How anyone can make a thriving living from their art (without moving to New York or spending hours on social media)

 

  • Course Instructor: Miriam Schulman

 

 

  • Course Topic: Watercolor Portrait Academy and The Artist Incubator Coaching Program (how to sell art)

 

  • Interesting Stats: After investing in myself through coaches and learning how to market, I now have multiple 5-figure launches under my belt.
Miriam_schulman

Would you like to learn exactly how to create, sell, market & scale your online course?

Join Our Free Event:

The Ultimate Online Course Conference

March 29th - April 4th

Registration Closes In

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

The World’s Economy Has Already Shifted Into The Virtual Space More And Faster Than Ever Before & It’s Time To Catch Up Right Now… Or Else You’ll Risk Getting Left Behind.

The Most “Future Proof” Way To Get Ahead And Run A Sustainable Online Business Is By Entering The Exploding Digital Knowledge Industry With The Guidance Of Tina and 30+ Experts Through Online Course Talks. 

how to create an online course

1. Who are you?

Hi, I’m Miriam and I’m a full-time artist, art teacher, and art business coach. 

I help artists (from amateurs to professionals) develop their skills, tap into their creativity, and grow thriving art businesses through my online classes, business coaching programs, and internationally top-ranked podcast, The Inspiration Place. 

THE “BAT SIGNAL” THAT CHANGED MY LIFE…

Ever since the fourth grade, I wanted to be an artist but didn’t believe I could make a living at it. Although I studied art history in college, I ended up taking the practical route, pursuing a career in finance. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I had a wake-up call and abandoned my lucrative hedge fund job on Wall Street to work on my art full-time. 

My love affair with portraits really kicked off during this time. I painted my son in his Batman costume. And he LOVED it so much, he was so proud of it, that he invited his friends over to look at it.  

Those kids told their parents, and pretty soon I was painting my son’s friends…and then more people saw THOSE portraits and asked me for commissions… And pretty soon I had a business painting portraits!  I started selling my art online and I expanded to different medium and techniques, including mixed media and watercolor. 

And then people started to ask me to show them how… and as a result, The Inspiration Place was born.

2. What’s your course all about?

Over the years, I’ve created over 18 online courses but one of the most popular classes is Watercolor Portrait Academy. In this course students learn how to make faces that look realistic– like real people – without being photographic or stiff or cartoonish; develop an understanding of how to use vibrant colors to make your portraits come alive and glow with life; explore soft backgrounds that accentuate the beauty of people and learn how to loosen up and take risks with your watercolor paintings.

3. What makes you an expert in this field?

Although I studied art history at Dartmouth College (and even won their prestigious Adelbert Ames Fine Arts Award), I took the practical route and worked on Wall Street. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I abandoned a lucrative hedge fund job to work on my art full-time. 

My art has been featured in major publications, including The New York Times, Art of Man, and Art Journaling magazine by Stampington, as well as seen on NBC’s “Parenthood” and the Amazon series “Hunters” with Al Pacino. Moreover, my art has been sold around the world and included in New York museum gift shops.

Published works can be seen on my longtime blog, going into its 14th year, and in several full-length features in Professional Artist magazine. 

4. What is the transformation your course offers to the students?

Through my online art classes like Watercolor Portrait Academy, Painting With Words, and Farm Animal Spirits, my students get past the fear and doubt and truly enjoy painting their passion (whether they haven’t picked up a paintbrush since college, they’re doing it for the first time, or they’re an old pro looking for new tricks.)

My courses do not have open enrollment, but freebies are always available for those looking to improve their art or business skills.

5. Which market does your online course serve and how did you get into it?

My online art classes and coaching programs are for “passionistas,” “passion makers,” and “passion professionals.” A “passionista” (otherwise known as an “artist wannabee”) is someone who creates for the sheer joy of it but may not feel it’s appropriate to ask for money. Since she lacks the courage to put a price on her art, she typically gives it away. Often, she’s afraid to express her own style for fear it’s not good enough, and as a result, her art resembles a mash-up of the art teachers she follows. She longs to develop her own style, discover how to sell her art, and finally call herself “a real artist.” Still, her paralyzing perfectionism holds her back from taking the first baby steps. 

