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To Join the Latest “It Craze or Platform” or Not on Social Media

Success and Failure Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

It seems like every time we turn around there is some new way or platform (like Instagram or Facebook) that is suppose to transform how we meet new clients as artists.  While admittedly some of these things, when the proper marketing techniques are learned, do lead to sales, all have the potential to be huge time sucks.

When I first got onto Facebook I joined a group called Link Love. You may have heard of them.  The premise was that setting up back links to each other’s pages will increase rankings inside of Google.  It’s other theory is that the more people who fan your page, the better off you are.

I was a member of Link Love for a while.  And for me that ROI – Return on Investment –  in terms of my time, was not worth it.  I met some GREAT people there, and yes my fan pages and blogs were read a bit by people who were back linking to everything. And I even used the services of one or two marketing type people who are a part of Link Love.  But my own Link Love activities did not generate one sale.

Here’s my thinking as to why Link Love works for some people and why it didn’t work for me.  My art is in two very targeted niche markets.  So for me, I prefer to get people who are actually invested in my type of art, who are the correct target market for my art – and communicate with them. For some people, like those with marketing and graphic design services to sell, Link Love put them on the map.  Why?  Because who was “liking” their pages?  Business owners who are online, probably just starting out, and who needed those types of services.

So what’s the lesson learned here?  Well for me it was 1) will this new action or new platform really get me touch with my specific target market? 2) Will it get me sales that are worthy of my time spent?  3) How will I measure if it is getting me sales? and 4) Can it help add to my physical email list.

If I don’t know the answers to these questions, I don’t begin. So I’m not saying don’t do something like Link Love, or Instagram or fill in the blank.  I am saying if you do – ask yourself if you are bringing in the type of clients you need from participating in that activity. Not “exposure” – PAYING CLIENTS.  Or if your time could be better spent elsewhere. For some, a certain platform or activity within a platform will be a perfect fit. For others, it won’t.  Like all marketing activities, the key is to evaluate consistently and see what is working and change course accordingly.

I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences with new must do/ must have activities and platforms. What has worked for you, and what hasn’t? And why do you think that is.




Facebook Fan Page – Why You As An Artist Need One

Are you guilty of promoting your business with your personal profile page? Here’s a couple reasons why having a Fan Page/ Business Page is important.

First, and most important, is that it goes against Facebook’s rules to promote/ sell on something other than a Page. Promoting/selling on a personal profile can get you into trouble, as in get your account deactivated.

Second – it enables a lot more people to interact with you and in a very targeted way. While I started out inviting people I know to my fan pages – my fan pages have grown from people I don’t know adding/ liking me. I can then interact with a larger group of people I don’t know and who only get to know information I really want to share with them. So for example, my art page is my art page. I don’t share with my fans that I just had the world’s hottest chili or saw the best sale at Barney’s. No – they don’t need to know this. What they need to know is that my art is showing at various places. And that I’m working on X Y and Z in the studio this week.

Third – you can allow other people to become admin’s of your page. Which means that if you did something that accidentally got you booted from Facebook, whomever you added as the admin can add you back into your own page with your new profile. And all that work you did will not be lost.

Fourth – You can interact with other pages as your own page. This allows you to do social marketing interactions as your avatar, instead of as yourself.

Fifth – With the new changes to Facebook Fan pages – you can begin targeting your clients even more via emails. Obviously, don’t abuse this. And a lot of artist will! (So many do on LinkedIn I’ve started dropping those that do.) People want to hear about you and your art. But they don’t want to hear about you every day. Abuse this ability to directly communicate with your clients, and you will become your own worst enemy – by encouraging people to drop your page. Cherish this, use it wisely, and it can be an even better way to keep in contact with your clients and fans. : )

So what are you waiting for? Go here for the link to Facebook’s Page – or simply go to anyone’s page and in the upper right hand corner, click that button to Create A Page.

Have fun – and keep me posted.

