TRANSCRIPT Ep. 258: Scarcity Selling


Miriam Schulman: Our brains have evolved for survival, not goal achievement. So any time that we’re going to do something that’s risky, like start an art business and focus just on your art, especially if we have social conditioning that we’ve been told that’s not a business. We’re going to have fear and doubt, which is going to lead to procrastination. Our brains have been designed that if we sense any fear that we’re going to come up with all kinds of stories. Why it’s a terrible idea and all the reasons why this won’t work for us, which is going to lead to procrastination and not doing what we say we’re going to do, which of course is going to cause us to feel guilty.

Speaker 2: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with Artist Miriam Schulman. 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 Schulman.

Miriam Schulman: Well, hey there Artpreneur Welcome to the Inspiration Place. This is Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration, and this is episode number 258. I am so grateful that you’re here. As I’m recording this in mid-April, the weather suddenly turned warm in New York. The cherry blossoms are blooming, and in New York, spring lasts basically a week. We literally go from wearing our winter coats to 85 degree weather and sunscreen. So I’m taking advantage of it whether I am in the country with my husband taking long walks in the woods or. In the city. Walking along the Hudson River. There’s deer in the country. There’s no deer here, plenty of dogs and some other unwelcome wildlife, which I don’t feel like talking about right now. So it’s during these walks, especially when I’ve turned off my phone. And sometimes it’s by design. Most of the time when the phone is off, it’s because my batteries have worn off midway, but that’s when I get my best ideas. And today’s episode, what I did, it centered around calls that I’ve had with Artist Incubator members and calls I’ve had with people signing up for the Passion Maker power sessions. So the power maker passion sessions, I do sell them off of my website. I do put them on sale from time to time, and they’re also a bonus for people who sign up for the Artist Incubator when they’re one of the first ten people to sign up.

When I’m doing my promotions, like my bootcamp, and I think when this episode airs, I’m just going to just quickly double check when you’re listening to this, 258. 258 is airing–airing the middle of May. Okay. So basically, we are starting that boot camp in about two weeks so you can sign up for my next Artpreneur boot camp by going to The boot camp is free. I’m doing it over three consecutive days in June. I do have a VIP upgrade option. The VIP upgrade is to let you have unlimited access forever access to all the recordings. Plus you get invited to join me for four additional bonus calls for coaching. And there’s a bunch of other goodies involved with that as well. So you’re not going to want to miss out on the Artpreneur boot camp. I’m getting a little off topic, though, On the very end of the boot camp. Of course, I’ll invite anyone who wants to take their work further with me to join the Artist Incubator and the first ten people who sign up. Those were the people who got these passion calls. So that is what we are talking about today, are not so much the calls. Don’t worry, today is not an infomercial.

Today I want to share insights that I gained from these calls about things that people are struggling with because the same themes kept coming up over and over and over again now. During these passion maker sessions. So whether somebody paid for it or they got it as a bonus, either way, what I do is I walk through each area of the passion to profit framework, each of those five P’s production, pricing, prospecting, promotion and productivity. Each of those I help the artists self-evaluate themselves. And then together we uncover what’s really sabotaging their results. And so what’s come up a few times for these artists is what I’m now calling scarcity selling. Now, you might think this has to do with pricing. There are too low. And although of course that does plague a lot of artists, that is not actually what we’re talking about today. What we’re talking about today is how they’re sabotaging their sales because they don’t have an abundance mindset around the creation of their art. So I would even call this a scarcity mindset around their production Scarcity selling just has a nice alliteration, but it really is a scarcity around their production. So for these stories that I’m going to be sharing, there are absolutely true stories, but I will change the names and some of the identifying details to make sure that I protect the privacy of my clients.

