So you’ve been running around trying to get your business off the ground for a while now… reading lots of articles, optimizing your website, learning how to use social media better, and designing your business card to show off your art.
It feels like nothing is working.
I know because I’ve been there. No matter what you do, there are crickets on your website and, even worse, silence in your Paypal account – except those cute earrings you bought on Etsy the other day.
The truth is that you’re probably missing the whole point.
Getting your business running is about marketing. A gorgeous website is important just like reading up on business skills you lack. But the real rub, where the money sits, is in the marketing. And marketing? It’s about who you know.
Ok, so I’m making it more dramatic than it needs to be… it’s not about knowing celebrities or even really influential people in your field or your audience’s world, though this could make things happen faster for you. When I say it’s about who you know, I guess I more mean it’s about who knows you. Does your audience know you? The right audience… the target market you know would love your art if only they knew it existed. They need to know you.
This might not be shocking. “Yeah, Laura,” you say, “of course I’m trying to get my business in front of lots of people in my target market. That’s Business 101.”
But are you doing it effectively? If you’re not meeting new people (online or in-person) every day, you’re probably not doing it effectively. You’re probably spending too much time behind the computer screen rewriting your artist statement so you sound less convoluted, or maybe more conceptual, or just a little more knowledgeable about art history… We can get stuck in our little bubble of creativity. Happy as a clam getting to make stuff all the time! But not actually selling anything, not actually putting that work into the worlds of people who will be emotionally touched by it.
What you need to be doing is having more conversations, preferably with your target market, but not exclusively. You can talk to someone else and if you’re genuinely interested in them they are going to want to help you by finding some way to connect with you, which often means, “Oh my sister would love your work, can I give her your card?”
I was talking with a client the other day about this very phenomenon. When you meet someone, almost always we are asked, “So what do you do?” And the most effective response is having the confidence to say, “I’m an artist.” And then to elaborate on what kind of art you make and return the favor by asking them what they do. At some point, if they’re at all interested, they’re going to ask to see some of your work. Whip out your cell phone or business card and show them a couple pics. They might not like it or they might not be able to afford it or they might just not be into art – but they’re going to want to connect with you. They’re going to say it looks cool or interesting or they’re going to ask you how you came up with the idea for a piece or how long you’ve been “doing art” for. And they’re going to want to pass you along to someone who gets you.
It’s human nature to want to help.
The more people you meet, the more times this will happen, the more often your art will get shared… the more people will come into your world…
The more sales you will make.
Build a habit of talking to new people and opening up to them about your art. In a few weeks you’ll see a difference in your followers and website visitors. And in a few months?
You’ll see a difference in your bank account.