How much more money could you be making selling your fine art?

How much more money could you be making selling your fine art?


Ann Rea: (00:00)
Hello everyone. This is Ann Rea coming to live from San Francisco. I am a fine artist and I’m a mentor to other fine artists from 23 countries, and counting now. And I’m here to announce a brand new calculator, which is going to show you how much money you could be saving, and how much money you could be making, and where you could be in five years. Okay. And so I’m going to walk you through this calculator. And I had a student who was supposed to jump on with me, but she somehow is missing in action. So I’m just going to do this on solo. And if you look, there is a little opt-in if you’d like to follow along. I’m just going to put that link there into– and Joie,

Ann Rea: (00:52)
if you would do the same, please put the link into Facebook, and let me get that for you. And I’m going to share my screen with you guys so you can see exactly what it looks like. Now, what I would recommend is that you just wait for a second and you don’t actually do it until I explain how this works and how it was devised, and then check it out. So I’m going to share my screen with you.

Ann Rea: (01:28)
Okay. So now you should be seeing a page that says, “How much more money could you be making selling your fine art? Use the new Making Art Making Money Calculator.” And what I want you to do is don’t take a perfectionistic approach to this. Take a really just rough numbers when you do this, but let me walk you through it first. So the first thing you do is you just simply have to enter your email address. Oh, by the way, I included a quote that is one of my favorites from Oscar Wild because it’s so true. “When bankers get together for dinner, they talk about art. And when artists get together for dinner, they talk about money.” Isn’t that true? Alright. So what you do is you simply enter your first name and your email address and you’ll be brought to this video.

Ann Rea: (02:16)
So you can actually watch this if you like, but I’m going to walk you through it right now. So the first thing you want to do is you want to kind of estimate in your mind the last 12 months, how much did you spend in sales commissions to either art representatives or galleries? And you can use this little nifty slider here to put in approximately, again, this is not accounting. So just put it approximately what you’ve spent on sales commissions to art representatives or galleries in the last 12 months. Step number two, if you’ve entered any art shows or art contests, and you’ve paid those annoying fees, you want to enter that. But also if you’ve spent money on we need to, we need to actually, I just spotted a thing that needs to be corrected because in the second one, it’s not just about art shows and art contests, but those art booth fees which are incredibly expensive.

Ann Rea: (03:20)
So when I surveyed my students really casually, they spent about $5,000 on booth fees. So you put in whatever number is true for you in the last 12 months, approximately. Okay? Then how about e-commerce site? Have you have you allocated money to build an e-commerce site? Where did you, you know, you’re not going to actually, that’s not going to be repeat expense, and I only want you to put repeatable expenses. But if you put aside money for an e-commerce site that you plan to build in the next 12 months gonna cost you anywhere from 55, a hundred dollars on up. Okay? So this little slider has a default to $5,500. You can change it. You can make it zero. You can make it $10,000. So the next question I want to ask yourself in the last 12 months, what are your average annual print or digital advertising costs?

Ann Rea: (04:15)
Are you paying for advertising? Did you pay for ads to your Instagram or Facebook account? Did you pay for print advertising anywhere? If so, you want to put that number here can be whatever you want, whatever is true for you. And then the next thing that we have to account for is all of these expenses are going to increase every year, right? Because of inflation. So, because we’re going to do a projection for the next five years, I’m going to guess that these will go up about, I don’t know, 10%, right? So once you’ve fiddled with these sliders and put something in, just click the next button. Now, thought that’s all the money that I were– that’s all the money that you could be saving if you were part of the Making Art Making Money program. Okay? Because what I teach costs nothing. You don’t need a fancy website.

Ann Rea: (05:11)
You don’t need to pay any sales commissions. You don’t need to pay for art contest fees, booth fees, art contest fees, juried showed fees, any silly giveaways. Don’t do that. You guys don’t do that. Just any BS that all goes away, right? So all those numbers will go to zero. Now let’s take a look at the numbers that are important to tell us or project what you could be making in terms of art sales. So a great place to start is to ask yourself how many people do you know or could you know. So let’s be really conservative. Let’s just say you learned how to engage meaningfully and authentically without being salesy or pushy. I don’t know, one person a month, right? So if that’s the hypothesis of the projection, just put 12 there. Now we go to the magic formula.

Ann Rea: (06:15)
Now bear in mind, referrals are only one of four effective sales luxury sales strategies that I teach, but it’s probably one of the most important foundational ones. So we’re just starting with this for now. So what I’m trying to say is this is very conservative. All these estimates. Now, companies who have a formalized referral program, which I teach my students, they experience about 86% more growth over the past two years, compared to the ones who didn’t. But bottom line is this. You can really count on about 80% more sales by way of referrals, where you keep a 100% of the money. That’s freaking mind blowing. Right? But let’s be really conservative and just say, you only get 50%. Okay. Now the next question to ask is what price do you sell your art for on average, not the price of your art, but your average sale.

