THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
I have to say that with the dwindling reach on social media, social media is a poor way to do this promotion. But even years ago, I found the best way was through the email campaign. Now, my Artist Incubator clients get the exact emails for this calendar email campaign inside their members library. So if you are an Artist Incubator client, you’re getting it in your library. If you want the step-by-step playbook of how to implement the strategy, then there’s never been a better time to join the incubator.
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 arts. And now, your host, Miriam Schulman.
Well, hey there, this is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration and host of the Inspiration Place podcast. You’re listening to episode number 210, and I’m so grateful that you’re here. Now, if I haven’t done so lately, I just want to take a moment and thank you for being a part of my community and joining me here, now coming to you twice a week. I genuinely hope that each episode gives you the inspiration and the strategies you need and ultimately make your artist dreams real a heck of a lot faster than they did for me. I also hope that my personal stories that I’ve been sharing here and on my Alexa Artpreneur Diaries Flash Briefings, which you can hear on the roundups on Friday, leave you feeling a little less alone.
I’ve been very real and honest and vulnerable, and it’s because I know how lonely being an artist can be with our big feelings and feeling different. And maybe you’re alone in your studio trying to make all your art, trying to make all this work, you’re at your computer working on your marketing. So my goal with these episodes, with this podcast, is to let you know that your feelings are normal. And I enjoy spending this time with you. I want to help you feel less alone because you and I are friends.
So thank you for sharing my podcast with other artists if you’ve done so. And if you’re with me on Instagram, thanks for hanging out with me there. But if you’re not and you want to find me, come find me. I’m @SchulmanArt, S-C-H-U-L-M-A-N-A-R-T. That is where I engage the most and probably post the most, especially behind the scenes stuff, which you can find in my Instagram stories. I’ll be sharing a little bit how I made over my kitchen by myself today as one of the… Not one of the strategies, but if you want to see pictures, that’s the place where I usually share that kind of behind the scenes stuff that I don’t typically share anywhere else.
All right, my friend. So are you ready to dive into today’s episode? Because this is a good one. A lot of my entrepreneur friends, like Amy Porterfield and Jen Lehner, have been recording podcast episodes to help their audience create a quick cash injection for their businesses. And although I think this concept is absolutely brilliant, I know that the strategies that they share may not be helpful to you because they’re not designed for us artists. So I love this idea and I knew I had to create something specifically for artists, so that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you today.
Okay. So first of all, what is a quick cash injection? Now, there are so many times I hear from artists, perhaps they’re just starting out so they don’t have the funds to invest in their business and they don’t want to pull from their savings. Maybe they want to finally hire a virtual assistant. I’m going to just pretend this is you right now. Maybe it’s you. You want to finally hire a virtual assistant to support you for a few hours a week, or maybe you just want to help cover the cost of your website or jury fees for art shows or booth fees, or you’re ready to up level to a really good email service provider, or perhaps support you in enrolling in art biz coaching, like the Artist Incubator.
So I truly want to help as many artists as possible. And especially since clients who go through the incubator, earn an extra $10,000 or double their incomes, like Artist Incubator client Priya Gore. She’ll be coming on the podcast real soon. I think… I already recorded the episode and I forget if it’s coming up before or after this one, but she’s built a six-figure income after quitting her job as an engineer. So I want the same success that many of my clients have, and I don’t want not having an extra $2,000 to hold you back.
So some of these strategies that I’m sharing with you today, I’ve only shared with my clients. And if you think you could really use a little moula for something in your business, like one of the things we just mentioned, or, heck, maybe you’ve got all those basics covered, but you just want a little extra above and beyond, that’s what today’s episode is about.
All right, so here’s the deal. I know these strategies work. How do I know this? Because I’ve done them all myself, and each one of these will make you between one to $2,000 in a short period of time, which is the whole point. Now, of course, inside the incubator, you’ll learn a lot more strategies that will help you make more sales, but those strategies all require a longer timeframe and more work, so for example, like hosting an open studio, or how to get those lookie-loos who come to your booth to go from interested to sold. But in the meanwhile, here’s how you can use these strategies.
