10 Mistakes that Stop Your Creative Business in its Tracks

Can you turn your passion into a business? To be successful, you need to have a workable plan and put it into action. Here are some of the biggest mistakes that artists make, which become business killers.


Shopping at a Show


  1. No plan  – You love to make art, but aren’t sure of how to even begin. Without a plan, you put off any action because it can seem overwhelming. And any excuse is a good reason to put it off so that you don’t have to deal with the enormity of it all. This of course, makes your dream a non-starter. Get started here.
  2. Lack of persistence – After a few rejections, it is easy to give up, especially when you aren’t accountable to anyone else. Without continued effort, any business will fall by the wayside. There is no more important factor in the success of a small business than persistent action. Learn from your mistakes, develop new strategies and press on. Giving up is choosing to fail.
  3. Working in isolation – without a mentor or a community of support, you are like an island. And you need input from others in the way of feedback, suggestions, resources, introductions to grow your network and more. Get involved and you will find others who share your interests and help keep you motivated and excited about your small business.
  4. Not understanding your audience. Most people won’t buy what you make, so you don’t have to worry about them. But who is your customer? You must have an idea of the people you are selling to, so that you can reach out to them at the right time, in the right place and in the right way.
  5. Unclear on your message. It’s essential to know how to speak about your art business. Why is it important, and what inspires you? Why should others care, or be fascinated by what you create? Making an emotional connection with your prospective customers is crucial to selling your work.
  6. Playing it Safe. It’s hard getting rejected. Throwing yourself out there means that you are taking a risk. But the biggest risk of all is not even starting. There is no guarantee of success, but playing it safe never ended up creating a successful business.
  7. Not understanding your sales cycle. How many times does someone have to see your work before they make a purchase? Usually several times, but your own business will have a particular cycle depending on what you do. When do you need to be in the marketplace? When do you need to present new work? How do you close a sale? This is essential knowledge that will help you build systems for your business.
  8. Having little or no online presence. Don’t have an art website? Unfortunately that means that your creative business is pretty much invisible. Just about everyone searches online to get more information or find what they are shopping for. Put together an effective website that gives professional presentation and sufficient information to create a comfort level that is conducive to buying.
  9. Lack of marketing strategy.  A few posts on social media does not a strategy make. Put together a marketing calendar, collect the emails of interested parties for your email marketing list, and consider the many options you have as an artist. Marketing is a continuous activity that puts your small business into action. Some artists spend 50% of their time on marketing in order to make a living selling their work.
  10. Failing to follow up or follow through. Follow up is one of the most important steps you can take in your efforts to close potential sales. Make this a priority every time, and you will see your sales increase exponentially.


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