The Number One Step toward Provision for Artists

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."  ~Anne Bradstreet

Hopefully, after last week's post you're at least thinking about starting a list.

I had an "ah ha" moment a few years ago. When I saw the bottom fall out of the music industry, I realized that I needed some skills that I did not possess, business skills. My search led me to Carrie Wilkerson: the Barefoot Executive. When I started working with Carrie she made a statement, "Money is easy to make, you just have to know the steps."

Recently she asked, what would you rather have: ten thousand dollars, or a list of ten thousand names?  Ten thousand dollars?  Wrong answer! Carrie says she could easily make many times over the ten thousand dollars, and she could make it again and again with a list.

Multitudes of artists have been taught every skill imaginable to make their art, but few have been taught how to make money with their art.

Building a list is step number one! This concept of 'a list' is valuable information and a necessity for every artist, no matter what your art is, but I find it's value is not understood with artists. Many have lists, but are not utilizing them to their advantage. And . . .we've been concentrating on creating instead of selling. The statistic  I've heard over and over is that, in business, 20% of your time should be spent on creating and 80% should be spent on marketing your creation. Yikes!! That leaves most artists in the dust.

What do we do about it? We take small steps. If you have an audience, you need to be collecting email addresses. Then you need to communicate regularly with those fans.  How? Any way you can! Plan to give away something people want in return for their email address; something digital that you sets up once and don't have to touch again.

Once you have this list, plan to communicate regularly. However, don't make the communication all about you.  Give encouragement!  Build a theme around your art and make that the conversation. Then make special offers, share your calendar, your latest project, glimpses into what you are working on now. In other words, build a relationship with your fans and encourage them to follow their dreams.

When your career is flourishing and you are booked regularly, make sure you are collecting email addresses. You never know when that slump may come. If you have a list you'll be ready and not skip a beat. If you don't have a list . . .  you'll be starting from scratch.

This is truly the number one place to start if you want to make a living with your art. Is that your goal? Then share your art and your dream and tell me how you collect email addresses or how you plan to start collecting them.

I'm cheering you on!!


  1. Great post again, Deby. Here's a thought at least for painters. Video your paintings in progress, post on youtube and build a following as an addition to the list. That way you are creating, and making marketing content at one and the same time ;-)

  2. That's great advise, Deby. I have a question regarding my daughter. She's an AWESOME artist, doing sketching, watercolor and graphic art. All her talent is natural, no art school. She has won several art competitions, even an international one through high school. But, she is very shy. Any advise you can offer? Thanks!

  3. Thanks, Roy, for adding additional valuable content! You are leading the way for many! I always appreciate your suggestions.

  4. About the daughter who is a shy artist . . . I'm finding that many creatives are shy, so this is not uncommon. However, I suggest that she take a few small steps to overcome this each week by stepping out of her comfort zone. Truth is, we all have to face our fears in order to do what we are called to do. It's part of our growth. I don't know where you live, but my upcoming artists seminar would be great for your daughter.

    Also, I suggest finding someone to work with your daughter who has the people skills she lacks. Creative teams seem to make great headway.

    The other option is to hire a team to do the things she struggles with. I'm actually in the process of putting together such a team. We'll be posting our packages and prices soon. So stay tuned!