It's summertime, and art is selling. I'm hearing from galleries around the country that are having a great summer. If you're an artist they're representing, that's great news. But what happens when summer is over? Can you survive on a few paintings sold over the summer? Or would you like to have consistent business all year? I'd like to share a strategy that can keep the cash coming in every month of the year. Vacation ModeWhat I failed to mention is that the places selling a lot of art this summer are vacation spots. Anyone who runs a retail location knows that people are a little looser with their pocketbooks when they are on vacation, in a non-stress, non-work environment. Those vacationing in expensive resort areas are likely to be able to afford a nice memory of their trip to hang on their wall, whether it's a painting of the local area they're visiting, or just something they love that will help them remember where it was purchased. I have a house filled with memories purchased when we were in "vacation mode." We're out to dinner having a great time, maybe we've had a couple glasses of wine, and we wander into a gallery, and WHAM! We fall in love with a painting. Since we want our vacation time to last forever, this is a great way to [...]
Fireworks will light the skies around our great nation this week as we celebrate our independence as a country. Yet thousands of artists I hear from are lacking independence. They long to quit their jobs and create their art full-time -- without having to live the life of a starving artist. Yesterday I met a man who told me the story of spending years in art school to get his MFA, yet he was never able to make a living with his art. He said to me, "No one around here can make a living as an artist." I didn't want to disagree, but I know artists nearby who actually make a great living as artists, and who are not as accomplished as he. The reality is, you can quit your job and become a full-time artist and make just as good a living or better in most cases. If that sounds like a stretch to you, it's not. I work with people every day who have done it, including some professionals who were already making excellent money. One artist who follows my plan sent me a photo last week of a pile of checks. She is living the dream, just three years after she started. One of my missions in life is to help artists (painters, sculptors, photographers, crafters, etc.) live their dream. I have lived the life of [...]
The Pearl inlay surrounding the guitar I made in the summer of 2014. As I approach a giant milestone birthday, my friends and family have asked me about my plans. On the past two big birthdays, I've had my closest lifelong friends visit the Adirondacks to help me celebrate, because the Adirondack Mountains is the place I love the most. This year, I wanted to do something different, but I wasn't sure what. Then it came to me. Since I started playing guitar just two years ago and have come to love guitars, I decided to challenge myself to make a guitar to celebrate this milestone. Cutting the boards for the side of the guitar. Making a guitar seemed like a giant challenge and something I'd never do on my own, and that was the attraction. I simply wanted to push myself, as my way of celebrating. I also thought about it a lot and knew it was so far out of my routine that I'd probably never do it. I didn't want to keep thinking about it, and I knew that if I didn't tell others of my plan it would be a lost dream, so I started spreading the word to a few friends, knowing that I'd be embarrassed if I didn't produce. Bending the wood with heat. The problem with making a guitar [...]
Last week I gathered my family for our annual visit to a local history museum that we love very much. We’ve been members for years. In fact, I’d received a membership renewal e-mail the week before, which is why the museum became top of mind, prompting us to visit. Thinking I’d be at the front desk to check in anyway, I’d simply renew my membership on the spot, which would probably be faster than taking time online. (I know, it sounds backward.) We arrived, were asked if we were members, and of course I said we were, and that I had just received a renewal notice. “Sir, you’re not a member. You must be mistaken. You don’t show up in our system.” I was frustrated, but I recognize that people often spell my name wrong, or try to use the name on my credit card, which is not what I go by. Still no results. The looking went on for 10 minutes while my family waited impatiently. Finally, the woman at the desk, sounding angry and frustrated herself, said, “You’re not a member, never have been a member. Would you like to become a member? All you need to do is fill out this form.” Not wanting to take more time, I simply said, “I’d just like to buy tickets.” At which time I was told, “You’ll [...]
Just four little words can turn a happy customer into an unhappy customer. These words, when uttered, send a signal that you don’t care about your customers and that your business is screwed up.
These four little words wound customers and tell them you won’t do whatever it takes for them. They also say you hate your job, hate your company, and are very self-centered.
What are they?