I know there are many artists who read our blog, so I wanted to provide some concrete help to all of you who are looking to earn more income from your art form. I hope this blog post will serve to open your eyes to a few possible reasons as to why you aren’t always getting the results you want.

In my marketing/business life I hear a lot from people about how discouraged they are about their results. But when I look at the actions artists are taking I see the problem – they don’t actually do the actions to bring about the results! There is definitely a big gap between the results people want and the estimation of effort it takes to achieve that result.

With concepts like the “Law of Attraction” we tend to think we should just be able to make things appear without having to actually do the work. Pictures of what you want on a vision board are a great start but they are not enough. You have to take action! You need to do things in order to actually receive what you want. It’s important not  to just talk about what needs to be done…you must do it. It is that simple.

Here’s the thing, it is the confronting of the “doing” that is the hard part. What do I mean? If you really look you will see that often you don’t do what needs to be done because you can’t confront it in some way. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Or you failed doing that action in the past and you are worried about repeating the mistake so you don’t try.  Or you know you need a coach to work with you but you don’t know how to find the right person to help you. It can be a variety of reasons.

It is the lack of doing the actions that is a big part of the problem. Ask yourself how much of your time is spent thinking about what needs to be done versus actually getting the work done.

There is another side to this that ties in with what I mentioned earlier about the estimation of effort it takes to get results. Are you willing to do what others are not? There is a great quote I recall seeing on Facebook about entrepreneurs:

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” – Unknown

In case you didn’t know – all artists are entrepreneurs!

5 Reasons Artists Don’t Get The Results They Want:


Often when we don’t know what to do, we don’t act. So instead of actually dealing with whatever the task is we “unconsciously” decide to do something else. Start to be aware when you actually just don’t know what to do and be smart about it and get help from someone – ideally from a person with proven results.


We have all looked for the magic pill or the knight in shining armour to just make our dreams appear for us – I know I have. It doesn’t exist. There is no replacement for putting in the time and doing the right actions to bring about what you want to achieve. Stop looking for quick fixes – they will always lead you down the wrong path.

    (despite what you tell yourself and others)

Artists are often willing to do the fun stuff – the art making, but what about marketing and promotion? You can’t ignore these areas and expect to see results. This can be a tough one to swallow because you need to admit that you aren’t as willing as you told yourself. What can you do? Write a list of all the areas that you haven’t given attention to and set aside just one hour per day to start working on them. Don’t be afraid to seek out help when you need it.


This goes back to what I said earlier about estimation of effort. There can be a lag of time between when you start to push towards a specific goal and when it will start to show up. The reality is that most people give up too soon. There is a certain level of tenacity that is required to do anything entrepreneurial. If you are an artist wanting to earn income from your craft, you ARE an entrepreneur. I realize that perhaps you were never told that, but that is what you are, so don’t give up.


It is amazing how easy it is for people to get pulled away from the tasks that are really important to do. Look back over the past month and write down everything you wanted to achieve versus what you actually got done. How much did you accomplish? 20%, 30%, 50%? I encourage you to start to become aware that when you consider something is difficult you will very often find “other” things to occupy your time. This is one of the biggest killers of your results.

Here is a bonus 6th reason – You listen to people who tell you its not possible. Please do not take advice from people who gave up on their own dreams, work a 9-5 job and never do anything risky or challenging. They should not be your coach. Most people will tell you something is not possible because they can’t do it themselves. Don’t listen to them!

You need to seek out people who have achieved the level of success you desire and find out what they are doing.

As you can see, there is a lot stacked against artists and the results we want to achieve. However, don’t be discouraged. Just become aware of all the reasons I have outlined and don’t let them become your excuses for why you don’t achieve things in your life or business. You need to push through all the voices in your mind that let’s those reasons become the stop for your success.

You have amazing creative gifts to share with the world. It’s time to make them a reality and just do it!


Lisa Phillips is the author of the book, The Artistic Edge: 7 Skills Children Need To Succeed In An Increasingly Right Brain World. She worked with children and youth for 20 years directing programming in the arts, leadership and youth development. Lisa spent the last 5 years working with entrepreneurs in marketing, finance and leadership.