Money and finances are very sensitive issues and artists often carry a hefty weight of emotional baggage about them. Questions about need, self-worth and self-sufficiency can interfere with an artist’s career if not addressed properly and if solutions are not found. This article is about how I helped an artist in need create a prosperity plan. Every artist is different, and it’s one of the most satisfying things I experience as a career coach.
Catharine came to me for a a series of coaching sessions at the end of the calendar year. Her financial situation was a major concern. Her sales were very low and her husband told her he could only afford to give her $1,500 to spend on her art career for the entire next year.
Look At The Big Picture
We could have spent her consultation time solving how to work on a $1,500 budget; however, I always look at the big picture when advising artists. As you’ll soon learn, I chose to work on more a far-reaching, meaningful and lucrative goal.
We discussed her strengths and attributes and how best to apply them.
I gave her some self-empowerment exercises to perform daily…
Alter Your Perspective
Catharine and I discussed her attitude about her career, her relationship with money and the value she placed on her art. She saw herself as being dependent upon her husband and felt guilty about the $1,500 he was giving her. Without making some major changes, she would probably return the following year with the same problem or worse. So, we discussed her strengths and attributes and how best to apply them. (I’m always amazed that many artists can’t see their assets objectively and focus on their weaknesses instead.) I gave her some self-empowerment exercises to perform daily and walked her through the steps of creating an Art Business Plan.
Manage Your Sales Force
Next, we thoroughly examined Catharine’s website and social media profile pages. I told her to view them as her 24 hour a day “sales force.” We agreed she needed better quality visuals and her résumé needed to be rewritten to emphasize her career achievements. Her art website needed some simple yet important revisions.
Widen Your Circle
She set aside a block of time every week to network by using my “Hot and Cold Contacts” and “People Power List” exercises. She promised to strengthen the social media contacts she had with the greatest potential, in addition to building relationships with new business prospects in her area, such as interior designers and architects. She organized her email list.
I said, “Look at this list as $20,000 waiting to be collected.
How long it takes will depend on you,
but it’s possible to do it in less than a year.”
Get and Grow Leads
It was important, I told her, to build loyal customers. I augmented her prospects with my ebook “Sell Your Art in The Healthcare Art Market” with leads to art consultants. I told her how to get a college intern to help her manage the administrative tasks so she could spend more time in the studio.
Set Realistic Prices
It was time to discuss her inventory and prices. She had 30 works for sale. I thought the prices were currently too high and the art was inconsistent. We agreed to lower the prices and revise them in six months, when sales improved. The total of the remaining inventory came to over $20,000.
What I told her next was probably the most life-changing piece of advice: I said, “Look at this list as $20,000 waiting to be collected. How long it takes will depend on you, but it’s possible to do it in less than a year.”
Her self-esteem gave her fresh ideas to increase steady income…
That was a major turning point for Catharine. Exhilarated, she knew that financial independence was in her grasp. The view she had of herself was transforming her relationships and her career. Her self-esteem gave her fresh ideas to increase steady income, such as giving an art class on Saturday. This supplemented her monthly income with $1,000. She also found a way to work on small paintings of her own while she taught, thereby increasing her inventory. And, some of her students became new collectors!
Make Better Choices
We examined her use of time and developed a better time management schedule that she could easily incorporate into her life. We discussed how she was wasting her time and what activities she could eliminate including certain art groups that were not helping her advance her career. I suggested better options to raise her credentials, visibility and sales.
Like Catharine, many artists are so intimidated by the idea of managing their money that it stifles their creativity. Don’t let that happen to you. Get comfortable with money. Use your strengths and talent to make it grow. Make it your partner. Like Catharine, learn how to turn dependency into self-reliance and empowerment by making some changes.