Friday, October 29, 2010

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Dealing With Fear

Have you ever noticed how the more you push yourself in the direction of your GRANDEST visions with your gifts and talents, the voices of self doubt, disapproval and pure fear come to the surface like NEVER before?

Here are 3 BIG mistakes to avoid when dealing with this unsavory inevitable phenomenon and tips to head it off before it has a chance to rear it's ugly head.

1. Do NOT make the mistake of feeling that you are ALL ALONE in fear and frustration. I promise you that you are NOT! Piles of books have been written on this topic and fill entire walls of book stores, which attest to the fact that millions of people experience this exact thing in their creative lives as well.

Instead of allowing yourself to feel all alone and isolated, make a full commitment right now to reach out and find a community (an online community, a local entrepreneur's group, a group you start yourself), that you can become part of, so you can receive the support you need, and also so you can provide support to others. (Learn to dance the dance of co-operation with yourself and others)

I created the Chronicles of Artnia facebook page for all of you as an online community for exactly this purpose, so please utilize it. Ask each other questions, give each other feedback, make comments about your progress and success with the action steps I give in my FREE program, talk about your greatest heights, your obstacles, set backs, frustrations, fears and anything else you feel like sharing.

I encourage you to share the highlights and the frustrations! Both are the reality of owning your own business and sharing about both, is what will help you connect with each other the most, allowing you to inspire and support each other...thus the dance that is so crucial!

2. DON'T make the common mistake of allowing OVERWHELM to take over your life! Once overwhelm creeps in, the negative voices of self doubt really begin to HAUNT!

Again, a community can help provide needed support in this area. Also, learning to swallow your pride and ask for help can assist you greatly. For many years, I had a tough time asking for help with..well...with most all challenges. I felt I always had to be the stoic one, and find a way to solve any challenges or issues that came up, on my own, without any outside help. This is costly and can also lead to feelings of isolation.

Instead, reach for the phone and call on a friend, mentor or colleague's help. Or enlist help from a referral or craigslist. When you don't ask for help, you waste precious valuable time that could have gone to family, other passions or other business endeavors.

If you feel you don't have the money to hire help, there are many opportunities for bartering and even online bartering sites that can help you find someone who is willing and excited to do so.

3. Do NOT let confusion paralyze you! If you do it's over! END OF GAME! Often we reach a point where we don't know what to do or where to go next. When we have CLARITY we avoid this costly mistake. Make to-do-lists for yourself and be clear about your goals, what you plan to accomplish for the next 5 years, 1 year, next few months & for TODAY.

If you need help with setting up goals for yourself find a professional consultant or coach who can help you break your goals down into bite sized actionable steps and set you on your path to clarity and success. It does not have to be myself, but find someone to help you right away.

When we don't know what action to take NEXT, we chose to not take any action. DON"T allow yourself to get caught in this TRAP! Clarity and the ability to break your goals down into manageable pieces is at the crux of avoiding this ooy gooy pitfall. Stay out of the muck... AND as a BIG result...fear, negative voices, and daunting thoughts are less likely to inundate your head!

When these voices or negative, unproductive thoughts do make their way into your head, have a strategy for dealing with them, instead of just answering "Ahhh, OK, I'll take one lump, no make it two!"

Remember, "You don't have to believe everything your brain tells you." And I have learned that the best way for dealing with these thoughts, is to say "Ok, thanks for your input, I appreciate it, but I am dismissing your two cents now", and let go of it. Move on and laugh about it. The more you practice this the easier it gets.

Right now, it may seem like an impossible mission to reach the point of actually laughing in the face of these voices and toxic thoughts, but you can thwart their venom with a little work and dedication!

Extra Help
Working with a somatic counselor in this area can also be very powerful, if it is something you are struggling with and really want to nip in the bud once and for all.

Mia Runanin is a local counselor here in the Bay Area who does this kind of work and I believe she does phone sessions too, for those of you outside the bay area. Or find someone in your local community, if you prefer a face to face session.

Happy Trails & DON'T FORGET to check out your Branding worksheet on the blog here.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

6 Steps to "Branding Your Biz" Exercise

Using Brand Models to Elevate Value In Your Business

1. Chose some of the brands you most admire. Ponder their perceived value, their track record, their overall vibe. Try to think of 5 and write them down on paper.
For me... I came up with Mailchimp, Mac (even though I don't own one yet. I am converting one day!), One Hot Cookie, Athleta and Gorilla Glue.

2. Now think about the emotions and feelings that are invoked in you, when you think about the five brands you chose? List them on paper by each brand.

