Whether you are a Graphic Artist for a company, a freelance illustrator on your own or a portrait artist working fulltime or on the side, you may have been (or still could be) guilty of one of these mistakes that many artists make:

1. Having no clear direction for yourself as an artist.

No matter what talents a person has, you must have some type of plan or goals for the use of that talent. The more talented and skilled you are, the more evident it is that your talent has a purpose. Many artists never take the time out to set a plan for themselves as artists. Could be taking a class to improve your skills, or getting X amount of paid projects per month. The point is, set a plan and then work that plan.

Quick and easy solution: Get a journal, notebook or just a simple sheet of paper and write down the following:

  1. Where have you been so far as an artist or designer.
  2. Where do you think you’re going (or would like to go or accomplish).
  3. How do you get there (taking classes, scheduling the creation of more work, join an arts group, etc.)

2. Not having a web presence to show your work.

It’s a shame that many artists strike up conversations with people interested in their work, yet they can’t send this person anywhere on the web to view their portfolio. What’s worst is that many of those same artists use the net everyday. In this day and age, the person who can connect with prospective clients the fastest is the artist that has either a paid or free internet portfolio that promotes himself as an artist.

Quick and easy solution: Start with a free and easy to set up blogging site that can even serve as not only a portfolio, but also a way to communicate with current or prospective customers. I recommend WordPress.com because of its ease in using it. This can be done right now as you take time to connect with other services or a web designer.

3. Not clearly identifying your audience.

Many other business people make this mistake quite often. When you invest anything in order to advertise or market yourself as an artist, you must be sure that you know “who is MOST LIKELY to do business with you. What is the average age? What is their average income? What do they like about your work, etc? The answers to these and a few other questions allow you to target your marketing strategy to those most likely to respond.

Quick and easy solution: Ask yourself out of the last 10 customers that did business with you, how many were male/female, how many were local, how many from out of state; how many were 25-35 years old, how many were over 40, etc. This should give you a very good idea of your TRUE target audience.

4. Not following up with people who’ve expressed interest in their work.

An artist that sells their work or services is a business person. Following up with an email or phone call with prospects just makes good business sense.

Quick and easy solution: Make it a common practice to gather the email address of every customer that does business with you. Give them something in exchange for it (discount, etc.).

Periodically send out special offers or event info. Use this tool carefully so that you will not be seen as a “stalker”.

5. Not keeping in contact with former clients.

Who else to buy your work now than someone that has already bought from you.

Quick and easy solution: The solution in number 4 above can be applied to this issue as well.