Summary: Artpreneur By Miriam Schulman
Summary: Artpreneur By Miriam Schulman

Summary: Artpreneur By Miriam Schulman

Choose to Believe

There’s an artist in each of us wanting to break free. Your muse is tired of staying quiet and waiting for you to feel ready, take the next step, or dream bigger. You are enough. You are more than capable. And you have the same confidence in running your business as you have in your incredible talent. To be successful, you must first get comfortable with owning your desire to want more wealth and visibility. Moreover, you need to see yourself as priceless before you can put a price tag on anything you create. I urge you to gamble on yourself and not give up on your dreams. Don’t worry. In these pages, you’ll find all the steps you need to evolve into that next version of yourself.


There’s never been a better time to turn your creative ideas into a successful business. When it comes to building a sustainable business, five elements will be responsible for your success as an artpreneur: production, pricing, prospecting, promotion, and productivity. Fixing even one limiting belief will unlock all kinds of success for you. Artists spend enough time on their phones, and their creativity should be saved for creating beautiful art rather than content for the Zuckerverse.


Start Before You’re Ready

Don’t listen to the voice of doubt. Listen to that other voice, the creative whispers that encourage you to dream and dream big. Commit to being uncomfortable and taking a risk to move forward even if you don’t feel ready, or you feel like it’s not the right time. Know this: while the voice of doubt tells you it’s not the right time, the truth is that there will never be a right time. Before those dreams turn to regrets, start today.

Step 1: Write down your thoughts, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is a brain dump of whatever is on your mind, including everything you’re thinking about yourself, your art, your prospects, and your personal life. Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, calls this practice “morning pages,” but you can journal anytime you’re feeling stuck. Her practice includes prompts for your writing, but you can just write down everything on your mind to clear the dust off.

Step 2: Label your thoughts. Do any of your statements fall into the category of all-or-nothing thinking? Were you mind reading or fortune-telling?

Step 3: Write down all the evidence supporting your thoughts. Is there a seed of truth? Even distorted thoughts often contain a seed of truth, which is why they take root in our minds.

Step 4: Write down the evidence against your thoughts. In which ways are your sabotaging thoughts false?

Step 5: Weed your thought garden. Pull out the thoughts you no longer want to believe, and plant more helpful ones. Once you begin questioning your preconditioned beliefs, you can start replacing the most common starving-artist thoughts with more empowering ones.


Take the First Step

Making decisions is hard! We waste so much time and energy “thinking about it.” We can also lose money when we take too much time to make up our minds and miss opportunities

You make countless decisions to move forward in your life, your art, and your business. But when you don’t decide, of course you don’t have to risk failure. Keep in mind that your customers, too, are afraid to risk making mistakes—such as buying the wrong art. That’s why the belief triad is a powerful tool. Projecting a strong belief about yourself and your art will help your customers worry less about making their own mistakes by investing in your art. When you’re uncertain, you’ll be projecting uncertainty, which will repel your customers. When you’re confident, you’ll be projecting certainty, which will make your customers feel more comfortable about buying from you.

Rather than spend your energy worrying about making the “right” decision or the “best” decision, which will send you down a rabbit hole of procrasti-learning and analysis paralysis, it’s better to make a quick decision and invest your energy in committing to it. There’s a reason why Jeopardy! champions credit quick buzzer skills as the key to their success. Being the first to hit the buzzer often means they’re acting before they’re absolutely sure of the answer. Rather than focusing on making perfect choices, spend your energy focusing on taking inspired actions and committing to the choices you’ve already made. There’s no way of knowing for sure if you’ve ever made the right choice, so always assume you made the right decision and act from that place.


Focus on What Matters Most

Starving artists sometimes fall prey to relying on “Rapunzel-style” marketing. In the fairy tale, Rapunzel never leaves her castle and is rescued by a prince who finds her. If you’ve heard stories of artists being discovered and hope that will happen to you, then you’re wishing for a fairy-tale ending. What you might not understand is that the media likes to portray artists as being “discovered,” but more often than not, these artists have been working at making their own opportunities for years before the world took notice. Make your own fairy-tale endings through your inspired actions.

