This week will be the last in a series of posts I have made about planning my switch to working independently.
This is not to say that my planning is stopping or that I have planned everything perfectly and now have nothing to do but knock down the first domino in my Rube Goldberg machinations to achieve total work freedom. Not at all. I am stopping this series of posts because I have reached a point at which many of my plans are starting to be put in motion and the idea of planning-stages no longer covers everything I want to be talking about.
So this week I am wrapping up my planning posts with one of the most difficult and troubling areas I have: marketing.
I can’t exactly say why I find marketing so challenging other than to recognize that I have virtually no experience in it. After all, I am the kind of person who is perfectly content to work in a quiet space for hours on end. As a painter I relish long stretches of time being by myself and confronting myself. This is my natural environment and temperament.
The idea of getting out and trying to sell myself seems as foreign to me as would be writing this blog in Russian. I have resisted it for sometime simply because it has been so easy to resist. I am not naturally inclined to marketing and selling, so why not just let it go. At least this is the way I am used to thinking.
I allowed myself to keep away from marketing and sales, because I had created a story about them. One that said sales and marketing where at best necessary evils, and at worst the root cause of society’s ills. I never allowed my mind to open up to what might really be happening.
So what changed?
Once I decided my major goal was to establish myself as an artist and create a sustainable life from my art. I began studying and paying attention to issues related to creating and managing an actual business. I have looked for and sucked up as much practical business advice as I could. And the list below represents the most influential books I’ve read, although it is not all-inclusive.
Tribes by Seth Godin
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist by
No More Mondays by Dan Miller
The E Myth by
Each of these is probably a basic beginners guide to business and marketing in the internet era, but they brought me to a point I had never been before. A point at which I could view marketing and selling my work in a positive way. I no longer had to think of business skills as something beyond me and totally foreign from the kind of person I want to be. These books gave me new ways of thinking that allowed me to see these skills as a natural progression in advancing my art career. Simply put they allowed me to broaden my mind.
At this point, the blog you are reading now is my primary tool for getting my work out to the public. Along with being a personal exercise to sharpen my writing skills and dicipline, its also about engaging with the internet in a way that I hope will build over the years. As much as this space is a sounding board, and place to share things I realize that it has a value in helping me connect with others. And those connections really are a part of letting people know I exist and that I make stuff. Boom – guess what!?– thats marketing.
Aside from this I am developing other websites and social media as I learn to use them, as well as a few off-line areas like crafting better press releases and sending out press releases to announce the projects that both myself and Chaku-Chaku are involved with.
This is a slow process, and one that will require consistent learning and trying of new things. But as beginnings go I think the most important thing has been changing my thinking. Being able to see marketing as a natural extension of my goals and art, rather than a competing evil. This has really helped motivate me to get on with it.
That is essentially a philosophical step, a vitally important one, but one that is more about mental preparation rather than actual actions. Of course I am taking action as well, but there always seems more to learn and do.
So I turn to you readers, what should I be doing with my work? What are the next steps I should be taking in getting myself out as an artist?