"I don't think there is any one "secret answer" that will work for any artist in any economy. Most people have to make trade-offs in their lives no matter what field they are in. My advice to artists is simply to try to find the balance point where you are happy. For some people that means finding a full-time job that uses their creative skills, for others it means living with less money so that they can explore a particular style or subject matter. There are a lot of valid choices, and people often shift as they go through different phases of their lives. So many women are responsible for children, and that also has a huge impact on their career choices. The best strategy is a diversified approach. Figure out what you actually need and how to have the lifestyle you want. Artists may actually be able to weather the economic conditions better than some other professions."
The external economy is often blamed for poor art sales and meager cash flow. Certainly the financial health of collectors and dealers is a major factor in how much income you collect in exchange for your art, but in that arena, your art marketing and relationships have far more impact than the external economy, where big business has far more influence than any one of us.
Your personal economy is entirely within your control.
- You choose your lifestyle and therefore your income requirements for your personal economy.
- You spend money on your basic needs, so you contribute to the external economy.
- If there is any left over, you splurge on a few wants. (For the record, as an artist, I put art materials in the category of needs.)
- If there is more going out than coming in, you can eliminate "nice-to-haves." You look to reduce or delay "need-to-haves." You may have to tap into savings to ride out the lean times. Sometimes a loan is the only answer. (There's no shame in that, especially if you support others. Just please don't over-extend your credit cards - those interest charges are nasty and they compound.)
Your money beliefs have more influence than you may imagine. Other people's beliefs about money, especially from our families and our own early experiences, are all part the background of how you conduct your personal economy to ride out the external one.
The most harmful myths about money imply that great artists do not concern themselves with "the sordid business of coin."
"Too many artists buy into the myth of the starving artist. If you believe opportunities are limited, that's what you'll find, but if you see that opportunities are truly abundant, that's what you'll experience. If you have a positive attitude and take appropriate and focused actions, you can make a living doing what you love." Painter and workshop leader Pat Fiorello
Pat Fiorello has worked hard and been smart about managing her personal economy, her art marketing and her relationships with her collectors. For 20 years, Pat worked in the business world as a marketing and general management executive. She received her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and was Vice President, Marketing for Coca-Cola and Nabisco. Pat left her "first" career to more fully pursue her passion for art and has been doing so successfully ever since.
Pat's artwork has been in over 60 juried shows, featured in over a dozen solo exhibitions, and licensed for greeting cards and home decor products. She also takes artists to Europe for art workshops. Pat is a Signature Member of the Georgia Watercolor Society, has served as Chair of the Atlanta Artists Center and President of the Georgia Watercolor Society. She has helped hundreds of artists develop their business skills through her work with arts organizations, workshops and private coaching.
If you really want to change your relationship with money, Pat Fiorello's e-book is a good start, based on the popular and practical A.C.T. TeleSeries "Making Money as an Artist: Taking Charge of Your Bottom Line."
You can change the "tapes" running in the background.
"I thought about those old beliefs, how much negative energy was involved and how they have crept into my life. I have been concentrating on action instead of inaction and pushing those beliefs out and I really embraced replacing the poor with new thoughts and with a real sense of success." S.J., Painter, California
You can adopt timeless strategies to make art and make money to suit your personal economy.
"I am so excited about having this Artist Career Training program. I've been doing my daily 15 minutes of journaling and thinking about money everyday and feel so good about the process. I've had many good insights and ideas as a result and want to share just a few of them here with all of you. The synergy we can create together is amazing, so let's play!
"I created a new mantra. I'm going to write it here in the first person - feel free to use it. 'I am a Thriving Artist.' How's that for changing an old, sorry cliché? I'm a believer in the idea of replacing old thoughts with new. It's much easier than trying to simply eradicate the old." Watercolor artist Patrice Federspiel
#1: "Getting Past Your History with Money"
uncovers blind spots where past upbringing and experiences with money may be limiting you. You'll learn how to turn those beliefs around.
#2 "Getting a Handle on Your Money Today"
shows you how to get clear on your actual financial results. You'll get your fears and hopes out of your head and onto a worksheet, so they can see the light of day, instead of waking you up at night.
#3 "Creating a Future of Your Money Possibilities"
guides you to develop a realistic plan to achieve your financial goals.
P.S. If you want some friendly guidance on how to make a better living from your art business, please set up a free 15 minute conversation with me on how Artist Career Training can help you get where you want to go.