An Artist and Marketing Expert Shares Her Secrets to Success

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Helen Aldous is the genius behind Artonomy-a blog created especially for the creative minded. I signed up for one of her newsletters months ago and was enthralled with the catchy way she made all the boring business stuff creatives despise, fun.

Lucky for me she made time between her super busy schedule to chat about the things most creatives like me fear most-marketing their stuff. Whether it’s your writing or your art pieces, we all need to do the deed if we want more than our relatives to buy our goods and services. Here’s the 411 on how to market like a pro without needing to quit your full-time job in order to do so.

 

What is the biggest mistake creatives make when it comes to marketing and selling their wares?

I think a really easy mistake to make is not dedicating enough time to marketing and selling your work. It’s so easy to think it will look after itself but unfortunately it won’t and you will end up with a mountain of great work and no money.

You have to find the right balance between creating at one end and moving the work along and marketing it and selling it at the other. In an ideal world we would spend all the time creating but you need to find the time to concentrate on the marketing side too. It’s all about finding balance.

 

These days with social media responsibilities in addition to creating crafty stuff, it seems like you need 48 hour days in order be successful and get everything done. What is the most important thing we can do to increase our presence online without killing ourselves trying to do it?

One of the most important skills you can develop today is the ability to filter and focus. Don’t get sidetracked by all the distractions thrown at you by social media. Keep focused, concentrate on the things that will bring you greatest return {i.e. better traffic to your website, and/or sales}. Don’t try to spread yourself too thinly.

Make use of the tools available. Do things like scheduling your Tweets by using software like www.tweetdeck.com or http://dlvr.it/ Set yourself a slot of 15-30 minutes to work on Twitter and then shut it down and leave it alone. Don’t get dragged in by it’s addictive tentacles. . .

 

What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding and myth about business and marketing?

Artists can sometimes feel business and marketing are manipulative or will turn them into a sell out. Business and marketing skills CAN be used in manipulative ways but they don’t have to be. Basically it’s just about telling people what you do. If they don’t see your work they don’t know if they like it. If they do like it you need to be equipped with the skills to sell it for a fair price that reflects your talent and time.

Only YOU will care about your work with the passion with which you create it so it’s really important to develop these skills in order to do justice to your work and enable it to find a wider audience.  Business can seem very intimidating but is a skill that can be developed like any other and puts you in a MUCH stronger position as an artist.

 

What is a secret that helped you skyrocket your business?

As I got older I found I have lost a lot of “THE FEAR” which would have previously have stopped me doing things before I even started. Now I will just throw myself in without the paralyzing kind of “going round in circles” deliberation I used to do. I find I get a lot more done and achieve a lot more.

I love this quote…

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

So I guess the secret is just doing it and not stressing about it.

One thing you know now that you wished you knew way back when?

That you can get a lot done when you break it down into small chunks. I used to put myself off doing things because I only looked at the enormity of the task and whether I could complete it perfectly. I just wouldn’t start it. When I had kids it meant that I just didn’t have the time to worry about perfection like this and had to grab what time I had to do things. Then I realized I could get massive things done by doing them in small chunks every day.

I love that old saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” We are all super busy and hectic in our lives but you can still achieve your huge goals if you keep plodding on.

 

Marketing, branding, and selling online can be intimidating. How does one make it less so?

I think it really helps if  you try and change the way you look at it. Words like “marketing” and “branding”can sum up images of pushy corporate advertising forcing you to buy something you really don’t need, but if you think of it as just “spreading the word” about your work it seems less intimidating. There is a world of difference between trying to sell stuff to people in a pushy way and organically spreading the world about what you do. People will be interested to see what you are up to. If you just make a contact and brighten someone’s day, great. If you make a sale that’s great too.

 

Tell us about Artonomy. How’d you come up with the idea? How long did it take you to get from brainstorming to fruition?

Artonomy has really grown organically. I am lucky to live in a town with a thriving artistic community and many of my friends are artists and musicians. As I run a web design and marketing company I was often getting asked questions about this area by my creative friends and realized a blog containing this information would be really useful to artists to have access to online. www.artonomy.co has been running for just over a year now and has grown into a really nice community of people who drop in and hopefully a good repository of information for artists.

If you want more information on Helen and her fabulous website, go here.

Who is Helen Aldous?

“I love to help artists and creative folk get online, sell their work and make a decent living from their creative skills. It is possible!”

I combine working as an artist printmaker and illustrator with running a web design and online marketing business from the wilds of West Yorkshire, UK.

I’m also in the process of creating a site providing easy to use, elegant, websites for artists. http://artfolio-artists-websites.com/ which will be launching soon.

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3 comments

  1. Kemari says:

    Perfect timing! I couldn’t have read this at a better time.

    I have suffered off and on from “THE FEAR.” I know the only way I can prosper is to get over it and put myself out there. And I’ve done it moderately, but I like that quote:

    “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

    So true. I’ve slowly but surely been coming out of my shell with this kind of thinking. I’m going to have to come back to this post when I need a pick-me-up. 🙂

  2. Nan Engen says:

    Wonderful interview! I’m a big fan of Helen’s too and I love her down to earth advice. Because I don’t feel I have the knowledge to aggressively market my art, I tend to just keep creating and don’t spend the time I should learning how to market it. I have to get out of my comfort zone. I will be looking for more interviews and articles from you!

    • Brandi says:

      Hi Nan! I’m the same way, which is why I found Helen’s post and her blog so helpful. Just to let you know, I have all of my inspiring interviews here. And a social media expert wrote a great guest post on my writing site on how to use Twitter effectively to market your business. Thanks for your comment!

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