How To Sell Your Art in 2022
It’s the number one question I’m asked … “What can I do to sell more artwork?”
Think about how your life would change if you had the skills to make 2022 the best year of your art career, no matter what roadblocks from the economy or pandemic are thrown into the mix.
With the new year here, I thought I’d share a few quick ideas to consider so you can plan and implement them now.
1. Planning Is Everything
Every successful person on earth will tell you that the more extensive your planning, the better your year will be. As an artist, I hate planning. As a business person, I love it. It provides me with a roadmap to success, helps me measure where I am, and reminds me week to week how I’m doing. Remove your artist hat and put on your business hat for a few minutes.
If you take some time before the new year begins and start working on your plan, you’ll see an uptick in your overall sales.
Set monthly sales goals. Start with your annual needs and work backward. Let’s say you need $60,000 a year to survive. And let’s say you’d like to have a $20,000 cushion to do some extra things. Now that you know your number is $80,000, you have a baseline goal. Now you know you have to make $6,666 a month. Now break it out into your income sources. For instance, if 50% of your income comes from teaching, you have to figure out how to get $3,333 a month teaching. A workshop with 15 people at $222 each solves the problem (of course, you add your costs on top and raise the price accordingly). You also need $3,333 a month in painting sales. If you’re keeping $1,000 per painting, then you need to sell 3 per month.
Though this is an oversimplification, because you won’t just sell three paintings every month — you might sell fewer or more — and you’ll have marketing costs, the idea is sound.
What is most important about a goal/budget is that you can measure how you are doing each month. I recommend you break it into weekly goals and look at them every week, so you have time to “save” a month before it’s too late. Discipline yourself to not give up until you finish the month with your required income. Holding yourself accountable is the easiest way to hit goals.
Part of your plan should be to set three major outcomes you want for the year, and three minor outcomes. Build out the steps (activities) you need to accomplish those outcomes. And try to get the outcomes done each quarter. I do this with my team, and it works miracles. Again, hold yourself accountable.
2. Prepare the Soil for Planting
Only weeds grow in rocky soil. Soil needs to be tilled, fertilized, and made ready.
What does that mean for you? First, get the rocks out. In your case, the rocks are the negative thoughts that are getting in the way of your success. You’re telling yourself that things are not possible, or that marketing or sales are evil. (They are not, as long as you don’t let them become evil. You have control.).
Do everything you can to manage your mindset. (I talk a lot about this in my book on how to sell your art.) Your mindset is everything, and what you accomplish is directly tied to your beliefs. Learn about mindset and spend some time cleaning out your rocks.
Nourishing the soil is about learning. There are giants who have come before you who have written books, recorded videos, done podcasts to help you learn how to market and sell your art appropriately. Prepare your mind.
3. Build Your List
Anyone who has ever bought or expressed interest in your artwork is a potential customer. If you build a database of people and talk to them more frequently about your latest artworks, it will pay dividends. Now you have your own media. Talk to them. You can’t do it too much if it’s appropriate.
4. Play Major League Ball
What do the giant artists we all know and love do? They play in the major leagues. They aggressively market, and they do it continually. Though you often don’t see it or feel it, it’s there. If you want to be as successful as they are, you need to do what made them and keeps them successful. And if you can’t do it all, pick one thing and do it well.
Once I discovered this, it changed my life. As a human, I can only talk to so many people one-on-one. But when I learned to amplify my message through various media, everything changed. Pros advertise. Pros do PR. Pros do shows. And they do it continuously. As long as you’re in the business of selling paintings, you need to do these things. And when you start, be patient. You may think people know who you are, but most don’t, and it takes time, repetition, and more repetition.
6. Make a Declaration
Once you have declared to yourself that you’re a pro, a major player, you need to start getting noticed in other ways. You need to apply to be part of shows (don’t give up, ever; it might take years in some cases). You need to enter every art competition you can, and put yourself up against others. It will make you better, knowing you are being judged (watch this video). Making that declaration will change your physiology and mindset related to selling more work.
7. Spin More Plates
An artist friend saw his income stream die overnight because the one and only plate he was spinning was suddenly taken away from him (he lost his Facebook account permanently). Smart business people never put all of their business on the outcome of one media. Though some are making a living from social media, you should be using other forms of media too, including e-mail, online newsletters, print media, and other forms of advertising and PR.
8. Increase Repetition
A few months ago I saw an ad. It caught my eye. But I left and forgot about it. Then it popped up again, and again, it caught my eye, but not enough to click or call. Then again, and again, and after multiple times, they caught me at the right moment, and I bought a $1,000 product. Never assume one time will sell anyone anything. Repeat as much as you can for as long as you can, knowing that everyone is in a different state of mind. If you increase your repetition, you’ll see a huge change in sales (if you know to give it time).
9. The Year of YOU
Make a commitment to make 2022 the Year of You. Be committed, be everywhere, be visible, use repetition, and by the end of 2022 you’ll have exceeded your goals and will be ready to make 2023 even better.
10. Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
How many artists and galleries failed in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID fears and rumors? Yet these were the best years ever for many others. The difference is that they did not stop marketing just because of things they were hearing. In fact, many doubled down because they knew competitors would do less.
YOU are in charge of YOU, Inc. No one else. If you make up your mind to succeed, make a plan, and follow it, you will succeed even if the economy crashes. It’s been proven through history. The ones who fail are the ones who give up and stop trying. Those who succeed put on the gas, not the brakes.
2022 Will Be Your Best Year Yet
You can easily and naturally see an unlimited amount of income by simply, logically, and intuitively following a plan that will truly transform your career.
Your opportunity is utterly limitless. If you make a personal commitment to these simple steps, you will immediately understand and recognize how much your mindset has changed and will find that success levels that have never happened before in your career will become clearer and more obtainable.
Soon you’ll comprehend and notice a new level of success before you get started, during the planning process, and after you’ve implemented these steps until you reach your first, second, and even third month of budget success. All while you begin to reap the rewards of following these steps for the rest of your career.
You’ll see your career expand beyond anything in your past, and undergo a transformation that will expand your sales beyond anything you’ve experienced before.
You’ll see yourself enter a new level of professionalism and rise above the limitations of your past as you move from where you’ve been to a new overall level of success.
Big success always starts with small steps in the right direction, and with facing the discomfort of the unknown. Trust your instincts and make the decision that 2022 is the year you become aware. Realize that the full and total responsibility for your success falls on your shoulders, and understand that once you are aware of what needs to be done, you’ll comprehend things on a new level and notice the world unfolding before your eyes.
You can easily use the time between now and the new year to simply create a plan and naturally enter a new year with confidence.
Visit EricRhoads.com (Publisher of Realism Today) to learn about opportunities for artists and art collectors, including: Art Retreats – International Art Trips – Art Conventions – Art Workshops (in person and online, including Realism Live) – And More!
Related Article > On Managing An Art Career