The Art of Going Pro

There are those people who say that they can’t draw a straight line on a page.  And then there are people, like me, who cant draw a straight line to the bank!

The good news is everyone can learn.  Give the non artist a ruler and give me a coach!

Leap!  bzuazua.com

Leap!  2008

Leap! And the Net Shall Appear! 

Good inspiring advice from my good friend Kathy Casey , L.Ac., Dipl. OM
Licensed Acupuncturist & Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, the inspiration of the quilt you see above.

She said it often to me over the years.  And many attempts ensued.  But the truth is I wasn’t confident enough to really pull it off until recent years.

How I got started

Three years ago I started entering quilt shows.  Feeling encouraged, I joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates), an international guild of quilt artists in late 2008.  The world opened up for me!  I attended the annual conference in Ohio of May 2009 and learned all kinds of things about marketing: using a website, mailing lists,  emails, post cards, business cards, among so much more.  Frankly I was overwhelmed.  But I was inspired and energized!  I set to work on selling my quilts.  Here’s what I did:

  • Set up my own domain and a hosting company recommended by a fellow artist.   http://bzuazua.com
  • Personalized email.   barbara@bzuazua.com
  • I was accepted as a teaching artist at the non profit Gallery School of Pottstown that promotes art in the community especially for underprivileged kids.
  • Business cards.
  • Talked to anyone who would listen and gave out cards to everyone.
  • Signed up with the Visioning Project (SAQA-U education for members) to keep focused on my goal for the year.
  • Read and reread “I’d Rather Be In The Studio” by Allison Stanfield.  (I still read it all the time)  It’s an artist’s guide to self promotion and more. I'd Rather Be in the Studio! Book Cover

All of these things really made a difference!

  I learned a lot in 2009 and in 2010 I did more:Sayuri's Memories bzuazua.com

Sayuri’s Memories 2009

  • Donated quilts for auctions for non profits : Sayuri’s Memories, 2009, donated to SAQA auction (above).   Walking Away, 2008, Village Productions (Pottstown PA)
  • I started to talk a little bit more on Facebook about events I was involved with. 
  • Set up a spot at a couple of art festivals and craft shows.
  • Attended events related to art, even speaking at one of them!

My sales actually doubled!  Then I had a freaky melt down . 

In January, this year, 2011 I did all of my financials so that my taxes would be ready.  I was so thrilled and then ……..  crippling  fear.Whirl bzuazua.com

Whirls: a work in progress

How was I going to have another year as good as that?  My mind was spinning!  Mind you, my sales weren’t even enough to cover my art making, showing, entering, shipping expenses.

I had to step it up and I didn’t know how.  I can read, I know what people say to do, but I was a little too scared to toot my horn too loudly…  What if I failed?  That’s why I only get the one year subscription or pay the month to month:  It’s fear of commitment and making a total fool of myself in front of the entire world!!!!

That is all changed now.  I learned what I was afraid of and I committed even further.  I spent the past month working hard on all you see here on this blog site, my new Etsy shop and the email you received that brought you here!  Thank you for coming!!

Can you relate?  Are you ready to grow?

Grow bzuazua.com

Grow  2010

Remember the line drawing blurb from the top? My friend and coach Cyn is one of those people who can draw straight lines on paper, to the bank, while texting a client about a house to sell and making copies at Kinko’s at 1 am!

Cyn is the woman behind CynWorks and I hired her to coach me for one month.  We had phone meetings once a week.  Each week we set goals to get to this point.  There will be more to do in the future but we’re working with a budget.  That’s one of the best things I like about working with Cyn.  She’s flexible.  I recommend her service to any artist who is really serious about not just making the art, but also selling it and just needs a bit of practical advice, how to’s, and guidance to get things moving. 

The other resource I recommend very highly is “I’d Rather Be In The Studio” by Allison Stanfield.  The book and the website is overflowing with tools, check lists, forms, ideas, ACTIONS, and very detailed explanations on who, what, when, where, why and how to do the things we have to do to get our art out into the big, wide, wonderful world.

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6 responses to “The Art of Going Pro

  1. Hear, hear. I say out with feeling like you’re standing in front of the world in your underwear, in with growth for 2011!
    Thanks for the resource recommendations – ‘I’d Rather Be In The Studio’ looks really interesting.
    Phoebe

    • Indeed!!
      It’s been quite an experience. I ran into many hicups over the past couple of weeks… So, I didn’t keep up here as much as I wanted to. Sorry about the delay.
      The book is awesome! Check it out
      thanks for posting
      Barbara

  2. I enjoyed reading about your unique journey. Thanks for sharing your process. I like how you selected pieces you’ve made to illustrate your points, they tie things together nicely. What are the dimensions of “Leap”? And do you think watermarks are really necessary? I thought about using them, but then decided not to.

    Good luck staying out of your own way! Keep it up. 🙂

  3. Sorry about the delay in responding Clare Annette.
    I’ve been kind of drowning in all of the stuff I’m trying to finish for my official launch on Monday the 11th. Check back for some interesting insentives!
    Leap is not very large. About 24″ x 18″. It sold the year it was made. I miss it. Thanks for the comments on how I used my images to illustrate.
    I use the watermarks because it was recomended to me from a promotional point of view. The idea is to keep your name in front of people at all times. I see it done quite a lot just for that reason. I try to keep them in the lower corner so it isn’t too intrusive. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

    LOL! I will try hard to not get in my own way… 😀 Thanks!

  4. Barbara: Thanks so much for mentioning my book. I’m excited that the 2011 edition is almost here! God willing, they ship them to me on Friday.

    It’s nice to be among such distinguished company. Much appreciated!

    • You’re very welcome. The book is great and I’m sure the new addition will be better- though I can’t imagine what else you could fit into it! Good luck and Thanks for reading!

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