ON DISPLAY - A CONVERSATION WITH CATHERINE ORER - EPISODE 06 - SPECIAL GUEST
Catherine Orer, Business + PR strategist and founder of the Artist Entrepreneur, shares insights and advice for artists seeking business and career success.
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Today we welcome special guest Catherine Orer, Business and PR strategist for artists, and founder of The Artist Entrepreneur, which offers resources, training, and community for artists who want to build sustainable businesses and careers. In her role as a coach for artists, she has unique insight to offer into common mindset issues that hold artists back and what skills artists should learn to succeed in their entrepreneurial efforts.
Catherine initially worked in marketing and PR in the corporate world, but eventually decided to switch her focus to art instead. She studied at Christie’s Education in Paris, and then worked in galleries to gain experience—planning to eventually open her own. But after artists started asking her for advice on their marketing and selling efforts, she realized she had a special set of skills to offer.
“I realized how much I loved connecting with artists... and that… all of this experience that I had over my career, I could really put it to use and help people,” she says. “It just all came together.”
Learning to get over your fear of success
With each new client she conducts an in-depth strategic planning session to get clear on their goals and vision for their business. But she says many artists, particularly women, underestimate their abilities and gifts, and are afraid to set big goals.
“When you’re goal setting, you’re just putting words on paper. There’s nothing good or bad—it just is,” Catherine says. “But women have a tendency to... have that emotional connection with those goals and they don’t want to feel disappointed.”
She also talks about why so many artists experience insecurity, burnout, and self-sabotaging behavior, and shares some thoughts on dealing with those issues, starting with not overthinking everything and building a solid support network.
Achieving success in your art business
To succeed in business, Catherine says the first thing to do is get clear on your why and vision, make a plan, and then start executing that plan without second guessing yourself.
“We have to learn to be a little more patient, because things will happen in their own time... not overnight,” she says. “We need to commit to a process and be confident that that process is going to lead to an outcome, which we don’t control, but is certainly going to be better than what we’re in right now, one way or another.”
She says many of the artists who work with her have to make a mindset shift, learning to talk about and sell their work, and negotiate—skills which are not usually taught in traditional art schools. Catherine also pushes back against the idea that artists can’t be successful business owners, saying that business requires creativity and commitment, and she rarely meets more committed people than artists.
She also offers a final bit of advice to artist entrepreneurs, saying, “Don’t be afraid of your vision, because you are in your own way… usually it’s fear, fear of your vision, fear of what might happen IF. And ask yourself … who do I need to become to reach those goals or to reach that vision that I want for my life and business.”
About our guest:
Catherine Orer, an award-winning Business & PR Strategist and founder of The Artist Entrepreneur, counsels professional visual artists and creative entrepreneurs who want to build sustainable businesses and careers. She holds a degree in Communications and Public Relations from the University of Québec in Montréal, and completed her education in the business of art at the prestigious auction house, Christie’s, in Paris.