Smell like success

Ah, the sweet smell of success. Everyone loves a winner. While Lance Armstrong hasn’t been in the Tour de France for 3 years, you can still feel his presence and legacy if you watch the Tour. And the excitement of each stage is no different from when Lance was riding.

Today, Carlos Sastre of Spain won the Tour and the yellow jersey. In honor of the final day, I’ve updated a newsletter from 2005 for you.

I don’t know if you followed the Tour de France, but I confess that I’ve had nearly every minute of it on. Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, went into the record books by winning his 6th straight Tour. Convincingly. He also had millions of people around the world (including me) wearing yellow bracelets with the words "Live Strong" imprinted on them. They are a fundraiser for his foundation, which raises money for people living with cancer. His goal was not only a 6th win at the Tour, but to raise $6 million for a worthy cause. And he couldn’t have done it without being a winner.

When you smell as successful as Lance does, you can bet you have a built-in fan base. Wouldn’t that be great? A built-in fan base! And YOU can do it without riding a bike up grueling mountain passes. You don’t need to snack on Power Bars or guzzle Endurox. But you do need discipline–by the truckload. And you’ll need to climb your own mountains.

Think about it. If you’re not one of them, you probably know the "must-have" artists in your area. They seem to be around every corner and everyone you know wants to buy their art. They have the Midas touch and you want to know how they got it. The truth is, it’s not magic or luck. It’s a lot of hard work. You can do the same with determination, consistency and confidence.

In the meantime, you can trick people into thinking you’re more successful than you are. Here are three ways to smell more successful.

1. Dress nicely. Yes, that’s right. Artists today are a dime a dozen and starving artists–or artists who look like they’re starving–rarely attract a crowd. It never hurts to "look like an artist," but it doesn’t help to look like a pauper.

2. Speak nicely. About everyone. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t type it, email it, or speak it.

Don’t talk out loud about how lousy the festival organizers are (especially in front of customers). Successful people don’t have time to complain about their lack of recognition or poor sales. They’re too busy figuring out their next step. In other words, no whining allowed. Read A Complaint Free World and take the 21-day challenge.

3. Splurge on your presentation. Buy the very best paper you can afford for your letterhead and printed matter. Hire the best photographer and Web designer. Your paper and electronic portfolios must stand in for your artwork. They have to be at least as good as your work, and usually they must be better.

If you have never before designed a Web site, but can’t afford to hire someone, create a blog instead. It’s already formatted to some extent and won’t scream "Amateur!" like a first-time Web site does.

(If you’re concerned about your presentation, check out individual consultations.)

Success means many different things to many different people. Only you can decide what it means to you and whether or not you’re willing to go after it. (See Action 1 in I’d Rather Be in the Studio!)

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2 comments to Smell like success

  • Great advice. I notice the change in reactions from customers when I am dressed professionally vs. having just come from the studio. I make a point not to show up at the marketplace where my paintings are shown without dressing appropriately. Also, I have printed 3 x 5 cards with my name and phone and email on the top. That way, if I share a note with someone–say, they’ve asked for directions to the closest food market or something– I can hand them a “business card” without seeming to.

  • Great Advice Alyson, I also like the idea of studying people who are successful in a way that you are interested in and learning from them. just looking at the way they do things and handle things can make such a difference. I had the wonderful fortune to meet one of mine today, I’m still buzzing! not only am I inspired to work to get to her level, but I also learned from the choices she felt were bad and little things to make everyone feel comfortable. the thing that made the biggest impact on me was that she treated me like an equal (I’m emerging, she’s very highly established in the primary and secondary markets) having an example can keep you on the track and give you something to work for!