Why Should A Gallery Show Your Work?  


Why Should A Gallery Show Your Work?

How to Answer this Important Question

Of course your work is stellar and that’s obvious when people see it. You get compliments all the time and you’re in love with it!

You decide to it’s time to start exhibiting this body of work which will be great because it’ll add a line to your resume and be an opportunity to sell some of it! That’s an exciting thought!

So you start to look for galleries where you’d like to show your work. You’re finding some that are maybes and some that feel like a perfect fit. As in an amazing fit. You intuitively feel like your work would look amazing in this space. ...Exciting stuff!

So you start to gather your submission materials and somewhere along the way you might start worry about what to say in the email or cover letter. You know you can make a big impact by saying the right things but you start to feel stumped for words and like all of the monarch butterflies have migrated into your stomach! Ack!

If you’ve ever felt yourself heading into that mini-panic place (OMG, WHAT DO I SAY??) I’ve got the perfect thing to help you out here so keep reading.  

If you don’t *specifically* know why a gallery should show your work, it’s going to be tough to regularly exhibit and show your work. When you have those *specific* reasons that a space should show your work, it demonstrates to them that you understand they need a few tools to help them enter your work, especially if it’s new to them.

While they may like your work, giving them the reasons why they should show your work helps them to know if its a fit for their business and their audience. You may be making connections that they wouldn’t have come up with on their own.

By explaining why their space would be a great place to exhibit your work, you’re helping them make their decision faster which makes their job so much easier. They’ll feel like you’ve done them a solid.

And, you’ll increase your odds of getting shown, by a lot.

So think of a specific gallery where you’d love your work to be shown and answer questions like these:

  • Does your work “fit” within the conceptual framework of the exhibitions or artists shown at this space?

  • Are your price points in alignment with the work they currently show?

  • Are you making new and fresh work regularly?

To help you get figure out your connections faster, download this free, short Why Should A Gallery Show Your Work? worksheet that has additional questions that will help you get shown faster.  

What To Do With These Answers

Now that you have answers to these questions, tailor your submission with this information. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Add these answers as bullet points to your submission cover letter.

  • Weave these reasons throughout your proposal, introductory note or cover letter.

  • Incorporate these ideas into your bio or artist statement.

  • Share these points if you have a live conversation or studio visit with the curator or gallerist.

Even if it’s amazing work, a gallery (or any kind of exhibition space) needs to easily understand why your work would be a fit for their space. If a gallery is going to have your work installed for a month or more, how does it benefit them?

I encourage you to dig in and come up with a few reasons. Your cover letter and submission materials will stand out from the crowd because they’re tailored to that specific gallery. And, it might just help you get that show!

Take a look at the free worksheet and let me know in the comments what one reason is for that gallery to show your work.

Here’s to your making amazing work! Keep at it!!



Posted on October 19, 2018 .

More Sales & Shows With This Surprisingly Simple Strategy


More Sales & Shows With This Surprisingly Simple Strategy

A few days before my friend’s six year-old daughter was headed into her big Irish Dance competition, she cleared the top of her dresser so she could make room for the trophies she planned to win.

I thought this was super cute and of course, a hilariously awesome kid thing to do.

Sure enough, a week later, my friend showed me the photos of her daughter and her two new trophies. Boom, she knew right where they’d go!

Here’s the thing about this that I love, she planned to go get trophies. And she actually did!

She made literal, physical space for those trophies and more importantly, by doing that she made mental space for them, too. By physically making room, she also made “room” for the possibility that she’d reach her goal in her mind.

She believed that she would win even more because she could see those trophies filling the space on her dresser.

She must be a darn good dancer, right? Yes, but a couple of years ago she was just a beginner. She started like we all do, giving something new a chance that she wasn’t even sure she’d like.

She’s been learning and honing her skills, and she’s gone to other competitions so this is no longer new to her. She’s been up-leveling each time she steps onto the floor and starts dancing.

Clear Your Dresser

You can use this same technique to make room for the things you want in your life, too. Even if you don’t feel like you’re at advanced level in your specific area, you can still use this approach.

No, you’re not counting your chickens before they’re hatched. That’s a thought that comes from a scarcity mindset.

The thought around this approach is one that is positive and invites good things to come your way. Just like this little Irish dancer, you’re putting in a lot of effort and dedicating time to make this “dresser” thing happen. You’re backing up your wishes with in-the-trenches, good-old-fashioned work so you can fill your “dresser” with achieving your specific goals.

