Marisa D. Aceves. Pigment Landscape 5. digital photography. http://www.acevesart.com/
It starts out innocently enough.
You need a website.
You pay for one, set it up, post your artwork and celebrate.
Shipping is next on your to-do list.
You gather the materials, price them and put the packages together.
Next you weigh the packages, do an internet search for UPS and methodically figure out the shipping prices nationally, internationally or both.
You post these to your website with your written shipping and return policy.
Then you celebrate.
When someone visits your website, you’re overjoyed because out of the billions of artist websites that are on the web they found YOU!
Suddenly you get the bright idea to check other artist websites to see if you’re doing it right…..
It begins, the comparison game.
*In America, we like to use the term “Keeping up with the Joneses” to describe our tendency to unfairly compare ourselves to our neighbors, then rush to compete with them in a mad, vain effort to boost our self-esteem.
How The Comparison Game Begins To Steal Your Victory and Joy
At first, everything seems possible.
However, after looking at a number of other artists’ websites, slowly you begin to realize your handy, minimalist website isn’t quite as sleek and impressive as the day you created it.
They have an upgraded sight so in order to compete you need to upgrade.
You know that the bell, whistles, plug-ins etc. will cost you.
Another big sigh…
Your shipping policy isn’t clear to potential buyers.
Theirs’ is a marketing masterpiece; they have plenty of satisfied customers.
You will need to rewrite yours.
Yet another big, fat sigh….
The other artists have a decent amount of visitors to their website; now your rejoicing over the one visitor you receive a week begins to strike you as ridiculous, even pathetic.
If you want people to take your business seriously it is necessary that you have the traffic that they have.
Ahhhhh…. but how do you acquire it.
As the waves of sadness and desperation begin to set in, you decide to seek advice from the blog and website traffic gurus.
Surely, they can solve your problems.
When you visit their sites, they inevitably point you towards social media platforms to advertise your art business.
A ray of hope pierces through your melancholy until you quickly discover that unless you know the requirements for increasing traffic for each individual platform (hashtags, keywords, coding etc.), it is going to make little to no difference in your website visits or sales.
You visit other artist websites that propose to tell you how to sell your work.
Now you know you’re among friends, at least that’s what you tell yourself.
Then the host of the website craftily tells you that content marketing is your main problem.
All you need to do is become an excellent copywriter, because if you can’t write, everything will fall apart.
No one will want to stay on your website or blog if you don’t entertain them 24/7 with your literary brilliance.
What do they do to help you?
They direct you to a copywriting website to teach you how to blog.
By now you are spending the majority of your precious time researching how to get people to your website instead of creating intriguing, quality work that makes galleries and collectors take notice.
If you haven’t had the privilege of experiencing this phenomena then let me warn you; it does occur frequently.
If you are following the above example in merry exasperation, then know you are not alone.
Of course you want a sleek professional website with a healthy amount of traffic, sales through the roof, plenty of press acknowledgement and social media fans that help to lift you up by spreading your art all over the internet.
Who wouldn’t want this?
It’s easy to sit at your computer and sulk because you don’t have the career, the website or the level of support that you want, but are you forgetting one simple bit of advice?
Looks can be deceiving.
Not everyone on the internet that appears to have it all figured out actually does.
Often, it is unrealistic expectations coupled with conditioned perception that makes you want to believe that you are the only one who has to learn new skills.
Consider these points.
*You can’t always know how many hours, months, and years of study, networking, and researching it took other artists to get to where they are now. Referring to their curriculum vitae and press coverage may give you some idea of their level of experience, but it is just a small piece of the whole picture.
*We are all in different stages of our art careers. Some artists are just beginning their careers, others are mid career or well established veterans. It is important to acknowledge how we feel about our current situation. Nevertheless, if we want to someday arrive at a greater place of understanding in our art careers, then we must go through the process of learning no matter how slow and excruciating. Learning new skills doesn’t have to be angst ridden if we can just go a little bit easier on ourselves and maintain a positive attitude about our mistakes.
*Know were you fall and pick up the skills necessary to proceed to the next level. Few people like to admit that they don’t know everything they need to know to market their artwork. However, refusing to admit that you need help in areas were you have less experience ensures that you will remain in the same frustrating place you were last year.
*Remember, other artists could easily visit your website, see your work, gallery exhibits, and education and be just as intimidated and deflated as you sometimes feel when you visit the sites of other more experienced artists. It’s all relative. There is always someone ahead of you and someone behind you; decide today to enjoy and make the most of each milestone in your career.
Trying to imitate the success of others so that you can feel better about yourself only leaves you feeling empty and unsatisfied; nothing is ever good enough.
If you decide to proceed like this, nothing ever will be.
Fortunately, you don’t have to remain a victim of the comparison game. You can make the decision today to try to be the best that you can be at any point in your art career.