What Matters Now

Creative Commons (Flickr: yewenyi)
Creative Commons (Flickr: yewenyi)

Know Your Market

Do you even understand your "market" – that is the group of people, in many job titles, who buy your work?? Do you know how they think? Do you know what is asked/demanded of them in their work? Do you have an intimate understanding of how your work is seen, chosen, bid and selected? Let's start with the basics.

Is your buyer on Pinterest? Facebook? Vine? Are they an industry leader? An award winning creative? A corporate drone? Does your buyer hate email? Art critics? Is your buyer a parent? A millennial? A boomer? A college grad? Just married? Just hired? Does your buyer have a dog? A Segway? A ukulele?

Here's what your clients are looking for – The Right Work, Attitude, Value!

Your work must be exceptional and evolving. You have an opportunity to connect with a buyer when your work excites, moves or intrigues them. The buyer is constantly looking for the visual artist who's work will make them, and their client, look great. They want what you want – to do amazing work with talented creatives that bring them more and better business. Learn how to curate and present your best and most relevant work. Work with a designer or portfolio expert who understands "flow" and "gets" your personal brand.

Develop the ability to carry on conversations and keep your client happy before, during and after the delivering the job. Understand the intense pressure your market is under to perform for their clients. Keep your manners. Then remember that you do a service in your industry. Be cheerful but relentless in getting your work out. Be kind and fun in conversation. Be helpful. All the stuff your mama taught you comes into play in life and business. (And if she didn't teach you, learn it fast!!!) It's not all about you.

In this economy, everyone's mind is on the money. Don't be tempted to compete based on price. Learn how to convey the value of your work with confidence. This is a subtle and important skill to master. Learning to "hear" your client's situation and to still get what you must to do business is a SKILL. You probably were not born with it and you need to learn it. This takes understanding the concept first, then scripting some ways to talk and then PRACTICING a ton. If you don't know how to do it, learn it. Need help? Let's talk.

Your buyer is doing his/her job.  You are a player in that process.  Learn to think like your buyer. Be understanding of their constraints. Then create ways to be the answer to their creative needs while exhibiting your work, keeping your kind attitude and being a fierce and fair negotiator on doing the job.