You Are So Lucky

We all have a tendency to complain about everything we’re “supposed” to do to build our businesses.

Must post to Facebook!
Must update Twitter!
Gotta get one of those fancy new business pages on Pinterest!
Have to blog more consistently!

I can sense when students in my live seminars are on the verge of whining about all of the work required of business owners.

I ask them to remember what artists 20 or 30 years ago had to do to get noticed. About the only self-promotion tool at that time was to send a set of slides to gallery prospects.

One set of slides = 20 slides @ $1.50 = $30 without postage, and recipients rarely acknowledged or returned your package. Thirty bucks thrown out into the ether – never to be seen again.

As insane as an inbox can get when neglected, I can’t imagine running a successful business without email. I am grateful for email!
As insane as an inbox can get when neglected, I can’t imagine running a successful business without email. I am grateful for email!

Next time you feel like complaining about all you have to do, remember the marketing tools (most of them free or inexpensive) that you have at your disposal. Repeat these 4 words, as I request students at my seminars to do:

I am SO lucky!

You ARE lucky! Be grateful for everything you have available to help you share your art with the world.

So, in this time of Thanksgiving in the U.S., consider four things that you probably take for granted.

4 Gratitudes for Your Art Business

1. The Internet
As frustrating as it is at times, can you really imagine your art business without the Internet?

Your gratitude: “I am grateful for how I can use the Internet to showcase my art with the world. Artists 25 years ago had infinitely smaller audiences.”

2. Software
We take for granted that we can click on a button and see how much money we’ve made this year or which exhibit a particular piece of art is promised to. If you’re still doing all of this by paper . . . um . . . Why?

Your gratitude: “I am grateful for the software that keeps me organized and able to focus more fully on my art.”

3. Email
Stop cursing at your overflowing inbox and consider communication without email. Not so pretty, huh? If you really want to get your inbox under control, join us for the Organize Your Art Biz online class.

Your gratitude: “I am grateful that email allows me to communicate instantly with other artists, curators, collectors, and fans.”

4. Postcards
You can get 1,000 postcards with 4-color images of your art on the front for under $100. How amazing is that?! When I worked in museums, we used to have most of our printing done in China because 4-color printing was so much cheaper there.

Your gratitude: “I am grateful that I can have postcards printed inexpensively. The cost to mail to my own qualified, targeted list is minuscule compared to the cost of advertising or sending a bunch of slide sets.”

What other everyday business tools are you grateful for?

By the way, I'm very grateful that you are here reading this. I don't say it often enough, but I really am.

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38 thoughts on “You Are So Lucky”

  1. I am definitely in a grateful frame of mind. I have had an amazing year really. I know the internet’s availability and all that comes with it have changed my life. It has opened up the world to me. I have been able to be inspired by other’s work, make contact with other artists and others have seen and responded to my work. I have a saying that “there is no such thing as a wasted effort”. Even though it may seem like I am spinning my wheels at times and that things take so long all the marketing efforts can really pay off. I recently created a youtube video of my work and posted it in a constant contact marketing email. The next day I was contacted by a gallery in Santa Fe. This has been my goal for the last five years. Never, ever give up. Be grateful!

    1. Hi, Deborah! So happy to read your post, here! Every little effort truly does pay off. It seems to boil down to sequencing and strategy (for me, at any rate). And you’re in a Santa Fe Gallery! What cold be better than that! Happy Thanksgiving! ~Phyllis Walker
      I’m thankful for this year and for YOU as well, Alison! My wins have been consistent and I’m looking forward to MORE durig 2013! BTW: Haven’t used post cards for awhile, so Do Share Please: Where cab I have 1,000 quality, color post cards made for $100? Could you list a resource or two?
      BTW: Thanks for your earlier suggestion re book publishers / printers for the book I want to make available during speaking engagements in 2013. I found a nearby printing company that does great work. Since I have the layout and ideas for a cover design, using a printing company as contrasted with a publishig company will cut my costs in half!
      Happy Thanksgiving!
      ~Phyllis Walker

    2. Phyllis: Maybe do a search for “postcard strategy” in the function in the sidebar (or follow the postcard link in the article). There are ALL KINDS of places to get these postcards printed., etc.

    3. Hi Phyllis! You can also check out if you’ve yet to print your Postcards. Printing cost is way under $100, try I actually got a coupon code you might want to use – UPLG01 – it expires this week though, on Sunday, Dec 16, but I guess you can ask for a new discount code through their tweeter.