So the first story is from Adriana. So Adriana. Worked hard her whole life and she actually ran two successful restaurants. But let me back up a bit. She called herself an artist her entire life, and she even started drawing as a child. She even got an art degree. But right after college, she got sidetracked into the food industry. And so she opened up her first restaurant at age 25, and then a second 110 years later. She was hands on with both restaurants and she ran them from starting from scratch, basically from zero to successful restaurants. So Adrian’s not a stranger to hard work, and she’s certainly not a stranger to taking risks as the restaurant business is pretty risky. I don’t know what the exact numbers are, but a very low percentage of restaurants actually make it. So she worked in the restaurant business for basically 25 years because she started at age 25 until 2018. When that everything changed, she got diagnosed with breast cancer. And as I said before, there’s nothing like a crisis to lift a veil over what isn’t working in your life. She had spent 25 years of her youth in the restaurant business, not following her first love painting, and now she’s in her 50s and she only had a few unfinished paintings to show for that passion.

So even though she made money, quite a lot of money, being in those business, in that business took a toll on her physically, mentally and emotionally. For the last five years, since 2018, she focused on surrendering to the needs of her body. And today she can finally call herself cancer free. She has her health back. And she has so much pent up energy and inspiration inside of her that she wants to express not just painting, but singing and even writing that she wants to pass on. So that’s why she came to me. She needed advice and she needed direction from an artist who’s actually done it. And. But here’s the problem. She found herself at a crossroads. She wanted to know should she get herself a job and let her art return to the hobby roll and go nowhere. Which also meant she wasn’t really going to make time to work on it. Or should she do something more flexible, like freelancing or Uber driving or something like that? Something so that her job that is producing the income becomes the side hustle. And her art is what takes center stage. Now, I understand the emotions that Adriana was going through as a woman who’s also in my early 50s. I understood she was thirsty to get her life going again.

But she also wanted to make sure that this new life, this second chance she had on life, this afterlife, had more meaning. And what she did on this planet matters. When we reach our 50s, what starts to happen, and this is across all people is we start to care more about legacy. What is this legacy that we are leaving behind? I know that was very true for me. That’s why in 2020 I decided I wanted to make the legacy of writing the book Artpreneur because legacy does matter what we do on this planet. We start thinking about what is going to happen when we leave behind. So of course she can go and start a new business or get another job or do something that like she’s done before. I don’t think she wants to start another restaurant because of what a toll that took on her. So she has a choice. She can work on her art or not. And there’s a couple of themes that came up here. I’m going to talk. The first one I want to talk about is the scarcity mindset. So what I noticed is that she had the basis of a very strong Y, a very strong motivation to create art and. I said, What’s holding you back, Adriana? And she said, she really couldn’t say.

She was overwhelmed by her feelings. Feeling resistance, feeling fear, feeling doubt, feeling all these things which was leading to procrastination, which was leading to paralysis, analysis and ultimately guilt for not doing what it is she wanted to do. Does that sound familiar? So you may have heard me talk about this before. This is normal. There’s nothing wrong with Adriana that she was sabotaging herself. It’s because our brains have evolved for survival, not goal achievement. So any time that we’re going to do something that’s risky, like start an art business and focus just on your art, especially if we have social conditioning that we’ve been told that’s not a business. We’re going to have fear and doubt, which is going to lead to procrastination. Our brains have been designed that if we sense any fear that we’re going to come up with all kinds of stories. Why it’s a terrible idea and all the reasons why this won’t work for us, which is going to lead to procrastination and not doing what we say we’re going to do, which of course, is going to cause us to feel guilty. But. I did find out what was really besides just our normal brain structure, what was really holding back. Adriana. Adriana. So. We’re going to take a break. And when we return, I’m going to share that with you.

**Artpreneur Review**

Miriam Schulman: So I stepped Adriana through the whole process, and we talked about production and starting with production, I could already see why she was having so much trouble. I asked her how long was it taking her to create her art, and she said months. I said, Well, is that because your time constraints? Why is that? And she was just working and working and working and let me tell you, listener, I see this coming up so many times with my incubator clients. Like even after I started preparing for this podcast, I was on one of the calls that we do with Sean Roney. Sean Roney is the resident life coach inside the artists incubator, and there was an artist who was saying she was having trouble managing her projects because she felt it was easier to work for somebody else. Of course, that’s a thought. A lot of people will not say it’s easier to work for somebody else, but the point that she was making was that she found it easier to have a deadline that say this is when it’s finished and when she’s doing it for herself. She never felt like she was ever finished. And for her, her particular work was actually design work and pattern work. And since I happened to be on the call, I said to her, Listen, most artists are in are in risk of overworking their art, not under working it. And for her type of art, the problem was if she overworked it, it wasn’t going to feel as fresh anymore and she needed to make a deadline and decide when to let it go.