Sometimes the passionista subjugates her desires so much that she relegates them to the back burner. Whether it was her career or her family that held her back, she hasn’t picked up a paintbrush since college. She’d love to reconnect with her inner artist but postponed those dreams to “someday.” Coming to terms with her passion to create is like discovering a new lover, which allows her creativity to burst forth.

Through the online courses offered at The Inspiration Place, she learns to trust the value of her own, authentic style and turns from hobbyist to artist. The size of this market is over 25 million women. There are also artists who come to me looking to enhance or augment their skillset (passion makers) and finally, there are those who want to learn how to market and sell their art and art classes (passion professionals).

6. Why is it important to you to serve this market?

Many artists feel overwhelmed with how to turn their art into a thriving business. There are endless business courses, gurus to follow, tech tools to choose from, and tons of conflicting voices about what you “really need” to be successful. Ambitious, creative women are besieged by the plethora of “bro-marketers” who further muddy the waters and aren’t speaking to the realities of their world. For women and other minority groups, the pressures to play it safe and stay small can feel particularly acute.

I cut through all that noise to reveal what really works and dismantle the self-sabotaging beliefs that hinder creative momentum. To be successful, you first must get comfortable with owning your desire to want more wealth and visibility. Moreover, you need to see yourself as “priceless” before you can put a price tag on anything you create. 

Whether you’re in the trenches struggling to make consistent sales or dreaming of turning your art into a full-time living, my courses provide the inspiration and the practical steps for my students.

7. Describe the moment when you decided to create your own course. Where were you, what happened and why did you decide to do it?

I’m so immersed in the world of online courses it’s hard to imagine that it all began from a request on Etsy. This was back in 2012 when  I got a message from another artist asking if I offered online courses. It was the first  I had heard of online courses but since I had a technical background I decided to give it a go.

How to create an online course1

Try Thinkific for free here.

8. How did you overcome doubtful moments during your course creation journey?

I was so naive that I had no hesitation in putting my first online course out into the world. However, at the time I had no list and no marketing plan. As a result, I launched crickets. After that first disappointing experience, I learned the “proper” way to attract and build an audience and then make offers to them. 

9. What are some of your tricks to deal with imposter syndrome?

10. How long did it take you to create your course?

Whenever I develop a new course, I always survey my audience to make sure there’s a demand and what they want from the class. I never wait until the class is complete before selling it and the content gets created about 1-2 weeks before the lessons are delivered to students.

11. How did your first launch go?

If you consider my first launch a “launch,” it was a disaster. We sold 10 spots to an art class and we priced that first course for $36. I said “we” because this course was with two other art teachers and we had to split the revenue.

After that first experience, I knew I had to learn a better way. After investing in myself through coaches and learning how to market, I now have multiple 5-figure launches under my belt.

12. How do you structure your launches in general now?

To promote my online classes I offer lead magnets in 3 stages. The first lead magnet is usually an art supply list to warm up my list for the topic and attract new students. During the next phase, I offer a 4-part video series and finally invite prospects to a webinar to sell the course.

13. Where does your traffic come from?

When I started launching “for real”, I’ve leaned heavily on Facebook and Instagram advertising which has worked well for me so far. I’m hoping that the Apple IOS changes will not severely affect my advertising efforts.

14. Which content do you like producing the most?

After over 130 episodes, I enjoy podcasting the most.

15. What online course platform are you using?

After an unhappy beginning on the ‘ning” platform, I’ve been enjoying a happy marriage to Kajabi. 

16. What is amazing about this platform?

n/a

 

How to create an online course.2

Try Thinkific for free here.

17. Which features do you wish this platform would have?

I wish my platform offered more in terms of gamification to encourage completion.