So I want you to listen to them. I’ve pulled together three, and definitely I have more that I’m going to save for a future episode, just to tease you. But here are the three I’m going to share with you today. I want you to decide which one of these resonates with you the most. You don’t need to do them all; one strategy will likely be good enough to give you that extra one to $2,000 you’re looking for. And whether you decide to use just one strategy or maybe you want to use two or, heck, all three of them, go all in and commit to it. Now, most of what I’m sharing today is specifically for visual artists, but you can adjust these and make them work for you and your type of creative business. So let’s get started with strategy number one.
Strategy number one: Offer a one-day semi-private workshop. Now ,this can be in-person or online, but the beauty of a one-day workshop is you only need a few people, like four people at $250 each, to make a quick $1,000. And with only four people, you certainly can create a COVID-safe outdoor setup. For a one-day workshop, I suggest you teach a very specific thing. For example, if you’re a photographer, this might be how to use your digital SLR camera. I picked this example because I took this exact class a few years ago and I did double check the current pricing for it. So this was at the International Center for Photography. They offer this class for $285 per person for a large group format class.
Now, like I said, you could do this online through Zoom, but if you want to earn money quickly with absolutely no tech setup, no learning curve of how to create an online class and deliver a class, the beauty of doing this as in-person is it will really help you when you do want to take that class online one day. So you can see what the struggles are, and then you’ll be ready to sell it online in the digital world and make a heck of a lot more money because you’ll be able to anticipate what students really need to know.
So here are a couple of ideas that different kinds of artists can use, and certainly there is no end of ideas for this. So you can do a one-day art journal class workshop. You can do a one-day outline your book. This is for writers obviously, maybe it’s the one-day book proposal class. Maybe it’s the one-day learn to style your creations for Instagram. Or I know my mother would actually want to do this, the Instagram for grandma’s class. You get the idea. The whole idea is that this is high value and you don’t need to do advertising because you only need a few people. And yes, yes, like I said before, you can do this on Zoom if that’s your preference, but it is easier to do this in-person, outside, you just need a card table or two card tables.
Make sure to prepare for this. You want to create an outline for yourself, all the steps you want to teach. Keep yourself organized. And that way if you do end up turning this into an online class, you’ll have that outline ready to go. Now remember, since it is semi-private you can charge significantly higher than a large group because people feel safer and they know they’re going to get the attention that they want.
To get the word out, post this absolutely everywhere, all of your social media platforms, LinkedIn, and of course your email list. You will have a date already picked out. You’re going to decide this is the date I’m going to do it. Don’t do the wishy-washy thing where you post online, it says, “Oh, I think about doing it this date or this date, which works better? Who’s interested.?” No. You’re going to pick a date. Like, “Okay. People. September 15th. Here’s the class. I’m only taking four people. Who wants it?” So then anyone who’s interested, all they have to decide is yes or no.
Make sure they know that there are a limited number of spots, “There’s only four spots and you must sign up. They’re going to go fast.” That’s going to make it super attractive. And don’t forget to email your friends and family to ask them to share this information with anyone they know who they think might be interested. That’s not spamming everybody by the way, that’s a one-to-one email. So, “Hey, Jill, hope you’re doing well. I just saw Tommy at soccer practice. He looks so cute. And by the way, I’m offering a one-day digital SLR how to use your camera workshop. Do you know anybody who would be interested?” It’s not selling to your friends, it’s asking them if they know anybody who would be interested, and usually people do.
Strategy number two. All right, when I was selling my house, I had a lot of furniture that the real estate agent and the stager told me made my house look dated and old. At first I was a little bit surprised. So they’re talking about my brown furniture. I was surprised because my stuff is in really good condition. I mean, it doesn’t have any scratches or stains, it didn’t look shabby, but it did make my house look fuddy-duddy because they were out of style and it did not make the pictures look good. So I had to move a lot of the furniture out and fast before we took pictures for the real estate photos and for the open house. So much of it, I actually gave away on, wait for it, Facebook Marketplace.
Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, Miriam, I don’t see how giving away furniture helps me make money.” Well, here’s the thing. After my house went into contract, I started looking at the remaining brown furniture pieces and I could see in my mind’s eye how much better they would look if they were painted. Now, some of the furniture I kept because I wanted it, but I couldn’t keep it all because we were moving into a much smaller apartment in New York City. So I sold it on, you guessed it, Facebook Marketplace.