So it wasn’t just Adriana and it wasn’t just this client. Last night, I also had a client about a week ago. She was sharing her portfolio with me, and the piece I liked the best was the one that she didn’t feel was finished. And it’s because those other pieces, she had polished them so much that the emotion had been polished out of them. And a lot of that is because we’re just afraid it’s not good enough. We keep working and we keep working and we keep working. And what happens is we lose the freshness, We lose the raw emotion. People really like something that has more more rawness, more authenticity to it, less polished. Okay, so back to Adriana. So I knew that was a problem, that she was spending too much time on her art. But then the problem became even more acute When I asked her how much she was selling her painting. For now, she really had only just begun to even think about selling her art. So she didn’t actually have. Sales history. So I said, Well, how much do you think you’re going to sell it for? She said, a lot of people loved her pieces, but she said that she was going to price it for $25,000. And normally I’m always advising artists to raise their prices. This is one of the few times where I had to say to Adriana, Listen, that’s not an appropriate price for this art. You have to be really way further in your career to be asking that.

I do know some artists who are asking $10,000 for art that is about that size, about two by three feet. But this wasn’t even that large, and I don’t think it was an oil painting. It was she was just not far enough in her career to be asking $25,000. So I said, listen, that is not an appropriate price. And what became very obvious to me, but less so to her, was she had attached such a high price around her heart because she had a scarcity mindset around her ability to produce it because she had so few pieces. The real fear that held her back was she had so much preciousness that she loved her pieces that she created and she was holding on to them tightly. And the way to get over that is she needed to paint more often, create more, not overwork her paintings and create abundance mindset around the creation of her art, an abundance mindset around the production of her art. And it was really the problems in her thinking about the production that was sabotaging her sales. So with a more regular and consistent painting practice, she would not only get faster with creating her art, but she would learn to create her art with the idea of letting it go. I want to just also talk about something else that was holding back Adriana. So she was on the threshold of deciding whether or not to invest in her art business, whether that meant coaching with me or building her website.


And so she was feeling a little stuck about it. And so I said to her, Listen, you’ve gotten a second chance on life. You know, you can go back and build another restaurant or take another job. You can do all those things. But life is now giving you a second chance and you have this chance to do something else. So what do you want to do with your precious life? Do you want to be an artist? It’s not about me. It’s not about investing in my programs. It’s what did she want to invest in her? And so I wanted to know what did she think was the worst thing that could possibly happen? And she said to me, the well, the worst thing that could possibly happen is that I waste time and I waste money. And I said, okay. And so what’s the worst part about that? And she said, Well, I’ll be mad at myself. I said, okay, I bet you’ve been mad at yourself before. And she said, Yes. All right. So what is the best possible outcome? In. The best possible outcome was that she makes her dreams real and that she proves to herself that she can make a living from her art and that she can do this. So then really the question was, is. The worst case scenario. The risk of the worst case scenario being mad at herself worth the possibility of the best case scenario. And it was. Okay. So when we return, I’m going to share the story of Greg. After this brief message.

**Artpreneur Review**

Miriam Schulman: All right. Welcome back. All right. I want to share the story now of Greg. So Greg began selling his art in December of 2019, just before the pandemic. And in that first year, he made close to $30,000 in his first year selling, which is incredible. However, like most of us, the social isolation and the lockdowns of COVID took a toll on him mentally. So when I met Greg, he was struggling to get back to that place of where he was before, when he was working and making money and doing well. So I went through Greg’s passion to profit framework. We started off again with production at and again I noticed that Greg was having problems with production and he was blaming his lack of studio space for his lack of productivity. And by productivity I’m talking about in the production part, in the producing of the art. But when I dug deeper, the other thing that I found out was Greg admitted to me that actually the more time he had, the more unstructured time he had because maybe he didn’t have his other second freelance job because he builds websites also for artists he has like that’s his other income stream. So the more time he had, the less productive he had because he had anxiety over the lack of structure of his days and he had anxiety over the selling and then anxiety about not having his other design work and having all that anxiety left him despondent and overwhelmed.

