3 Ways to Market Your Art Without Losing 'You'

We see it on the ‘gram all the time - artist and creators leaving a sparkling trail of success story after success story. It’s constant. Best advice? Take it in your stride, but not all of it.

It’s tempting to copy the people you admire. You can see their processes working for them and you really want your side-hobby-turn-full-time-venture to break the internet. But there’s just one thing to consider before transforming into their clone:

They ain’t you.

That’s a good thing, by the way. Not everyone has the same goals and objectives for their careers and businesses. It’s a perfectly legitimate tactic to try out processes and tricks that other people use to sell or market their product, but you need to find out pretty quickly if it’s something that works for you. If not, just drop it! You don’t need to do something just because someone else is excelling at it.

It’s likely these people have tried and failed at other peoples processes too, and eventually landed on their own that worked for them. You need to go through the same experience,

figuring it all out for yourself is going to be part of your own success story.

When it comes to the actual creative content, that’s another story entirely. Again, totally fine to try some new mediums and techniques here and there, but you know deep down if it feels bona fide. You know that feeling when you go full HAM with a different style and it feels super gross? That’s your soul yelling at you to stop and go back. Go back to you.

Now you may be left thinking, ‘OK, what the heck do I do now?’. Well, here are are 3 ways you can learn from the pro’s whilst still being your own rockstar:

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If you’re dying to know how someone is doing so freakin’ well, why don’t you just ask them? It can be a little intimidating to slide uninvited into their DM’s, but you will be surprised at how kind and generous people are. It is super flattering to be contacted by people that admire your work, who want to know how you do your magic - in most cases they are more than willing to offer up some advice. Just be conscious that they are doing it for free in their own time, thank you’s and please’s go a long way!

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Replicating someone else’s business strategy is not actually copying their IP. It’s totally fine to open an online store, or only release art prints on the 3rd day of every month. There’s no need to try and invent new ways to sell things when there are already some tried-and-true strategies that work just fine. No one owns a strategy (except maybe Tony Robbins) and if you think it’s going to help sell your work and offer great value to your customers, then feel free to give it a go! Remember too that there is no pressure to be a marketing whiz, and you’ll never find a one-size-fits-all solution. Plenty of superstar creatives simply sell from their online store, the old-fashioned way and it works for them. Find what works for you!

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Do you know how many ways there are to sell your work? LITERALLY HUNDREDS. Ok maybe not hundreds, but way more than you might know. Unless you are a famous painter and live purely off the sale of your artworks (and ride your pony across your pond to your 4000sqm studio), it’s not enough to just have the one income stream.

Regardless of what you see on Instagram (who know’s whats real anymore!), creatives need multiple revenue streams to guarantee a steady flow of income. I’m even hesitant to call it ‘passive’ income too. There is absolutely nothing passive about things selling whilst you sleep - because you actually spent 30 hours creating the thing and each day you post marketing collateral across 5 different social platforms! That’s ok though, everything requires work. A few examples of income streams are:

  • An online store

  • In-person workshops

  • Commission based work

Try this: Jot down every possible thing you could do with your creative work. If you’re an illustrator or artist, oh man…. it’s endless. Publishing, clothing, packaging, to name a few. And then go beyond that. How about teaching what you do? You don’t have to be an expert teacher in order to teach. I had zero teaching qualifications when I started doing workshops, I just knew that people love learning new drawing skills and I was keen and able to share some of my techniques!

What income streams work for you? Share your ideas in the comments below.