THE INSPIRATION PLACE PODCAST
Miriam Schulman: When you go to a place when you are selling in person, just know you’re only talking to one person at a time. Which is really what us, introverts, tend to be very good at. It’s not public speaking, so it doesn’t matter how many people are at this art fair. When you have your booth, it’s you and whoever you’re talking to. And the best-sellers are good listeners, people who think telling is selling. That’s wrong. Telling is not selling, listening, asking questions and letting your customer do all the talking is the best way to sell your art.
Speaker 1: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Shulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place Podcast, an Art World Insider 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 Shulman.
Miriam Schulman: Well, hello, my friend. It’s Miriam Schulman here. Your curator of inspiration and welcome to The Inspiration Place podcast. This is episode number 243. I couldn’t be more excited that you’re here today. Today is the birthday. The birthday of my book, Artpreneur. It is officially in the stores. I will be spending all of today, January 31st, running around from Barnes & Noble to Barnes & Noble to indie bookstore, whatever bookstores Harpercollins managed to place our producer in New York City. I’ll be running around today and signing books. I cannot wait. And these are not official book signings, by the way. This is what my agent told me to do. I’m going rogue. I’ll be just knocking down the doors, showing my ID and vandalizing books with my signature in them. So there we go. That is the plan. So for today’s podcast, I did something a little bit different than I normally do. So often when I have guests on the podcast, they’re either somebody who I admire an author, someone who is a thought leader in the mindset or the marketing or the spiritual space. And I invite them on. Or perhaps there’s somebody who is one of my artists incubator clients who have had a lot of success, and I’ve invited them on to inspire you. Today, you’re going to hear from people who are listeners just like you.
I have artists who you’re going to meet in just a moment who have been painting for more than 60 years all the way who have just started a few months ago. And I love hearing their stories and the way they’re sharing so bravely. I read from the book Artpreneur, and we go back and forth between their story, my story and their questions. I know there’s something in this for you, and I can’t wait for us to get started. But before we get started today, since today is the birthday of the book Artpreneur, of course, we’re going to talk a little bit about that. It’s not too late to order it and get some of those bonuses that I’ve been talking about. So you can get that by going to ARTPRENEURbook.com. And I would love for you to enjoy all of those bonus goodies.
In addition, if you just want to read chapter one for free, that is an option as well. Go to SchulmanArt on Instagram. That’s s-c-h-u-l-m-a-n-a-r-t and DM me the word “believe” and I will send you chapter one of my book, Artpreneur – absolutely free. So again, just DM the word believe at my Instagram and I’m @SchulmanArt over there. Okay, now on with the show.
Speaker 3: I’ve been painting for over over 60 years. I’ve been a member of the Royal Society of British Artists.
Brian Snowden: I suppose, believe it or not, it was seven or eight months ago. It’s not taken lightly and I don’t take it personally lightly that I actually said to myself. I think I might be an artist and I’m extremely humble, as I said. Really, That’s a pretty big step for me to say something like that.
Miriam Schulman: Well, that always is the first step. So I’m going to read a little bit from Choose to Believe, and we’re going to start with the end. I’m going to start by reading just the very end of this chapter. So this is ‘Now it’s your turn’.
Have you heard those creative whispers? There’s an artist in each of us wanting to break free. Your muse is tired of staying quiet and waiting for you to feel ready. Take the next step or dream bigger. You are enough. You are more than capable. And I want you to have the same confidence in running your business as you have in your incredible talent. To be successful, you must first get comfortable with owning your desire to want more wealth and visibility. Moreover, you need to see yourself as priceless before you can put a price tag on anything you create. I urge you to gamble on yourself and not give up on your dreams.