So he wasn’t producing as much art as he needed to. And while working through this passion to profit exercises during our 1 to 1 call, he also admitted to me that a collector had expressed interest in one of the paintings he did post online, but he didn’t want to sell it because he was trying to build up his collection. So you see, Greg also had a scarcity mindset around his production. So I helped him see that he was sabotaging his own sales because he was hoarding what he believed to be his best pieces, because he didn’t trust that he had more of his best work ahead of him. And believe me, artists, we almost always have our best work ahead of us. So just like Adriana, he needed to work on expanding his abundance mindset around selling his art. The other thing that Greg was having trouble with was he was having trouble seeing what to prioritize When you’re spinning and feeling stuck and you’re feeling overwhelmed, it feels like everything is a priority, especially when you’re not making forward progress. He knew he needed to reach a wider audience and target. He kind of knew vaguely what he needed to do, but because he was struggling so much on where to focus, he wasn’t getting anything done. He had so much to do. It’s like that.

Too many things on the to do list. Nothing gets done. So working together, Greg and I, we sorted through the areas of his business that needed the most attention right now. And because he’s booked time with me as a private client, I’m really looking forward to working with him on sorting through these priorities so that he can make consistent headway and focus on what needs to be done most. But in the meanwhile, I’ll just knowing that he and recognizing how he needed to prioritize actually the making of art and making a schedule for that, he left the meeting feeling empowered and feeling confident that he had a plan for the next three months and structure that could take him through the rest of the year. So now, as I mentioned, there’s a few ways you can work with me. Just start by joining the boot camp, though. That’s free. That’s free. And we do. This passion to profit framework is part of the boot camp. I don’t do it with you one on one, but there is a worksheet as part of the boot camp where you can walk through that exercise and gain clarity, and I help you do that. During the boot camp, the people who did the boot camp in the spring got so much value out of it and my business coach says I should be charging for it, but I’m not charging for it.

So the boot camp is free. The VIP option, you could also do that. So to sign up for the boot camp, go to Also, I just wanted to let you know that I am hosting in-person mastermind events. These are not tied to any program. They are super small. Super exclusive. I hosted the first one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I did one in Montreal. It was amazing. And I have some as of this recording. The next one, I believe, is in Washington DC, and I’m adding more New York City events as well. And the way those in-person events work is that it’ll be lunch or dinner and it’s either just me and one artist or up to four other artists. Super small, just one table of artists. I study your business ahead of time. I come with personalized recommendations and these are all epic events where you will leave empowered and inspired and just fill your creative well with inspiration and motivation. So whether it’s online at the boot camp or in person at one of these events. Oh, and wait a minute, I forgot to drop the URL. So if you want to meet me in person, it’s for in real life. So for in real life or the boot camp We’ve included links to every single thing I’ve talked about in the show notes Episode 258.

All right, my friend, we’ve covered so much today. I hope you got a lot out of hearing Adriana and Greg’s stories. I know that their stories are representative of a lot of the artists in my community, which is why I wanted to share them with you, because I know that many of you also struggle from that production mindset where you’re hoarding onto paintings or you’re overworking your paintings, or you don’t want to sell it because you think this is your best thing. Your best work is always ahead of you. It’s always ahead of you. And remember, most artists are in danger of overworking, not underworking their paintings. So set a deadline for yourself of when those paintings are going to be let go and make a plan to get into your studio, because that’s what it’s all about. All right, my friend. Next week we have a poet who turned her blog, Musings of Gratitude, into a book. And that book sold over 100,000 copies, as well as a best-selling journal. So trust me, you are not going to want to miss this episode, so make sure you hit subscribe or the follow button in your podcast app. All right, my friend, thank you so much for being with me here today. I’ll see you the same time, same place next week. Until then, stay inspired.

Speaker 2: 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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