Now, brown furniture, nobody wants to pay for. So you can pretty much get that for free or very, very cheap. Now, what I’m telling you is you don’t have to paint your furniture for resale because you can get other people’s brown furniture, sometimes for free, on Facebook Marketplace. And by the way, painting furniture is so much easier than you think. You do not have to sand it. You do not have to strip it. As long as the furniture is clean and degreased, it will take paint. So all you have to do is give it a good washing down with simple dishwasher soap, nothing toxic, and then apply two coats of acrylic paint.
You’re not going to use your fancy Golden’s acrylic paint. I found the best paint for painting furniture’s actually Fusion mineral paint. And don’t mess around with colors; everybody either wants white or cream. The exact color I love is raw silk. And if the furniture has outdated hardware, you’re going to want to get a screwdriver, take the hardware off, paint your furniture and replace it with black matte knobs and cabinet pulls from Amazon. So I’ve linked both the Fusion mineral paint, the exact color I like, and the hardware for you in the show notes.
Now in terms of profit, you can easily flip a dresser that you can get for $20 or even free for $400 each. And let me tell you, my friend, painting brown furniture is highly satisfying. You’re going to also want to check out the show notes to see a few pictures of my favorite redos. I actually used that paint, that raw silk color, Fusion mineral paint, and black hardware from Amazon to redo my New York City kitchen apartment. So these are skills that you may want to have just for yourself.
Okay, strategy number three: This is the calendar pre-sale. So now is the perfect time to start pre-selling your calendars. Don’t wait for November. By December, everyone’s all set. Now, I understand this strategy is going to work the best if you are a 2D artist, like a photographer, a digital artist, or a painter. Here’s the thing. You don’t need to order them. That’s why this strategy is perfect for a cash injection. Yes, you’ll have to eventually order them, but that’s the beauty of the pre-order.
So what you need to do is choose a collection of 12 related images. Hopefully, you already create your work in a series so this shouldn’t be too hard for you. The idea is you’re going to send an email out to your list letting them know that if they pre-order by your deadline, they’ll get a free gift with their calendar. The exact strategy I’ve used that works beautifully is I order matching pens. It seems like a small thing, but everyone loves the free gift. I get both the calendars and the pens on VistaPrint. You can wait to order your calendars until after the deadline, when you know exactly how many you need and you’ve already collected your money.
So here’s how I’ve done it. I am part of VistaPrint’s money saver program, or you can wait for them to have a coupon, and the calendars come to about $14 each if you order 50. This is more than they were in the past by the way. In the past, I used to be able to get them for $7. And I have tried looking for other sources, this is the cheapest you can currently get calendars. Even my source in Hong Kong, it’s still $14. But I did sell them for $39 each, so that is still a $20 profit. The pens come to a $1.20 each. So like I said, that’s still… For $16 in cost, $39 is your price, so that is still $23 in profit.
Now, one thing that is kind of a side strategy that I always do in addition to the calendars is those 12 images are going to become your collection for the Fall season, for all of your shows, for your online merchandising, for everything, because you’ll have the calendars ready to go and then you’re going to make note card sets. So you have 12 images that make up the calendar, and then you can create two note card sets, six images in one note card set, six images in a second note card set. I sold those note card sets for $24 each. And then I made matted prints, one matted print for each image in the calendar, and those matted prints I sold for $75 each. So all those additional products, that’s not going to be your quick cash strategy. Don’t mix up the two strategies. But just so you know, this is a way to create a cohesive collection that is going to satisfy your needs for the whole Fall into Christmas holiday season.
The quick cash is just the pre-order of the calendars, and you can make about $1,000 in profit. You’ll need to sell 50 calendars. And if you really want to up the ante on the urgency factor, you can say in your emails and in your postings that there are only 50 available so people will feel the urgency of the time limit of getting the pre-order in by the certain date as well as the number factor. If you end up selling less than 50, if you end up selling 40, you go ahead and order 50 anyway, and then you’ll have 10 calendars either to sell or you can use them for nice lower cost holiday gifts. I use them for teacher gifts every year and my kids’ teachers absolutely love them. In fact, they even asked for them. So like my daughter’s cello teacher always posted it up in his studio and absolutely loved the calendars.
