MORE ADVICE ON GETTING ADVICE: Not Today, Maybe Tomorrow
Sometimes, it takes a while to see where good advice fits in.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote this article for Fine Art Views about how to trust your gut on whether the advice we hear is helpful or not.
Today, a story for you about a time when an opportunity didn’t feel right – until it did.
A new friend asked for a favor, and offered a trade as payment. It just didn’t feel right at the time. I said no, and they were extremely gracious about it.
Six months later, I thought, “What exactly was that ‘payment in trade’ about??” I reached out to them, they explained, and I said, “Heck, yeah!” (A little more energy than ‘heck’, but no swears here today.)
I took them up on their offer. It was amazing! (Short story: Horse therapy. It’s a thing. It was powerful, insightful, and healing.) The timing was perfect for me, too.
Then I went to work on my side of the trade: Repairing/remaking a beloved necklace for them, using one of my horse artifacts they’d chosen.
But halfway through the project, I called them and said I couldn’t make it work. They had picked an older horse, a design I don’t make anymore. It was impossible to make that artifact ‘hang right’, because of how I’d designed it. “You can keep the horse, you love it, you picked it, and I can make it into a pin, if you like. But you have to pick another horse that will be better balanced.”
I heard them gasp over the phone. “Ruh-roh,” I thought. “Here comes the blow-back.” (Not who they are, just me knowing this was a disappointment for them.)
They were astonished because I had just given THEM clarity on a huge decision they were struggling with.
I’d given them a metaphor that helped them see their situation as ‘unbalanced’, trying to make it work, but now able to see clearly what their major life decision should be.
If I’d accepted their offer six months earlier, neither of us would have experienced the huge insights that came with this simple exchange.
Waiting until it felt right brought incredible power and meaning to both of us, in our ‘trade’.
How does this relate to social media, getting advice, etc.?
I have no idea. Wait—I do!!
Just as there is no ‘one-size-fits-all-advice’ (except for things like integrity, kindness, compassion, etc.) in our life, the same is true in our art biz. In that article, I shared how to sort out what will never work for artists (acting like retailers), and what will never work for me (anything that puts sales ahead of personal integrity, or negates my aesthetic, etc.)
I also shared that ‘shoulders hunching up over my ears’ reaction when something sounds right, but feels wrong. (Step away!)
And yet, in responding to a comment, I realize sometimes it’s not the advice.
It’s the timing.
Some of us may be a little overwhelmed with all the social media marketing advice we’ve received since the shelter-in-place orders. I thought I was fine, until I realized how much I’m doing wrong. Or simply not doing right. Or not doing enough, or doing too much.
So, yes, to baby steps.
But also take minute to think about the ‘why’.
Why does it feel so hard to make those updates and changes right now? Probably the biggest reason is, this ‘new normal’ is pretty freaky.
Some of us may have even more time on our hands right now, but not much hope of getting better, marketing-wise/sales-wise. Some of us may have less time on hand. Our days may be filled with child care, trying to be supportive of friends and family, our spouse, getting food on the table, staying healthy, staying calm.
The last thing we need with all this stressing is beating ourselves up with all the things we’re doing ‘wrong’.
The other reason it’s hard, for me, is, I’ve had several hugely intense creative periods since all this started. I was going full steam ahead with new work, new designs, etc. until a health issue knocked me to the ground for almost a month.
That was not the time to work on my social media marketing.
Now, things are saner. I’m slowly building up my creative work again.
Then I found a way to a) clear out my studio a little, b) move on some of my older work, due to studios back east closing, and c) put some of those social media marketing ideas into play.
It worked! I was flooded with orders, some of which I’m still working on. I made money, old work went to new homes and people who love them, and my studio is a teensy bit neater. (Teensy bit)
Forcing myself to work on that aspect of my biz during that hard month would have crushed me. Now, it energizes me. I have two more sales events* in the works, and a couple special orders to boot.
So when you’re in a situation, like the AMP marketing webinars, take good notes. When something intrigues you, write it down (or however you best remember info.)
If you feel your shoulders rising, pay attention. But don’t lose your place, either.
Later, take a moment to think why? Why did this make me cringe? Why did it make me afraid? Why did it seem out of the question?
Maybe it’s totally off, but sometimes, time will provide other insights for us. For one example, a friend suggested I make huge artifacts, something I have no desire to do. But weeks later, I realized I could make bigger work with many of my small artifacts. “Bigger” was relative. (And I’m guessing their desire to help me make more profitable work was their motive, which is a good thing.)
I’ve traded with other artists over the years (don’t ask, no more room in our little rental home for more paintings!!) but it simply felt wrong with the horse person at that time. Until I was ready to hear more. Which turned out to be exactly when they were ready to hear more, too.
Are you working your way through a plethora of marketing advice? Share what intrigues you, what baffles you, and what you’ve come back to. Many of you have shared, in articles and in comments, what you found most insightful and useful. Share that, too!
If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to pass it on to someone else. And if someone sent you this article, and you liked it, too, see more of my articles at FineArtViews.com, other art marketing topics at Fine Art Views art marketing newsletter, and my blog at LuannUdell.wordpress.com.
*Not a ‘sale’ as in a mark-down, which is not respectful of our long-time collectors. Just selling old work at the price I originally asked for them. So, more of a ‘WayBack machine’** event.
**Remember Mr. Peabody and Sherman from that TV show, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle? ***
***Am I revealing TMI about my age???