As I head out on a road trip, I thought I’d update and repost a favorite newsletter from 2004. This may have been the seeds of The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion!
Escape the PMWP
I first started watching “The Apprentice” television show when an ArtBizCoach.com member alerted me to an episode in which the participants' assignment was to sell art. That episode confirmed that you have to believe in your product (your art) before you can sell it to the public.
In the same show, The Donald said something else valuable that anyone in business should heed. He said, “I don’t like excuses,” and then promptly fired the whiney woman who had been making the excuses and driving her team members crazy. (It was the first episode I had watched and I couldn't wait to see her fired. She had been driving me crazy!)
Nobody likes excuses. Nobody. And, yet, some people don't seem to have enough of them.
Here's a sampling of some of the most common I have heard from artists (ABS=Me, PC=Potential Client):
ABS: You should be attending gallery openings and getting to know people in your community.
PC: The galleries around here are terrible. I don't know anyone there and they only show contemporary work. I hate the work they show. Anyone could do it.
ABS: You also need to be building up your mailing list.
PC: I don't have time. I have two kids and a demanding spouse. Plus, I have this other part-time job. I don't know how to start a database. Besides, I wouldn't use it.
ABS: You use your mailing list to keep your name and images out in front of people—at least three times per year. You're trying to sell your work, aren't you?
PC: Yes. I need to sell my work. But can't I just get an agent or a gallery to do it for me? [You can just hear the whine in that!]
ABS: How are they going to find out about you? Do you expect them to just knock on your door?
This is the Poor Me Whining Phenomenon (PMWP) that afflicts so many people. Thankfully, most artists who now contact me for help are ready to get down to business and accept the responsibilities that go along with wanting an art career. I won't work with those who aren't. I won’t work with whiners, complainers, and excuse-makers. Why? Because I know that no matter what I say I cannot change their PMWP attitude. No matter what I suggest, they're going to find an excuse as to why they should be exempt.
You're Responsible For Your Success
Nobody is responsible for your success–or lack thereof–except you. Of course, there will always be bumps along the road that are not your fault. Get a good set of shocks and ride out the potholes.