How do you confront this issue? No matter what your art may be. Painting, writing, acting, stand-up or any of the many ways talented people express themselves. There is one thing that each must confront. It is significant when you show your art to others. But when you look at making your art into a business then you must face and overcome this hurdle.
In this article I am going to reveal the number one hurdle for profitable creative businesses.
Dealing With Your Self-Doubt
The number one issue underlining everything is your self doubt. When you ask artists why they are not selling their art or taking their talent further the answer may be one of these.
- No time
- No capital
- Too old
- Too inexpereinced
- Their community or town is too small/too big
- All the best gigs are taken
- You cannot make a living with art
- Leave my secure job! Are you crazy?
and on it goes
But all these reasons and many more are all excuses that are based on self-doubt. Deep down nobody wants to fail and look foolish. Sometimes the stakes are high and others may suffer too. Who can face these doubts on their own? It is tough. I speak from personal experience too.
The Vision Becomes Reality
Like I said these issues plagued me for years. I grew in times and places that encouraged professional careers as the way to rise up in the world. To survive money meant security. The end.
Of course this kind of life cannot make you happy if it is not fulfilling your true self. Getting up each day with a groan and dreading the day ahead is not a good way to live. But so many do this each day. Yes, me too. Until eventually after years of planning and effort I could work fulltime as an artist. The whole story is for another day, but it is possible.
Live as an Artist on Your Own Terms
One vital cog in this process is understanding your own unique goals and vision. What suits me or the next artist may not work for you. There is not only one way. Often you may see a successful artist in the media and think that you have to reach those heights to succeed. Not so. This is self doubt talking. Not reality.
Happiness as a working artist covers many facets, not only financial. I know that this sounds fanciful if you have the rent to pay this week. Of course making money is essential, but it is not the only thing. This is why having a plan and goals that cover all the important parts of your life is vital. Think of it as finding out the WHY of your artist's life.
Find Your Unique Path and Take Action
Once you understand your vision for yourself you will need to put a real plan into action. One that covers your own financial needs too. Knowing what it takes to get through the month makes you confront reality. Scary? Yes, but if you have already established your why you can face the HOW.
How to Grow a Creative Business?
This includes improving your own skills for business. You cannot look at this side of your art as a bore. There are ways to learn these skills in a fun and supportive community of like minded people. Yes, other artists like you are doing this every day.
Then there is your art itself. Working on developing your skill is a given and you must accept this. But of course self-doubt will step in and say: "Look at how good everyone else is. Can you hope to compete?"
This is where a supportive community can help massively. Knowing others are facing these self doubts and overcoming them is a huge motivator to push through the rough days. Tell your story to others and they will help put it in perspective. This too will pass.
Find Your Ideal Clients
A game changer for you will be finding your super fans. The people who will support you financially and share your work with others. They are out there right now. All you have to do is reach out to them and share your work. It can be as simple as asking people to look at your art. This is an action step that takes you forward.
How can you find your ideal clients? How can you confront self doubt and get the support you need? Find the guidance from genuine artists who care about results? The combination of mentor and community is rare. There are plenty of big talkers out there who do not have scruples too. But there is excellent help too.
It may not seem exciting to mention the word strategy I'll admit. But consider strategy as merely a form of planning. One where you incorporate your vision and goals into some form of action. You have visualized yourself in a brighter future no doubt. Now you need to put a plan together to make that vision happen. Otherwise it remains a dream.
To find your way along this path is tricky. I never suggest acting recklessly. Simply quitting your day job to think about a better life will not help you to pay the rent. But taking action based on a plan will get you there. I do cover strategy in a lot more detail in my book The Art of Content Marketing. Also how to find your ideal clients and much more.
Overcome Doubt by Taking Action
There is wisdom in knowledge through learning. But also through experience. Although I can give suggestions and tips in my book and online, together with other experts, it does require action on your part. Test out the theory to make sense of it all. Step by step. Do not burn your bridges before you have tested and figured out what works for you. This is the only logical and wise approach that I know of. It took me five years to work out my happy medium. Too long perhaps, but I am also cautious.
If you have less to lose then you afford to be me daring. Good. But make sure you have a plan and try things out. Marketing tactics only make sense if they are part of a strategy that you can measure. Take the next step.
Visit my business resources page here.
Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa