Artists face countless rejections and often struggle to sell their work.

You really wish this wasn’t the case, but it is — and the thought of more negative feedback fills you with dread. It’s hard to imagine a better reality when the bills are due.

How can you turn this around?

Selling artists have fine-tuned various skills. They also have unshakable self-belief, resilience and tons of motivation.

The good news is that you too can fine-tune these skills.

Of course, building your art selling muscle isn’t easy. But if you have the drive to put in the work and start being accountable for your actions you will see results.

If it’s your aim to get paid for your art, it’s vital for you to understand why an artist fails and why an artist succeeds.

Let’s start and look at 10 key points successful artist live by and discover how you can apply them to your career.

1. Take ownership

More and more artists take control of their career and re-define what it means to be a successful artist. They are in control of their career and have turned their talent into a striving business.

What they share is ownership. They take 100% responsibility for their success. They work hard and persevere in the face of what can seem like insurmountable obstacles.

Whatever it is you must do to get your work out there – you will have to do it.

Whatever it is that is stopping you from moving forward – you will have to fix it.

No one else can do these things for you. Improving your current situation requires you to sometimes take scary steps.

Think about it, there will be nobody as good as you or working as hard as you to sell your work.

Your raw enthusiasm will shine through when you talk about your piece. And your enthusiasm will be very contagious to any potential buyer.

2. Be ambitious

We all get 24 hours a day, but do you ever feel like you are not making the most of your day? Will you be looking back on your day and think that time on the sofa watching TV could have been spent better?

Many successful artists have well-established goals and know where they want to be. They are excited by their goals and spent most of their time working toward them.

At the end of the day, they are feeling satisfied knowing they have achieved what they set out to do.

Start by establishing your goals.

You are where you are in your life because of the goals you set.

Goals are full of unlimited potential and if we fail to set ambitious goals we fail to reach our full potential.

Low goals produce sub-par results and ambitious goals lead to improved results.

We are not always able to achieve all our ‘high’ set goals. But the act of trying moves you far closer than if you had set them at an average level.

3. Believe

You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it you become someone worth becoming — Jim Rohn Self made millionaire.

Aiming high is great, but it is as important that you believe your goals are possible. An unshakable self-belief will see you through hard times. Furthermore, it ensures that you don’t lose sight of that goal of yours.

There will be people who will try to talk you out of your vision. They will tell you that you are crazy and that it can’t be done. There will be those who will laugh at you and try to bring you down to their level.

Don’t listen to them.

4. Embrace this key to success

No matter how good and skilled you are. No matter how passionate you are about your work. You HAVE TO have an idea of where you want to be and a plan of how you will get there.

Unleash the power of planning for success, plan to sell your art.

Ask yourself, over the next 12 months, what do I need to be focusing on and be achieving to move my career forward?

Do you need to:

  • Brush up your marketing skills?
  • Produce more work?
  • Improve your work?
  • Work on your networking skills?
  • Create exhibition opportunities?
  • Create an online presence?
  • Learn about marketing?

If you want to make more sales and improve your current situation you must plan. Decide on everything you want to achieve, create a step by step achievable plan and put it in your calendar. It takes some time to break down goals into smaller tasks, but it is so worth it in the end.

Seeing exactly what needs to be done to get things moving forward is very exciting. Breaking it down in small actionable chunks makes it so much more real and achievable.

5. Show and share



Are you playing hide and seek with potential buyers?

Is it easy for collectors to learn about your work and your process?

You would be amazed at how many artists still don’t have an online presence! Sharing ‘behind the scene information’ allows potential buyers and galleries, to connect with you on a different level.

People want to see how things are made and, in a way, be part of the process. They want to understand how you tick!

Study successful artists. Observe their online presence and check out their social media connections.

Reach out to other people, make connections by joining art debates and conversations. It is easy to join a group, forum or conversation with like-minded people. Ask questions or if you can answer questions.

You get inspired and will inspire others. There is so much knowledge, feedback, and support you can gain from collaborating and sharing your information.

Often, I hear “I don’t like self-promotion and I worry about what people might think about the work I produce”.  In moments of doubt always focus on the benefits you will gain from getting your work out there.

6. Tell your story


Download the worksheet to make a well established goal and know where you want to be.

Establish Your Goals

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50 Ways to Make Money
from Your Art