In many cases, artists misdiagnose the problems that limit them. You may think your problem is in one area, say prospecting, when really it’s in another, like pricing. Think you need a bigger audience? Maybe you’re too focused on low-profit art (a production problem), or maybe you’re pricing your existing art too low (a pricing problem). Think you don’t know how to sell on social media? Typically, that means you aren’t using social media to connect and prospect (a prospecting problem), or you don’t know how to close sales (a promotion problem). Think you don’t have time to get it all done? When you’ve misdiagnosed your problem, you’re spending time on the wrong things (a productivity problem). Generally, these classic mistakes occur when an artist doesn’t understand the five foundations of building a business or because of limiting beliefs that inevitably affect their progress.

Production Plan: Consistently build a body of work and commit to your sacred creative time.

Pricing Plan: Your prices and the amount of production you create with your production plan must add up to the income you’re seeking. If not, you’ll need to raise your prices

Prospecting Plan: Build a list of people who are prepared to pay top dollar. Building a list of collectors who love you and your art is easier than you think (without using expensive advertising).

Promotion Plan: Turn prospects into repeat buyers and raving fans. Learn what to say so your ideal buyers joyfully whip out their credit cards to purchase your art.

Productivity Plan: Get the right things done (with more focus) in less time.


Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

You can develop your authentic voice by embracing what makes you weird. Although the word “weird” might make you feel uncomfortable or may sound insulting, consider the origin of the word. The history of the word “weird” can be traced to Scotland and was popularized in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The weird sisters prophesize Macbeth’s destiny, and in Elizabethan England, the word “weird” meant “fate” or “destiny.” The association with the supernatural morphed the word’s overall meaning. As people began to reject the mystical and supernatural, “weird” began to take on negative connotations. But where your art is concerned, remember the word’s origin.

Society trains us to vilify anything that’s eccentric or different. When we recognize traits of our own artistic voice that differ from the mainstream, we need to deliberately raise our authentic voices, not quiet them. To make it as an artpreneur, amplify the very things you might consider weird about you and your art. At its core, weirdness is the magic that separates the merely mundane from the truly special. And embracing that magic is the secret to fulfilling your destiny as an artist.

If you’re reluctant to be weird, or even different, it may be because you’re inclined to people-please. People-pleasers create art that resembles what’s most popular, not because they don’t know how to create different or original art, but because they’re afraid of what other people might think.

When you hide your eccentricities, you’re not showing up authentically—and, most often, these are the very things that make you memorable! When you market your art, make your point of view stand out from the crowd. Stop worrying about being weird and pleasing everyone; instead, make and promote that special art that only you can.


Sell Happy Endings

There are two reasons—and only two reasons—why people will buy anything. Either the product or service solves a problem, or it gives them pleasure. For example, aspirin cures a headache (removes pain), while chocolate and wine provide pleasure. With the arts, from music to painting and poetry, the general rule is that consumption of the arts brings pleasure. That doesn’t mean the subject matter has to be rainbows and daisies; after all, people take pleasure in horror films, dark humor, goth art, and emo music. But ultimately your art is a product that makes people feel good, and you want to emphasize that happy ending.

Most marketing experts recommend that marketers focus on the pain: all those fears and anxieties that keep people up at night and give them night sweats.

If you’re focused only on how your art solves a problem (using language like “Fill your wall!”), you’re focused on the lowest value your art can provide. Sometimes focusing on a problem just doesn’t make sense. Flowers, cookies, and art are sold by reminding buyers of the pleasure they’ll receive. For example, you may have the problem of boredom, but no movie promoter would say, “Watch the new Harry Potter movie! It alleviates boredom!” That would be ridiculous. Instead, creators and promoters focus on how books, movies, music, dance, and art elicit pleasurable feelings.

So the most effective way to inspire people to purchase your art (and pay big bucks for it) is to focus on their wet dreams, not their night sweats. For example, it’s for pleasure that collectors eagerly pony up thousands of dollars for a felted chicken stool that might impress their friends when they entertain, or simply prompt them to crack a smile at the end of a long day when they prop up their tired feet. Sure, you can prop your feet on a pile of books—but a whimsical footstool in the shape of a chicken: priceless.

Remember that although it’s okay to talk about how your art fulfills a need, toilet paper also fills a need. Again, Mastercard doesn’t discuss in their commercials how carrying around the credit card allows the dad to not have to hit the ATM or carry a wad of cash. All those needs that the credit card meets aren’t mentioned at all during the commercial. Put most of your attention on how your product gives buyers pleasure. For example, instead of emphasizing the pain of the blank wall, fine artists can emphasize the pleasure of showing off a beautiful home in time for the holidays.