3. How do these brands make you feel? How do you feel about yourself when you experience them? When using these brands how do you feel others perceive you?
When I use a mac, I feel extremely professional and that others perceive me as a real pro as well.

When I look at Athleta's catalog, I see healthy women as opposed to anorexic ones, and I feel part of a healthy, fit women's revolution, when I pour through the pages.

4. Now look at the website and logo of the brands you listed, are there any design or visual elements that appeal to you? Be very specific as you list these.

5. What kind of positioning do they have in the market? How are their prices positioned in the market?

When looking at Mailchimp's position, they do not make you lock into a contract, which is very appealing, for a small business. However they are not underpricing themselves.

6. Now think about how you can use "brand models" to inspire your premium brand position. What three action words, practices or insights can you immediately apply to your art or craft business?

This exercise is an altered version of an exercise provided in Marie Forleo's Online Virtual Business Master Class.

I am constantly reading business & marketing books and taking the next best class, seminar or workshop... so that I can provide the most current, cutting edge and up-to-date materials to my clients. The more I learn and know, the more I realize there still is to learn!

It is true for all of us that learning or mastering a skill like business and marketing is never done! There is always more to learn and know! Enjoy the process and let go of perfection!

Please click here to post on the facebook wall with your insights and results.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Santana & Olympic Medalist, Jonny Moseley Can Teach Us About Branding

Banding your business in an authentic and sincere manner, is the perfect way to make your potential audience fall in love with you. When you make them fall in love with you, they will want to purchase more of your work and rave to their friends & family about you.

When I was a young whipper snapper, I made my way to sunny California from the Midwest. With in the first week of my arrival, my younger cousin Melissa invited me to come work at the local golf and tennis store, where she had been working for the past year. I was thrilled! I was young, going back to college, having fun in a new and magical place(near the OCEAN) and now working part time at a job that put me in touch with many celebrities on a regular basis, such as Hewey Lewis, Santana and beyond.

Within my first month working there, I got the great privilege of ordering Santana's signature trademark red kangol hats for him personally...and even cooler, I got to string his tennis racket, which had a sweet spot about the size of a dime! (He was a very good tennis player!)

Another blazin' celebrity my cousin and I were proud to serve... Olympic Ski Champion, Jonny Moseley.

What does all of this have to do with business you ask???
We're gonna get to that...

My cousin is somewhat of a ravin' beauty, who resembles an Italian Movie Star. She received a lot of attention from the "male" customers, especially from Mr. Moseley, who didn't just come into our store to talk golf. He was interested in learning more about the Italian Goddess in the short tennis skirt, standing behind the "stringing machine".

Since there were several handsome young men coming in to ogle over Melissa, I had a tough time remembering who was who. However, I always remembered Jonny, because he wore a funny cap with a propeller on the top. You know, the kind that Urkel on Family Matters would wear.

While you would think that all of us would recognize Jonny from his Olympic fame, he was really not that easily recognizable in regular street clothes and lack of ski gear. But, that ridiculous hat, always gave him away! You would never expect a young Olympic Champion, who was glamorized as such a "stud" by the media, to be walking around wearing such a dorky hat. (Maybe that was part of his plan to throw people off his trail or maybe he just liked wearing the hat.)

Whatever the case, I always knew he was the one with the propeller on top of his head! I could never mistake him. Are you still wondering what all this has to do with business?

Here's the link, and If you have studied much about "branding", you might have already began to make the connection;

Johny had a trademark that set him apart from the rest, just like Santana and his red kangol hat. Both celebrities made themselves distinctive (although Jonny's may or may not have been intentional), by branding themselves with something as simple as a hat. Adding and accessory that says, "yes, it's me" and continuing to wear it excessively, is one small way of "branding". There are infinite ways to creatively deploy "branding" your business and yourself, and this is only one example, but it is an excellent one.

The more outrageous and out there your method, the more egregious you become and the more likely people are to remember you. These two examples may not fit your personality, and you may prefer a different more toned down approach, but the point is that setting yourself apart from others in your field, is a powerful way to connect with your idea customers.

The more of the amazing "you" and the more of "your incredible unique personality" you share with your audience, the more they will be inclined to connect with you and support your business by purchasing your work, staying loyal through the years and telling their friends and family about you.

The more you show your unique self, your quirkiness and even your weird habits(Well, not TOO weird), the more you will draw in the people "meant" to experience you and purchase your work.

Branding is not limited of course to one antic such as wearing a unique hat... and a hat does not need to be your antidote for branding yourself, but finding your own unique way to imprint "you" in the minds of others, is an effective and proven way to reach your target audience.

