Failure Is Not an Option – 8 Traits of Successful Professionals

By | April 17, 2016

A successful art professional… views the art world differently than creatives, dealers and private collectors. We constantly seek opportunities rather than the next sale, we leverage consumer dynamics with available resources to cultivate mutually beneficial outcomes. We seek to negotiate balance arrangements which are win-win opportunities for all parties.


In order to become a successful art professional, he/she must willing put in the hard work required to reach a desired level of success. If you are looking to be one of the most sought after professional in the art industry, here are some traits all successful art professionals share:

1. Dedicated. Staying committed to their business values and model even when other participants are crying wolf, complaining about the market or blaming the world for their career shortfalls. Sometimes he/she may lose a potential client because the client’s perception contradict with business morals or practices. Successful professionals learn how to hang in there even in tough times. They learn from pasted mistakes and from errors made by others in the industry. A professional use information appropriately to create action plans to improve their operation.


2. Approachable and Willing to Learn. art professionals need to be approachable and also willing to learn to advance in this evolving industry. Always leave the ego at home and be open to respectful discussions. Knowing where he/she need improvement, and being open to advice from others will help a professional grow his/her business over time. Remember, the art market is a smorgasbord of vital information, eat your fill then go back for more.


3. Creative Thinkers: An art professional must have the ability to think outside the box is crucial. Thinking creatively also help identify opportunities that others will overlook. Convert negative marketplace perceptions into productive solutions. Know what information is valuable and what is not, is a trait of an art professional.


4. Communicator: While art professionals don’t have to be a polished public speaker, art professionals need to be excellent listeners, talkers and contributors. Communication skills are imperative to facilitate a meaningful discussion, negotiate great opportunities and develop a productive network of stakeholders.


5. Learn how to read people. As a professional, he/she must be able to identify when somebody is trying to give them the runaround. Building the skill of observation will eliminate a lot of time wasted on potential tire kickers, and will keep the professional attention focused on opportunities for their clients and advancing the professional business model.


6. Great at Networking. Finding qualified clients, locking in significant opportunities and advancing your client’s endeavors, becomes much easier when a professional know the right people in the art’s community. As an art professional it is important to meet people in all sectors of the art world. Spending time with movers and influencers yield a higher return than with creatives in general. Most opportunities in the Art’s never make it into the local echo chamber. Developing quality relationship is more important than quantity. A great way to start networking is through professional groups, attending major trade events and collaborating with other professionals who work in the trenches.


7. Willing to take Risks. When managing artist careers, promoting contemporary art products, advising creatives, facilitating acquisition of blue chip art assets, or consulting art business owners, there is always risk to a professional reputation, brand and future earning capacity. It is important for a professional to know his/her personal and professional degree of risk tolerance. Successful art professionals learn to recognize risk, and manage it well by creating a comprehensive plan of operation with a solid exit strategies — can help offset most risk.


8. A niche for strategizing. A professional must be a problem solver and an “art” market strategist. Being able to map out opportunities during periods of confusion, forge solutions from complaints and sculpt success out of failure, is a critical trait for long-term success.


While these are not the only important traits, when it comes to being an Art Industry Professional, they are crucial to success. If you are willing to master these traits, then you are well on your way to becoming a successful art industry professional.