For more on Facebook, see Facebook Etiquette



Before Setting Goals, Acknowledge Accomplishments

The beginning of the year is always a great time to take stock of the past year and come up with some new goals, or re-emphasis of existing goals. Sometimes this process can feel like a pointless endeavor, because we can become some hung up on feeling that not all goals were accomplished, so why bother.

I have definitely felt this way from time to time. So I wanted to share a technique introduced to me by Jayne Johnson ( in her goal’s
workshop. But which many other leaders and teachers espouse and practice as well.

This is a simple technique. But let me say that the first time I did it, and then read my list allowed to someone else, I cried. I cried because for me, I never really stopped and celebrated the wins along the way. And I was overwhelmed by just how much I had accomplished in the previous year, which up until that point I had not given myself credit for.

This year I did this process with my boyfriend – and we both found it to be very freeing. As we began to feel less beat up about not accomplishing everything that was on our list – and realized we had accomplished quite a bit together and separately to be proud of. And afterward, we were both much more willing and receptive to reviewing and modifying upcoming goals for the year, with a renewed sense of ability to achieve.

So here it is:
Take a few pieces of paper and give yourself 5 minutes to write down everything you have accomplished in the past 12 months. Then, when you are done, share that list with a friend – read it out loud to them. If you don’t feel comfortable with this last step, then read it to yourself out loud in the mirror. But if at all possible, find a supportive friend and do this process together.

Sometimes when we get so focused on what we still have to accomplish, we can get hung up on the NOT. This processes helps us remember and recognize what has been accomplished, thereby renewing faith in the ability to accomplish more.

Let me know what you think. Do you do this or a similar practice every year? If you are doing it for the first time, what did you discover?


Art, Paintball & Widgets

Not sure how exactly I came to have this epiphany while playing paintball but – I realized that selling art is simply another type of business. It’s not different than dry cleaning, selling advertising services or Belgian chocolate.  It’s 90% business and 10% art. I think because I saw so many successful couples tag team the art business, I always figured it was 50% art and 50% business.  But it’s not.

This realization started to creep up on me over the previous few weeks.  First there was a post by an artist who’s wife manages his career stating that it was 90% business and 10% art.  I was really surprised by this – given his full time crack marketing and sales team/ aka his wife.  And while I did agree with that – and think “oh good, I have been feeling bad that I’m not at my easel 50% of the time, maybe I’m on par with everyone else.”  I didn’t really get the deeper meaning of this.

I could basically be selling widgets.  Yes, high end, niche widgets, but widgets just the same.  This fact didn’t fully sink in until ANOTHER artist said he was spending 90% of his time at his desk and only 10% of his time out in the field behind his camera.  I was like – “yeah, I spend my entire day doing business.  It’s like I’m back in the corporate world, doing what I did then, only now I work for myself.” And he agreed.

So there I was, two years into being an artist full time and I finally got it.  I am selling widgets.  Art is a just another business.  I know that takes some of the fun out of it.  But it also all of a sudden makes it fit nicely into everyone’s business processes and models.  Where before I had been going along with the “conventional” artist wisdom that says art is not a square peg in a square hole.  Well, I hate to break it to you, but it is.  We are not the exception.  And this is a GOOD thing. It means life is much easier for us when we look at selling art from this viewpoint.

Yes it’s still precious.  Yes, unlike a traditional widget, it’s personal.  And yes, it costs more than a paperclip widget. But probably costs less than a real expensive watch widget.  So when we start to think about it in sheer business/ product terms – Wow – possibility opens up like never before. And all of a sudden the hard become simple.

What do you think?


Facebook Etiquette What Artists Should Know

There has been discussion, normally by those guilty of it, who are irritated when I remove their blatant self-promotion from one of my Facebook Fan Pages.

I define spamming a wall as putting content (including pictures of your own work) without invitation to do so, on someone else’s wall.

The reason I consider this is spamming is for the most part, the content posted isn’t relevant and the person doing it hasn’t asked permission to do so. They are simply trying to piggyback off the work and good-faith another person has created in order to promote themselves.

