01 JanNew Year Declaration
Take a moment to make some sort of declaration for yourself about the year to come. I find resolutions too specific to stick to. When you screw up and eat that piece of pie after swearing you would only have sweets on Sundays, you feel awful. And frequently it means you just throw away the whole resolution altogether because you “already screwed it up”.
So instead, I think it’s appropriate to revisit how you want to feel in the coming year and the bigger ideas behind your intentions for 2013.
I hope you had as lovely a holiday season as I did!
Ever feel overwhelmed with the thought of finally getting your art up for sale online? Websites, social media, newsletters, marketing, photography, eCommerce, branding…. oh my goodness! It’s enough to put you off from the idea completely. And I know artists, maybe even some of you, who have done just that – decided the world wide web just isn’t for you.
Well, today I’m going to tell you how little you actually need to get started online. I bet it’s less than you ever thought. And anything else you want to do can be implemented slowly. These basics are the foundation you need to just get started already!
1. Website. It’s your hub where customers can go when they’re ready to buy or want to know more about you. It only needs to be 3 pages: a homepage, an about page, and a shop page. Simple is key, just write out some honest, descriptive text and put up lots of photos of your work. The shop page needs eCommerce capabilities, but that’s easier than you think.
Action Step: Get a website. I recommend buying a domain through Dynadot, hosting through BlueHost, and installing WordPress.org to make it super easy to create your site all by yourself. For eCommerce, I use and like the free version of WooCommerce, but there are lots of options out there at various price points.
2. Social Media. You only need to start with one. And if you don’t want to, you never have to move beyond that one. But having a social network you can connect with customers on makes a big difference in your online marketing. It drives traffic to your website and builds camaraderie with your customers that keeps them coming back for more. This is also a crucial step if you have nothing up for sale yet. You’re building relationships that will reward you in the future when you do have something for sale.
Action Step: Pick between the most popular sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Click over to the .com and sign up for an account, using your full artist name if you can. Fill out the profile and then take a look around or put a date on the calendar when you will learn the platform and start posting.
3. Email List. Technically, this is really the same as a newsletter. But that word sounds so scary and daunting that I prefer “email list”. You just need to have somewhere you collect the emails of people who are interested in your art. You don’t need to send them anything yet, but you want to have the option if you need to get in touch with customers for any reason.
Action Step: Sign up for an account with an email marketing provider (I use and adore MadMimi). Ask friends and family if they would like to be on your list. Contact previous customers and ask if they would like to hear from you when you’re having a sale or a gallery show. Always ask before adding an email to your list. Also, add an “opt-in form” to your website that will collect email addresses from interested potential customers without you lifting another finger.
4. Photos. You need high-quality photographs of your art – assuming you aren’t a photographer… of course, then this one is taken care of!
Action Step: Do your homework. Read up on how to take good photographs of artwork with regards to things like lighting, staging, and editing. Then take four or five great photos of at least ten of your pieces and put them up for sale on your new website.
5. Celebrate. Rejoice in the little accomplishments. They are actually really big and scary and daunting. And you’ve conquered them! Whenever you take another leap forward, reward yourself. I prefer chocolate, but feel free to pick your own vice.
Last week, I mentioned Social Media Marketer, the program founded by Laura Roeder that I participate in as a “Community Expert” for the program’s forums. Well, when the LKR Team asked for an honest review of the program, I agreed it would be most helpful if I posted it on my blog where you can benefit from it!
Social Media Marketer is a one-stop membership website dedicated to teaching you how to market your business online, especially (but not exclusively) with social media.
- Courses on everything from a basic 101-style course to “Advanced Content Marketing” with individual courses for all the big social media platforms sprinkled in between.
- Checklists that get to the nitty gritty of what you’re missing in various areas of your marketing.
- A glossary for online marketing “newbies”.
- Recommended resources.
- Weekly, quick emails chock full of great info that isn’t in the membership site.
- An amazing comment system that connects you with fellow business owners (networking!), gives you access to knowledgeable experts to help you through specific problems, and gives you an opportunity to get a coveted website critiques!
- Every month, the LKR Team releases a new course, so you never run out of opportunities to grow and learn. But because nothing ever disappears from the membership site, you don’t feel overwhelmed and pushed to finish courses too quickly.
- The courses approach things from a beginner’s perspective, but go deep enough that even experienced business owners can learn a lot. I go through the courses too!
- When you’re stuck, you have somewhere to turn. You can find a lot of the information in the courses and checklists, or you can post in the comments and get help from peers and Community Experts.
- When you need someone to get excited with you, the comment system is right there waiting! Sometimes it’s hard to find friends and family who understand what you’re going through as a business owner. But in the SMM forums, there are tons of people going through the same things. And they love hearing about your successes, not just your problems. That support is so incredible!
- And, hello! You get to ask me for help – for free!
If you need a nice, hefty push to get your website up or build better marketing strategies, I’d love to see you over at SMM!
PS: I do not receive compensation for this post or for any link-clicking or buying associated with this post. I just really love SMM and think you’d benefit from it too!
I have been thinking a lot lately about how far I’ve come since I started truly seeking to create my own career back in 2009. I started this post thinking I had about 5 things to tell you. haha. Can I add just one more to the list: you have more wisdom than you think. I can’t even imagine how much faster and farther I would have come if I knew then what I know now. So I want to give you that chance to start with the knowledge. Here are my Top 21 things I wish I knew.
