Stop thinking, start doing

Josh Sherman
3 min read

Nothing urks me more than somebody saying they want to do something and all they are doing to accomplish it is thinking about it.

Had a conversation about this with somebody recently. They want to get into selling their artwork.

That’s fucking great!

So I proceeded to ask if they have stuff listed on Etsy or eBay or have their own site they are using.

They pushed back and said that those marketplaces are too crowded and that they had looked into some successful artists and think that they need to have a following of around 1,000 people.

Ok, cool!

So I had asked what are they doing to build their following?

They said they are posting pictures of their art on Instagram.


Except it’s not :(

I happen to follow the person on Instagram and they are definitely not posting regularly. In fact, just checked and their last post was in early June.

This person is investing all of their efforts into thinking about doing stuff and not actually doing it.

They even told me all about some equipment they want to by to make things easier on themselves. Or just rough it for a while and reinvest down the road?

To make matters worse, they were telling me that somebody has actually asked to exchange money for their art.


If your goal is to exchange money for something you’ve made and somebody wants to give you money, TAKE THE MONEY!

I’d even argue that you may want to take a loss on your first sales because getting early customers can be quite difficult.

This isn’t meant as a slam fest against somebody I know, but it did get me thinking about how I would approach selling art if I were in this person’s shoes.

First and foremost, I would have already sold a piece to the person that said they were interested. Done, next problem.

I would also let them know that if they could send people my way I’d hook them up with a free piece or discount on a future purchase down the road. Classic affiliate marketing play ;)

Now that I’ve sold my first piece, I would go around my house and take pictures of all of the rest of the art that I have already created.

I would list everything I’ve already made on Etsy and even if it’s a crowded marketplace, it’s still distribution. Maybe I’d get sales, maybe I wouldn’t.

From there, I would focus my efforts on creating more art and documenting my creative process.

There’s more than enough services out there to allow you to setup timed posts to different services. I would work towards posting at least once a day, but maybe even 2 or 3 times a day…

… hash tagging the fuck out of my content

… syndicating content out to as many services as I could to help with exposure

… maybe even buying some followers on Fiverr just to boost my numbers

Since I want to own as much of my following as I can, I would branch out and get a site setup. Probably Shopify with some social sharing and marketing tools installed so I could collect emails.

I’d have all of the same art I have listed on Etsy listed on my Shopify site. Pretty sure it’s probably against their terms, but hey, I’m not thinking about this, I’m just doing it!

At this point, I would pick a piece of art that I’ve already created, and I’d run a contest to give it away. There’s plugins out there for it, but I’d probably just tell people to sign up for my mailing list and I’ll draw one person’s name from that list.

Would I break the trend of being a starving artist?

Who fucking knows.

What I do know is that I won’t be sitting around kicking myself for never getting started. The human brain is one of the most amazing things in the universe, but it can also be our own worst enemy.

With all that, I’m seriously considering getting back to painting and seeing if I could execute on the above plan.

Not. even. kidding.

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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