Lately I’ve had a repeat conversation with different artists about selling their art. And we seem to be missing key steps, maybe even prerequisites, to selling our art. It’s time to do something about it.

Hi my name is Carrie. I want you to proudly call yourself Artist. Here on Artist Strong I help artists like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today I have 3 questions for you to reflect on before selling your art.

Why do you want to sell your art?

This may be THE most important question artists completely overlook, which also has a huge impact on your potential sales.

Here are just some of the reasons I’ve heard,

“I need to make money.” Sometimes this includes the word “quickly.”

Nothing about selling art is fast. It takes time to build a portfolio of work, to set up a payment system, to network and build relationships with potential collectors…

Elaine and Wilem de Kooning, renowned abstract expressionists, lived in abject poverty for the first half of their careers. They even sold their own blood to make ends meet.

Today our gig economy can be a great way to supplement or create income while you sell your art IF you want to sell your art. Join Fiverr or Upwork if you want to remain digital, for example.

But please stop assuming you can make lots of quick cash. And of course, if you are someone who has, please share your wisdom in the comments below.

Another reason I’ve heard is,

“Well what else am I going to do with this work?”

Honestly that’s not the best reason to start a business. We can find many other ways to cope with the growing collection of work.

Abandon it (I’ve linked this below).

You could also: donate it to charities for auctions, paint over it, gift it to loved ones…

What other ideas do you have for managing your growing stack of paper or canvases?

You don’t have to do anything with your art. It’s important because you decided to make it.

But if your WHY is because you feel the need to justify the time and money you spend, I don’t think you should be selling your art.

Are you ready to run a business? Do you want to?

Selling your art is something a small business owner does. Are you ready to track your finances, set up a website, possibly attend art fairs or engage in other networking activities? What is your return policy? Do you do commissions? How will you package your art to ship?

There are just some of the top of mind considerations that come to mind.

If you don’t want to run a business you don’t have to sell your art.

Now before we reach our final question for today I’d like to thank today’s sponsors.

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Are you willing to engage with regular rejection?

Most people who see your art won’t buy it. And that’s fine because the people who do are the relationships you seek to deepen.

Some artists have attended art fairs for years before someone invests in their art.

You might test: social media strategy, email list building, pricing, grant applications, crowd funding…

There are many ways to build an art business and being flexible and able to hear a bunch of no’s is important to your success.

I feel like a Debbie Downer today but it’s important to me people sell their art because they truly want to, not because a family member or society makes them feel like they should.

If you want to start selling I have a video to get you started, which I’ll link below.

Please like this video and subscribe to Artist Strong. Then tell me your ahas, ideas, and takeaways from today’s conversation.

Thanks for watching and remember:

Proudly call yourself Artist.

Together, we are Artist Strong.