Beware of Anyone Trying to Sell You Magic Beans - Why Artists Should Be Careful About Spending Money on Art Marketing Courses

“Key Bridge Arches” oil on 11” x 14” panel. Sold.

The super hot thing being sold to artists these days is a promise. For “X” amount of money different  people are promising to give you all the answers to unlocking a super-successful, get rich, live in a giant mansion on a hilltop answer to being financially successful as an artist.

While many of these courses and DVDs do contain solid, actionable content you can use to benefit your career, none of them have the quick, easy answer everyone is desperately searching for.


It doesn’t matter who they are, what their background is or how well known they are in the art community. Please know, I’m not knocking anyone who provides good content at a reasonable price but, I will say this, beware of anyone whose answer to that question is for you to spend a LOT more money with them, whether it’s through an ongoing online course or through advertising.

If you feel strongly that you need structured guidance in order to figure out some business practices then go for it, buy the DVD or course, but, I can tell you that most of what you’re looking for can be found online for free. You’ll have to do some digging and a lot of reading which will take more time but, it’s possible and it’s FREE.

So, why don’t these experts have the magic bean answers for you? Here’s why, everyone’s career path is as unique as their painting style and what works for one artist might not work for another. Also, everyone’s definition of success, whether financially speaking or not, is different.

Before you spend money on a course or DVD, ask yourself what success means for you. Be specific. Here are a few questions to get you started.

What do you want to get out of your art career?
Do you want it to enable you to travel?
Does your definition of successful include advancing your artistic development?
Does it include being invited or juiried into national art shows or being represented by one or more galleries?

What does financial success look like to you and how important is it to you and your lifestyle?
How much money annually would you like to make?

What does the job of being an artist mean in your day to day life?
Does it mean a job with flexible hours so you can take care of a loved one?
Does it include teaching what you know to others about creating art?
How many pieces of art does a successful artist produce, per week, per month, per year?

How important is recognition to you?
Does being respected in the art community by your peers matter to you?
Is being recognized by winning awards for your artistic skill important to you?

There are a dozen other questions I could pose to you but you get the idea. Every artist's life is unique, because of that your definition of success will be unique.

Think about it, write it down even, because knowing what you want will help you make decisions that are right for you and your life, not someone else’s. Knowing these things will help you steer your course when difficult questions and opportunities arise along the way.

If you’re still on the fence, I’ll give you the super-simple recipe for art career success completely FREE of charge.

1. Make art.
2. Make more art.
3. Make art when you don’t feel like it.
4. Make art when you’re questioning whether or not your any good at making art.
5. Present yourself and your work in a professional manner.
6. Build relationships with your collectors and fans.
7. Be humble. Be kind. Don’t be a jerk because the art community is small.
8. Believe in yourself, believe more than anyone else does.
9. Celebrate your successes and learn from your setbacks.
10. Thank your family and friends for being there.
11. When you experience rejection, turn it around and let it light a fire within you.
12. Believe that what you do has value.
13. Protect your time in the studio at all costs.
14. Breathe. Play. Enjoy the process.
15. Know what tax deductions you can take.
16. Do your thing, don't worry about what everyone else is doing.
17. Look for the answers yourself, don't expect anyone to hand them to you.
18. Be brave and develop a thick skin.
19. Show up to work. All. The. Time.
20. Remember how you define success.


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