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The Psychology of Success

by Constance Smith

Psychological roadblocks
   Every entrepreneur must wear more than one hat. Most entrepreneurs are not skilled in all facets of their business. When you enter the marketplace with your artwork, you'll need to have all your psychological artillery ready for action. This artillery will become important to take you through the pitfalls of your business.
   All of us have been raised with many attitudes that undermine our higher possibilities. Throughout our life we all must attempt to overcome those old barriers and attitudes and begin to think for ourselves our better selves. As an entrepreneur and that is what you become when you decide to start your art business you will be, as defined by Webster's, "a person who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of profit."
   Assuming risk? Yes! You will need to become aware of your psychological blocks in order to take a risk and succeed at this business. Study your negative attitudes toward success within your own psyche; find out what is holding you back. Follow only those attitudes that assist you in succeeding in your aims. That sounds simple, yet we all know it's not simple to change an ingrained attitude. It is, however, an axiom you must develop towards your art business.
   Don't use any excuses! If you have them, keep them to yourself. Don't voice them. Excuses become more of a reality if they are voiced. Understand that they are only excuses. In case you are having difficulty seeing your excuses, here are some I hear all the time:

  • I work full-time. I don't have the time to market.
  • I have never marketed anything before.
  • I am shy.
  • I live in an uncultured town.
  • There is too much competition.
  • I don't know how to price my work.
  • I don't want to part with my work.
  • Financial success will poison my artwork.
  • The art market is saturated.
  • I can't use the left side of my brain.
  • I don't have any business abilities.
  • A true artist should just be discovered.
  • I would feel guilty about making money at what I love to do.

   If you continue to believe any of these excuses, you will get nowhere. To make a living as an artist, you will have to have the courage and take the risk to break through any of your personal roadblocks. If you truly desire to accomplish the task of marketing and selling your art, you must have the courage to conquer these barriers. There is no alternative! You have broken through barriers in other areas of your life. Break through these, too.
   By the way, you have already begun the process. You purchased this book because you want your career as a fine artist to flourish.

The Myth of the Struggling Artist
   Artists and non-artists alike are familiar with this ubiquitous myth - artists never make much money and don't care about money. This is just one of the many myths that have been heaved upon the creative people of the world. Don't believe it! Rubens, for example, didn't believe it. He was a politician and a very good businessman.
   I know many artists across the U.S. who don't believe this myth, and for that reason they have prospered in the art business. They are not "famous", perhaps never will be "famous" among the masses, but this isn't their aim. Their aim is to make a living as a fine artist.
   You do not have to feel guilty about making money from your talents. You are fortunate enough to have a talent that can become an occupation. People want and need art. Get on with what you like to do! Have an attitude change toward the business of art. Put an end to those lies society programmed into you. Conquer the myth of the struggling artist. Get on with becoming a surviving artist in the new millennium.

Fear of rejection
   Another myth artists are taught is that they are supposed to be rejected by society, by galleries, by clients, by the business world. "Artists are eccentrics. They are rejects." Let's not advocate rejection any longer. Let's think anew. Believing this myth attracts rejection.
   You will need to learn to distance yourself from but take heed of criticism. You are educating yourself for intelligent marketing. Listen to what people say when they comment on your work. They can give you important clues for future planning. Are they rejecting your portfolio? Did you catch them in the middle of a hectic day? Were you late to your appointment? Did you choose an inappropriate gallery?
   As an artist you donit have to take a criticism personally. If you feel your work is truly inspiring, surely there will be other people who feel the same. If you consider your artwork of a top standardoand you should if you intend to market itowhy is the opinion of someone you donit know so distressing to you? Perhaps you don't really feel that your work is so good?
   Without the fortitude you gain from these inevitable critiques that hurt, you wonit be ready for the psychological strength you need to be a success. Once you start marketing your artwork on a regular basis, this gut-level fear of criticism and rejection will begin to diminish.

The author, Constance Smith, has devoted the last eighteen years to publishing art marketing information researching and networking with art world professionals nationwide. Previous to that she represented fine artists in the San Francisco area. "Art Marketing 101" is available at bookstores nationwide or you can order directly from the publisher. 336 pages, $24.95 + $4 shipping, ISBN: 0-940899-32-9. ArtNetwork, PO Box 1360, Nevada City, 95959 Tel. 800/383-0677 530/470-0862 Fax: 530/470-0256 http://www.artmarketing.com E-mail: info@artmarketing.com


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