5 DIY Marketing Skills for Artists and Artrepreneurs


It’s hard being a team of one.  But until you can afford to hire people to round out your team, you’re going to have to do all the marketing (and everything else, really) by yourself.  However, there is no reason not to get professional results   Here are five essential things that you need to do if you are producing your own marketing and content in support of your art and business.
  • Learn how to take good photographs – compose shots and use editing tools.  I use Typorama and Designbold for all of my presentation/meme/visual needs, but using stock photography makes you look….well…stock.  An original touch goes a long way and you have a camera and mini-editing suite on your smartphone.  You can be making your own one-of-a-kind stock photography library while you’re taking the bus to work.
  • Keep up with design trends – although tools like those listed above will help make sure you’re using current looks and styles, you can really make an impression if you grab a few graphic design magazines, or google top graphic design trends for the current year.   They’ll teach you how to use space, colour, contrast, text and all of the other elements that make eye-catching visuals.  All free.
  • Learn how to capture and edit audio.   A brief course on Udemy.com or free tutorials on YouTube will help you make nice sounding audio for podcasts, home-rolled audiobooks or video.  It starts with setting up your space to sound neutral, but also includes choosing and position microphones, setting levels, and editing and treating audio after it’s recorded.  If you’re looking for advanced info on making audio sound good for podcasts and voiceovers, check out my YouTube Channel here.
  • Make a habit out of creating and publishing video content – no need for expensive equipment.  Again, you have everything you need on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.  Modern audiences will excuse lo-fi methods if your content is engaging.  Don’t overdo the special effects though.  Keep it tasteful and simple.  Focus on the content.
  • Finally, learn to mimic voice across all media – advertising, journalism, scholarly articles, social media.   Make a point to read as much as you can, even if they are short articles.  How do newspapers differ from advertisements?  How do people narrow their thoughts to 280 characters in twitter?  Learn to replicate what the best of the best are doing so you can make content that will appeal to the audience you are trying to attract.

Check out the rest of the podcast here.

Branding? Marketing? Here’s How To Do It Right

I had such a wonderful opportunity to speak to some fine people in the arts and culture industries last Wednesday in Oshawa, Ontario. I love what the city is doing with their Culture Counts initiative, and the folks running the program are so passionate and talented – well done.

We were discussed branding and marketing, but rather than going down the predictable road of discussing social media techniques, we spent a good deal of time discussing the importance of vision, purpose, and service in establishing a solid brand. Marketing is an evolving craft, of course, and at this point in time, I believe people still want authentic voices and stories; innovators connecting with their tribe, and conversations with customers. Be clear on who you really are – what you represent, what you were born to do, what you strongly believe, and who you serve when you are putting your art into the world.

A consistent vision will translate to a consistent brand message. All you have to do is speak your truth, day in and day out. Show the world what you’re up to, what you’re thinking. Learning how to use social media is simple once you’ve mastered that. The fundamentals are nothing a few videos or books couldn’t teach you in a weekend.

Knowing your purpose makes everything simpler. Hard work is so hard because it rolls up to the fulfilment of your dreams. You never have to worry about contradicting yourself because what you said yesterday and what you say tomorrow flow naturally from the same source of honesty. It doesn’t matter if you repeat yourself because the fundamentals are always full of wisdom and inspiration. Work diligently on your vision and purpose, and don’t forget to think about who you can serve; how and why. This evolves naturally into your brand.

Listen to this week’s episode on branding and marketing for artrepreneurs.

Oshawa Culture – Thank You! Free Download

Everyone, thank you so much for attending last night.  I had a great time meeting all of you and sincerely hope this presentation inspired you, and taught you some new tools, mindsets and habits.

Please stay in touch!  Remember that you can get weekly tips and inspiration from the Fuse Chamber podcast – click here to listen and subscribe!  And don’t forget to find me on twitter – @fusechamber

If you’d like a copy of tonight’s presentation, you can find it by clicking below.

Fuse Chamber – Branding, Leading And Succeeding

Best of luck to all and see you out there!


Bonus Podcast – Branding, Leading and Succeeding


This week, some of you will be coming to see me and my branding seminar in Oshawa. I’m very excited to meet you.
(If you’re interested in attending, learn more about the event here.)
We will be talking about the various aspects of branding yourself as an artist or entrepreneur. These are easy tasks, yet somehow seem so difficult. Creating a vision, rooting yourself in service, seeing your future self and the impact that you make in the world.
If you’re serious, we will come up with a 30-day plan to get you started. I bet many of you have tried creating a brand before, and maybe even come up with a purpose, or done some kind of skills assessment – and yet, months or years later, you’re still in the same place you were back then.
If you’re serious, it all changes today. I’m here to help you stay accountable. We’re going to get you on the road to where you want to go.  At the end of those 30 days, you will see a massive difference in how you feel about your art – how you feel about your ability to succeed, and you’ll have a clear vision of yourself in the future.
I hope to see you there, and I hope this podcast helps give you some background and preparation for the time we spend together at the workshop.
In the meantime, check out this podcast I created just for you that will help you get immersed in the ideas and inspiration I’ll be bringing on February 28th!
See you on February 28th!!!