Think of what says "you" and what can really make you stand out and make you a memorable character in the minds of your target audience. And as always, it should be authentic, not contrived.

In the next post you will find an extensive awesome exercise, designed to help you come up with many ways to create your own "personal brand" in business. Then we will leave this topic and move on to "FEAR"...(overcoming it through liberation and empowering your mind to let go of those pesty, petty voices that try to tell you, you suck, you can't do it, you aren't worth it, your work's not worth it, you're going to shrivel up and die working at a crappy non-art related job, or whatever other crap your mind tries to feed you! Stayed tuned... Can't wait to see you soon!

Freea L. Sarti
Art Advocate & supporter of the "hand-made" movement!
Lovin' all the talent out there connecting with me on twitter and facebook! Will see some of you at the holidays guys and gals!

Next 50 artists/crafters to sign up for my FREE business plan on my home page will receive a bonus PDF entitled Pricing Your Art Work with Integrity! Allow a day or two for it to be delivered to your in box! Just put your name and email in the form at

I'm Too Busy For "Branding"!

I was recently asked by a potential client if the 'message” or “brand”, should be considered as important as individual sales.

First to answer the question direct on...Individual sales only hold power for us, in terms of building a sustainable business, if we have the following cornerstones built into our business.

1. A Client Contact List
2. A Communication Plan for staying in front of clients,even after a sale
3. Know, Like and Trust Factor

So in other words, if you get the sale, but you don't get the client's contact information, you don't continue to follow up and stay in front of them, notifying them of upcoming events and marketing campaigns, and you don't have an effective means of continuing to build your “know, like and trust factor” with them (which adds value to you and your work), then DEFINITELY the individual sale is NOT more important than branding! Branding is really a very authentic process of packaging what is unique about you and your art work and then selling that along with your art work or crafts. Branding ties into all aspects of our business, not just the cornerstones listed above, but also to our website, our copy writing, premium pricing, traffic leveraging, our offerings and on and on.

Branding should be something you have tons of fun with. For me, it is the aspect of the business plan that I have the most fun with. All humans love a good story, and branding has a whole lot to do with “your story”; Where you come from, where your inspiration comes from, why you do what you do, how your style evolved etc.

Branding is a paramount entity of business, especially for artists, and it is a crucial pillar that will act as a foundation in which you can build a lasting, solid, sustainable business upon. If we focus on individual sales and miss the cornerstones that make a business financially viable and able to stand the test of time, we come to a point where we become stuck and spinning our wheels. The individual sales often don't add up at the end of the year, to enough to keep us financially afloat, if we don't turn our customers into repeat customers. Branding is an important pillar of business, that allows us to build lasting clients who send their friends and family and who stay with us for life.

The artists who succeed in business and make a comfortable full time living doing what they love, are the ones who embrace the timeless principles of business and marketing. In addition, they commit to learning as much as they can in relation to art business, apply the necessary time needed to these endeavors and expand their creativity to reach all aspects of their business.

So next time you think “I'm too busy for branding”, or you question the importance of it, stop and think about the cost to you in the long run, and think clearly about what your business will look like in one year if you continue doing things without taking branding serious or the other cornerstones of business and marketing. If you will commit to learning a few tricks for leveraging your business effectively, it will make the difference in getting stuck or moving ahead in the direction of building a prosperous business, even in a tough economy.

I recently took a business class with one of my favorite consultants and I love that she reminds her clients that they are not in the business of nutrition consulting, or leather making, or law or whatever they do....”You work in the business of “marketing” if you are trying to sell your products and/or services to the public!” She reminds them. This couldn't be more true for artists.

Marry business to your art and you have the key. Even if this means pushing yourself into new territory that feels a little uncomfortable at first. Developing “your brand”, is a good starting point for emerging artists, or for those just needing to regroup. It's nice to do it right from the start, so if you ARE just starting out, commit to making “branding” part of your built in business foundation, and you will be glad you did later down the road. It will prevent you from having to back-track and start from scratch.

Stay tuned for my next post in two weeks to learn what Santana and Olympic Medalists, Johny Mosley, have to teach us about branding, as well as a worksheet for you to complete, so you can begin to develop and strengthen your own branding!

Talk to you soon,

Sign up for my FREE Program for Artists on my website home page

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not Accepting Credit Cards Can Hurt You

When it comes to customer service, you will be hard-pressed to compete in the art market if you do not accept credit cards. Whatever blocks you have had about accepting them in the past… Move Beyond Them!

