artist – instead of paper plates.

Assign alternating people to arrive early at each meeting to clean the room and serve as welcoming hosts.

You can be the catalyst for change within any organization to which you belong.

We teach people how to treat us by

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