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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 April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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