What’s the “dresser” thing you’re working toward?

It may be something small or it  might be something large that means a whole lot to you, If you don’t at least try to go get it, it’s going to be one of the biggest things you regret in life. For you it might be making a living in a non-cookie cutter way while doing what you love, selling your work, or being shown in a gallery you admire.

Achieving Big Goals

What does this mean for someone who’s working toward something that feels personally huge, maybe even bigger than Irish Dance trophies? To answer that question, here’s how you can apply this same dresser technique toward reaching your big goals.

If you’re looking for more buyers...

You might go buy new folders for those future collectors or thank you cards that you’ll send to your next buyers. I once bought note cards that I was excited to send to my favorite clients—once I got those clients. By purchasing them, I was letting the universe know I was ready for those clients to come my way (and they did!).

If you’re looking to sell more of your work...

You might make room for this by creating a price list with prices you feel confident about, or by getting a mechanism like a credit card swiper to make sales, or by buying the right bubble wrap to package up your work so collectors get it home safely.  

If you’re looking to show your work in a gallery setting…

You might make room for this by picking the color of the mats you’ll use to frame your work or by going to the gallery where you’d like to be shown so you can picture your work there.

Doing Into the Future

By doing something concrete and proactive, you’re inviting the new things you want into your world by making room for them. You’re intentionally saying “yes” I’ll have more of that soon.

You open up and expand the possibility for that thing—sales, clients, shows or whatever it may be—to happen. You positively change way you think about getting those big things you’ve been dreaming about.  

Copy the Kid

I encourage you to take a cue from my friend’s inherently smart six year-old and make “dresser” room for that something we really want. Let me know in the comments: What’s one thing you can do to make room for your next goal?

Here’s to you clearing the way for the things you want!



Posted on August 11, 2018 .

When They Say They Can't Afford You


Have you ever been told that your work is too expensive?

Or, “I love your work but I can’t afford it?”

It’s never really about the price. Since we’re not in the buyer’s mind, we may never know exactly what was holding them back. BUT….we can still try to find out while possibly helping the buyer, and making a sale, in the process.

The next time someone remarks that the price is too high, yet they seem like they’re seriously interested in your work, start a conversation with them but go in prepared. There are things you can do to potentially still make the sale that also makes the experience less dramatic and energy draining to you.

Four Sales Tips

Shift the conversation from being about how your work is too expensive to getting someone to truly consider purchasing it by following these tips.

And since writing down the answers to these questions will give you the confidence you need to be prepared when someone says your work is too expensive, fill out this free worksheet so you’re not thrown off your game the next time someone says they can’t afford your work.

Tip #1: Start with YOU.

It may be really hard not to take offense when someone complains that your work is too expensive or that they can’t afford it, especially when it sounds like it’s delivered in a insulting tone even if they don’t intend for it to come across that way.

As you read on, you’ll see how this kind of conversation is actually a great chance to learn more about your audience of potential collectors. Wouldn’t it be great to know what’s running through their minds as they’re considering making a purchase?

But right now, you’ve got to start where you are. And that’s with how you think about it…

You get to decide how YOU respond in this situation. Happily, angrily, dismissive or perhaps, with a more constructive response. One of curiosity, learning, and being impressively professional. You have complete control over how you choose to take that comment AND how you choose to respond. Knowing that this has nothing to do with the potential buyer actually makes it a little easier because picking your response now means you won’t be blindsided and give an emotional response instead of a professional one.

Tip #2: Plan Ahead

Planning ahead for what you’ll do in this situation helps you stay in control of your feelings. Even if a comment like this makes you feel like you were were just slapped in the face, you can come across as a kind and professional artist if you give it a little thought right now.  

When someone says your work isn’t affordable at your next art festival or open studio event, be prepared with what you want to say next. Here are a few examples to help you decide in your go-to response:

Example 1: I can understand how it might feel that way. Tell me what you’re thinking about the piece and the price.  

This response is designed to get them talking and thinking more about the art and what they’re really looking for.

Example 2: That’s great feedback but this work is priced this way because….

Tell them why your work is priced this way. Explain that these are retail prices, not wholesale prices because you don’t want to lose your gallery by underselling them. If you use expensive materials or processes, explain what those are and how that makes your piece more unique. If there’s a certain number of hours that are involved with making each piece, mention that, too.