Here’s my take on Facebook Etiquette. Don’t self promote on someone else’s page. This doesn’t mean don’t comment, and don’t get involved on Fan Pages or Group Pages. It means add value first. Then build a relationship with the person who owns that page. Then see if something you do and they do tie in together.

People will promote you ON THEIR OWN if you are offering value. If you are contributing to the conversation. And if after some time, you want them to promote you – then ask – via a private email. See if they feel what you are offering is in line with what they are offering.

There are two exceptions that I know of to this – that fall under the agreement to post on a wall. The first is Link Love – because everyone on that list has agreed to self promote (in a very specific way, in a very specific place). The second would be a forum set up specifically to promote art. There are a few on Facebook.

(I personally have given up on both Link Love and posting anything in a self-promoting forum because it was not a good ROI activity. Because if everyone is just out for themselves. And no one is adding value. Who actually is paying attention and reading the posts? Very few. )

What are your thoughts? Does it irritate you to have people post self-promotion on your page without first contributing or getting to know you?

For more on Facebook, see Facebook Fan Page – Why You Need One


Question About Printing Smaller Art Prints:

Got this question a while back, thought I’d share it with everyone, in case others had the same.

Q: Do you recommend printing your own prints for sale or do have a print shop do that? Can you really affordably print your own prints without sacrificing quality? I was thinking smaller prints like an 8 x 10 or 11 x14. I was thinking of offering smaller ie: more affordable prints.

A: Ok. I do my smaller prints like that at Costco. It took me a bit of playing around with the color in Photoshop – to get it correct. But now I kind of have an idea before I start, on what I need to do make the images look the way I want. So I adjust to that, and then do a really small 4 x 6 print as a test. Then when I get it how I want it – I do the 8 x 10. I now have a couple bigger size options available on a couple Etsy shops – because people were asking for them. But these are still all printed through Costco.

I find that having small prints (8 x 10) at art shows is a life saver – and then I offer a discount if people get two or more. My cost for an 8 x 10 is $1.50 for the print and then probably another $1.50 for the bag, cardboard and promotional item. So all in looking at $3.00 and I sell them for $15 – which is a perfect 5 times markup, and is the recommended mark up for prints etc.

I haven’t looked at the cost of doing these at home – but for me at least, the ink and the photo paper on my own I’m guessing would make this much more expensive to run off my own computer. And I feel (although I don’t know for certain) that the photo process is going to be a better print, that can withstand more sunlight, than my own home inkjet printer.

A tip my printer gave me (he does all my giclee printing): There is a box in the check out process that should be checked so that “Costco” won’t show on the back.

For more about the business of art, see Paintballs & Widgets


The Vanity Activity:

Last Blog I talked about statistics. And I mentioned something I tend to think of as a “vanity stat.” For example, I worked X number of hours this week. The only reason I even knew that, and still if I’m honest sometimes track it mentally in my head – is I’m trying to justify to someone else that I am “busy” and “productive.” Where in reality – any moron with half a brain should be able to tell that you do not get shown in New York City, Palm Springs, San Diego, Orange County, have a handful or correlating Website, Facebook, Twitter and Etsy shops, accompanying blogs etc. by sitting at home eating bon bons.

But sometimes, we get sucked into Vanity Activities as well. My favorite example of this so far, has been my ego’s insistence that I am “in” a gallery. Last year I was in a co-op gallery. When that co-op was in Laguna Beach, it was actually profitable for me. But when it moved 30 minutes down the coast, to another beach city, with a different type of clientele, and it suddenly wasn’t profitable. It took me WAAAAAAAAY too long to let that one go. I was very stuck on the idea of being able to say I was a “gallery artist.”

The funniest thing was, that when I stopped worrying about that two things happened. As I was getting ready to pull my art from the gallery – I ended up in a much better location for me 1/2 a block down the street that did not cost me any monthly maintenance. AND I was asked to be in two other galleries.

For another common business pitfall, see Keeping Track of the Wrong Statistic