Something happened recently that got me to thinking about why some artists are successful, and others are not.
We got a gig for Drew to paint standup paddleboards for our favorite Scotch company (don’t you love it when you are hired by someone you are a fan of?!)
Our proposal included professional photos of Drew painting, for our client’s social media use.
We had scheduled a time for the photographer to shoot in the studio.
He didn’t show up. We called. We texted. Then we saw on his Instagram that he was photographing someone else.
This put us in a bind, as our client expected the work to be done by deadline. Luckily, we found another photographer at the last minute.
As for the no-show photographer, though we had worked with him for years, we can’t hire him again. We can’t afford to look bad to our clients if he ever pulls another no-show.
And this story reminds me of all of the things that artists do to sabotage their careers.
Here’s my list of TEN COSTLY MISTAKES ARTISTS MAKE TO SABOTAGE THEIR SUCCESS:
DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY WANT: You can’t get what you want, unless you know what it is! Who is your ideal client or collector? What makes you the happiest when you’re creating? How much money do you want to make yearly, monthly and weekly? What do you want to be known for in 10 years?
DON’T HAVE A BUSINESS MODEL: If you don’t know what your business model is, you become subject to everyone else’s idea of how your business should be run. Know what you want for your art and your future, know how you want your art to be seen, and make sure you are in complete control of your own art business and career.
DON’T MAKE A DECISION AS TO THEIR VALUE: Some artists sell their work for cheap, so that it will sell. But they dream of marketing to higher value clients. You have to choose between the two, you can’t do both.
Are you a high value provider, or are you the cheaper option? Either is fine, but ensure that you are making a well thought-out decision and your business model is determined accordingly.
DON’T SHOW UP ON TIME (or at all): All you have to do is pull a no-show once, and your reputation with that client or even in that town is shot.
DON’T MEET DEADLINES or make your client wait: Just get it done! Those who drag out the work, make their clients wait, and who miss deadlines, are not only irritating their clients, they are losing money.
If you take two times as long to finish your projects or paintings, you are getting paid half as much. Your time is money. Execute the projects, or lose money.
DON’T HAVE A WEBSITE: If you’re not online, your business does not exist. When I’m looking to buy something or hire someone, I research them online first; most people do this.
BEGIN COMMISSIONED WORK WITHOUT A DEPOSIT: Starting work on a large project without money up front can cost you. If a client abandons the project, you just lost a week of work, and a week of pay. Always get a 30-50% deposit before starting any project. Read here on How to Never get Ripped off Again.
SIGN BAD CONTRACTS: One bad contract can cost you your career. Watch out for Red Flags, pay attention to what you are agreeing to, and always ask for revisions so it’s favorable to you.
SIGN AWAY YOUR COPYRIGHTS: For fine artists, and artists who have a distinctive style and want to be known for their work, keeping control of copyrights is crucial to their future. Don’t sign your copyrights away to anyone (unless it’s your business model to do so).
UNWILLING TO INVEST IN THEIR OWN CAREER OR BUSINESS: The least successful artists I know are not willing to invest money in training, consulting or business coaching. Why is this? It’s not because they are broke; they are broke, because they won’t invest in themselves. Money is Commitment.
Now, I know that my readers are not guilty of any of the above, because you are all smart, innovative business owners. But, you may know someone who is!
Artists, do you have anything to add to this list? Please share in the comments!