Whatever response you decide upon, it should feel genuine to you and helpful to the potential buyer. Avoid a response that gets you fired up.  

Tip #3: Are You Willing to Sell It For Less?

If someone says that your price is too high, it’s your prerogative to decide if you’d like to offer it for less.  

There are a whole host of reasons why selling it for less might make sense. Perhaps you’re literally running out of room to store the work. Or, energetically it would make you feel great to sell the work so you can make emotional and physical space for your next project.

Perhaps you need to pay some bills, or you’d like extra cash for your upcoming vacation.

To really be able to fully answer yes or no to this question, there are two things you need to be clear about.

Price: Why is your work priced the way it is? If you have clarity on why your work is priced the way it is, it makes it easy to either stand tall on your prices because you won’t make money if you go lower, or to offer a discount because you know that you’ll still make money on the work, even at a reduced price.

Why: What are the reasons that you’d be okay with selling your work for less? When someone asks for a discount? When selling to someone you know? When selling to a gallerist or influential person? When the work is damaged? When you sell multiple pieces to one collector?

If you’re offering a discount, what is your reason? And are you okay with that reason?

Tip #4: Find Other Options

Brainstorm ideas that might allow you to feel more comfortable coming down on your price.

  • Can you come down on your price if they take the piece with them today so you don’t have to deliver it?

  • How about if it’s unframed, will that bring down the price and allow you to re-use that frame for another piece?

  • How about offering a payment plan? They can put down a deposit now and pay once a month for 2-3 months until it’s fully owned by them.

  • Do you have other work that’s similar in style that is less but would still help them fill that spot on their wall with one of your pieces? Maybe prints that are less expensive than originals? Or several smaller pieces that can be grouped on the wall to give the feeling of a larger piece?

What other ideas come to mind that would allow you to find similar, helpful ways for a collector to consider buying your work?

Process It

If you show that you’re not offended by this dreaded statement of your work being too expensive and you view it as a conversation starter instead, you may wind-up selling your work. You may also help that collector go home with a new piece of art that they can proudly hang in their home or office, even if they originally felt your work was too expensive.

True, you may not wind-up selling the work. But by talking calmly and professionally with the collector, you’ve just shown them that you’re a stand-up artist who is credible and knows their business, an their worth. They’ll leave your studio with a feeling of respect for what you do and you might be surprised when they come back in a few months or a year and buy your work.

Acting offended when someone says your work is too expensive will never get a collector to come back again. But if you prepare for this kind of collector interaction, it will.

What you do when someone said your work was too expensive? Have you had it happen before?  Leave me a note in the comments to share it with me.

Knowing why you’ve priced your work the way you have translates as the number one way to be confident when selling your work.

If you’ve had a nagging feeling that you’ve based your prices only on what felt “right”, I’d love to help you get to to where you feel confident and happy with the prices you’re asking.

I totally understand that sometimes you don’t know what to sell your work for. Especially if it’s a new series or if you haven’t sold one yet.

It can be so overwhelming to settle on an amount for one piece not to mention pricing all of your completed works. To help with this, I created a live and in-person workshop on Monday, June 4, 2018 called Sell Confidently: Pricing and Selling Your Work. It’s designed to help you feel confident about how you price your work and selling it with a sense of pride.

If you’d like to learn more about the Sell Confidently workshop, check out the details here.



Posted on April 30, 2018 .

Paralyzed by Perfectionism? 1 Easy Way to Fix It

  Paralyzed by Perfectionism? 1 Easy Way to Fix It

Feel like you have perfectionist tendencies? Maybe choosing what color to use next or what group of images to curate for your show feels overwhelming?

If that sounds like you, this one idea is going to blow your mind while simultaneously letting you off the hook. After reading this, you’ll know why you no longer need to be afraid to take that next step or make that next decision you’ve been hemming and hawing about for fear of doing it wrong.

Honestly, this is an eye-opener.

I was hanging out with a writer friend who mentioned this great analogy from the book Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles. Thank goodness I was hanging out with my friend because I loved the idea Bayles puts forth in this book and I think you will, too. It drives home a big point that we all need.

Check out the idea here (as excerpted from the book) to see what I mean:

"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A".

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay."

Perfection is not the goal.

This story really drives home that point. If “making the perfect piece” is your goal, you’re going to come up short.