Suzanne Hadley: When did I start calling myself an artist? Maybe about five years ago. I’m a family lawyer, still practicing, and my husband went into care for his disabled and I couldn’t look after him anymore, so. When he went into care, I was a bit lost and then I just took a little painting course and suddenly I thought, I can do this. And so I’ve painted along the way and I’ve sold a few things on Blue Thumb and I’ve sold a few things to friends. And I’ve taken I’m currently working my way through your email course, just made a big decision to close my practice and retire at the end of the financial year, which is June. Now I plan on being a professional artist. That’s what my retirement plan is.
Miriam Schulman: So Sandra Sherrod inspires me to read from the Chapter 2 : Break Free of the Golden Handcuffs. So I was in corporate for many years and I didn’t think I could leave because it was like the more money I made, the harder it is to leave because you end up buying things that are expensive that tie you closer to this job. And I finally did get the courage to leave after right before 9/11. And, because of 9/11, I didn’t go back. So I am going to skip all the parts about sexual harassment, which you can read when you get the book, which are very juicy, but also and kind of embarrassing. So I don’t feel like reading that out loud. You can read my witnessing 9/11 and you can read about the hazing I experienced at the hedge fund. All right. Again, I’m going to read from the end of the chapter.
The time is now. As you stand at the threshold between your ordinary life and the more extraordinary life that awaits you, don’t wait for the next disaster as a sign from the universe. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to start a new creative career or to even start making time for your creativity, please know that there will never be a perfect time. And I don’t know one person who began their creative journey or creative career who didn’t wish they started it sooner. I have dedicated my life’s work to creating resources to help you like this book. A guide appears as though you’re the hero of your story. You’re not alone. All heroes need and get help. Harry had Dumbledore. Luke had Obi-Wan. During our journey together, you might shake your head and think, ‘I’m not ready’ or ‘It’s not a good time’, but I’m here to arm you with the magical sword that will help you slay those mindset monsters and provide you with the practical knowledge you’ll need to make all of this work. I’ll be your guide as we deep dive into how to strengthen your belief in what’s possible for you. “
Speaker 6: Hi. I’ve been listening to your podcast for about a year and a half now. I also took your class with the 5Ps and I actually called myself an artist for the first time when I was about five years old. So I’ve done watercolor for years and years and I just started doing acrylic painting pretty much full-time. And I have a studio that I work in and I’m trying to sell my art, but it’s really, really hard, as you know. So that’s kind of why I follow you.
Linda Chido: I’m Linda Chido. I think I’ve I’ve always identified as an artist. Like, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t. But in terms of like, I’m going to be a working artist, a professional artist, that’s been fits and starts over the years. I wanted to go to art school after high school, and my parents were like, No, you cannot. That’s not a real job. I have kids with medical needs, so it didn’t jive with having time in the studio. So it was sort of shelved for a while. And then 2020. I decided again. Okay. Kids are older. I’m going to try again if I’m going to be a professional artist and actually make money at this, like, what do I have to do? So I’m sort of at the beginning of the road of this next chapter of my life.
Miriam Schulman: So this is coming from Start Before You’re Ready. And I’m reading. Basically, I think it’s from the middle of the chapter. This is called Love Your Art.
Understand that regardless of the kind of art you create, whether it’s poetry, pottery, painting, sculpture, crafts, or any other form of self-expression, you must love your art so fiercely that you truly feel the world will miss out if they don’t want what you’re offering. Continue to take inspired action, creating your art and putting it out in the world no matter what. Even when the evidence suggests that your marketing may not be working.
And then I’m going to read one more little section.
Believe in your buyer. Though most business advice recommends believing in yourself or your product, in this case, your art. Few marketing experts talk about the importance of believing in the third part of the belief triad, your buyer. So I’m just going to briefly explain the belief triad is you believe in yourself, you believe in your art, and you believe in your buyer. And I believe I talk about this on a podcast episode, The Belief Triad.
Speaker 7: I’ve always felt identified as an artist. It’s really the first thing that I identified as. About a couple of years ago I started my art website and that’s when I really started trying to sell my work and trying to be more proactive about sharing it. And my first time showing my work was a few years ago in 2019, but even then I was so nervous like about everything from like, I’m going to frame it wrong. And then they’re going to be like, You can’t be in the show anymore. I feel like I’ve come a long way since then, but I still have further to go and, you know, really owning how much I love art and how much I love making my art.
