TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 209 How to Recession Proof Your Art Business


Speaker 1:
It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place podcast, an art world inside a podcast for artists by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman:
Well, hey there, my friend, it’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration, and I’m bringing you a roundup from the Artpreneur flash briefings for the week. This week, we’re talking all about setting big goals, fear of success, telling the story about your art, how to sell during a recession, and you’ll learn about the Israeli artist and environmental activist Beverly Barkat.
Not having a goal at all is like driving your car aimlessly around until you run out of gas. You need to know what your destination is. And you should even set a goal beyond the goal so that your upper limit is high. The best way to explain this concept of goal setting, in other words the goal beyond the goal, is with my grandfather’s favorite quote by Robert Browning. “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” You’ll want to create a goal that makes you feel excited, since those feelings will motivate your actions. Remember, your thoughts generate feelings that fuel your actions, which ultimately drive your results. That’s why it’s important to monitor your thoughts, to make sure they’ll lead to the outcome you’re looking for. So tell me, my friend, what is your big goal? If you’re looking to master the emotional side of goal setting, I did a deep dive on this with episode number 175 at the Inspiration Place podcast. You’ll find that over at

Recently, I moved to New York’s Upper West Side. I basically feel as though I’m living inside of a Seinfeld episode. We’ve got gossipy, doorman, real life Kramers living on the 12th floor. There’s also the elderly couple in my building that takes over all 10 of the washing machines in the laundry room at one time. And then in the building directly across from my bedroom window, whoever lives there leaves the light on all night long so it glows into my bedroom all through the night.

There is one episode of the beloved sitcom that does come up for me, that you might be living in. And most people don’t consider this, they think that what holds them back is fear of failure. But I see fear of success being just as much as a problem. So in this episode, George, who is a neurotic New Yorker shares with his therapist that he’s afraid of his television pilot succeeding. If it does succeed, he believes something really bad will happen to him. And as soon as he finishes telling her this, his therapist notices a white discoloration on his lip and the hilarity en sues while George assumes he’s about to die of skin cancer.

Now, although Jerry Seinfeld, during the, I don’t know if you remember the early Seinfelds when they had, well, maybe you never watched Seinfeld, but during their early Seinfelds, they would have little standup routines and one of Jerry Seinfeld’s stand up routine, he says, “Fear of success is scraping the bottom of the fear barrel.” However, this fear is fairly common and comes in many flavors. I do hear from artists who say they’re afraid that they won’t be able to keep up. And this is from artists who are having trouble making sales, that they’re already worried about having trouble keeping up.

Now unhelpful stories about why success might lead to a negative outcome are your brain’s way of keeping you safe. Your brain will come up with all the ways, taking the leap to become an artpreneur is a bad idea, and that includes paranoid fantasies of success. So if you catch yourself coming up with reasons that prevent you from taking action, whether that is a fear of failure or fear of success, you’re going to need to remind yourself that it’s safe to want success and everything that comes with it. For the fictional George and Jerry, their series gets canceled moments after George receives the results of a negative biopsy. However, for the real life writers, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the TV series becomes a cult classic and no karmic cancer was necessary there.

Now this little fear of success parable was actually a story I cut out of my book, Artpreneur. As much as I loved it, we just decided we didn’t need to include it in the book. But if you need a little help managing your mind, you don’t have to wait until my book comes out. It’s not coming out until January of 2023. I’ve put together a freebie just for you. Every chapter title in the book, Artpreneur is also an affirmation. So I made a list of all 12 of these affirmations that you need to embody for artpreneur success. You can get that at Now, if you’re listening to this while it’s live, you can also get a special bonus audio from my go to marketing mentor, Amy Porterfield. It’s a 15 minute visualization audio. You can find out more about that on the thank you page. So again, go to

At the end of the day, people need to connect with your art in order to want to collect it. Whether you’re a traditional or abstract artist, a sculptor or a metalsmith, your artwork needs words to go along with it. But don’t fret, writing your artist statement or descriptions for your website or social media may be easier than you think. What you need to do is simply lean into who you are, what you believe and the why behind what you do. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to call up a friend, let them interview you about your latest art piece. And then you can either write down or just record what you’ve said and transcribe it.

