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4 Simple Ways Artists can Start Selling Their Work Online

4 Simple Ways Artists can Start Selling Their Work Online

Each and every day, there is a countless number of artists struggling to make a steady flow of income from their online sales – musicians, painters and craftsmen are constantly putting an effort to sell what they’ve created. This is a constant issue for both full time artists and those who view their craft as a hobby.

One of the biggest downsides to art school is the fact that they don’t tell their students that they will be all on their own once they’ve finished their studies. Nobody tells art students that if they want to make money off their work, they will have to have an entrepreneurial mindset as well.

If you don’t understand that you are a businessman and an artist, you will be unable to get your goods into the hands of potential customers, and you won’t get the money you deserve for them. Since the modern art market is quite crowded, you, as an artist, must deliver quality pieces and learn how to market them to the best of your abilities.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but your art pieces are products as well and that’s why you must learn how to sell them. Here are the four most essential steps for selling art online.

Promote and sell your art on social networks

The easiest way to get your art out there is to focus on social media for both selling and marketing. Let’s look at how you can start selling on the most popular social networks out there.

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Facebook store

Wondering why should you set up your art store on Facebook? Simply because of one fact – Facebook is the most popular social network and it has over 1.5 billion active users each month. These are all potential customers that might be interested in your art. Well, not all of them, but even tiny portion would give you the income you wanted. The easiest way to do this is to use an e-commerce app that can build your store almost automatically.

First, you will have to create a Facebook page for your store and, once you’ve done that, simply go to “your store” button and set it up. Once you’ve done this, people will be able to purchase products directly from your Facebook page.

The next step is to build your audience. You can do this by inviting friends to like your page, sharing or joining groups with art lovers where you can engage potential clients and promote your store. You can also pay to advertise your page and get more likes from targeted people.

Twitter buy button

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The recent integration of the Twitter “buy button” has made it possible to drive organic conversions on the second largest social network. The button is included next to your each Tweet and it’s quite easy for users to click and buy a product they are interested in. However, you will have to build a base of followers to whom you can offer your products. Start following relevant people and, over time, they will follow you back.

Make sure that you include photos in your Tweets so that people can know what you are offering. Add tags and a short caption to describe your art and spark interest in your audience. Bear in mind that people might only check out, or buy your art after they’ve seen it a couple of times somewhere, and that’s why being memorable is very important.

Set up a profile on Etsy  

This is an excellent platform for all kinds of creative artists, especially those skilled in creating jewelry, clothes and other handmade items. The first thing to know about Etsy is that you can change your initial user name only once you’ve opened a shop. So, make sure that you use an adequate name that represents your brand, as it will stay that way forever. After you’ve done this, brand your profile with a photo, an avatar, a listing photo and a banner, all of which go well together. You should also create unique labels for your products, so that you can spread brand awareness offline as well.

Choose the best photos possible, as Etsy limits you to a maximum of 5 photos. When it comes to Etsy, it’s all about making a great first impression. Don’t post all of your art at once but rather post a couple of them each day. This will create a bit of a buzz and your products will appear much higher in searches.

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Make your potential buyers feel pleasant, answer to all customer questions, don’t lie about shipping time and truly describe your products. Bear in mind that you probably won’t start selling your art straight away. It’s a process that might take a while, so be patient and improve your shop constantly.

Set up a profile on Amazon

Amazon is the largest website for retail stores. Most people think they are buying products from Amazon, however almost 35 % of the products on Amazon are offered by a third party. Registering on Amazon is quite easy. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and press the “sell on Amazon” button.

Choose the “sell as a professional” option and, with a few more tweaks, you are ready to go. Amazon is really good for selling unique and brand new art since the professional seller option gives you the ability to create listings for goods which aren’t currently sold on the site.

Another reason why you should choose the professional seller option is the fact that, if you want to be recognized as a unique label, you will have to register your brand, so that Amazon can offer its protection.

The best way to go is to sell with fulfillment by Amazon. This option requires you to send all of your art to Amazon and they will ship pieces when they are sold, they will also deal with refunds, returns and handle customer service. Because of the fact that Amazon is abundant with all kinds of products, including art, it can be very hard to get noticed in the crowd. This is why you should try and describe your products as best as you can, upload only the best photos and learn how to reprice products so that you can maximize sales and get the most out of each sale.

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Build a website of your own

No matter how good all these stores or social networks may be, you still need to create a website that represents you as an artist. A website of your own will give you credibility as an artist, and on it, you can explain your art and its meaning even deeper. Furthermore, you can establish better communication with your clients, build a base of followers and brand your work even better. Once of the best platforms you can use to set up a simple Website is WordPress.

You simply go to the official WordPress site and follow the instructions that will make the whole thing more of a game rather than a serious process. Besides the fact that it’s easy to create a simple site, later on, when you need more, you can easily upgrade it to look more awesome and have more features. With your own site, you will create your own domain name that will help you build brand awareness, and since WordPress is a search engine friendly platform, people will find it easier to search for your art online.

These are the essentials for selling art online. After a while, you should look to enhance your business skills and enhance your marketing skills, finding ways to stay competitive, improving your customer service, etc. Bear in mind that it will take some time before you actually make any sales, so be patient and work on improving all of your stores and profiles while waiting for results.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

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Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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