The above is a phrase I coined a few years ago. We all know there are plenty of talented artists, musicians, writers and other creative types who never seem to get their due. Lack of ambition is one problem. Self-limiting beliefs are another.
While I have often noted that ambition is an enormous element in art career success, I realize that there are many ambitious artists who struggle. They are putting in the time. They are talented. They have a distinct body of work. Unfortunately, despite these positive attributes they remain behind in career achievements in comparison to artists similar to them.
There are many reasons why some otherwise talented artists do not get their due.
Although I have great sympathy for artists dealing with the first three conditions listed above, fixing them is not the focus of this post. I also will say I am neither a self-help expert nor do I have any special training or education that qualifies me to help with running bad scripts and removing self-limiting beliefs. What I do have is the power of observation, years of art marketing experience, and a desire to share the advantages of running your life and career with a grounded abundance attitude.
When you look at the career paths of top artists who have made it in terms of income, for example, they make $100,000 or more annually, you will find they have had quantum leaps in their income along the way. There is no escaping making quantum leaps if you want high achieving art career success – steady small incremental increases in sales and prices will fail you.
For instance, let’s say your current annual income is $25,000. In order to get to a $100,000 annual income, you have to compound a 10% growth for around 15 years. That’s a long, long time. And, in 15 years, $100k will not be what it is today.
If you think raising prices 10% a year is too much, you are running a bad art career success script. Sure, even big hitters have years when their progress may not be quantum and a 10% pop is okay. However, without quantum leaps along the way, they would be stuck in an income range that is an art career success killer.
It takes brains and courage to get higher prices. If your highest price for your work is $2,000, ask why. Can you make an artwork twice as large and twice the masterpiece of any previous work? I think most of you can, but if you don’t, it’s probably due to a self-limiting belief script running full-time in your head. Realizing the only price police are the ones in your head is a fantastic way to let go of a bad script.
Granted, you cannot just markup your work 50% overnight and hope that it will sell. You have to put some substance on your pricing and add plausible rationale, too.
Heres is an example of a self-imposed, self-limiting pricing strategy. If you tell your buyers or potential galleries that your work sells in a range of $200 – $2,000, you are letting them know your maximum price. Most are likely to look for your medium priced work, or dicker with you to lower your top price.
What is stopping you from making a piece for your portfolio that priced at $4,000, $5,000, or double or triple your current top price? You, and only you. That is all. Start planning now to plan and execute a masterpiece that is worthy of double or more your previous highest price. It make take a while to sell it, but it does wonders for your pricing range, your buyer psychology and for lifting your self-limiting beliefs.
Now you can display or show pictures of an actual piece that you can recommend with confidence and pride that gives you a 100% or greater range than you had previously. It makes your higher priced work you typically sell look like the safer middle ground purchase that is a bargain by comparison. You have now stepped out of your self-limiting belief and stopped mentally capping your work for your buyers and yourself.
Smart retailers will always show you the best, most high priced work to start. They know it drives their average selling price higher, which makes their staple items easier to sell. Moreover, I promise this will happen to you, too: By offering the high-priced versions of their goods, those retailers know they will find some buyers who are willing to purchase them without blinking. You have out there buyers for your newly minted higher priced work, but you will never find them until you put it up for sale.
Finding leverage points to help you take quantum leaps will make for enormous differences in your art career success. The pricing strategy I have given you here is just one scenario. There are many other ways to leverage your art career. Just as you choose what to create by using your imagination, you can choose what to do with your career and how to leverage it also by using your creativity and imagination.
The power of self-belief is one of the greatest driving factors behind tremendous success. So is creatively thinking and acting on ways to leverage your career and recognition for it. An outsized example is Wyland’s 100 Whaling Walls. He estimates a billion people have seen them.
I believe finding new, plausible ways to increase your price range is a key leverage point. Used properly, it is a way to increase the price of your work, dramatically. Leverage points are all around you. They can be in your work, in your materials, in your marketing, in your publicity, in your promotion, in your branding, in your networking.
The thing holding most artists back are bad scripts and limiting self-beliefs. Those scripts bind them tighter than any ropes ever could.
The first step is recognizing and accepting your self-limiting beliefs. The second is committing to work on ridding yourself of them. You can blame nature, nurture, or anything you want. You may be right. You may have had a raw deal. Life can be hard and unfair.
Nevertheless, it does not matter because you ultimately have the power of free will to lift yourself above your circumstances. People do it every day, so can you. I know you can do it. Now, you have to start to believe in you as I do.
Learn to observe your behavior. Figure out where your career is hitting the wall. It’s not all bad scripts holding you back, but often they are intertwined with other factors. Gaining self-awareness is a key to understanding where the bottlenecks are in your art career success. Those pain points, bottlenecks, or whatever you call them also are leverage points when you fix them.
Don’t try to work on too many things at once. Tackle the most obvious, the most important, or the easiest, depending on what else is going on in your career and your life. Never underestimate the power of believing in yourself. It has performed miracles on art careers and can for yours as well.