18. Why did you choose this platform over other platforms?

Because switching platforms is painful when you have a lot of content as I do, I decided to go with the platform trusted by my mentors that I believed would give me the greatest longevity.

19. Which other tools do you use to keep your online business running?

Tools are your friend. In addition to Kajabi, I use Cyberlink for video editing, Zapier, Slack, Asana, Deadline Funnel, Samcart and Leadpages and probably other tools that I’m not thinking about off the top of my head.

20. How many students have you served so far?

Over a thousand students have taken at least one of my online classes from beginning watercolor through the more advanced courses.

21. How much revenue have you created during your first launch, and ongoing?

I generate multiple 6-figures each year just from the sales of my online art courses. My launches typically range between $30 – $50K for each launch. 

22. What are you running costs to keep the online course business going?

In order to run my online business, I have a team that includes a full-time operations manager, an overseas virtual assistant, a podcast producer and other contractors. Between staff and software, I spend an average of $10,000 a month and much more when I’m investing in advertising during launch months.

23. What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way?

My biggest mistake has been creating too many courses and offerings. Now after about 8 years of building online classes, I’ve learned to narrow my focuses to only a few select offerings.

24. How has your business changed since implementing an online course into the business model?

Adding online classes has given me creative freedom. I now feel as though I have predictable selling systems in my business that I can rely on.

25. How has your personal life changed?

Building an online course has been a game-changer for me and my family. With the revenue from the courses, we have nearly paid down our mortgage and my art career weathered the 2020 pandemic. Talk about art business insurance!

26. What’s the greatest transformational story you can tell about one (or more) of your students?

Many of my students come to me simply because they’re looking to learn a new skill but then end up with an income-generating side hustle or even a new career. Like Judy Strait from Nevada shared, “I take as many classes from Miriam as I can because I learn so much in each one. …No matter what your style is you will add to it. I learned so much from the portrait class that I now take commissions that I would never have been able to do before.”  

Or Tracy Allegro who came to me to learn how to paint dog portraits and ended up with a sustainable business. She said “The Artist Incubator program gave me a template to reach my goals and dreams. Before working with Miriam, I was feeling scattered and not sure where to start. Almost from the start, I felt like there was guidance I could trust and the structure helped me focus plus the group offered extra support. It’s a very structured and yet warm,  supportive, and safe environment. I feel like I have a solid plan now.  The Artist Incubator program gave me a template to reach my goals and dreams. Miriam’s coaching has made all the difference in launching my art career”

27. If you could use a time machine and send yourself back to the time before you started out, what advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?

If your dream doesn’t require other people, then your dream is too small. The more help I get, the further I go.  When I first started it was all me all the time and that limited me. When I first started getting help, it was just a few hours a week. Now I have a whole team working for me doing anything from creating graphics for social media to editing my podcast.

28. What is your million dollar piece of advice to those who are just getting started in their online course journey OR for those who are looking to scale?

There will never be a “right time” (and it’s sister unhelpful thought you’ll never “feel ready”) Just like investing, it’s always better to get in on investment early and there’s no better investment than yourself. I’m glad I left the “safety” of the hedge fund paycheck to start my career as a portrait artist before it was a perfect time. I’m glad I started my podcast and launched my first online course before I felt ready.

How to create an online course.png

How to create an online course.png

Would you like to learn exactly how to create, sell, market & scale your online course?

Join Our Free Event:

The Ultimate Online Course Conference

March 29th - April 4th

Registration Closes In

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

The World’s Economy Has Already Shifted Into The Virtual Space More And Faster Than Ever Before & It’s Time To Catch Up Right Now… Or Else You’ll Risk Getting Left Behind.

The Most “Future Proof” Way To Get Ahead And Run A Sustainable Online Business Is By Entering The Exploding Digital Knowledge Industry With The Guidance Of Tina and 30+ Experts Through Online Course Talks. 

how to create an online course