This is a guest post by Alyson Stanfield, from I’ve been following her for years, and she always has great things to say. Here we go:

“I’ll just come right out and say it: I am tired of watching artists and arts organizations live on leftover scraps.

In my 23 years of working with fine art, I have witnessed repeatedly how frugal the arts are. Not to the patrons with the big bank accounts, but to the artists, without whom their passionate interest would not exist.

Frugal isn’t bad by itself. In fact, frugal can be good. But frugal becomes detrimental when it feeds the idea that we are not worthy of more.

Many of my clients develop this feeling of unworthiness.

For years I have been writing about how artists can show that their work has value. But I continued to allow artists at my workshops to be treated “on the cheap” by the organizers, and I admit that I was doing the same.”


“Then I started attending “nice” conferences for marketing, mindset, and software. Conferences with tablecloths, fresh flowers, music, and bright spaces.

I realized that the people and companies that were producing these conferences would have never treated their guests as cheaply as artists are treated. So I modeled what they did for my recent Art Biz Makeover.

If artists are to embrace an abundant mindset, they need to be treated like they already have one – and that they deserve it.

Let me share an example of how an incessant frugal mindset can harm your business.

An Example

I know someone who makes beautiful, one-of-a-kind furniture. It’s pricey and worth it. But he has a difficult time marketing the work, and I think I’ve identified the problem.

One night we were talking in a social situation when he began harping about how he couldn’t believe his daughter would spend $25 for a toilet-paper holder when there are much cheaper versions. He just couldn’t let it go.

This was an Aha! moment.

My friend will continue to have problems marketing his work since the very people he wants as collectors would pay much more than $25 for a toilet-paper holder.

People who look for quality
tend to look for it in every aspect of their lives.

You can’t advocate cheap materials, products, and design out of one side of your mouth and ask for high-dollar sales from the other side. These are conflicting messages to the Universe.

If You Are Especially Frugal

If you come from a less-than-abundant place, you, like my friend, must work on your money mindset.

Consider how your frugality might come across to potential buyers.

  • How are you being too frugal?
  • How are you showing potential buyers that you are unworthy of your prices?
  • How are you treating yourself?
  • How is your frugality detrimental to your business and personal growth?

Let’s start treating each other like we are as worthy of abundance as our patrons.

alysonbkYou with me?”


Alyson Stanfield is an artist advocate and business mentor at This article was originally published in her Art Biz Insider, which is sent weekly to thousands of artists who are elevating their businesses. Start your subscription now and read more articles like this at

You can get her updated artist marketing book here: I’d Rather Be in the Studio!: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion