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4 Tips for Artists Get High-Paying Clients

There’s probably one overbearing reason that you got into this industry: you want to make a profitable business out of your passion. You’re fueled by the need to make a living that’s sustainable because you have mouths to feed.

Lucky for you, we live in this day and age where there’s a plethora of opportunities for creatives like you. With the advent of the internet, there is now a gamut of opportunity out there for artists.  

The internet has broken down boundaries and forged new connections and networks among creatives from different parts of the globe. You can now share your work with someone from the other side of the world with a few clicks or taps on your phone. 

This should make it easier to find high-paying clients, right?

But why have you been getting only low-ball offers so far? It almost feels like you’re aimlessly throwing a ball into the ring, desperately trying to make a shot. You start to wonder why other artists are already fattening up their wallets while you’re still scraping the bottom of the barrel.

So, what do you need to do to attract high-paying clients?

STAND OUT. 

Take a look at your gallery or portfolio. What do you have to offer that’s unique to you? Something that nobody else can do (or only a few people can do).

I have always loved patterns and I was a pattern designer before I became a letterer. Because of that, I didn’t easily get rid of my love for patterns even when I did lettering. In fact, I incorporated them into my work – through my borders, my embellishments, and letter designs. I even created letter patterns just like this (insert patterned letters)

It’s my combined love for patterns and letters that makes my work stand out among other letterers.

SPECIALIZE.  

Marie Forleo always says ” if you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.” We are moving into an era where customer behavior has changed. Nowadays, people look for something in particular and if you’re trying to attract everybody, you’ll end up attracting no one. Simply put, If you want to get high paying clients, you need to specialize in something. 

Clients don’t like generalists because these are a dime a dozen. What they’re looking for is somebody who specializes in something. Just like a diamond in the rough, they see you as rare and are willing to pay premium for your services.

It’s tough, isn’t it? Especially when you’re an artist who feels like you just have to accommodate every request and client order out there. Many artists come up with endless reasons for not niching down because they’re too scared at the thought of doing only ONE thing for a long time. 

I get it because I used to be like that… until I realized that unless I niche down, I won’t get any premium clients.

So every year, I’d practice my alphabets and decorate them, typically with patterns that I love.  I’d embellish every single letter differently because it was fun. That became my thing, my trademark, if you may. 

I was soon dubbed by my lettering friends as the Queen of Embellishments. 

Don’t think for a minute that you’re limiting yourself when you do only one thing well. On the contrary, you’re opening yourself up to so much more opportunity, way more than you could ever imagine. 

Companies and creative directors will start to look for new ideas to incorporate your work into their projects, to give them a fresh look. And because not many people can do what you’ll do – you’ll get paid higher. 

SHOW UP

Make this your mantra, “I have to create and share something to the world every single day. “

Show up for your people and your potential clients. If you’re not doing it, how can you expect them to show up for you? People need to know, like, and trust you before they do business with you. 

There are many ways to show up for your audience. 

In my case, I started with letter variations. I was regularly posting on my different social media channels (weekly emails, Instagram, Facebook, and my blog). From there, I got my first paid gig.

When I think about it now, I was just posting what I knew what to do at the time, which was letters and words. I didn’t know how to do a lot of composition, so I stuck with letter creations. Little did I know that as I was doing it, I was slowly building my expertise in drawing letters. 

SEEK INSPIRATION

Always seek inspiration to create new things. However, there’s a fine line between inspiration and copying. Don’t try to do things that other people are doing, in an attempt to get the same level of attention they’re getting. Being inspired by other artists is good, but when you start copying every single trend you see out there, that’s not being inspired anymore. 

I’ve seen so many artists try to imitate the style of someone they know. And while they can actually do it well, they’re hurting their own portfolio at the same time. When you see various styles in their gallery, you can hardly tell which one is theirs. This isn’t the kind of your work (no matter how pretty) clients look for. 

Why does all of this matter?

Once you start attracting the clients who will pay you premium for your work, things will start to change. You’ll notice that you’ll get much better clients coming your way.

They’ll have great projects lined up for you and will pay you good money to do it. 

When you consistently get high-paying clients, your business will thrive. You’ll focus on better and quality work. You won’t end up doing every single thing in the world because you need money to survive. Work and life will become more manageable because you’ll have more clients in the pipeline waiting and ready for you every single month. 

This is how you’ll build a lasting creative business. This is how you’ll say goodbye to being a starving artist.

Now tell me, from these 4 tips, what’s the #1 thing you’d like to focus on first this week? Let me know in the comments.

Want to learn more? Download the 5 Secrets for Artists to Get High-Paying Clients.

comments +

  1. Cathérine says:

    Hi Mye,

    thanks for this reminder. It can feel overwhelming to start at some point and to not feel obliged to serve for the „whole“ audience. I, too, feel the constraints of having to know every single lettering style + being a digital
    native on top.
    And a side question: which software did you use for the first photo? Photoshop? Thanks in advance.

  2. Mye De Leon says:

    Focus on those who you truly want to serve. You can’t give your best for everyone. 🙂

    P.S. I used Photoshop

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