1. There is a difference between giving up and deciding that it’s no longer what you want.
I stopped trying to sell my jewelry sometime in 2011 when I saw my copywriting sales skyrocket (before I found my calling as a coach). At the time, I thought, “I’m not giving up, I’ll just return to my jewelry when I’m making a steady income writing. Eventually, I’ll make money from my jewelry.” t took a long time for me to realize that I let that go because I didn’t want it anymore. I realized the reality of running a business selling my jewelry just wasn’t appealing to me. It took the fun out of making, I guess. And now I know that giving up can be a good thing. Running away from something can be wonderful, as long as you’re running away because it’s something you don’t want, not running away from something because you want it so much it terrifies you.
2. All the obstacles are based on fear.
Whenever you put something off, it’s practically always because you’re afraid of something. Afraid you’ll fail, afraid you’ll disappoint someone, afraid people won’t like what you’ve done. Stop being afraid (or just ignore the fear) and go after what you want. Do what needs to be done and stop worrying so much about the end-result.
3. Embrace the highs and lows and mediocrity.
You’re going to have moments where you feel like crap. I’m not going to pretend that I enjoy feeling horrible about my business, my art, or my life. But it happens. So when I do feel that way, I try to remember that it will end soon and just let it flow. On the flip side, when I’m riding high on successes, I make sure to celebrate. Eat an extra cookie, take some me-time in a bubble bath, or splurge on a new blouse. Really savor those highs so the lows don’t feel so bad. And then there’s mediocrity. When things are just “meh”. When you’re feeling apathetic. That’s the time you just embrace the emo feelings and take some time off. Unplug from the computer. Spend time with friends, family, or your dog. Take a walk or lie on the grass in the sunshine. Just take off.
4. You’re never ready.
If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting forever. You have to just dive in. You’re always going to feel overwhelmed, tired, not good enough. You’re always going to think that more time would fix everything. But it won’t. In a month, you’ll just be more aware of your shortcomings. If you go ahead and proceed with your dreams, you’ll be a much happier person for it. And you’ll find that everything goes better than you ever dreamed.
5. You can’t know the end.
Your life isn’t a book. You can’t skip to the end. But the journey is the best part anyway.
6. There’s nothing wrong with asking for what you deserve.
Charge more, request a workshop with an artist you admire, take that cute guy out to dinner. The worst that can happen is someone tells you “no”.
7. You deserve more than you think.
You’re so wrong. You deserve so much more. Stop selling yourself short and ask for more than you think you should get. You’ll never receive more than you deserve, but you’ll also never get more than you ask for.
8. There’s no such thing as a coincidence.
Don’t shrug off those weird occurrences. They usually drive the most amazing new things in our lives. For me, it’s repetition. Whenever a word of object or idea appears in my life more than once, I listen. And I’ve never regretted it.
9. Your life has already started.
It’s not going to begin when you finish school or when you get a better job or when you finally make some money from your art. It’s here right now. This is your life. Don’t waste it waiting for the “good stuff”.
10. If you want it to be different, you’re going to have to change it yourself.
It’s highly unlikely anyone else is going to change it. Go do it yourself.
11. That picture in your head is screwing you up.
You have a vision. That’s fantastic. But you have to be willing to revise that image in your head. Every six months, rethink where you’re headed. Rethink that amazing goal and make sure it still aligns with everything you want and more. Don’t go after something you no longer want just because it’s how you thought it was supposed to go in your life.
12. Move on.
When something’s over, put it to bed. Just move on.
13. A thick skin will save you.
But you emotional side is oh-so beautiful.
14. Don’t lose touch.
You can spend a lot of time on your computer and in your studio when you’re trying to run an artistic business. Don’t forget what (who) is truly important.
15. The answer is usually simple.
Unless you’ve got a techy problem, the answer is usually simple. Trying to create a new logo? Just pick a font and go with it. Simple. Looking for inspiration for your next project? Just walk outside or think about your relationships. Simple. Feeling unhappy? Eat some chocolate. Simple!
16. Be nice and do all things with love.
17. Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it’s better to leave them broken than to hurt yourself while trying to put them back together.
This is one of the hardest to learn. We’re hardwired to want to fix our relationships. But sometimes it’s best to let them go than to desperately grab hold to the remaining threads. Really listen to yourself. If it doesn’t matter all that much, just let it go.
18. You can google everything.
19. The grass is greener… where you water it.
If you’re lusting after something, just tend to your own situation and you’ll be happier than you thought possible.
20. Good things come to those who… work their asses off.
Whenever I slow my momentum, things stop happening. Keep up the hard work and you’ll find success comes more often.
21. You don’t always have to do something new.
There’s this myth in art (and business) that everything you do must be new and different. Just put the old ideas through your unique soul and what you produce will be different enough. Promise.
05 MayBlow Your Own Mind
Once in a while, blow your own damn mind.
This is one of the wisest things I’ve heard in a very long time. I’m now taking it to heart.
Of course, you can’t plan to blow your mind (or anyone’s for that matter). But it’s a good idea to attack everything with the fervor you have when you’re trying to blow minds. Go above and beyond. Make each thing you do be the best you’ve ever done… and the best anyone has ever seen.
Action Step: This coming week, pick one of those spectacular projects you’ve been dreaming about but have been too scared to start. I know you have one, dear creative one. Write down the supplies you need to buy, the prep work you need to do, or anything else that has to happen before the project gets underway. Do everything on the list so you’re ready to start! Then make it happen. Stop dreaming and go blow your own damn mind!
Stop dreaming and go blow your own damn mind!
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