ARTISTS: Beware False Economies!
Do you look like a Serious Artist, or a small time cheapskate?
But are you getting so focused on survival skills that you’re neglecting your prosperity skills?
Artists are always looking to minimize cost, cut corners, and do things on the cheap.
Uh oh. The C word. Cheap.
The unfortunate thing about cheap is, when you’re focused on it, you very often get exactly what you’re focused on. You look cheap!
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If you want to be a successful artist, you must avoid cheapness at all cost! I’m not suggesting that you swing the pendulum and be wasteful or a conspicuous consumer either, but there’s two things you need to understand about clients:
1. They need to have confidence in you. Nobody – you and me included – feels good about spending money on ANYTHING that doesn’t seem like a solid bet. We won’t spend a dollar on a hot dog if that hot dog cart is held together with rusty wire and bubble gum, or if the vendor looks like something that sprouts on logs after a good rain.
So what makes you think someone will be miraculously forgiving of your sloppy business methods and spend large?
2. Success breeds confidence. So if we give that rumpled hot dog vendor a wide margin and turn the corner and see a shiny food truck selling uptown hot dogs and a lineup 10 people deep, what’s our perception of that guy? He must be good – he’s got folks lined up, his operation looks snappy, it inspires confidence. And it shouldn’t be lost on you that he’s getting $10 for his hotdogs!
Here’s a few of the most common ways artists shoot themselves in the foot by being foolishly cheap:
1. Not having their own website and kidding themselves that an Etsy or Facebook page is enough. You can still have those things, but they should feed your website, not the other way around.
2. Having their website on some kind of free or shared hosting so their web address is www.whateveryoursite.wordpress.com. This screams “I can’t even afford a website!” which translates to the client as “She’s not a serious artist and we’d be wasting our time and money!”
3. Combining their art website with their other activities. If someone’s gone to see your art, don’t confuse them with your pages about interpretive dance lessons, transmission repair, taxidermy, and weasel breeding.
4. Using a gmail, hotmail, Apple, or heaven help us an AOL email account. You need your email to be in the format of ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. If you have one, you should have a couple of accounts such as contact@ sales@ and so on.
5. Using their home phone number and messaging for business. If you call a business, you don’t get a message that says “Hi, this is Mama; Papa, Little Johnny, Little Janey, Roofus the cat, Fluffy the Dog, Sleepy the Goldfish, and Dennis the Hermit Crab can’t come to the phone…”
If people are actually calling in regards to your art, don’t inflict this on them. Get a special number and have someone OTHER than you leave the “Leave a message”, message. It makes you sound like you’ve got a bigger operation!
6. Not having a website where people can actually buy something and/or not being able to take credit cards. Seriously. How can you expect to sell something when it’s impossible for them to buy?!
7. Printing off their own business cards and stationary at home. Ye Gods. Lots of places will make you 500 professional cards for almost as cheap as those self-print business card packs, never mind the ink, so why are you screwing around with it?!
8. Using crappy photographs. Either learn to do it correctly or cough up some dough to get it done right. Better not to show anything than a blurry, ill-lit, smudge. How is that attractive?! See our article on How To Photograph Art.
You needn’t overspend or waste money
But lots of artists make excuses like “When I begin to sell, I’ll make stuff better!”
Uh huh. The problem is that being stupid cheap is creating barriers to the sales they could be making!
Beware False Economies!
The problem is that being stupid cheap is creating barriers to the sales they (you) could be making!Click to tweet
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QUESTION: Would you offer to take me out for a beer and sandwich to pick for the chance to pick my brains for a couple of hours?
Then get The Fast Start Art Marketing Primer.
It’s what I’d tell you face to face, and it’s cheaper than buying me lunch… 😉
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