It’s natural to want make something good, something that you absolutely love and that others will, too. That’s why making mistakes can feel awful. That’s why even thinking about making your next piece can be paralyzing. Mistakes in your process cost you time, money, headaches and they can feel like huge setbacks to actually creating the work you envisioned.   

When we set out for perfection it’s easy to forget that the path to get anywhere close to perfection includes a lot of mistakes, failures and learning from those endeavors.

Doing, making, and taking action IS the goal.

The end result will lack quality until you’ve tried long enough that it becomes good (or maybe even brilliant) through the learning process of repeated doing and practice.

As a creative person who likely has a long history of making, you may have seen this in your own practice. But what if you apply this idea to other areas of your life?

Where have you seen the idea of quantity over quality in action?

Driving to new places, doing yoga, dealing with difficult people, etc.? -The more you do something the better you get at it, right?

Have you been able to make more quality dinners as a result of learning from cooking dinner five out of the seven nights of the week for the last year? Are you able to walk all over San Francisco without feeling exhausted because you regularly go for long walks with your dog so you’re practiced at it?   

Even doing the business side of things follows this rule. The more you talk about what you do, the easier and better it gets. The more you make it a habit to reach out and connect with new and old friends, the easier and more rewarding it gets. The more you send emails to your community, the better they get.

As a person who is selling what they make, do you want the quality of what you make to be equal to the quality of how your run your business?

I know I do. This weekend, I plan to make art that will be a part my next e-update. I need to spend more hours on both my art making and communications right now. Especially the making part because I’m doing something new and I have made nowhere near enough mistakes to be making the quality of work that I want.

And, connecting with people through my email is a great way to share what I’m working on that always leads to good conversations and opportunities. I want to improve the quality of those email conversations by doing more communicating.

Over thinking what I’m making and how I share it means creating and selling art won’t happen. The perfectionist's approach doesn’t serve me here. Taking action, even if it’s got mistakes or doesn’t always feel flawless, will always get me closer to my goals.  

How about you? Does this resonate with how you feel sometimes and what you’re working on?   

What can you do this weekend to log a few minutes or hours with your craft? Or with the business side of what you do?

I’d love to know what you’re doing as a fellow creative person to build in this idea of quantity over quality as a path to busting perfectionist tendencies to reach your creative and business goals. Let me know in the comments.

Here’s to you making quality happen!



Love Your Work: One Quick Way

I love how everyone on the Great British Baking Show, at one point or another, makes this statement,

“I rather like that. Yes, that’ll do.”

Even when it’s a bread baking challenge where the bakers have very little direction to go on so they’re feeling totally lost, they muster this phrase at some point.

Even when a three-tiered, beautifully and elaborately decorated cake plan could be falling apart, somewhere during the process, they almost always make a positive statement like this.

It struck me as a great thing to do because I never make a nice declaration like that while I'm making art (or baked goods). Sometimes I don't like my pieces until I pull them out of the files after a few months or years and see them in a totally different light, divorced from the making process.

This has a lot to do with perfectionism and expectations. Sometimes, even when my outcome isn’t clear to me, the work can be sullied by the way the making process feels that day.  Have you ever had that happen?

So... I'm wondering.

What if you or I made a positive proclamation out loud when we make something? How would we feel? Would we enjoy the making process more? Would we feel happier and less tormented by the creative process?

Maybe you declare that you like one tiny part of a project. How would that make you feel as a creative person?

---I just stopped and tried this.---

I found one part of this post that I liked and with my best Paul Hollywood accent proclaimed, "I rather like that. Yes, that'll do." It actually felt good to take the time to acknowledge that a part of what I was making felt on point.

What if we didn't always eat our guts out while questioning if this next paint layer, color choice or wording was the right next step for the work? Sure not everyone approaches working like this but if you’re anything like me, I know you might work this way from time to time.

Would it put a little less pressure on you to create the exact thing you had in mind?

Would it leave the door open to making something even better than you envisioned?

When you start working on your next piece, whether it's a piece of art, a description for your next workshop, or a service you're offering, pick one part that you like, even if it's a TINY part, and declare in your best British accent, "I rather like that!"

I dare you.

Come back and leave me a note in the comments to let me know if you felt better about your work afterwards. Extra points if you can tell me if you imitated Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood when you did it. ;)

Here's to your next great project!


