QUESTION (via Twitter from @JaneticsInk): “What advice can you give to a woman new to the craft game? Been following you for 5 yrs. Admiring your success.”
ANSWER: Thank you! First you have to determine what kind of career you want. Do you want to sell your work as an artist to become a well-known designer? Or do you want to teach workshop and demo? Author books? Maybe all of it! First and foremost, you need a platform – a home base that shows (not *tells*) what you are about. I checked out your web site and it looks like you are well on your way!
I noticed on your Twitter page, you have your Etsy store listed. This gives the first impression that you are most interested in selling your art. Which is good if that is your main goal. However, if you want to show off your skills as a brand and as a designer, I would think about linking to your blog page and having that be the umbrella for your other links. Also, on your Etsy profile, you have your blog listed, but it is not hot linked, I’d add that so people can link over. Your blog is wonderful, it should be highlighted more – that is where your story is told, your inspiration for your art. People read that and become emotionally connected! Show off that blog and update more often. I think no matter if it is a consumer, book editor or whomever – they will enjoy reading the inside scoop on your art.
Another tip – you can contact the manufacturers of the products you use and send them pictures of your work. When you feel you are ready to “go there”, work up a pitch of a demo you can teach for them and your fee. Who knows, you could get freelance work from it! You can do the same for local TV shows to get local press. Check out boutiques and museum stores in your area and sell your work to them and then you can promote that too!
All of this will help build your portfolio. The main secret is that it will take more than just one avenue, you have to willing to work four or five roads that all lead to the same place – YOUR TALENT!
[Added this evening] Above all for everyone reading – do this because you love to create. As long as that is your main passion you will succeed. Here is my tough love lecture to anyone and everyone who wants to get ahead in ANY career, not just crafts…If you go into it expecting awards, favors, bragging rights, recognition, lots of cash, book deals, TV shows, etc. as your main motivation, you won’t go far. you’ll become bitter and blame the world. You’ll get frown lines!
This sounds all gooey BUT I cross my heart it is true: The magic comes from the passion inside you. The light you project and where and how you choose to shine it. The passion to create, share, inspire, motivate. If you make those your goals, the other perks will naturally follow. They will fall into place before you know it! A better way to put this is that if you have an attitude of “Hey, people, I deserve this, give it to me!”, people will cock their head to the side and say “What makes you so special?”
OK, not everyone will do that, but you know what I mean.
If you work hard, have a lot to show in your body of work, on your blog, your personality, help others without filling out a favor ledger (seriously, I know a person who keeps one!), etc, it will speak for itself, you won’t even have to say any words. Trust me, influential people will naturally come up and say, “Hey, you rock, I want to do something for you!” They will want to help you more! The more you give simply to give, the more good things will come your way. It doesn’t mean to empty all your pockets or reveal all the tricks of your trade, but to gain trust and loyalty from people you have to offer something of value, even if it is just a good attitude.
That’s my take, anyway!