You want to make the money you deserve from your art—everyone does.
But, there are a lot of fears and mental roadblocks around raising the prices of your artwork.
You might be afraid that no one will buy your work at a higher price point or that since you couldn’t afford your work at that price, that you should keep your prices accessible.
Your own relationship with money might be holding you back from making the income you deserve from your artwork.
Use these seven mantras to cultivate a more positive relationship with money and price your work with confidence.
I will value what I do so that others see the value as well.
Say it after me: “My work has value. My skills are valuable. Others value the creativity and talent that I often take for granted.”
As an artist, you have become accustomed to what you bring the world.
Take a second to look at it from a different perspective—from someone who doesn’t have the time, training, or motivation to create art objects of their own. These objects bring inspiration, beauty, and life into their home and they are willing and able to trade their resources (money) for these pleasures.
For you, painting an immaculate and detailed landscape seems like second nature. But to someone else, the idea of creating that same work might seem like a far-fetched fantasy.
Without realizing that what you offer, you value what you do less than the potential collector.
Valuing my work means staying strong on my prices.
Increasing your prices can make you feel incredibly insecure and vulnerable. You need to make money from your work, so you need to sell it. A moment of doubt, a hesitant response, an overheard off the cuff comment, these all can have you second-guessing your work and making an impulsive decision to apply a discount to your artwork.
Don’t. Do. It.
Each time you hand out discounts and place bargain prices on your artwork you are saying, “my work and my prices aren’t worth it.”
Learn to embrace the uncomfortable moment when someone asks for a discount. Come up with ways to show value, instead. Or, remember that someone else will meet you at your price and see your value. You only devalue your work and your ethics by decreasing the price of your work at the drop of a hat.
Everyone has a budget and a price they are willing to pay for artwork. Wait for the ones that prioritize artwork.
Comparison does not control me or my prices.
Yes, do your research. Yes, know what other artists are charging for similar work. Yes, know what comparable work goes for in your local market.
However, don’t let other artist’s prices completely control how you price your work. There will always be someone who charges less than you and there will always be someone who charges more.
Understanding your own work, the time that goes into it, the cost of materials and its general place in the market are the only things you should be paying attention to when you price your work.
If you see someone selling an equivalent work of art for less than yours, don’t panic. Don’t immediately slash all of your prices. Resolve to offer more and to be better rather than lowering your prices.
Offer a superior experience with your art. Justify your prices by offering your top clients a more exclusive experience and cultivate an image of luxury for your work. Give them the first look at your new work. Send updated lists of works they might be interested in with Artwork Archive and make a professional impression. Open your studio for a studio tour so they get an inside look. Offer to transport the artwork and aid in framing or handing advice if it is a larger or more expensive work.
All of these things will be of more value than lowering your price by a few dollars.
Understanding comes through education.
You won’t meet one artist who hasn’t had someone scoff at their prices.
This goes for the artist selling a painting for $100 or for $10,000, or even a print for $25. There will always be someone who raises an eyebrow at your prices. For the most part, this comes from a lack of understanding about artwork, your process, and the art world in general.
It can be easy to take these side remarks personally or to just brush them off completely and dismiss the offender with a few silent choice words in your head.
But, what if instead you took a deep breath and talked with this person about the value of your artwork.
Talk to this person about what matters to them. What they are getting out of the purchase. The quality, experience and long-lasting artwork that will be in their home for life. Talk about how it is an investment and your work has been increasing in value. Speak to their heart.
You can, of course, let them know what goes into making the work. But, most often, collectors will care most about what matters to them—how the work will improve their own life. Focus on speaking to the quality of your artwork instead of the cost of paint, canvases, studio space, booth fees, clay etc. Tell them about how having the artwork in their home will improve their life and impress their company.
Try to figure out what your collectors care about and speak to that.
I will not let my ego dictate my prices.
All this to say, don’t ignore the lower-priced artworks.
Your ego is the little part of you that says, “I only make masterworks,” “but I’m worth more!” or “I’m above prints.” It’s the little part of us that makes us believe we are inherently more deserving, more gifted and more talented.
Have your larger works at higher prices, but offer multiple price points to maximize your income.
There are a handful of people the can and are willing to shell out the big bucks for a painting. There are countless others that love your work and are more capable of spending fifty or a hundred dollars on a nice print. Don’t count them out. These quickly add up and can make a significant impact on your overall income.
If your end goal is to sustain your art practice and create an income off of your artwork, don’t disregard the lower-priced artworks.
My own relationship with money will not control how I price my work.
Before you add a price tag to your next piece, say to yourself, “I will not impose my money mindset on others.”
There are many factors that affect how we view and interact with money. From our childhood experiences, our families, our jobs, everyone has a slightly different relationship with how they spend money.
For you, spending $20 on something might be an easy decision, but $200 might take a little more thought. For someone else, $200 might be a simple decision and still for someone else, $2,000 might be their pocket change for artwork.
Just because a certain number seems above your “comfortable” range, doesn’t mean it’s above everyone’s “comfortable” range.
Which brings us to the next mantra.
Pricing myself out of my own artwork is the goal.
What you can afford shouldn’t dictate how you price your artwork. If you always price your work at what you can currently afford, you will never be able to afford more.
This is a hard one for artists to grapple with because they are often empathetic and feel like their work should be egalitarian.
That’s where we go back to the multiple price points. But have work that stretches your boundaries and makes you feel uncomfortable. You are not your own collector.
Create professional presentations, price lists, and an online portfolio to demonstrate your value with Artwork Archive—an online inventory tool to organize and grow your art business.