Posted on March 9, 2018 .

Not Putting Yourself Out There Enough?


How’s it going with your art? Do you have any shows coming up?

If your answer is no, and you feel a little sheepish about that answer, like, “I wish I could say I do have things going”, then I’m willing to bet that you *might be* hiding.

By hiding, I mean that you aren’t being honest with yourself about the fact that you want your artwork to do more in this world than sit in a dusty portfolio case under the sleeper sofa.

Hiding is when you don’t promote your art opening because you’re actually afraid no one will show up but you say that it’s because you don’t have time to send that invite because you’re getting ready for the show.

Hiding is when you’re making art but not posting it on your social media accounts.

Hiding is when you stop making work because you’re afraid to share it and be judged but you say it’s because you don’t have time to make work.

Hiding is when you don’t update your website with your new work or updated contact information. -This means that if someone liked your work, they wouldn’t know how to get ahold of you.  

Hiding is when your family and friends don’t know what kind of work you do.

A lot of people talk about this kind of work as "putting yourself out there".

But not putting yourself out there enough isn’t what’s really happening. It's that you’re actually HIDING.

This idea has been a game changer for me (yes, I’m guilty of hiding) because it burns me to think that I'm hiding. I mean what the heck?!? I don't hide from things.

That's not how I operate.

I face things head-on. BIG things. But as it turns out, not all the time. Once I started looking, I caught myself hiding a lot. 

Sometimes it's easier to see when someone else is hiding. Like that friend who does amazing work but never approaches a gallery. When I see this it makes me question, “Am I hiding in that same way?

Not sure if you’re hiding?

“No, not me. I don’t hide like that.” -Okay, let’s check.

  • Have you ever been sent into a freak-out because you didn’t have enough NEW work to show at your opening?  
  • Have you ever thought, “They’ve already seen this work so I’m not going to show it?”
  • Have you ever not invited people to your opening because deep down you were afraid of what they might say or think of your work?
  • Have you ever pushed off creating a website for your work even though you know that you need one? --Even if you spent seven years in college and $50k on grad school where you honed your skills and practiced your craft? ...but you’re stuck when it comes time to get a website up?
  • Have you ever gone to an event and said barely two words to anyone because you didn’t know anyone or felt intimidated?

So here’s the good news.

If you've answered yes to any of those questions, it’s okay. You can change your hiding habits by practicing two things:

Observe them; noticing when they happen.

What’s going on to make you want to hide? Stop and ask yourself what you’re feeling in that moment and why. Just say hello to those thoughts as you see them.

Decide how you’d really like to “show-up” when those hiding tendencies pop up.

Does not sending that invite your the list of people who’ve said they like to see your work, really help you get where you want to be with your goals? Does that hiding habit you just noticed move you closer or keep further from your goals?

I'm here to say, don't stress about hiding. Do what you can to see it, consider it and then take action to show up the way you’d really like to show up -whether it’s online or at your next opening. 

Where have you been hiding lately?

Does it light a fire under you to think you might be hiding sometimes and that it’s not helping you to show or sell your work?

Does it irk you as much as it irks me when you catch yourself hiding this way? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know if this is resonating with you.

Cheering you on,


Posted on September 29, 2017 .

Are you Feeling Soul Crushed by a Lack of Making?


Maybe you’ve got kids. Maybe you’ve got a job that is so exhausting that when you get home, all you want to do is stuff a burrito into your gullet and zone out to the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show.

Life brings us through twists and turns and sometimes we realized that we’re not making art, we’re not being creative at all. How did we get here?

I bet you can remember a time when you could feel how all the planets had aligned and you could spend hours deep in the creative flow of your work, un-disturbed. ….Ahhhhh, those times were good.

But, if life has changed since then, getting lost for hours on a whim in the making zone is no longer an option. You just don’t have a schedule that works that way right now.

Do you feel soul-crushed by this lack of making? If so, how do you work it into your everyday life again?

I’ve got one big solution for you. It may not be popular because artists are notoriously not into doing this (myself included). I think you’ll be surprised by how easy it is.

Here are the steps:

  1. Pick up your smart phone.
  2. Open your calendar
  3. Add 10 minutes each day to do small, LOW COMMITMENT making.
  4. When the reminder dings, don’t ignore it: actually spend your 10 minutes making


  1. Keep it tiny, not overwhelming.
  2. Be ready to throw it away: these are experiences, not keepers.
  3. This is not about creating a masterpiece.
  4. This is not about sharing it all over social media.