  2. Oh my gosh – I wouldn’t have any sort of art career without the internet! I am self taught and only began making art 6 years ago. I have been dealing with chronic illness so I haven’t really been able to do a lot of the things I’d like to physically to get my work “out there” e.g. craft shows etc. Yet through the internet I’ve managed to sell several creations as well as secure the opportunity for a Solo exhibit a few years ago. In fact, I sent off an email yesterday with all my info to be considered for the local First Friday in my area. I heard back an hour later an they had 1 spot left for December – I’m in! So yes, it really is an amazing time to be an Artist 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  3. …and thank you, Alyson. I know the kind of effort it takes to blog with regularity! I love everything about your approach and am grateful each time I read one – and all the comments it generates – for keeping to doors to my mind swinging!
    My first art career, which started – and ended, because of health reasons, in the 80’s – took massive effort to start and sustain and it was never as successful as my newfound art career which began in 2010 has been, thanks in no small part to the ease and activity of the internet, far more successful and lucrative.
    So, as my husband and I say synchronously every evening with our toast at supper, “What could be better than this?” And we say it like we mean it, because we do, every time.

  4. Thank YOU, Alyson for this reminder. I AM so lucky. Pursuing my dreams while co-creating the art that fulfills me. So grateful that you are in my circle. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  5. I am grateful for the wisdom you share, but more importantly I am grateful for your perspective. Looking at all those marketing options as the gifts they are really inspired me. Thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Moira. Sometimes a fresh perspective is all that is needed. Godspeed!

  6. Wow. Absolutely the most inspiring piece on gratitude that I have read. We take all these things for granted and yes at times curse them… but truly they have allowed artists to flourish like never before. Also add to the list… digital photos, smartphones for easy pics and videos, youtube for art tutorials, email services for mass mailings, ipads for digital porfolios, the square for easy credit cards, art marketing gurus…. and so much more.

  7. You’re totally right! All this technology and ways to connect to buyers and other artists right here at the touch of a keyboard.
    Who can really complain about that?
    I’m grateful EVERY day!

    1. You are an inspiration, Kesha. Thanks for your continued presence and the work you do for artists.

  8. Gratitude thinking turns an artist’s frustrations around and maked them feel much better about what they do. Instead of being frustrated about lack of sales you can focus on how much you learn everytme you complete a painting whether it sells or not. I feel grateful for all the wonderful people who want to learn to draw and paint who attend my workshops. I’m also grateful for color, light, spell check, Paris and chocolate.

    1. Barbara: And don’t just be grateful for the learning and people, but evaluate the “no sales” thing. If you don’t change your approach, you will continue to reap the same results.

  9. Alyson, Thank you for bringing attention to these wonderful simple everyday power tools we have at our disposal. Isn’t that always the way with taking things for granted? We forget how *so many* things we have in our lives, and so many *people* too! are wonderful blessings that we would miss if they weren’t there. Thank YOU for the great work you do, for your newsletter and blog and all the encouragement and support you give and represent to artists everywhere!!! Have a happy and peaceful holiday!!

  10. and I take for granted all your beautiful, optimistic newsletters that fill my inbox with sound business advice and a gentle reminder not to whine. Thank you, Alyson, love your blog.

    1. Nicolet: Ooooo. So glad you mentioned the “no whining” thing. 😉 How can you possibly be in a place of gratitude if you’re whining. 🙂

  11. I am darn thankful for the digital camera that provides instant results, good or bad. It enables my use of that fantastic internet to promote my work, without which I would not have sold a single painting.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  12. Thanksgiving in Canada is long gone, so it is easy to have busied ourselves along, forgetting to be grateful (thanks to the American media up here, we get this great reminder right now!).
    I really did appreciate this post – the items listed made me smile. Normally, I think in much bigger, loosey-goosey ideas when it comes to this kind of stuff (grateful for my health, my family, etc…). But yeah, I AM grateful for the internet and all of the other specifics mentioned (going to have to shift my thinking and apply some SMART goal-like thinking!).
    So, I am grateful for my new iPhone… I leapt in to the millenium and finally got a cell phone! And I am amazed at how this little device can help me (only had it for 2 weeks). Case in point: today I took a photo of the receipt from the store for my “expenses” file… I have probably already misplaced the receipt, but I know where to find it on my phone!!
    Thanks for this reminder to realize all we have to make our businesses the best ever…!

  13. Terrific post! Yes we are indeed lucky. What an amazing time to be creating. In the last 15 years I have connected with and made sales to art collectors in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Italy, England, and I am sure I am leaving some country out. I always crab about the custom forms, and the cost of international shipping, but at the end of the day … wow, the internet is really amazing. That type of direct selling could not have happened for me 25 years ago.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Rebecca: Wonderful! It’s amazing how many artist bellyache over all that’s available. I guess there is pressure to keep up, but it’s better than not having the tools available.

  14. Haha, too funny… I am just getting my art business going, and went to a gallery the other night to meet a gallery owner I’d communicated with via email. The first thing he asked was if I had an iPhone to show him my work… and I pulled out my phone and showed him my website. I am most grateful to be starting up my business in this day and age. 🙂

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Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

Privacy + Terms