There’s nothing easier than being a good artist and a poor artist. Just look at artists that you know, past and present, and you will see what I mean. Most likely you don’t need any convincing. You already know this fact to be true.
Art and business simply do not mix very well, at least not when done at the same time. They are unlikely bedfellows, more like oil and vinegar than water and grenadine.
And yet, financially successful artists do exist. What is their secret? They practice art and business separately, not simultaneously.
That’s because creating art requires a different mindset than running a business. Maybe it’s because one is left brain oriented and the other right brain oriented. Or maybe it’s because one is creative while the other is logical. Whatever the case might be, it is simply not possible to create art and run a business at the same time. To be a successful artist in business one has to do these two things separately: make art at a given time, then run a business at a different time. One simply cannot make art while negotiating prices on their cell phone or discussing taxes with their accountant. If you try to do that, one or the other will give, if not both. Most of those who try to do this end up being good but poor artists. Some end up being both bad artists and poor artists. Losing everything is not uncommon for artists. It is unfortunate, but it is a reality.
So what should we do? We need to learn that knowing how to do something well — in this instance making art, be it photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, music, etc.– and making money selling what we do are two entirely different activities. These two activities require different skills, different mindsets and different knowledge. There is, quite simply, nothing in common between the two. It would seem, at first, that there should be a lot in common. But the fact is that there isn’t. Making art and selling art profitably are just two entirely different endeavors. In fact, they are two entirely different professions. The first profession is called ‘Artist’ the second one is called ‘Business Person’.
The problem is that artists study only one of these two professions. Therefore, they know how to be artists. They have no idea how to be a business person. So what should you do? If you are in the situation that most artists are in, the one I just described, you need to learn how to be a business person. You need to learn how to market your work, how to run a business, how to create marketing documents, how to advertise your art, how to find customers, create special offers, file your taxes, write contracts, set goals and deadlines, and the millions of other things that are part of running a financially successful business.
I know, this sounds a lot less fun than creating art. That is why the vast majority of artists don’t do it. It’s simply not the same as creating art. if you are a photographer, you probably miss hearing the key words that make your heart (and mine) sing: great light, beautiful composition, perfect exposure, stunning print quality, superb resolution, great use of hyperfocal distance, etc. etc. I know. I feel the same. But if you want to make art and be financially successful, you need to put these aside for a moment and focus not just on making art but also, and primarily, on selling art. You need to focus on making art a business and not just a creative endeavor.
I wrote a book on this subject to help you succeed in this endeavor. This book is titled Marketing Fine Art Photography and it teaches you my approach to selling my work. Before learning what I wrote in this book I was like the artists I describe in this essay: I thought that making good art was going to make me financially successful. It did not. What made me financially successful was learning how to market my work and how to run my business according to sound financial principles.
It is this knowledge that I share with you in my book. This knowledge is not based on theory, or on attending business classes. I never took a business class. I don’t have an MBA. I did not study business in school. Instead, I learned how to be a financially successful artist by finding out what works and what does not work. The school I attended is called the SOHK University. The School of Hard Knocks! And Hard Knocks I took. Quite a few of them. It doesn’t feel good and it is not fun. So one of my goals when writing this book was to help you not attend the SOHK University. There’s no reason to if you know how to do things the right way. I’ve done the hard work for you, all you need to do is read my book and apply the knowledge in it. It will work. I guarantee it.
Here it is. You can place your order at this link:
I wish you artistic and financial success. Yes, you can have both.
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