Maria Brophy


  • and make good money doing it!

    ‘Strategies for a Successful Art Business!’

Train People to Treat you Professionally

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Dragons Breath by Drew Brophy Resizedbb

Dragons Breath (c) Drew Brophy

You train people to think of you in a certain way.

If you are professional and expect to conduct business that way, the people in your life will treat you as a professional.

A local surfer gal came into our studio and bought her first Drew Brophy original titled “Pirate Beach.”  She just got her Real Estate license and she was excited to hang the painting in her new office.

I was happily surprised when she said “Your blog posts have really helped me with my new business.

Really?” I asked, curious how my art blog could help someone in real estate.

She explained that the post I wrote about charging people for your time encouraged her to maintain professionalism in her own business.

She told me about a friend who asked her to find renters for his $3,800 a week beach house.  He said “I’ll pay you $50.00 if you find me a renter.”

The standard charge for an agent to secure a renter is 30%, which covers advertising, footwork and website listing.

She said “I told him I normally charge 30%, but since he’s a friend, I’d lower it to 20%.”

I said that she was off to a great start in her career.  She’s setting a precedent that this friend and others after him will come to expect to pay her for her time, and they will respect her as a professional.

My philosopher-artist husband, Drew, always says “you train people how to treat you.”

People come to expect what you will expect, and they will fulfill that expectation. This can work in your favor, or not, depending on how you choose to make your expectations known.

I’ve seen this truth unfold many times.  One example is the relationship we have with the company Liquid Force.  Drew designed wakeboards for them years ago.  After about six years of not working with them, they called asking to commission Drew once again for new designs.  We agreed on pricing, and our contact there, Jimmy, said, “I know Drew won’t start until he gets a deposit, so I’ll have accounting cut a check right away.”  He’s worked with Drew in the past, and he remembers that Drew expects partial payment before he begins the work.

We’ve trained people to treat us in this way by:

  • Being verbally clear of our expectations in the very beginning
  • Being consistent in our policies (pricing policies, meeting deadlines, expecting payment on time)
  • Valuing our time enough to not allow people to waste it (I charge consulting fees for people wanting to spend hours picking Drew’s brain on the best design ideas)

Word gets around and over time, all of the people in your life will get used to your expectations of how you want to be treated.

They come to expect your expectations, and they fulfill it.

Maria xxoo

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8 Comments Train People to Treat you Professionally

  1. Danny Cruz

    Wow Maria, very good post. Just about everyone has to deal with this at some point. I’ve struggled with this sort of thing as well. For too long I was cutting deals to friends that were too good. In the end, I was negatively affecting my career. But hey. You live and you learn. I’m glad I sorted this problem out a couple of years ago. Still have to watch out or it every once in a while. Danny

    1. Maria Brophy

      Danny, thanks for the comment. I think that it’s okay to give friends and family some sort of little discount, but in order to make it as a full time artist, you have to charge for your time. Otherwise, you’ll end up waiting tables or doing accounting or something else that you weren’t meant to do! (Or just starving)

  2. Cecily

    Another gem, Maria. Like the real estate girl described here, I love how your blogs are helping my business of tutoring. You just might be the next entrepreneurial guru! Maintaining a value on your time/ service keeps not just your client but yourself committed and accountable.

  3. Regina

    Very uplifting…as a shop owner and a woman; I will have ppl all the time minimizing my policies…their idea is….you own the shop…you “can” do this for me…or they will simply demand a discount and go delinquent on their layaways, always a bargaining situation, when the prices are right there! I started sticking to my policies, instead of twisting and bending for “their” needs, I really did think that would make ppl angry and they would take their business elsewhere; honestly, they are still shopping here and the bargaining (thankfully) has ended 🙂

    You are right…consistence, clear minded and strong is the way to success!!!

    Talk to you later!

    1. Maria Brophy

      Regina, thanks for the comment. Sounds like you have it figured out.

      One tactic I know that people have used in your situation is to have a “pretend partner” – someone that you have to call to get an okay from!!!! (Someone who doesn’t really exist, but you can blame it on them….)

      But, it’s even better that you are sticking to your guns, in a sweet manner. It gains you respect and people will come to expect that you stick to your policies.

  4. Sharon McKeague

    Great information! Yes, it applies to us all, I’ve had a similar experience with editing work. I look forward to reading more of your inspirational blog!
    Okay, you’ve got me motivated – we’ll get together in January!

  5. Pingback: How to Price a Wall Mural – Developing a Price Sheet and Proposal | Murals - Maria Brophy

  6. Al Gifford Sr.

    OMG!,Maria where have you been all of my Art life.I so look forward to the information you send. I’ve been doing Art since MS (middle school )now 45.A close friend & I got coax out of a residual payment for illustrating a Children’s coloring book.I just wish I had someone like year’s ago.Thanks a million.


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