Build Your Self-Confidence as an Artist

by Carolyn Edlund

You care more about your creative business than anyone else. That puts you in a position to be your own greatest advocate. But you can be your worst enemy, too.




Do you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle in your art business? Is negativity dragging you down and killing your motivation?

A major challenge that affects artists and makers of all types is a lack of self-confidence. When what you make comes from your own imagination and creative spirit, it’s often very close to your heart. That makes it personal to you. And when you take criticism personally, or dwell on the negative, it can stop your business in its tracks.

Negative self-talk is one of the most damaging ways that artists undermine their own success. It’s easy to give up when you concentrate on all the sales you missed, or the opportunities that didn’t work out. Facing rejection is especially hard, but it’s an unavoidable part of the life of being an artist (or anyone in business, for that matter.)

Taking the naysayers to heart can be a real problem for artists, too. When others don’t believe in you, or give feedback that you are headed for failure, it can seriously call all your efforts into question. It’s your choice whether or not to engage in conversation with them. On the other hand, you can refuse to get bogged down by those who don’t believe in you and join a community filled with other artists who understand the challenges you are going through.

Community building is one of most positive and reinforcing things an artist can do. That’s because working in isolation can be limiting and discouraging. Artists are some of the most generous and supportive people we know. Find a group or salon where you can network and create ongoing friendships with other creative entrepreneurs and build your self-confidence together.

Giving voice to your doubts in communications with followers and potential customers can also rebound negatively to you. Have you ever read a social media post where an artist states that they don’t even feel worth of the title? The people who support you, and the audience for your work is rooting for you. They want you to succeed. Be authentic and be honest when sharing about yourself and your work, but keep in mind that opting for the positive will ultimately work better than publicizing self-doubt. As your own best advocate, banish that negativity.

Celebrate the successes that you experience, whether they are sales, acceptance to an exhibition, awards, or mentions in the press. Each one serves to build your credentials and the authority that you have in your business.

Focus on what is uplifting and positive and inspiring to you and surround yourself with others who support and appreciate your creative spirit. Doing what you love every day, with a passion for art that also provides a living, is a rare thing. Take good care of yourself and your dream.


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