Why You Have No Competition


One of the things that has got to be frightening for any new entrepreneur or artist is the notion that there are just so many voices out there. But if you take a moment to look…really look, you see that most of them aren’t really doing anything. Sure, the number of blogs that were started last year will give you the jitters; and make you question whether you should enter the fray. But if you look at the percentage of those blogs that are abandoned, in the first week, first month, and finally 18 months later, you realize that not too many people keep running too far out of the starter’s gate.
Take a good look and see what your friends are doing. You’ll notice that a very very small percentage of people are actually out there, crushing it, doing what needs to be done. They’re the 95%. Maybe even the 98. What will you be? Because the fact is you really have no competition. If you’re willing to hustle, if you have the vision, if you’re prepared to never quit, if you have the confidence to believe in what you’re doing, then you are already among the 2%.


Have we always worshipped shortcuts?  It seems like ‘hacking’ is in – and that makes sense when the pace of work and rate of change is accelerating.
I’m all for four-hour work weeks in principle, but even if I could pull it off, I’d use those 36+ liberated hours to make my next big goal happen.
Despite all the change, things really do stay the same.   Hustle matters.   Working your ass off is king.  If you make excuses, if you cut yourself loads of slack, you get left behind.  Hustle is the great equalizer.   If you don’t light up at the thought of spending 8, 12, 16 hours a day being an artist, being your own business….you probably don’t love it enough to make it your calling anyway.  If you like TV or wing night better than plugging away at your craft, then elite levels of success may not be on the horizon.
Haven’t we all seen that video of Will Smith talking about having no particular talent other than a crazy, ridiculous, sickening work ethic?  If you haven’t seen it, check it out, because that guy is insanely successful.
I currently have some down time – no clients, no gigs this week.  But I got up at 630AM, and filled my agenda with tasks to complete – no, that’s not right….objectives to conquer before the day is done.  I’ll take it easy at 10PM or so, and there’s nothing set aside for my favourite shows (I don’t have any) or going for drinks or gossiping.  I’m just gonna hustle.  What about you?

Stop Being So Cheap About Art

art isnt stuff

What happens to anything you give away for free? The recipient comes to mistake its value. You must begin in your own beliefs and actions that art is imminently valuable because of what it creates in ourselves and our community – joy, escape, enlightenment, passion, connection – things that pretty much aren’t for sale anywhere else.

I’m all for saving money, but I think we’ve gotten out of hand in the way we disrespect the value of art. When we stream music or movies and read book summaries on wikipedia, the artist always loses. They’re getting paid pennies, or nothing, for their time, creativity, talent and labour. We would never suggest the same model for iPhones or Pottery Barn furniture. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to change the way we treat artistic work. Just because it is an expression doesn’t mean it should be free.

So many get all ruffled at the concept that creativity shouldn’t have a price tag. That’s not the point. Artistry should be a legitimate full-time career. I’m not suggesting state sponsorship or patronage – I also believe we should be prepared to compete, to market, to sell and to ensure that our career is sustainable. But all of that beings with a shift in attitude. It starts with us. With you. Commit to buying a CD or an item from the merch table. Buy a print or a hand-made greeting card or artisanal furniture. Pay a fair price for a professional photographer, attend local performances. Whatever you can, put your support behind artists with actual dollars.

That will perpetuate the attitude that art is worth buying, and artistry is a career worth pursuing. It will allow a talented artist to live another day before succumbing to sameness and getting a day job. Do this and someone will be inspired to build something – maybe a startup or an app or a new model for monetizing art. I personally feel like I’m running out of stuff to buy. Everyone around me says they don’t want stuff, they want experiences…..well, here you go.

Listen to the entire episode here.

Your Own Voice

Look carefully

Reflect on the people who inspired you. Especially the people who created something truly new. They had some kind of philosophy, some way of looking at things that was inherently different than everyone else.

People who change the game draw their own lines in the sand. They are not content to repeat and promote the thoughts, ideas and designs of others. They are, at first, radical; and they know that acceptance will be slow to come. When it does, it means that they have successfully made change.

How do you become someone with that much certainty, drive, and fearlessness? It’s easier than you think.

You must constantly be experiencing, thinking, examining, writing and reviewing. Live life open to new experiences. Say yes. Be present and observe where you are. And write it all down. Write for the wastebasket. But review it often, because your world view will emerge from the patterns and repetitions….what has been lingering subconsciously may surprise you.

Each of us has our contribution to make. So few of us make the time and the commitment to do it….

Listen to this week’s episode here.

The Inspiration Habit

For those who look to making a living as an artist, generating new and good qualitiy ideas consistently can be challenging.  This, essentially, is the hard work of being a creative (along with all the things you DON’T wan’t to do like accounting and marketing, perhaps), but if you really want to love what you do, we have to re-frame how we think about the creative act.

Maybe we have a lot of fear and uncertainty around it.   What if my ideas suck?  What if I sit down to create and nothing comes?  Does that make me an imposter?

I understand.  What will really help make creativity more natural, and therefore far less difficult and fearful, is to habitualize the acts that make creativity happen.   Anything that surrounds you with inspiration – novelty, inspiring people and places, inspiring art or performance, or even stories about successful people – is good.   Find what sources work well for you (for me its going to a live show or meeting other creative people) and carve out time to have a little bit of it every day.

You also have to be ready to capture inspiration in a way that is easy and supportive of your working style.  Technology can definitely help with that.

However you get inspired and however you choose to capture that inspiration, what matters is making it habitual.  Once it becomes a habit, you don’t have to think about ‘commencing the creative act’ which is where all the fear and uncertainty is coiled up waiting to pounce.   LIke driving a car, all of the complex, seemingly life-altering tasks become automatic.

This week, we discuss the tips, tools and techniques for building the inspiration habit.

Listen to the full episode here.