I have wanted to address this topic for months now as I create classes and listen to my students. Many of the private messages I receive and hear about in my groups is that many artists have a paralyzing fear of putting oneself out there. So many of you want to start making money from your art, but when it comes time to post, you are held back because of a few key reasons that I want to address in this blog post.
1. Fear of Failure
The idea of sharing your art, let alone selling it, is really scary. It is easy to second guess yourself! I will say that if you are passionate about your art, willing to continually learn, and you put all you’ve got into it, then you are good enough and you will become successful.
And, the bonus is, if you keep practicing and refining your skills, then you can become a great designer. Experience is everything!
At first, the road is long, and it may seem you have no traction. But I guarantee you that if you keep posting your goods for sale, you will eventually make sales.
I’ve had my fair share of failures along the way. I have spent many hours uploading art for sale to end up with only a small number of sales, but I allowed myself to learn from each and every experience. And I’m a better designer and have a more successful business today because of what I have learned.
2. Yes, it is possible to make money with your work…
I hear the fear of selling art frequently and I totally understand. It’s a totally valid concern. You’ve invested so much time creating your art and you want to ensure it is saleable. The hope is that you can build up your business to become profitable.
I have narrowed down this info for you so it is easy to understand. In my opinion, these are two considerations that make the difference between those who can become successful selling their designs and those that don’t make the cut:
Inititally, it is necessary to learn and develop your foundational skills. These skills become the building blocks for you to develop your body of work and for you to develop as a designer. Learn efficiency workflows at this stage so you can become more prolific. If you hit these milestones, you can continually grow and develop as a designer and create designs that will sell. Start thinking in terms of collections. It is harder to sell one-off pieces, but if a customer can see 6 related pieces, they are more likely to buy one or two pieces that coordinate.
Secondly, and this is critical, you need to know your end user. It is important to study trends and figure out who would be buying your designs. This helps you figure out the type of market you are trying to appeal to. Take a visit to the type of stores that might sell products adorned with art, like Pier One, Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, Tuesday Morning, Target or any gift shops in your area. Look at the décor and table-top items you’d love to see your work on and ask yourself what the common thread is for the art that is being used. This will arm you with the knowledge you need and you’ll be well on your way to designing gorgeous designs that are truly saleable.
3. But there is so much competition …
One of the best pieces of advice I was given early on was to NOT compare myself to others. Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by this! Every artist started somewhere, and you may be comparing yourself to someone who has been doing this for 15 or 20 years! They, too, started where you are, tentatively sharing their first pieces and waiting with bated breath to sell their first piece!
It is important to concentrate on cultivating your skillset and improving yourself incrementally each and every day. Slowly it will add up and you’ll look back a few months later and be surprised at how much progress you have made. And imagine a few years later! It took me a few years to diversify the income from my art and set routines to help me constantly add to my POD listings, and it is paying off. And eventually, this gave me the confidence to look at licensing my work.
Remember, you are unique. Take the time to develop your own body of work and methods and eventually your signature style will come shining through. That is what will identify you and that is what will make you successful. There is an endless need for art and as you become more and more experienced, you will figure out what sells for you and to your own audience.