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7 Steps To Becoming A Full-time Artist

7 Steps To Becoming A Full-time Artist

Research shows that far too many artists don’t earn a living from their art. They spend time in offices as secretaries, in construction companies as laborers and walk dogs for their neighbors. Sometimes, they climb the corporate ladder to become managers and partners, and then when they have enough money, they leave for early retirement and finally fulfill their dream of being a full-time artist. That is, if they are lucky enough to still have some time left to enjoy it!

What is even more important is that art serves as a source of inspiration for other people. Artists are responsible for inspiration in our society. It’s a part of the natural cycle of life: art is a fuel for innovations, and for the development of humanity. Every day not spent in a studio, but somewhere else, means less inspiration and less growth. Besides, every artist’s greatest wish is to make art, not go to the office or any other job that is not related to art.

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The archetype of the starving artist is still alive, although the world needs art more than ever: for web interfaces and with the personalization of just about everything, people are crying out for nice-looking things. As a result, there are now plenty of possibilities to earn money with art besides selling in galleries or at art fairs.

Artists can skip the time spent working hard in the corporate environment, earning money and saving it for early retirement. Instead, you can be a full-time artist sooner—within a year or two. Here are 7 steps to becoming a full-time artist.

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1. Decide what you want to do as an artist.

Choose your medium, topic, or theme, and find your voice. Some artists spend their whole life waiting for it, but you can start at the point where you are now. Your thoughts will change with the years, be ready for this. Define your values, what you stand for—they might be the most permanent elements of your personality and your art. Build everything around them and you will be set for a long time.

2. Define your target audience and future patrons.

Who are the people sharing the same values and passion as you? Marine artists should look at ship or boat owners and coastal dwellers. Wildlife artists should think about people with wildlife in their hearts—Greenpeace fans, safari lovers, hunters, landlords of large wild properties. If you love kids, look at their parents; if you love landscape, think about property owners and farmers. There is no secret—just 2% to 5% of society buys fine art: that part who has enough money and who values art. That doesn’t just go for visual art—music, dance, and the performing arts work the same way.

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3. Build your portfolio.

Keeping in mind your topic and your potential patrons, build your portfolio. If your topic is closely related to some particular interest, approach your potential patrons and ask for non-monetary support in portfolio building. This can be access to a property or help through being a model. In many cases, it might result in your first sales. This is also the beginning of building your network. You can choose and manage your network to some extent. People attract like-minded people. Defining what kind of people you want in your network helps you to find them. It might sound like magic, but that is just a natural way for you to select people to talk to about your art.

4. Gain recognition.

This can be a show, a competition, or some other form of recognition. Take care to inform the press, your existing patrons and other admirers about this. Most people like to have an art piece by a recognized artist. Even if they bought it before the recognition came, it will please them. Maybe even more, they can take credit in discovering you and your talent before others. Give them this small treat!

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5. Fine tune your brand.

Since the moment you decided to be an artist and began following steps 1 to 4, you have been building your brand. It is rooted in your values, your beliefs, and your view. It sparkles in your art, yourself and everything around you. Take the core message (as in step 1) and try to incorporate it in every single step you make. Your web page, your opinions, your business card—even the way you dress—might be a part of your brand. You are the brand! Be careful how you do it, though—be yourself and ensure you don’t trap yourself with your own brand.

6. Revise your pricing strategy.

It’s no secret that recognized artists sell their work for higher prices. So, as a rule of thumb, higher prices indicate that the artist is recognized. Don’t forget to reflect your level of recognition in your prices. Pricing is very sensitive thing—you have to find the right spot. Underpricing will result in fewer sales and less interest in your art. People love emerging artists, but you have to give them the message you are emerging not just starting. One of the hidden messages is your price. On the other hand, beware of overpricing. If prices are too high, people will start deeper investigation and will soon discover unreasonably high prices. In any case, you should calculate material costs and set a price that covers at least your material costs.

7. Think about sales and information channels.

How can people find your art? Do you have an online portfolio? Do you have a web page? Is your art exhibited somewhere? What is that place? Is it a gallery or a coffee shop in a disreputable street? Be careful when choosing a channel and place for your art. The context also sends a hidden message. You wont find the work of a top artist in a small corner café unless it is under their studio or belongs to him or her!

After step 7, look around: most probably you are already an artist who has their own admirers, network and sales. Set a goal for when you will quit your day job. Is it an amount earned per month? Or number of art pieces sold? Or number of blog visitors? Revise your strategy, sales, channels, target audience, branding and your work until you reach the goal.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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