I am going to share the best advice I have ever gotten. It was from my good friend and very successful artist, Andy Law.
I was talking to his wife about all the reasons I wasn’t ready to sell my work. Andy walked into the room and killed the conversation with, “Just sell your sh*t”. He replied to every objection I made: “Nup, just sell your sh*t”.
So I did.
It took me years to acknowledge just how good that advice was. Here are the reasons why :
To my surprise, people wanted to buy my work, and I made money! This meant I could invest in more equipment and pay for the cost of producing the work.
It gave me incentive and motivation, but most of all, it gave me practice. As a result, I produced much more work than I ever would have otherwise.
I started to build my support networks earlier, and people love being invested from the beginning.
I have been selling for three years now. If I hadn’t started, then I would still be stuck thinking it wasn’t good enough. I’ll be honest, and I still don’t think my work is good enough. But, that is what spurs on improvement and makes me strive to be better. If I thought it was good enough, I’d quit now.
It meant I could take it slowly. I didn’t expect to be making a wage. It was still a hobby, really. Every sale was a bonus, and I had the time to perfect my work, knowing that I would get faster with practice.
It gave me time to practice running a business, marketing, photographing, and many other skills needed to make it in the industry at a manageable speed and with less pressure than if I had built up to a launch.
I gained a fantastic amount of confidence both as a potter and as a business owner.
I later read an article about a ceramics teacher that experimented with two classes. He told one class that they would be graded on the quality of their work. He then said to his other class that they would be graded on the quantity they produced.
At the end of the year, to his surprise, the class graded on quantity not only produced more work, but their work was also better quality than his other class.
This has always stuck with me as the most significant reason to start selling. Remember that we are all our worst critics. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t improve. Customers never even notice half of the things I beat myself up about.
So the moral is to make more art and start selling your sh*t!
About Renae Bell
Renae is a community-driven, pottery mad Aussie, and a mother of four, who accidentally left her front door and found herself in Midlothian. After years of lifelong-learning pottery classes, She took the plunge and established Yellow Door Studio, a home pottery studio specialising in functional bespoke hand-thrown ceramics. She is also a founding Director of Made in Midlothian.