Putting yourself out there, especially when it comes to your passions, is just plain hard. I’ve had my fair share of rejections throughout the past years of starting my business: hearing “no” from potential clients I’ve reached out to, not enough sales at events to cover my costs, crickets on launch days that made me cry. And believe me, I *still* very much have disappointing days of sales, or hear “thanks, but not at this time” from the potential clients I approach, or no response at all.
I don’t say this to make you feel bad for me; I’m saying this to show you that if you’ve experienced these things, you are NOT alone! Every single one of us has experienced rejection in one way or another. It just feels so personal, and painful, when it’s about our art.
But whether you want to start licensing your artwork, get more press, or expand your audience and customer base, pitching yourself is a requirement as a growing business. I’m talking about both email/online pitches and in-person discussions with people about what you do.
Eventually, as your audience grows, you won’t have to pitch quite so often as in the beginning. But you will, however, always need to be able to talk about what you do confidently and clearly. Pitching yourself in the beginning to the people you want to work with, WILL build your confidence and grow your business. We all want that, right?
So I’m here to tell you today that in order to pitch yourself, you don’t need to get rid of fear, you just need to get past it. Push it out of the way, even though it’s there, so you can move forward courageously. Because doing something despite fear is a lot more brave than doing it without having any fear at all.
Does the idea that you don’t have to become fearless make you feel a little better? I certainly like that idea better, because I am far from fearless.
I have a lot of anxiety around speaking in public. In front of a handful of people, ok. Once it hits around six or more people, I start to panic a little.
A couple of years ago, I was asked to teach a watercolor workshop to 100 students at a conference in LAS VEGAS. I had never taught an in-person workshop before, only online. I was terrified to respond to them and say yes, but I knew it would be good for both me and my business.
So I said yes, flew to Las Vegas, and did the workshop. After the first 5 minutes of speaking, I felt a lot better, but those 20 minutes just before it started (who am I kidding, the weeks before)? Whew, was I anxious. What I did to help myself, was create a minute by minute timeline of what I would teach in case I got too nervous to remember. For me, getting past fear involves detailed preparation. It doesn’t make that fear go away, but the more prepared I am, the more manageable it feels. And I got through it! It was even kind of fun 😉
So how can this apply to any fears you may have about pitching your artwork, to potential clients, customers, or press? Here are some tips:
• Remember that no one expects you to be fearless
• Understand that it is a given you will hear some “no”s, some no responses at all, but eventually a YES!
• Prepare as much as you can. Research the person or business you’re pitching to well, and personalize your message to them
• Still have that empty pit feeling in your stomach? Draft that email, and hit the “send” button anyway. Close your eyes if you need to after you hit send!
Once you start pitching your work regularly, it will get easier. You will still get those rejections, and they may still sting, but you’ll start to take it less personally.
I hope this all helps you understand that you are already prepared to pitch yourself, right now, just as you are. And I can’t wait to see the magic it creates for you and your art business!
Want to dive deep into licensing with me? Join the waitlist for my course, Licensing for Artists, here.