If you are doing things correctly, regardless of what you are selling, you should have a diverse array of price points. Some of the higher priced items will fall in the range beyond pocket change. Most people don’t keep that kind of cash in their wallets, and some not in their checking accounts either, even those with higher disposable incomes. Be prepared to offer clients the convenience of credit card purchases.

Let’s face it, we live in a world of convenience in the U.S. and that is what our customers expect. I know, I rarely carry cash myself. I have become dependent on the convenience of my bank debit card. If you are worried that merchant fees are going to suck up all of your cash flow if you offer this convenience and service to your customers, think twice. I assure you, the extra sales you will make by offering the service will by far offset this small expense to you.

I have done research in this area and can save you hours of painstaking work trying to chase down the best deal when it comes to merchant accounts. Navigating this arena can be tricky, as I know there are many predatory merchant services who are poised to take advantage of small business owners... which is probably why so many of you get the notion that accepting credit cards is not for you and your business.

I can help you find the right merchant account match for your business in a one on one personal consultation or low cost email session. I assure you, you will make more money in the long run by accepting credit cards. Clients really appreciate and expect this service in this day and age. It will encourage them not only to purchase your work, but to purchase more of it.

Also, don't fall into the trap of thinking that as long as there is an ATM close by... you don't need to accept credit cards. Marketing research points out that sales are an "in the moment" act. By the time a potential customer walks to an ATM machine, they have talked themselves out of buying your work.

You can find much more information about this topic and more valuable customer service tips, designed to help you increase your sales and profits and live up to your full business potential in my white-sheet The Art of Customer Service and Sales Techniques. A wealth of information and only 9.95

Freea L. Sarti
Pro-Arts Advocate

Find this low cost white-sheet
on my website along with cool FREE stuff at

What Every Artist Needs

Parallel Marketing consists of a very basic concept! My motto is all about keeping life and business as basic and as simple as possible. So “simply” think of other interests and activities the people who “love your work” share. For example, if you create functional pottery and one of your hottest selling items are Ikebana Vases, your target audience and clientele, most likely, also share a love of Japanese floral arranging.

Likewise, a potter who sells a lot of tea pots or tea bowls is likely to have a good client base of individuals who love to drink tea.

How does this all translate to clever and creative marketing? Think about this...If you know this about your target audience, what parallel marketing events (meaning events not directly related to “your work”, but that run parallel to your industry) can you host to get your audience to you and your work?

For the potter selling Ikebana vases, the obvious event to host...An Ikebana floral arranging class. For the potter selling a high volume of tea pots and/or tea bowls, a clever parallel marketing event may be a Japanese Tea Ceremony, hosted by a true Japanese Tea Master.

What I suggest to keep things more economical for you, is to ask a current client (who you suspect enjoys entertaining, to host the event at their home in exchange for a gift certificate for you work. In essence, a barter. This way you don't have to rent a venue to host the event. If you are comfortable hosting it at your own home and have the space this is a great option too.

Bartering can be a wise and creative way to launch marketing events. Be sure to have a table, shelf unit or wall to display your wares at the event, so that at the end of the class, workshop or demonstration, the participants will be inspired to purchase their favorite pieces. Since you will be offering the event for free, the attendees will be compelled to thank you by purchasing your art at the end.

In most cases, it is not terribly expensive to hire someone in a parallel field to come teach, demonstrate or present for a couple of hours, or even an hour may be sufficient.

Often the person teaching may be interested in bartering as well or part barter, part cash payment may be a nice balance. Be sure to get a receipt for your records, even if hand written. All expenses related to the event are tax deductible business expenses, except the bartered wares. When you trade or gift an item, even to a charitable cause, only the cost of the materials that went into making the piece are deductible. Not fair I know, but this is how it works!

Whatever you end up spending on the event, as long as with in reason of course, is well worth the buzz and P.R. that the participants will generate and spread to others. It is wise to look at the money you put out for hosting an absolutely free event, as an investment in a very effective, fun, unique and creative marketing plan. If you sell work out of a reputable gallery you pay 40% or more in commission to the gallery. If you sell your work at a reputable art show you pay a substantial booth fee to be there. When you sell your work wholesale, the standard is to sell your work at half your retail value. In each of these scenarios, you have a financial investment and responsibility.

In comparison, parallel marketing can be a great value for you. Even if you do not sell like gangbusters the first few events, more and more sales will come as you build buzz momentum about your work, and this will launch you much further than without this needed and wise marketing strategy. Additionally, building a loyal following in your own community has the huge benefit of allowing you to sell directly to your customers, cutting out middle men who often take more than their share. You should still be diversified and not only relying on parallel marketing alone, of course.