This IS about you scratching out 10 minutes a day to start getting your mind thinking creatively again. If you’ve not been making very consistently, you need to re-engage that side of your brain.

It may hurt for the first week as you break off the slag to get to the good stuff which is a-okay. It’s to be expected as you get your art mojo back!


Keep a post-it pad next to where ever you eat breakfast and while you sip tea or coffee, put your pen to the paper. Even if you’re not a morning person.

Have kids or a partner who are distracting for those 10 minutes? Explain that you need their support to draw for 10 minutes. Give them their own pad of paper and ask them to join you.

Hate this idea?

Awesome. So, I’ll pose the idea in a different way… How can you spend 10 minutes a day, or even every other day, being creative in a way that works for you?

Maybe it’s list-making, maybe it’s playing with water colors, maybe it’s taking one photo where you tried to make it something you liked.

Maybe you do this during lunch sitting in your car outside of your office or on a park bench? Or do it during dinner?

Pairing this time with something that you do everyday helps you remember to do it and it helps to make sure the time is already carved out in your schedule. If you can do this while you brush your teeth, I’m all for it (and I’d say you’re seriously talented).

Working a creative process into your daily routine will help you to stop obsessing over how you got HERE, in a world so far from the one you loved where you could make and be creative all the time.

You’ll feel like you’ve been productive in a way that you have control over, in a way that you’ve chosen to spend your time.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes. 10 minutes a day. Where can you squeeze yours in? – Let me know in the comments.

Here’s to creating habits to keep the creative side of you alive!

With lots of gratitude,


Posted on September 8, 2017 .

What Story’s Keeping You Small?


When I heard this quote on the radio the other day, “All stories are true. But some of them never happened.” by James Owens, it got my mind going, thinking about all the meanings it has and how this idea is relevant to me and the people I work with.

It was initially being used in a very literal context about writing stories and how they can all be true, even if some didn’t happen. In some ways that’s a sign of a great story, right? One that's SO believable even if it didn't happen. 

Then it got me thinking about the stories we tell ourselves. The ones that you’ve taken stock in for many years.

The ones that you don’t question because they’re longstanding truths. They're so ingrained, you hardly see them anymore.  

Specifically, the stories that hold you back from doing bigger things.

What story do you tell yourself that doesn't allow you to take that next step that you know you should take? You know, the one that holds you back from meeting your big-hairy-audacious-super-secret-scary-goals?

Stare it straight in the eye and call it out. Is it a carefully crafted, believable story that has held you back from doing what you know you need to do?  

Not sure? Here are a few examples.

Keep’n You Small #1

“I can’t go approach galleries because I’m too shy.”  


“I can approach that gallery when I’ve researched that it might be a fit for my work so I’ll be more confident reaching out to them.”

See how this story can be flipped into one that makes it possible to approach a gallery by saying what’s real? By calling out the what's specifically needed to actually approach the gallery? You can picture yourself learning more about the gallery and if it’d be a fit.

Keep’n You Small #2

“I can’t sell work because I don’t know the right people.”


“I can sell work by making sure I attend and hold events where I can share what I do with people in a one-on-one setting.”

The revised story has been re-framed to call out what action is needed to be able to sell work. This action is different for every person but you get the gist.

Mad Lib It

I can’t do ___(insert verb)_______ because of ___(lightly veiled excuse)____.

What’s one area where you’ve always said (or thought) that you couldn’t do something because of a reason that's not concrete. 

Yes, the story you’ve got around your personal “Mad Lib” is based in reality and has truth to it. And, it means a lot because you’ve believed it for longer than you’d like to admit.

But consider if your excuse for not doing something is concrete and tangible, or if it’s more of a fiction. What actions would you need to take to find a way around that excuse, to make it disappear?

A Better Story

Now fill in those blanks again with your new story, with the actions you’d need to take to give it the ending you want. This may be hard to do because you’re a little married to the old ending but trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Go ahead and fill in the blanks again, right here:

I can do ___(insert verb)_______ when I do  ___(list the actions you need to take)____.

Ah, doesn’t that feel a little better? Like, “Hey, my world is bigger and I’ve got more options than I thought I did!”

We all tell ourselves stories and sometimes they’re good ones.

