What is Your Why, What, How, and Who?

04.11.2016 |

Episode #10 of the course How do artists find their niche? by Ann Rea


Why do artists struggle to find their niche, their “Who?”

Because their focus is primarily on mastering their creative medium, and they live with a number of destructive, disempowering, and disrespectful myths, such as:

“If your art is good enough, it will sell itself.”

“Just do what you love and the money will follow.”

“You don’t want to become too commercial and become a sell-out.”

The reality is that artists are not discovered. So a plan to sell your art without a plan is a plan to sell no art.

You realize success when you create and maintain a plan to accomplish it, and you determine who you can serve and how.

If no one sees and values your art, is it art?

Your success is not just about your mastery of your artistic medium; it’s also a reflection of your business and marketing skills.

The good news is that these skills can be learned much more quickly and easily than the time and effort it takes to study an artistic medium.

Most artists possess above average intelligence and self-discipline, so they are more than capable of learning the business and marketing skills required to build a profitable creative enterprise.

I’ve been working with many types of artists from around the globe for over a decade, and the first thing that I make clear to them is that selling art for art’s sake is a losing battle.

Why? Because there’s way too much talent. Rather than compete against other artists in a losing lifelong talent contest, it’s much easier, more profitable, and inspiring to differentiate your offering.

The key to success is to create clear value above and beyond the art itself by solving a problem and serving a target market—a niche.

Think about Etsy, Saatchi Art, or Art.com. Your art is never going to stand out on these over-saturated platforms. If it does, you’ve just won the lottery, but very few people win the lottery, so don’t bank on it.

If you want to stand in an endless line with talent better and worse than yours while hoping to be discovered, good luck. Hoping is not marketing.

Success comes to artists who create something of unique value that’s grounded in their truth and that serves a target market.

Don’t make the common mistake of beginning at the end of “The Four-Part Code” by guessing who your niche is before knowing yourself.

Again, you can’t know your target market until you know yourself, what you stand for, and what you stand against.

When you truly know yourself and you own who you are, then you can express this in your art. Reflecting your soul’s truth and creating value above and beyond your art is the best way to differentiate your offering.

Hip hop mogul Russell Simon’s book on business offers wise words: “Do you.”


Your parents were right. There are no jobs for fine artists, so you’re not going to have a successful art career.

However, fine artists can build a profitable business if they serve their niche.

Learn how famous and emerging artists found their niche using Ann Rea’s “Four-Part Code.”

“Every artist is an entrepreneur, and every entrepreneur is an artist.” -Dr. ‘E’

Learn more


Share with friends