Miriam Schulman: Moran’s question talks asks about how much to use as an advertising budget. And Elizabeth Mordensky, who is here today, she’s actually in my book because she took a gamble in advertising and it really paid off for her. Elizabeth, would you like to share your story?
Elizabeth Mordensky: I think advertising is definitely always a gamble, and I did choose to go with advertising in some of the big art magazines. So Western Art Collector and American Art Collector. And my advice would just be that if you’re thinking about going with one of these types of things where it’s going to be $750 for a single advertisement in a magazine or something like that, that you make sure it has more than just a like one little picture on a page that’s going to be kind of showing you in an ad form. So, for example, in this particular case, I made sure it was a magazine that if you advertised in it, they also featured you in the Artist Focus article.
They showed multiple paintings, they had you write inspiration things about your work and just make sure that you’re taking full advantage and talking to the, there’s always going to be a representative at any magazine that you’re advertising in. That is kind of the go between the magazine and you and making sure that you talk to them about what deals you can get if you can get a bundled advertising like deals. So I chose to do three in one year just to get myself out more. But I did have success with it. So I have out of the advertising budget, which was $750 per issue, I did three in a year, but I gained a repeat climate sorry, repeat client who has bought tens of thousands of dollars from me. So it’s just it’s a gamble for sure. But I think it is just something that do your research. One of the things I looked at was to see if the artists that I was aspiring to be like the people in my market, the people that I was like, they’re kind of where I want to be. Are they advertising with these magazines? So that was something I definitely paid attention to as well. So I, I didn’t go the first time the magazine offered to have me in there as an advertisement. I did not accept. I waited until I made sure I had all the information and I made sure that I asked for everything that I wanted. In the process.
Speaker 9: I was more thinking about like Facebook ads and Instagram ads, but also like, you know, I don’t have like a budget laid out. I know the things that I spend money on, but I’m not like, this is my first time of thinking as art of art, as an actual business, rather than, Oh, I’m just an artist. I was more thinking about like online ads
Miriam Schulman: So the advice that I give in the book in terms of online advertising that I give, not just in the book. But the advice that I give. Is that not to start there until you really have gotten your messaging dialed in. So Elizabeth had already sold art and she kind of she already knew who are her ideal customers and who and how exactly she wanted to talk to them before she started putting investing into advertising.
And it’s really important to have that dialed in first before you spend money on it. So understand like how people are connecting with you. And that’s why I encourage most people, especially if you’re just starting out to do it in person. I know that’s hard with COVID and the pandemic, there’s slightly less opportunities than there than there was pre-pandemic, but it truly is the cheapest and the best way when you’re first starting out to understand how people are responding to your art and how to talk to collectors in a way that resonates with them.
So you will get up that learning curve so much faster doing that in person. When you’re trying to do it online, you’re going to spend a lot of money experimenting, trying to figure out what’s resonating and what’s working, and you won’t know. Is it because the creative of my ad is wrong? Is it the copy of my ad is wrong? Is it the targeting of the Facebook audiences that are wrong? Because there’s so many different variables that go into Facebook advertising? So I would advise you to make sure that you really know what your messaging should be before you start to experiment with all those other things.
Hannah Galland: I try to live. I went to a party yesterday and tried to own my title as an artist and I don’t think I failed miserably at it, but I really struggled with it.
Miriam Schulman: So first of all, owning your title as an artist, that definitely is step one. And that’s why those of you who came late, I want everyone here to find me on Instagram. I’m @SchulmanArt and send me the message ‘I am an artist’ on your DMS, so you got to keep practicing saying that’s showing up in the world and telling everybody you’re an artist, not just for the person who’s listening to you, but it’s so that you’re telling yourself constantly that you’re an artist and you’re telling the universe. So it’s a very powerful practice to show up in the world in that way. And for those of you who maybe have a different role, maybe that’s something you want to practice saying something else, like, I’m just looking at the people in here like I am a life coach or I’m a feng shui master, or I am whatever it is that you need to self identify.