When you look at it from this perspective, you will see that it is a wise endeavor, which gives you a hefty return on your investment when done correctly. Parallel Marketing is a great way to connect with your clients on a more personable level. They will enjoy the intimate setting you provide by hosting such and event. Use this intimate setting to get them using and viewing your work as much and as often as possible throughout the event.

The intimate contact with the work itself, sells more art! Let them drink out of your tea bowls, use your tea pots, trial your vases for their floral arranging(You can even offer to let them take the vases or wall art home with them for a trial with the security of a credit card swipe –this is optional, but most of the successful wall art creators I know offer this free trial for work over $500.00 as a convenience to their clients and it sells a lot of work for them. Once home and on their wall, they rarely return it and usually call to tell you to run their credit card for the purchase of the piece, so they can be the proud new owner. (It's kind of like taking a puppy home, there is no turning back once it is home and everyone ogles over it's preciousness) Allow them to hang your photography during the event if you host a wall art hanging class. All of this "hands on" interaction with your work, will make them delight in telling their friends about you and your work.

Tell them they can only attend the next event if they bring a friend. The experience is enriched for the customer when they get to spend time getting to know “The Artist” better and getting to hold, view and learn more about your work all through the event, even though the focus of the class is on something other than your work.

This indirect route to you, "The Artist", provides a rich experience for everyone involved and it give clients something new and exciting to talk about. It is a powerful and effective way to draw in new clients as the buzz of your free events spread like wild fire.

Of course, since you will be doing a limited number of them and will have limited spaces, for each class, people will line up quick for access to your next event. And they will pass your business cards and referral program cards on to their friends and family. For more information on creating a referral program watch my video “How to Create a Referral Program” on this blog. Every artist needs to host parallel marketing events and every artist needs a referral program. So don't miss the boat... go get busy.

Freea L. Sarti Art Marketing and
Career Development Center
Pro-Arts Advocate and Founder of The Chronicles of Artnia.
A cool free business plan for artists.

Don't forget to sign up for the Chronicles of Artnia and check out the FREE offerings on my website

Tricks For Marketing Your Work in a Tough Economy

Marketing art work during economic down-turns requires a higher degree of creativity. The same creativity that opens the soul to creating one's most masterful pieces of art work, can facilitate the process of one's most masterful marketing strategies.

Marketing can be much more fun than sending updates and invitations via email or snail mail. In addition, it can be further reaching than your immediate mailing list.

If you find yourself struggling in the face of a tough economy, ask yourself this simple question; Am I diversified enough? We always hear about the importance of diversification when it comes to our financial portfolios, but rarely when it comes to our art business. Applying these same principles to your business, will bring you financial stability when the waters are rough. In addition, it is a key component to making a prosperous living doing what you love.

What exactly do I mean by diversification? I mean do you have revenue coming from a diverse range of sources? Have you continued to tap new sources with in your market? For example, if you do a lot of art shows, are you also rooted in wholesale accounts? If not, can you make a commitment to develop this aspect of your business? Maybe you feel your art work is not marketable in the wholesale world. Can you think of how it could become so? Can you think of clever ways to make this cross over? If you are a painter or photographer, one innovative way to do this is to have your work printed on silk scarves. They sell well via wholesale and they are so light that shipping cost are extremely low and you never have to worry about breakage and damage.

Perhaps you already sell of out of galleries, have a number of wholesale accounts and even do a number of art shows. If this is the case and you have been creative enough to get this far, you may take a moment to congratulate yourself. It takes time, commitment and hard work to round yourself out this way.

Stop for a moment and think bigger though. If you were creative enough with your marketing to get this far...How much further could you go if you tap into your creativity even deeper?

One of the most fun and creative marketing strategies that you can implement is parallel marketing. Why?, because people generally HATE to be sold stuff, but on the other hand, isn't it true that they LOVE to be invited to things?

So read on in my next article on Parallel Marketing to learn how you can host a marketing event that will create excitement and buzz about your art work and have people buying it without you even having to “sell” it. And they will bring their friends to buy even more work. This is great leverage for launching your creativity and it will be a nice break from the regular art shows and other marketing strategies that alone may not earn you enough income in a challenging economy. So read on...

Freea L. Sarti
Pro-Artist Advocate

Don't forget to check out my FREE offerings on my website

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Free Plan for your Art Business

Could you use a free plan for promoting your art business?

Every other week you will learn cool tips like

~What your most valuable asset is as an art business owner and how to capitalize on it

~How to increase your sales and profits

~How to find new clients to purchase your work

To sign up for this unique and totally free program visit my home page