Before I could graduate, I needed a few more hours to complete my degree. I took a couple of studio classes in the first summer term of 1989. One was a sculpture lab, which I loved. The class was small, and I quickly struck up a friendship with an architecture student. Being a senior as well, we would often get into deep conversations about life after graduation.
I will never forget one talk. We both agreed that we would never go out and sell our services. Our good work would begat more good work. Word would spread like wildfire and all we needed to do was sit back and let our creative genius solve all the world’s problems. Talk about naive.
As a professional over the years, if there is any one thing I have learned is that you never stop selling. Whether it’s your services, your ideas or yourself. To be a successful practitioner of any creative art you must constantly be selling mode. You take chances, make cold call, network, write blog posts, connect with people however you can, all in the hope that you will land make a solid connection.
It’s not easy. Especially for introverts creative types like myself, who dream of being able to sit back and have people knock on my door.
If you know what’s good for you, you never stop selling. Even when you have so much going on you cannot possibly manage anything more, you have to keep selling. At some point, the well will run dry, so even though you cannot possible squeeze anything else into your day, you’ve got to replenish the workload.
Over the years, I have found that I like being a salesman. I like meeting potential new clients or partners. It’s fun to compete and even more fun to win new business. I don’t know that I could go out and sell things I do not believe in, but when I go out and talk with people about my work, it’s as easy as bragging about my children.
The 22 year old version of me would be aghast at all of this. But if there is any one piece of advice I can give young creatives, is get out there and learn to sell.