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"You’ll Never Make a Living as an Artist”

"You’ll Never Make a Living as an Artist”

Carolyn Edlund | ArtsyShark

1. You are your own best advocate.

Even if you hire people to do your promotion and marketing, you alone are the most passionate about your success. Use this drive to speak about yourself and your work proudly. If you have trouble putting your thoughts into words, work on a written summary of your business that is a sentence or two long. Practice this until you are clear that you can quickly recall it. This is called an “elevator pitch” because it is short enough to be spoken during an elevator ride. Use it during conversations with people you meet – you never know who could be your next great contact!

2. Success breeds success.

Once you get a few sales or shows under your belt, things come more easily. Getting out of the starting gate can be tough and take a toll on the ego, especially when you are faced with rejection. Don’t give up on pursuing the icebreaker that will help you get a foothold and build your confidence and your business.

3. Attitude is everything.

Think and act successfully. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t being honest; it means that you believe you are an artist with talent who is working on a career in your field. Give yourself credit for all your efforts. Be kind to yourself and cultivate friends who also believe in you.

4. There is support for you.

I speak with experts all the time who are decision makers and have the power to advance the careers of artists. Despite seeming heartless to those who are rejected, many of these people have gone out of their way to express how they wish to support and encourage artists. Quite a few of them have been in your shoes. Even though they may not choose your work because it doesn’t fit their needs at the time, don’t take it personally.

5. Don’t give up.

I firmly believe the most important characteristic of an artist is persistence. Learn from your mistakes, raise the bar on your quality, and improve your efforts. And, continue to pursue opportunities — they will come!

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