All right, so now how do you promote the calendar? I have to say that with the dwindling reach on social media, social media is a poor way to do this promotion, but even years ago, I found the best way was through the email campaign. Now, my Artist Incubator clients get the exact emails for this calendar email campaign inside their members library. So if you are an Artist Incubator client, you’re getting it in your library. If you want the step-by-step playbook of how to implement the strategy, then there’s never been a better time to join the incubator; both the self-study and the mastermind members get their hands on the same strategy.
If you want to hear more about the Artist Incubator, either track, go to SchulmanArt.com/biz. The mastermind level is by application only and the self-study opens periodically. And we often have a masterclass where you can learn how to sell more art. And at the end of that masterclass, you can learn more about the self-study. So go to SchulmanArt.com/biz, as in the letter B-I-Z.
Now, just as a side note that you’re going to want to know, whenever I sell these calendars and these collections, I usually create an online art class to go with it because all the promotion you’re doing with those images, with the calendars, with the note cards, with the prints, with the originals, that’s going to create a lot of buzz. And if you’re like me and you have a lot of artists who follow you, they’re going to want to know, “Hey, how do you create your kind of art?”
So if want to create an online art class, again, this is not the quick cash strategy, but I have a free bonus just for you. It’s the course creator starter kit, and inside you’ll get resources to help you get started with your first online art class. To get your hands on it, go to SchulmanArt.com/guide. And if you’re listening to this when it goes live in August, for a limited time when you download the free guide, I’ll introduce you to my mentor, Amy Porterfield, who has some additional resources to help you on a digital course creator journey. So if you’re listening to this as it goes live, she’s offering a boot camp as well as a free masterclass. When this goes live, I don’t think the free masterclass is available yet, but download the guide and I’ll make sure I’ll let you know as soon as that opens, and you’ll learn about all the resources inside there.
Now, if you’re really interested in creating an online art class, I highly recommend you tune in next week. Next week, Amy Porterfield is my special guest on the show, and we’re going to be chatting about your first online art class. You definitely don’t want to miss it. So if you’re in your podcast app, if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, on iTunes, make sure you hit that little plus sign in the upper right-hand corner. If you’re on Spotify, I think it’s follow. You need to hit follow. I’m not sure what they are on the other podcast apps, but you do not want to miss this episode. Again, to download the course creator starter kit, go to SchulmanArt.com/guide. And that will always be there, by the way, whether you’re listening now or in the future. So SchulmanArt.com/guide.
All right, so there you have it. Let’s do a quick recap of those three strategies so you can decide which one is best for you. So the first one is offering a limited-time, very exclusive, one-day workshop. I personally love this one. Number two, do a furniture flip, either your own furniture that you don’t want anymore, or get something free or very cheap on Facebook Marketplace or at the thrift store. And number three is the calendar pre-sale. Create a pre-sale with a free gift. Now of course, if calendars don’t work for the kind of art you do because you’re not a 2D genre, I bet you can pre-sell something else. The main thing you want to do is create a deadline for ordering it and give them a free gift with purchase. It’s kind of like how the cosmetic stores have their little free gifts.
Now, remember, if you want the exact emails to implement the strategy, and you’re a member of the Artist Incubator, to get your hands on it, go to your members’ area. And if you’re not a member yet, why not? Go to SchulmanArt.com/biz. For the mastermind, you do need to apply, but self-study is open to artists of all levels and you can find out when enrollment opens up next.
All right. I just want to take a moment to make my lawyers happy with a little disclaimer just to say this episode doesn’t guarantee that all these strategies will work for you. Each one does take a little time, energy, and effort, but I’ve personally done all of them so I know they work. Now, I’m doing this episode now because I know some of you want to spend your extra $2,000 on the Artist Incubator. And it does break my heart when I hear people say, “I don’t have the money to enroll.” Because I know if you do enroll, you can easily add an extra $10,000, like it did for Marisabel or my client Bart Levy who doubled her art income in just a year. So if you need to make some extra cash in order to join, then these strategies will help you do that.
Okay, my passion maker, thank you so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you at the same time, same place next week. Stay inspired.
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