My last post A.C.T. Featured Artists: How to Overcome Obstacles shared the feelings of successful artists who know that obstacles are unpleasant but normal.
It’s equally normal not to like them when they happen.
I certainly don’t.
What I strive to make normal is how I deal with what I call ‘obstacles’ so that they become opportunities to become more resilient and to move forward anyway.
If you are not encountering obstacles in your art career, then you are not pushing past your comfort zone (or you live in a magic land and we all want to join you, so please post the URL for citizenship.)
If you stop to look obstacles in the face, and you decide to use them to make new decisions or take new actions, you will build your repertoire of resilience and actions that create results.
Here are the nine most common obstacles my clients and I face down and how to look for the opportunities in each one:
- Competition is simply a fact of life. See competition with other artists for the same audience as motivation to really distinguish your art from theirs. Competition for dollars to buy your art tells you that you need to find more ways to have your art connect with the emotions of your audience.
- Scarcity is a plus for dead artists. If you sell only originals, there are only so many you can create in a lifetime, so make them as special as you can. If you have a large demand for reproductions, find a niche market where your work is the best or the only choice.
- Lack of skills or knowledge is a signal to learn. The faster the world changes, the more you have to learn, so choose to become a life-long learner and commit to learn something new every day. Mastery of anything is said to take 10,000 hours so take 15 minutes a day to study something you need to learn.
- Lack of time is a myth - we all have the same amount. You can’t manage time; you can only manage yourself. Decide to use your time productively, adhere to a solid work ethic and build consistent work habits to use every pixel of time you have.
- Lack of money is a temporary state and an artifact of what you are doing, where, how, when and with whom you are doing what you do. Explore ways to create multiple sources of income, create art for different budgets with a variety of sizes and price points.
- Failure is a signpost. Look at what you did and assess what worked and did not work so you can decide what to keep doing, stop doing, do differently or start doing.
- Rejection is a signal that there is not a fit with what you thought you would achieve. Find out if the ‘no’ means never (and move on) or not yet (and find out when to come back for another connection.)
- Having a day job gives you access to a new audience. When people find out that besides being a commodity trader, you are also an abstract artist, they get curious and are usually receptive. Besides, you bust the myth of the starving artist.
- Feeling overwhelmed is the result of a lack of choice. Everything you do should be filtered by what you want to achieve. Start with the big picture of what you want in a lifetime of art making and then break that down into manageable chunks.
What would you add from your experiences of mining obstacles to find golden opportunities? Please post your replies here or on Facebook and Twitter.
P.S. If you need an accountability partner for your art business or someone to roll up sleeves to produce art marketing materials or work on your web site, just let us know. We can help you. If you haven't already had one, start with a complimentary 15-minute conversation. Sign up here.