The Tom Waits Guide to Selling Your Work Without Selling Your Soul

Every artist sells

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Every artist sells.

It’s not the easiest or most enjoyable part of the process, but without it, we’re just winking in the dark. Like my mentor used to say, if you’re not there to sell, you’re just a visitor.

The secret is making selling a regular part of your daily creative workflow. Viewing the business surrounding the art as a part of the art itself.

To do so, you first have to give yourself permission to take off your artist hat and put on your sales hat. Debono called this process parallel thinking, which is the process of separating thinking into clear functions and roles, allowing you to easily focus or redirect your strategy at the drop of a hat.

For example, every time I create something new, whether it’s an article or a song or a performance or a product, I ask myself a series of questions.

First, from a strategic standpoint. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible? How can I use this to get more of what I want?

Next, from a focused financial standpoint. Which organization has money that, when they see this, would consider giving it to me? Which people, who can write a check for my value, can I send this to?

Then, from a relationship building standpoint. Which existing client does this give me an excuse to reconnect with? Which potential client do I now have a valid reason to reach out to?

That’s parallel thinking. And it’s a reminder that we can’t ignore our enterprise, hiding behind a desk, hoping our art will magically monetize. Artists who don’t sell, suffer.

Waits famously said that got into the music business so he could write a song and say, now fly away and go make daddy some money. Which is a romantic and idyllic notion, but the reality is, we can’t sit back and wait for people to write us a check. At some point, we have to stop filling the canvas and start pounding the pavement.

What’s your strategic process for peddling every single piece of art you create?

For a copy of the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Written by

Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Founder of Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.

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