Ann Rea: (07:15)
What is your average sale bin? The average sale in the last 12 months. $500 is pretty low, but we’re going to keep this a very conservative projection and we’re going to leave it at $500. You might sell your art for a lot more than that. I’m just doing this for the sake of the illustration. So the next question you want to ask yourself is what’s the average annual percentage price increase. You can estimate for your art. Now our students typically increase their prices about by about third each year, but you can be really conservative and say 20%. You’re just going to increase by 20%. And that’s very, very conservative because we have inflation and you’re continuing to learn. Alright. So now let’s submit these results and take a look. What does this mean? What does this look like? Alright. Alright. So you can actually, just by the way, if you want these results emailed to you, you can get them emailed to you.

Ann Rea: (08:15)
I’m not going to keep them a secret from you. You can have them. By the way, I normally charge $39 for this calculator. I’m giving it away for free for a limited amount of time. Ah, let’s look at these numbers. So in the top portion, over five years, given all the numbers I entered, those numbers meant mean that over the next five years, my costs would approach $73,261. And I would miss, if I didn’t understand luxury marketing and sales, ALA the Making Art Making Money program way, I would miss out on $80,531 worth of sales. Again, this is a projection over the next five years. So let’s just take a look at the blue bar at the bottom here. That means that you, in this scenario, I could have had 153,792 more dollars in my pocket because I enrolled in the Making Art Making Money program. Alright?

Ann Rea: (09:25)
And I’m also showing you a proportional difference between the two, right? The tuition is nothing when you look at it this way. It’s really nothing. My point in developing this calculator is because I wanted to teach the artists who have been applying or thinking about applying the difference between an expense like art supplies, for example, or equipment versus an investment. And the big difference is once you’ve spend money, it’s gone. But an investment is something that you continue to get returns on return on your investment year, over year. And we just took a five year horizon here. So hopefully this has been eyeopening for you. Unfortunately Jay does not have her camera on, so I can’t bring her on. That’s sad. I wanted to have a chat with her. But can you see the massive difference between doing what you’re doing now, which is incurring all these expenses that you don’t need to incur, and not understanding just one of four different luxury marketing and sales strategies?

Ann Rea: (10:37)
And I think the moral of this lesson is you’ve got to learn and you have to not give up, right? Because it, you give up, it costs you money. It costs you opportunity. And so many artists do give up and that’s because the roadmap we’re handed in art school is so broken. It’s so outdated. It never worked anyway, but we don’t know what else to do. So we follow that formula. And we use something called “hope marketing,” right? Hope is a beggar. You need a plan, and you need a strategy. That’s been proven. What I teach in the Making Art Making Money program has been proven over the course of 16 years, and it’s worked with artists in 23 countries and counting. And to be clear, it only works if you do the work right, you gotta do the work, but just like making art, art doesn’t make itself.

Ann Rea: (11:30)
And neither does sales and marketing. But what I teach is so much easier and so much more dignified. You don’t feel pushy. Someone said, “I hate selling, but I love making art.” Well, whatever you hate, you will repel. So my suggestion to you is if you hate selling, then quit trying to sell. Don’t make yourself and everyone else miserable. Your other option is to learn how to sell in a way that doesn’t feel sleazy or pushy in a way that’s authentic in a way that is truly grounded in your deepest values. Then that’s what we teach in the Making Art Making Money program. Whether or not you apply, it doesn’t matter. I want you to use this calculator so that you have a good hard look at how much it’s costing you right now to sell your art and what it’s gonna cost you over the next five years. And what it’s costing you to hate selling art, to hate marketing and not to have the resources that are available to you.

Ann Rea: (12:40)
That’s what I recommend. So, I’m gonna go ahead and put this link in here now. Again, I highly recommend that you do this because this is a freaking game-changer. It is really a game-changer. Maybe another time when all the tech is working, we can have Jay back on. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there when we started. And we’re about to wrap up. So, go ahead and do this exercise and great thing about this is you can retake this. Again, this isn’t a, you know, don’t make this a strict accounting exercise because you’ll never get it done. Do your best guess. And then if you want to get more accurate information or more complete information over your expenses and costs in the prior 12 months, and also the number of contacts you have, then you can retake it and you can make it, you can play with this.

Ann Rea: (13:37)
That’s meant for you to play with. And you get the point, right? So if you don’t, you have to. If you’re going to run a business, which is what you’re doing if you’re selling art. You have a business. Don’t believe me? Ask the IRS or your taxing authority. If you sell your art, you got to show them a profit and loss statement for your business. And if you have a business there’s a cost to doing business, you have to invest in your business. And in your cases, as artists, you have to invest in yourselves and your own skillset, just like you invested in learning how to make art. You’ve got to learn. You got to invest time and money in learning how to sell it and learning how to market it. Those are two very different things, by the way, they’re often confused. So I hope this was illuminating. It blew me away. I had this calculator, the online interface built and it blew my mind. I had no idea. And again, remember I use the most conservative estimates in this illustration. I mean the most conservative I dialed down the percentage of referrals. I dialed down a bunch of stuff. So give it a go and please share in the comments below what your results were because we really want to know. Thank you.

Ann Rea

Ann Rea, Fine Artist & Mentor

Ann Rea is a San Francisco-based fine artist. She created Making Art Making Money, the leading and most reputable business program for fine artists since 2005. Rea’s art and business savvy have been featured on ABC, HGTV, Creative Live, The Good Life Project, in the book Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields, the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Business News, Fortune, and Inc. Magazines. Rea’s artistic talent was commended by her mentor, art icon Wayne Thiebaud. 

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