People rarely, if ever, want to talk about their weaknesses.
Many people (mistakenly) think their weaknesses take away from their strengths. They think that admitting their struggles makes them less of a success.
Artists are no different.
You always hear about job interviewers asking the dreaded question, "What are your three biggest weaknesses?" You might even picture the interviewers crossing your name off the list after hearing the true answer. So, you come up with a way to twist a positive attribute into a flaw. You say you are "too detail oriented" or "too committed to your job."
But the real reason they ask? They want to know how self-aware you are and what steps you are taking to actively solve the problems in front of you.
You see, every human alive has weaknesses. The truth of the matter is: your weaknesses are only a problem if you do nothing about them.
Identify your biggest weakness below and we'll show you how to make it work for you in a positive way for your art business.
Perfectionism gets in the way of progress
Perfectionism is one of those traits that people often try to disguise as a strength. It's in line with “I work too hard and care too much.” When you take a deeper look, it can be the cause of a lot of harm to your career and growth as an artist.
That being said, there is one pretty awesome aspect to being a perfectionist: you want to produce your best work possible.
You can use that inner drive to your advantage! Prepare for projects ahead of time. Hone your craft. Learn all you can about running an art business. Just know the warning signs and that a job well-done doesn’t necessarily require perfection.
Remember: it is better to finish a good project than never complete the "perfect" one.
Your introverted nature prevents you from networking
It may not jump out at you, but introverts have the upper-hand in many ways.
For one thing, introverts are thinkers. You like to collect your thoughts, and you definitely think before you act. What an amazing skill set to possess for art marketing! Social media, email, blogging, even client relationships — these all call for a carefully thought-out message to grow your business.
Not to mention, the ability to get in the zone to create.
Introverts have an advantage at being able to spend long periods of alone time in the studio—which is when you get to recharge your social battery and concentrate on your craft.
We know you’re still wide-eyed at just the thought of networking, but don’t panic. Do what you can to make those experience as comfortable as possible, like practicing your sales pitch ahead of time or bringing a few loved ones to your opening for support.
Your lack of a business background leaves you floundering
Many working artists find themselves in this position at one point or another. The good news? You probably know your artwork inside and out — and you’re always trying to improve.
Use that same hunger you used to develop your skill to study the business side of things! There are so many opportunities to learn these days (many of them are free!). Books, blogs, podcasts, workshops, even online classes can offer great insights to running your art business more effectively.
Nobody’s born knowing everything. It’s only a weakness if you refuse to learn and embrace this aspect of being a professional artist.
Disorganization leads to missed opportunities
You know you need to get organized—don’t lose that feeling!
Odds are, if you have been an artist for any significant amount of time, you have piles and piles of work and information collected. That’s good; it means you have been working. However, you need to get those piles organized in an art inventory system like Artwork Archive so you can easily access your records.
You’ll be able to track and record all your pieces, along with their details and current locations, client information, sales, event dates, to-do’s, reports, and more.
Getting organized means you can spend less time searching for important information and more time on why you became an artist in the first place ... making art. Plus, Artwork Archive is cloud-based so you never have to worry about losing your records ever again.
At last ... the light at the end of the tunnel!
Negative self-talk prevents you from taking risks
Let’s be honest, it's easy to slip into a negative cycle in this line of work. Your head is constantly ringing with worries like, “This piece will never turn out right” or “I’m so bad at selling my work.”
Much like the perfectionists of the world, that’s only because you have the desire to be better. That self-awareness is key because then you have a chance to turn those “I can’ts” into goals for success.
For instance, if you’re thinking, “I can’t finish this painting”—surprise, now your goal is to finish the painting! Do this by creating small, concrete steps to follow through on like “balance out the left side of the piece” or “add more texture.”
Then don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments! When you finally realize how many times you’ve turned a roadblock into a success, your self-doubt and negativity will slip away.
Expressing yourself in words is a challenge
Ah, writing—the thorn in the side of most artists.
When you think about it, writing is just another opportunity to express yourself. It's a skill you can always improve with practice, just like you would with drawing or painting.
The better you get at it, the less painful it will be.
If you have trouble coming up with what to write, think about what would entice you to buy a particular piece of art. Does it have an incredible story behind it? Was the plein air location an adventure to get to? It may even be helpful to record your thought process as you’re creating so you can give a unique peek into how your piece came to be.
Find questions or examples to follow for marketing materials like your artist statement or bio. Take a look at the writing styles of other artists for inspiration. Have a friend edit and proofread your work, or ask an experienced writer for help for the bigger projects. And, definitely look into these tips on how to write better for your art business.
You lack the time to put real effort into your artwork
There’s no point in sugarcoating it. It can be downright difficult to find time for the studio, especially if you’re balancing another full-time job, a family, or even health problems.
But you have a passion to create. It's what fills you with joy. That's what’s going to help you carry on when things get hard.
You just need to decide that you love it more than you want to give it up. And, there are a number of ways to be more efficient and productive when you have limited time.
Just take it from artist Corrina Thurston who deals with a chronic illness. She suggests you prioritize the things that actually move your business forward, learn and leverage your unique working style, set achievable goals, and limit your distractions. You can learn more here.
Remember: slow and steady wins the race.
You let your fears prevent you from starting
It’s natural to be afraid—of failure, of disappointing yourself and others, the list goes on.
But if you see a successful, hard-working artist in the world, we would bet money that they are still scared of failing. The thing is, fear is only bad when it keeps you from trying.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one's fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
In fact, success in life is mainly about just showing up. Showing up for the challenge, despite your fears. Then keep showing up, equipped with the knowledge that you can always learn and grow, whether you fail or not.
And if you’re still worried, take a look at these seven powerful ways to defeat the fears you face as an artist.
Bottom line: your weaknesses do not define you
It can be a hard to wrap your mind around, but sooner or later you'll come have this one major epiphany—your weaknesses do not define you. What defines you is how you try to better yourself in spite of them.
Sweeping your weaknesses under the rug may be a quick fix to save face, but sooner or later they will hold you back from becoming the most successful artist you can be. The only solution is to tackle them head on, hopefully turning them into strengths.