Today we’re going to look at why consistency is key to a successful art business.
We creators can often have those minds that jump from one thing to another, and so many things inspire us, so we end up lacking consistency. For me, consistency is one of the main ingredients to a successful business (along with communication, clarity and commitment).
Well, it’s about not trying something once, feeling despondent, and then moving away from it thinking it’s a failure and moving on to something else. I think so many of us have (I definitely know I have) done this – it’s like you dip your toe into something, you tend to suddenly announce it to the world. Because it doesn’t get the initial reaction you wanted straight away, you think, “oh, that didn’t work”. And so you pull back and change direction.
The trouble with that approach is that we don’t give something time to grow. To implement something successfully, we have to put it in place, we have to give it time to breathe and space to grow, we have to tell people about it repeatedly. Then we have to look at the data, tweak it and then go again. That all takes time.
As I said, many of us get distracted by things that other people are doing and it’s all too easy to compare yourself to other artists. We listen to that kind of self doubt inside that says, “oh, gosh, you know, that didn’t work. That was a failure, it was rubbish, I need to move on and do something else”. The reality is we just didn’t give it time. We didn’t show up consistently in order to see the results happen.
If we keep chasing shiny objects and the next new thing, what happens is we jump from one thing to the other, and we’re constantly changing direction. Not only is this really tiring, it’s confusing for our customers. We never ever give something a chance to succeed, so nothing is going to work. Instead, what we need to do is commit to something for a period of time, say, three months.
Let’s say you are thinking about really getting Instagram or Google or YouTube, whatever it may, working for you. You have this particular strategy in mind. You’re thinking, “Right, okay, I’m going to really focus on print on demand to turn on the volume on prints in my business. And I’m going to use Instagram to do it”. Give yourself a very clear plan and stick to it for three months. Don’t just show up for a week, mention it a couple of times, and think that will work. Give it time and space.
We need to constantly keep showing up and coming at our message from a different angle. Keep saying the same thing in a different way and give it time and space to grow. At the end of that three months, then review the data. Have a look at what worked and what didn’t – was it a complete failure, or actually did some elements of it work? If that’s the case, tweak the bits that didn’t work so well. Keep the bits that worked great, and then either decide to commit to another three months, or at that point, decide whether it’s time to let go and move onto something else.
Consistency is key. Customers need to know that we are trustworthy. The only way they know we are trustworthy is that they know we are there consistently. We keep showing up, we have the same message, we are really, really clear about what it is we’re doing and who it can help. Your customers will start to feel confidence in you, but it takes time for that to happen, as well as showing up consistently.
One of the things that slowed me down in my business over the years that I would go back and change if I had the chance is focus. It’s not a regret per se, but if we stay focused and consistent and give something the time it needs, very often it will succeed. Instead we see other people doing this thing over here and then “oh they’re doing really well with that, maybe I should try that shiny strategy” or “this person over here just got great results with another thing”. The worst thing we can do is keep changing directions, because we just never get anywhere and we burn out and get tired.
Another mistake some creators make is to just pull little bits from one strategy, little bits from another strategy and try to piece it all together and make sense of it. Basically, that is the same as trying to do a jigsaw puzzle with pieces from lots of different puzzles, and then wondering why the thing isn’t making a picture. Being consistent with your strategy, and sticking with it for a given length of time, can really help.
So yes, consistency is key.
Try not to flip around from idea to idea and change direction. Give something commitment, set a timeframe, really give it all you’ve got and then at the end of it, review it impartially and honestly. Ask yourself “do I need to tweak, test and reapply this for another three months? Has it not worked on any level and therefore I need to change direction?” but it has to be very impartial and based on data.
I hope this was valuable for you, and I’ve helped you to see that consistency is key to running a successful art business. If you would like more information, I have a free masterclass on the four key stages to consistent art sales. If you want to build and grow a business around your art, come join us!