The goal here is to build an awareness around the old habits and stories you tell yourself and change them so they serve you. If you see you’ve got a story in place that’s not helping you, know that you can change it. 

Take a moment to post in the comments a story that’s been holding you back and how you’ve updated it with a more expansive, action-based ending.  

Here’s to you having an awesome creative business! And, to you creating the endings you want!

With lots of gratitude,


Posted on August 10, 2017 .

How a Non-Techie Artist has an Amazing Sale

Despite it being artist, Susan Cawthon’s first year doing an open studio event, she nailed it. Without a website, email marketing platform, Instagram account or Facebook biz page she:

  • Sold more than 50 pieces

  • Got a commission

  • Had almost 100 visitors

  • And, she had more fun than she expected.

How’d she do so well during her very first open studio event without all the tech trappings that we’re so used to?

Susan has been visiting open studios for over 20 years and as a result she’s seen what works and what wouldn’t work for her. She made a mental note of those likes and dislikes. She also asked a lot of questions during this which equates to learning a ton.

She noticed that when she was visiting open studio-style events that the very first year she didn’t buy but the second year, she’d go back and make purchases. For a while she didn’t understand why this worked except for the fact that people buy from you if they know you. 

She put herself on the other side. She was a visitor, an art appreciator, a collector. And her learning from that paid off when it came time to do her own event.

That’s why she made sure to invite people she knew—all of her friends and neighbors. This of course began to look a lot like planning a party and some of the ways she got people out to her studio were very similar to how you’d host a birthday party or holiday open house.

  • She told friends she’d have food and coffee

  • On last day, between 4-5 pm she told friends that they’d feast on all the remaining food from the weekend

  • She made and printed invitations specific to her studio, and didn’t rely on the overall program event guide alone

  • She handed invites to all her neighbors, yarn shop and other placesin person

  • She spoke to people about itin person

  • Mailed the open studios guide and invite to people with personal notes

  • She showed parts of works in progress and finished pieces on Facebook

  • She invited people to join her through Facebook

  • She handed out cards for neighboring artists which really helped to create conversation and keep people visiting

  • She put it on her invite that she was doing demos and she got a lot of visitors at demo time

The majority of the people who came were people she knew. Those that she didn’t know bought the smaller items while those that knew her more, purchased bigger pieces.

When I asked her if she had a mailing list, she said yes. Of course I wanted to know what platform she used (MailChimp, etc.) and she said that her mailing list as just in her email. She said that she wrote more than 40 personalized emails to 40 different friends.

She snail mailed about 20 event guides and her own invitation with personal notes.

She got on the phone and called people to invite them. Then she got on the phone and called people to remind them about the event.

She even helped to arrange a ride for one friend that she knew would be hesitant to come without another friend.

Labor intensive? You betcha.

Worth it? Definitely.

Some other things that made it a success….

Range of pieces

She had pieces that ranged from cards to paintings to pillows in different mediums such as photography, watercolor, paint on silk with beading, metal and transfer to fabric.

She even made a special garden ornament that cost around $20 to buy as entry point purchase piece. She sold most of those to people she didn’t know.

Range of prices

Her prices ranged from:

  • $10-$20 entry point items

  • $100 items

  • $25-$100 prints

  • $300-$1,500 originals paintings.

  • $1,500+ Triptychs and larger pieces.

Her only event for the year

This made it more special for her friends and collectors because they hadn’t seen her or her work in a long time.

Off the wall

She had a few things on the wall but she thinks that scares people. She feels like they need to touch it so she had most of her work leaning on the wall and easier to handle.


Her husband rang up sales and a friend answered questions

She’s not a computer-person but she is a people-person who’s organized and willing to put in the promotional work to get folks to show up. She says it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it because it’s so much fun.


  • Planned it in advance like it was a party

  • Food

  • Invited people

  • Action by way of demos

  • Personalization all the way through from the invites, during the event and afterwards

  • Helpers

  • Observing what’s worked well for others and herself

Action Time!

Whether you’re super close to your event right now or if you’ve got a good lead time, I encourage you to take a page out of Susan’s notebook and personally email, text or call 3-8 people today and ask if they can come to your event. Even if it’s only so you can see a friendly face. Ask them to bring a friend or two. This momentum alone will help you generate buzz and get people to your event.

Hoping you have a party at your next sales event!



Posted on December 9, 2016 .