The Rare Opportunity (A Letter for Artists from CEO Nick Friend)
How Artist Caroline Wright Hit $30K in Art Sales
Sometimes in business, there are these rare moments when something becomes completely obvious.
And when something is obvious in business -- it is something you need to pounce on while you can.
Well, I am telling you that we are living in one of these rare moments now.
Let's state what we already know from the data: For the past 15 years, art sales have been steadily transitioning from offline to online.
This change was already accelerating, but what has happened over the past year has been staggering.
It is now estimated that 90%+ of art sales have moved online.
This is something that was predicted to happen in all industries...in 2030.
It was supposed to be a slow drip.
Instead, we got the firehouse.
The firehose hit so hard (and is still hitting us) that most artists and photographers haven't stepped back to intelligently assess the situation like a business strategist would.
Sure, many of you have probably thought, "I need to be selling more online now".
But have you really thought this through?
Because this is precisely where the entire situation has become completely obvious.
Making a vague goal to "sell more online" is not enough.
Throwing your work up on a few free marketplace websites is not enough.
That's what everyone is doing. And trust me, there is very little opportunity in being like everyone else.
→ So, what's the right move?
Well, you now know that 90% of fine art and photography is being sold online.
You know that art sales have been booming during these times alongside markets like housing and home goods.
You know that new shopping habits have formed, that the world has changed, and things will never be the same again.
Add these realities up, and the path forward is obvious:
If you want to build an art business now and into the future -- you need to become amazing at selling art online.
Not "okay." Not "getting by."
Not half-heartedly testing the waters for years with a crowded marketplace here and a subpar, featureless website there.
You need to become amazing at it.
Your ability to do so will put you in one of two groups:
- The group that has for the past year been stuck on the sidelines, selling nothing, and dreaming of the day fading offline sources like retail galleries come back.
- The group that has been breaking all-time sales records for their businesses despite the difficult circumstances.
Group 1 doesn't know how to sell art online. Group 2 is amazing at it.
Group 2 saw where the market was eventually heading and properly equipped themselves to compete.
They launched a proper art-selling website – some for the first time, others, moving over from a generic website.
More importantly, they realized they would have much to learn about online marketing and that they would need ongoing help to compete and maintain advantage.
One thing they weren't? Experts.
They all started as beginners, every single one.
And that's one of the most powerful points for me – anyone could have done this. But most didn't.
Then the market turned, 90% of sales came their way, and their businesses exploded with growth.
That was last year.
Now, think about this: who do you believe will sell the most art over the next 10 years?
Yep. This is a big deal.
The window for being able to get by without taking the online market seriously is closing. In fact, it may have closed already.
What that means for your art business over the next 1, 3, 5, and 10 years is up to you.
The good news: we are still SO EARLY in this process. You only missed out on last year's sales. You aren't that far behind – yet.
If you can shift your mindset and start taking action immediately, the opportunity to set yourself up to succeed over the next 10 years is still here for you.
Millions of artists will dabble, delay, bumble along, and ultimately miss this opportunity of a generation entirely – wondering why they were left behind and why everything is so "unfair."
And I do mean millions, because the thing about rare opportunities is that most miss out on them.
I want you to remember you got this advice from me.
Because everyone is always asking me for the "next big thing" – the $5 stock that will be $100 next year.
What I've noticed – everyone says they want answers, but who actually takes action?
The rare few.
If you've ever wanted to know where the art market is going and how to get ahead of it, now you have the answers.
So, what will you do with it?
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