Sure, it’d be great to have someone contact us from out of the blue and take us under their wing and handle all of the marketing and promotional aspects of our careers, and manage us to fame and fortune so all we have to do is work on our art.
Even just writing that felt like a scam! (by the way, if you’ve ever been offered something like that, then you already know how many scam-artists are out there, don’t you?)
It’s pretty obvious that human nature avoids the unknown, meaning we all tend to avoid the things we don’t fully grasp.
People buy lottery tickets and avoid savings and investing.
We want things handled. We don’t want to be bothered with ‘outside distractions’.
There’re two things I’ll never delegate: marketing and the checkbook. Most people can’t wait to delegate both.
It’s an abdication of responsibility.
If you don’t (as of yet) have a working understanding of some of this, there’s a part of us that wants to hand it off…and that way if something turns out to be a stinker, we have some else who’s fault it is.
Sorry. It’s still our fault.
I don’t do the books in our businesses. I’m not a numbers guy – in fact, a case could be made for specifically NOT putting me in charge of the books.
But it’s still MY responsibility. If the Tax Vampires come looking for blood, whose name is on the paper? My accountant’s? Nope. Mine.
It’s a recipe for disaster. Ask Willie Nelson how delegating his financial affairs went – there’s so many celebrities that get taken by people they trust that it’s almost a cliché!
So while I couldn’t tell you which natural gas company supplies our home and whether it’s the same who supplies our gallery, I could find out in seconds.
I know where the money is grouping itself; I know how sales are from year to year, month to month and week to week. I know pretty dashed close what our margins are on framing, what we spent on Google Adwords last week, and what our labor costs are as a cost of sales. Every couple of weeks I get a 10 minute chat about what’s happening, I verify the numbers, sign the checks and that’s it. I don’t get all freaked out and stick my head in the sand.
Like finances, marketing is just too important not it have a handle on. Fortunately, you’re in the right place.
However, it is true that it’s nearly impossible to achieve any degree of success all by yourself. In fact virtually all successful artists have had someone else take care of the publishing, the media, etc.
But the world has changed. What worked years ago won’t work now. You NEED to understand certain things: who you are, how people think, how people make purchasing decisions, how to define and reach a market, and so on.
Ironically, 99.99% of people I’ve encountered in sales marketing and management don’t know a damn thing about marketing and selling. Sure, they like to schmooze, but you can’t pay your mortgage with schmooze (I know. I’ve tried)
I guess it’s the way of things.
- Most singers can’t sing.
- Most actors can’t act.
- Most comedians aren’t funny
- Most sales reps can’t sell.
- Most doctors can‘t heal.
- Most teachers can’t teach.
You have to look out for what Robert Ringer called “The Schmexpert”. A Schmexpert is someone who desperately wants to be an expert on something, but seems to have forgotten all about acquiring a) skills, b) knowledge, c) experience.
Come to think of it, that also sounds like a lot of artists, doesn’t it? They’ve got the talking game down but haven’t put in the time to learn their craft and skills.
Believe me, the world is FULL of ‘marketing schmexperts’ who’ll promise you the moon, and that they have all the answers.
You see, by trying to fix YOUR problems, they don’t need to work on their own.
There ARE good, knowledgeable sources of solid marketing information – you’re reading one right now, but if you’re talking to someone who hasn’t earned their living by selling art, then take their “expertise” with a grain of salt: they’re either basket cases or fuzzy-headed academics.
That means you need to understand this stuff yourself.
WARNING: Don’t swing the pendulum too far the other way. You need to understand it, but YOU don’t necessarily need to be the one physically DOING it.
As you get busier and more successful, of course you’ll have to delegate some of this, (you don’t think I still stuff envelopes do you), but I can still tell you who is getting what communication, what events are coming up, I’m prepared for meetings, I know what drawings need to be prepped for what market, what’s selling well, what isn’t and what we’re doing about it, and so on.
And every once in awhile, I get to draw something!
Get hep to The Fast Start Art Marketing Primer!
Check out the Fast Start Art Marketing Primer!
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