The 3 Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made in My Art Business

Hello my art friends,

I’m going to assume you clicked on this because you’re building an art business, or are curious about making income from your art and you want to try to avoid any costly mistakes or big time wasters. I get it. When I talk to artists a lot of them ask me what advice I would give someone just starting out. Or, if I could do it over, what I’d do differently. Today I want to share the three biggest mistakes I’ve made in my business so that you can make better choices in yours.

Before I dive into the first thing on my list I need to come clean. When trying to pinpoint three mistakes I’ve made in my business, I had a really hard time calling things a mistake. In fact, I couldn’t think of a single thing because when you’re building an art business you’re bound to make a lot of mistakes. But in almost every case you’re going to learn something from them. So yes, it might be that you lose some money, time, or something might just not work out the way you hoped, but if you learn something from it can it really be a mistake?

With this in mind, here’s the list of things that did not work out for me but from which I learned a valuable lesson.

1) Spending valuable time (and money) into learning a new marketing method that ultimately wasn't a good fit.

A few years ago I wanted to invest time and money into Pinterest. Several of my other artist friends were seeing a lot of traffic from Pinterest on their websites so I thought I should be on it too.

I paid for a course on how to use Pinterest to drive traffic, paid for an app to help me schedule and batch my posts, and, once that was all set up, I paid to run ads there for about six months. All this cost me several thousands dollars and many, many hours of my time.

My website traffic from Pinterest ddid go up, but the amount is hardly worth mentioning. And, my print sales didn’t even cover the cost of the ads. So while I do think there are people finding success on Pinterest, at some point I had to decide that I didn’t feel like putting any more effort into that approach when I was having more success other places. But the money I spent was worth finding that out.

So again, not quite a mistake, but a lesson learned.

2) Signing a licensing deal for some of my artwork.

The licensing deal was with a reputable company and I knew a couple other artists who were working with them so it seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, I signed a contract with longer terms and more exclusivity than I should have; I’m heading into year three of that deal and have barely seen a penny from it.

The lesson here is that not all licensing deals are as great as you think they’re going to be. If they turn out not to be great, hopefully you’re in a short-term contract so you can move on quickly. But in the end, there was no real harm done from that deal. The company itself has been pleasant to deal with. It just wasn’t quite the right fit for my art.

3) Switching from launching collections to releasing work one at a time.

While I almost exclusively launch my art in collections, the reason I decided to try releasing work one at a time is because I knew I was going to have a busy year building my Palette to Profit program. I wanted to make the art side of things/my business a little bit easier on myself.

But not only was this method not significantly easier, but my sales were very slow. Needless to say, I’m back to releasing collections.

All right. That’s it for today. I hope after reading this, you’re feeling better about any mistakes you may have made in your own business and recognize them for the learning experiences that they are. 

Thanks and have a great day!

All my best,


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