Now, if you want even more detailed advice on telling your story, I have a number of podcast episodes all about that. So whether it’s for social media, your website or your emails, you’ll want to make sure you listen to Story Sells Your Art with Laura Belgrade, that’s episode number 87, and you can get that at You’ll also want to go back and revisit a recent episode I did if you missed out on it. I did that with Matthew Dicks. It’s called Story Worthy. He gives lots of great tips for writing stories, so that episode is number 204. Go to

One thing that I absolutely love to do is help artists understand all the nerdy Wall Street financial data and how they can apply it to their marketing. So a recent report I read at the end of July, and this one is from Win BIG Media, focuses on consumer habits and spending. Now there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is not going to be a surprise. The facts are that in the United States, we’re most likely headed into a recession. And of course that will impact consumer spending. But there’s good news too and that’s what I want you to focus on. More than ever people are leaving their homes to shop. Even grocery shopping that went online during 2020 has returned to pre pandemic levels. People want to get out of the house. Fears around COVID have gone down and people are craving in person experiences.

So while people may be tightening their belts, they are more likely to be spending their dollars in brick and mortar shops, such as galleries or at in person shows like arts and crafts fairs and festivals. In addition, the report pointed out that you need to remember there are three levers shopper looks at, price is only one of them. So now more than ever, you want to focus on quality and convenience. Any time you can remove friction points in your art collector’s experience, you’ll be more likely to make a sale. So can you offer free shipping for that commission rather than asking them to pick it up from your studio? Can you offer a home visit to help them measure the space above their couch so they know exactly what size they need?

Another point that the writer of this report, his name is Phillip Stutts, and others made is that you can offer bundles of your services rather than a discount. Shoppers respond to that. So for example, can you offer a set of three prints? Maybe 100 holiday cards. Perhaps you bundled two online classes together at a lower price than offering them separately. I do that all the time. So I have a class on painting portraits of people, that’s Watercolor Portrait Academy. And I have a class on drawing and painting cats, Crazy Cats and another one on dogs called Dog Days. And I am currently offering them as a bundle of all three so that my art students can save money.

Now, if you’re looking to build your first online class or perhaps you have tried on the past and you really want to learn how to do it better, I’ve got some great news for you. We’ve recently updated our course creator starter kit. It has brand new case studies, examples and tools you’ll need to get started. You can download these absolutely free when you go to

Whenever I travel, you can usually find me dragging my family to some remote section of the city to see an art exhibit that no one else has heard of that I read about in the New York Times. Well, actually I do that here in New York as well. When I visited my son in Israel, this past March, we took a 30 minute taxi ride to the Jerusalem Aquarium, which actually isn’t even in Jerusalem, it’s almost in Bethlehem, because I heard about an Israeli artist, Beverly Barkat that had created a monumental sculpture made out of recycled plastic. This piece called Earth Poetica started its exhibition tour at the Jerusalem Aquarium in February of 2022 and will eventually come to the World Trade Center here in New York. Let me tell you about this piece.
So she casted pieces made of plastic waste in a crystal clear epoxy resin. So seen from the outside, the sphere has a stained glass effect. When you get up close, you can see that it’s not quite so pretty. Far away it looks like expensive jewelry, like the earth, very beautiful. When you get closer, you can make out logos on the plastic bags that were used to create the piece. And you also have cutouts that she made of the globe so that you can actually look pure inside the globe and you can see the underside of how she made it.

It’s not so pretty. You can see the scrunched-up plastic waste, and she did not forget to include the large masses in the ocean, which are floating debris that can now be seen from space, that’s in the ocean. And she also used different shades and layers of blue and green to create sea swirls and the thermal changes. So working over the past three years, she accumulated plastic from around the world. Once the pandemic outbreak curtailed international travel, people had heard about the project, began sending her their plastic waste from abroad. And she also collects discarded fishing nets from Jaffa and other spots along Israel’s Mediterranean coast. All right. So I just thought you should learn about this artist and hopefully you’ll get to see that if not in Israel, perhaps in New York or one of the other spots. Or you can just ask Auntie Google to show you a picture.
Here’s a wrap-up of all the freebies that I shared during the week. Make sure that you listen to Master the Emotional Side of Goal Setting. That’s We also created a free PDF for you which includes 12 Artpreneur Affirmation. You can get that at And brand new, the course creator starter kit, go get that at And finally, you want to listen to two more podcasts. Your Story Sells Your Art with Laura Belgray,, as well as Story Worthy with Matthew Dicks. You can find the links to everything we mentioned on the Inspiration Place podcast show notes, which is All right, well that’s it until next time, until then stay inspired.

Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening to the Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at on Instagram @SchulmanArt, and of course on


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