When Lisa approached me for art marketing advice and a series of coaching sessions, her primary goal was to become a full-time artist. When an artist asks me to help them with this type of goal there are many factors to consider. I learn about their art inventory, sales history, business savvy, and level of commitment, time-management skills, among other things. Having this information helps me develop the best strategies for that artist.
With Lisa, I knew she was very focused and knowledgeable about the business of art. She was also earning some income from sales that proved to establish her market niche. Most importantly she has positive personality traits that include determination and the willingness to take responsibility for her future.
In this article I explain a few of the powerful steps we took and how I helped her reach her goal in a few months time.
It All Begins With the Art
Lisa had produced a large inventory of paintings in the last three years. She had three different sizes and price ranges. Her work was unusual, focused and strong with a cohesive style. It also had human-interest value.
To become a full-time artist I reminded Lisa she would need to take on three roles: creator of the art; manager of marketing and promotion; and administrator. The art is primary, but the two other roles are also essential. When I was a full-time self-supporting artist this formula worked for me.
Lisa had some business and administrative experience and I suggested to Lisa that she devote the next few months making her goal to become a full-time artist her priority. Focusing on the marketing phase of her career meant possibly sacrificing some studio time or other less important activities. She signed up for a series of coaching sessions to develop and execute the plan.
The Art Marketing Plan
We then determined her goals, budget, and made an itemized list of expenses and price list. After creating a business plan that included a financial plan and a targeted market we took the next step.
We compiled a database of appropriate market leads, consisting of organizations, galleries, institutions, cultural and advocacy groups, libraries, museums, private individuals and corporations that would be interested in her work.
In addition to galleries and museums our list included writers, publications, news directors and station managers, who would be interested in the story behind her work and help her promote it to a large audience.
She had a substantial list of connections from being an active LinkedIn user. I had several thousand connections and Twitter followers, so when we combined our top professional connections we had a powerful list of leads to galleries, curators, business owners, companies and organizations.
Listing Hot and Cold Prospects
We separated our prospects into two lists hot (those we had previous communication with) and cold (those we didn’t know as well.) We began with the Hot List first and sent emails and made phone calls before mailing the brochure to find out if they wanted more materials. In order to accomplish this she recruited some volunteers among her family members and friends.
We created a small brochure. We wrote cover letters. We developed two different press releases — one to the art press and one to the general editors — that explained the significance of her project.
She took my advice and got free help from a local college intern to help her with the tedious administrative tasks one day a week.
After a determined and persistent role of being the art marketing manager and administrator of her career in about four months Lisa acquired three gallery exhibitions, one museum exhibition, five major sales and several commissions.
As a result of our publicity efforts and more direct activity on social media, she was profiled in several local and national publications and on the TV news.
In Lisa’s situation, her route involved spending three years focusing on creating the art followed by only four months primarily devoted to being her own manager and administrator. During this process she learned how to become the CEO of her art business.
This process earned her the freedom to return to her studio as a full-time artist. She had the resources to hire an assistant to handle the administrative details and some of the manager’s duties.
I also taught Lisa successful and time-saving strategies and tools that she could use for the rest of her career as a full-time artist.
Why Many Artists Fail
Most artists fail to reach their goals. The reasons may range anywhere from a lack of having a business plan, motivation and confidence to not having the proper art business knowledge and guidance — all required for success.
When the artists I coach have the right art marketing advice and support to keep them moving forward it can make a world of difference. They no longer feel like they are struggling alone.
Do You Want to Become A Full-Time Artist?
What goals do you have? I’d love to help you succeed and show you step-by-step how to accomplish them. Find out about my art coaching services.
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