Friday, September 10, 2010

Dare to Share Tip #3

Tip #3 Dare To Promote Yourself
This, by far has been one of my biggest giants!! As an artist who is creating authentically, promoting yourself just feels YUCKY!! To me it feels like "here's my heart, go ahead and pick it apart". And people do and always will. If your an artist, of any kind...writer, musician, actor, expect this and save your self lots of time spent in the corner curled up in the fetal position. Some people are gonna love ya, some are gonna Not love ya! And thank God, that allows us all the opportunity to be artist.
As you all have probably seen by now, my motto is work smarter not harder. Same holds true for marketing and promoting. Early on I killed myself and my spirit by trying to be everywhere, all the time. This didn't work for me and I had to get in touch with my priorities:
GOD, FAMILY (which includes maintaining my household), FRIENDS, and if there is anything left, MY ART WORK. At first it was really hard to stay focused on those things, then it became my freedom.
Here is what I do to market my artwork. PLEASE if you know of an easier way(sure you do)tell us!! Make all our lives easier. I do not have all the answers, just what I'm doing to simplify my life. We all want to take the path of least resistance and in this case we should. Allows us more time in the studio, playing outside with the kids, holding hands with our honeys, and living life in the moment.
My Website
I found BLUdomain through a friend who is a photographer. We were both starting out in our business and felt like we needed a website to be successful. I found and bought a terrible template from a company that had no customer service and you literally had to be a graphic designer to figure out how to use this template. I spent weeks trying to learn about mega tags and nonsense just to build this generic looking site that offered very little. I also spent $700!! Meanwhile my girlfriend found a host and template that allowed her to build her site in about 6 hours and she was live in 24hrs. She spent $100! Ok, definitely a dare to learn moment for me. Do you need a website to be a successful artist? No. But for me it has really taken my business to a new level. Without even trying, I have been featured in varies publications, invited to different art shows, and given myself a home base for my business. Even with the few pieces I have for sale on there right now, I still have a portfolio for clients to see. This has helped me get into several shows that I was supposed to be juried into through ZAPP applications without being a member of ZAPP. For several reasons I refuse to do ZAPP, call me a snob but I'm a girl with boundaries.
My Marketing Printer
How I love me some VISTA PRINTS!! Good quality, good prices, good turnaround time, and good customer service. Maybe I've been lucky , but they have been great for my business. They have come along way since I started with them in 2007 and at the rate they are going I expect them to only get better.
My blog
There are MANY free websites to help you decorate your blog. I really like this one because they have a great selection and it's an easy site to navigate.
And as you already know, I use blogger for my host. They make my life easy, love that!
Networking Groups
Again, there are a ton. Personally I network in groups that i enjoy. I participate, when I can, in varies on line groups that include Facebook, The Incrowd (an Indiana Etsy group), Create by Faith, and Fishers Handmade (another local Etsy group). I have found that Etsy forums are a great way to learn more about how to grow your business and gain awesome feedback.I also network with some of you, my blog family. I really don't care for the word network, I think of it more as connecting. So connect with people you WANT to connect with otherwise it becomes a chore.
Host workshops
I currently work with my city to give workshops in Mixed Media/Collage. Connecting with your Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start if you are looking to do the same. Also, I would recommend networking with local art galleries and boutiques to see if they are interested in offering workshops in your medium. I enjoy workshops because it allows me the pleasure of seeing beautiful people create beautiful art!!
Moving forward in my business, I'm in the process of adding three things that I believe will promote my work and grow my business.
  • Adding Prints to my line

(said I never would! eating my words)

  • Learning Photoshop
(yes, still trying to find the time to learn this software!! Anya...HELP)
  • Adding a wholesale line
( this will be a huge step for me, but I believe, today anyway, that this is the direction God is leading me)
Unfortunately marketing and self promotion is just a huge part of selling our work. Not the fun part, but key to growing your business. If you don't think your worth promoting neither will anyone else! So let your freak flag wave and sell it baby!
I hope you have a blessed weekend.
I look forward next week to sharing a final and most benefical tip for growing my business.


  1. Sorry for the weird format on the post...not sure what happened. I'm not very tech savy ya know:)

  2. I am here for ya, girla. Tell me when and where - we'll "wrestle up some Photoshop!"

  3. great post Jill ... thanks for sharing.

    Good luck on Photoshop and the wholesale areas.

    I'm not a Photoshop "expert" but I've taken some courses and have been using the software for almost 10 years and I would be happy to give you a hand every once in a while if you get "stuck" trying to figure out how to do something!

    Have a great weekend!

  4. I think promoting ourselves is so hard -- it's such a balance between getting myself out there and trying not to be all in someone's face (and begging for things like followers). I think doing what you did and prioritizing naturally helps us keep ourselves in check. Thank you for sharing your plan!

  5. All great tips! I'm definitely still in the baby stages of my business so I'm learning all I can ;)

  6. Thanks Jill! It is so nice to hear your marketing tips/process so thoughtfully laid out, clear, and with sincerity. So well timed for me too, as I just met with someone today to help ground me in some of these same practical points in order to expand in some similar directions.

    Hooray for believing in yourself!

  7. excellent info here Jill. So much info out there and it is so helpful to hear thoughtful advice and critique. I am still trying to decide whether to take the website leap or not.

  8. I couldn't agree more... I dislike self promotion so much! I am really thinking about a website... hmm? That is a great link! :) Few questions for you... what do you use Vistaprint for? How are you doing your prints? Do you scan or photograph your originals, do you print yourself? I would love to hear more about your wholesale line. That sounds like a really interesting option! :) Thanks for all the great tips Jill!!

  9. Hi all,
    I use Vista for my marketing material(business cards and large post cards), but have heard of people using them for stationary and such...interesting option. As far as my in- house printing I am scaning right now, but may try and use some photos of artwork already sold, but still so new to this process that I haven't ventured there yet. Whole sale will be a whole new monster to tackle so I'm just taking it in baby steps for now. I'm lucky to know many local boutique owners where I can get my feet wet:) They will forgive me if I mess up! Photoshop! Another challenge on my horizon. Thanks for the support and I may just have to take you up on it!! I must admit that I feel a little overwhelmed by the software and on my own have not been able to figure it out. probably should read the manual:) I love hearing from you all, on differnt paths but to the same destination. Thanks so much for sharing your journey!! WE CAN DO IT!!