Now, the good news is when you go out into the world and you’re going to sell and Hannah, what kind of art do you do?
Hannah Galland: I do oil paintings of endangered animals.
Miriam Schulman: Ooh, very nice. You should connect with Elizabeth. She also likes to paint wildlife. And she does it with – you do finger painting, right, Elizabeth? With oil paints or is it acrylic. When you go to a place when you are selling in person, just know you’re only talking to one person at a time. Which is really what us, introverts, tend to be very good at. It’s not public speaking, so it doesn’t matter how many people are at this art fair. When you have your booth, it’s you and whoever you’re talking to. And the best-sellers are good listeners, people who think telling is selling. That’s wrong. Telling is not selling, listening, asking questions and letting your customer do all the talking is the best way to sell your art. The good news is it’s time for a little commercial now.
Inside Artpreneur, there is a chapter called Listen to Understand, So it walks you through a nine-step process for selling. And I talk about both in person as well as virtual version. And in addition, what I have inside this chapter is I actually also include an Overcoming Objections chart, which includes the action steps and the scripts that you can use when people give you an objection like, ‘I can’t afford it, it’s too expensive’. And it’s not so much about getting people to say yes at all costs. That’s not what selling should look like. It’s about when people present an objection to you understanding what they are thinking behind that objection and handling it with grace and ease and making sure you understand, is that their true objection, or do they have another objection that you really need to uncover that perhaps that’s the reason they aren’t buying your art or connecting?
Hannah Galland: Thank you so much. I did buy your book and I’m about halfway through reading it on the app so far and I really love it.”
Miriam Schulman: This is from Nicole. “When you say showing up in person, what kinds of opportunities are you referring to? I did one art fair and it was very valuable in terms of meeting people, making connections, selling a couple of pieces and collecting emails. Excellent. The problem is that participating in our fairs is too expensive to do, except very rarely besides group exhibitions, which you have to get into an art fairs which cost money. Are there other in-person venues you suggest that are free but also are better than Gallery show?”
I would not. There’s no free. Guide to just. Say, you know, the good opportunities. They usually cost a couple of hundred dollars for really good for a good art show. They need the money so that they can advertise the show and run the show. So it’s professional. Some shows I would avoid tend to be the more, more flea market style where it’s like $35. So that low end type. There are exceptions where there are some shows which turn out to be really great shows, even though they are quote unquote, flea markets. So those can be hit or miss. Most shows you have, you have you can expect to spend a couple hundred dollars on a booth. There are also high-end art shows that attract high-end collectors. And those booth fees are usually between one and $3,000. But the people who go to the shows, they’re selling their paintings for $5,000 and up, and it’s totally worth it for them.
So. There you go. But there is no free show that is going to be good. The only show that is free that you could do is a show in your studio. So you could do that. But then you need to have already people to invite and drive traffic to your own art studio. So there is that option, but that still isn’t free. You still have to invest in getting people to you, sending out invitations and investing your time.
“What would you recommend the very first steps for somebody right at the beginning?” So one of the very first things that I recommend that you do and yes, of course, it’s in the book is open a separate business checking account separate. And this is true no matter what business you’re in, by the way.
Do not have mix your business and personal expenses. You want a business checking account. All income from your business goes into the business checking account and all expenses come out of the business checking account. And you always know how much money you’re making, how much profit you have, how much you have to invest in higher level stuff, and in a really ease a lot of decision making for you. So tell us your story.
Speaker 11: I don’t have much of a story. That’s the thing. That’s why I didn’t offer to share anything, because, I mean, I think the people that are here are so much in front of me in that sense. You know, I just started recently, actually. I’ve never considered myself an artist. I just dabbled in it recently. And from the pandemic on is when I’ve started actually doing more stuff. I would like to do something a bit more professional in that sense. Actually, I like making jewellery and start selling it on a website. It’s what I would like to do, but I don’t feel yet like I can actually say, you know, like I can, ‘Oh, I’m going to sell you this and this is worth this money’ because I don’t feel I can ask for money yet. This is the problem that I have normally.
Miriam Schulman: So first of all, I just want to assure you that you’re not alone. I’ve heard people say exactly the same things to me many times. And even in this group, I think Brian said. What did you say, Brian? Five months ago, you started becoming an artist. But I hear what you’re saying all the time. People always think or always say to me, ‘Oh, Miriam, everyone else in this group is so much more advanced than me’. Well, how could that be true? If everybody saying it. We always have this perception that everyone else is ahead. And all of the things that you’re saying are exactly Some of the reasons why I wrote this book was when I was started off, I had the same questions as everybody else. What price do I put? Where do I find my collectors? How do I ask them to buy from me? How do I build an email list?
And I started studying marketing. And people who teach marketing were teaching marketing to to weight loss coaches. And it’s still kind of true. Like you listen to these podcasts for marketers, it’s like, yeah, you sit and you give them a cheat sheet, give them a manuplan. I was like, I don’t know what to do. I’m an artist. Like, Well, you focus on the problem. I was like, Well, what’s the problem? They said, The blank wall. No, you can put a mirror on the blank wall. It’s not a problem. How do you sell art? So that is why I wrote the book, because there’s so much misinformation out there. And it’s not just the beginning artists. As you know, the people who are here, who are more experienced, you still have questions and you don’t have good answers for them. So I’m so glad that you’re here and you’re on this journey with us. Thank you for sharing so bravely.
Okay, so we’re wrapping up now. Do you guys want me to read one more time from the book? Yeah. Okay, so let’s do that. And we will, e will close up. So I think it would be be helpful to read from the back of the back from Chapter 12. All right. So I’m going to read from like the last two pages. But if there’s a part that I feel doesn’t make sense because you haven’t heard the whole chapter, I’m going to skip over that.
Why Your Art Matters. We’ve talked about how to make your way in this world as an artpreneur and how to tap into the psychology of buyers and build a stronger mindset in order to sell more art. But remember that your art matters in so many ways beyond what’s selling it will do for you professionally. Art helps us process the world around us and serves both a spiritual and social function, not unlike religion. Whether it’s words for the stage, paint on the canvas, or music for the soul. Art gives our lives meaning.
Artists show the world through their poems, pictures, notes and dance that there’s hope. Some of the most beloved art has risen from the ashes of world wars. Nuclear bombs, genocide and other tragedies. As an artist, you’re part of the healing that the world needs from both its personal and collective traumas. Your art gives the world hope and meaning, but art only helps people when they know about it. And that’s why I’ve written this book for you. When you work on your production plan, you’ll create art in your own authentic voice when you market your art. You’ll get feedback on what kind of art resonates with your audience. When you price your art appropriately, you’ll teach the world that your art is valuable and the world will stand up and take notice. When you prospect to build an audience, you connect with those who need your art.
Promote your art to reach more people with your message, not only to sell it, but because your art matters. When you’re doing everything you’re supposed to but not enjoying immediate success, you may wonder, Is all this worth it? Unfortunately, many people give up too soon. Remember, at first, your business is a baby. It demands a lot of attention and can’t stand up on its own. As your business grows, the adolescent years aren’t much easier. You won’t have full control of every circumstance or even the speed of results from the actions you take. But you’ll have full control of whether you continue to take those actions. The artists who finally make it as artpreneurs are the ones who don’t blame their boots for poor results. They continue putting one foot in front of the other, making forward progress and marching ahead, not running in place. Keep taking inspired action and positive results will follow.
All right, my friends. So thank you so much for being with me here today. I hope that you will go order Artpreneur if you haven’t done so already, and I will see you next time. Stay inspired.
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