Miriam Schulman

Creative Ways To Think About Your Business From An Artpreneur With Miriam Schulman


TRANSCRIPT AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED [00:00:00] Hey Miriam, welcome to the show Miriam: Well, thanks for having me Diane. I am so privileged to be here. Diane: So let's kick off with a little intro to you and your business journey, Miriam: Okay, so I am a professional artist. I've been a professional artist for 20 years. Before that, I worked on Wall Street and after nine 11 happened, I decided no more Wall Street. Diane: right, Miriam: that's more or less when I became an artist. And so I've been doing that for 20 years. And the last five years I created the Inspiration Place podcast, which led to me coaching other artists to have the same success that I have had over, over the last 20 years. Diane: Wow, that's quite a pivot from Wall Street to full-time artist. Miriam: Well, I wanted to be an artist, but I was given the Kool-Aid that I wouldn't make any money that way, and I believed them. And being from a single parent home, my, my father had passed away when I was five years old. I just didn't feel I had the luxury of not doing that. So, you know, nothing else really interests me. I says, well, the point is to make money. Where did they make? Wall Street. So that's where I ended up. Diane: and you think, oh, I'll just do a few years and make some money, and then I'll do something Miriam: I don't know what I was thinking. I was young. I was very happy in the beginning to be making money because I never had that financial freedom. So that was nice. But then after a while when you get comfortable with that, bigger existential questions come up and there's nothing like a crisis, whether it was nine 11 for me or the global pandemic, which is what's happened with a lot of people now, why millions of people have walked away from their jobs, their corporate [00:02:00] jobs, and are doing something different with their lives. So there has been that shift because there's nothing like a crisis, whether it's a personal crisis or a. in the world that makes you rethink your meaning, your life purpose. Diane: Yeah. Once you get into that really comfortable, I guess they call it like golden handcuffs space, where you just keep waiting for, I'll just wait for the next bonus. I'll just wait for the next bonus, and it's, well now I've been here six months, I might as well wait for the next bonus. It really does take something quite dramatic to shake you out of that comfort zone, to get you to choose something over that comfort zone. So when I speak to friends who are artists and have that creativity, Was asked not to continue taking art at school. So that's like the level of my artistic ability, right? I always think that as entrepreneurs, we get quite precious about what we sell. Right? At some point it kind of gets wrapped up in our self-worth and we've created this amazing offer and why doesn't anyone want it, and what does it say about. But when I think about friends who are artists or in that creative space who are selling something, that to me seems like a piece of them. It kind of takes me back to be like, how am I having this moment of existential crisis over a coaching offer? When I'm, they're being asked to put a price tag on, on a piece of them. So what are their unique challenges that you see entrepreneurs facing, and how can that help non-art entrepreneurs Miriam: I think this is a great place to start talking about the belief triad because we always make everything all about us. Whether you're an artist or not, it's all about you and all about what you're selling. And unfortunately, most self-development books, most business books they talk about, you gotta believe in yourself and you gotta believe in. You know, your art or what you're doing or your product, what they don't talk about is the third [00:04:00] part of that belief triad, which is belief in the customer. And when you switch your thinking, the about more about believing in thumb, it changes a lot of things for you, most self-sabotage is going to happen when you're not believing. They can pay for it when you're not believing that they want what you have. When you're doubting not just yourself, but you're doubting them. And this is why an entrepreneur, I talk about the movie Pretty Woman. Would you like to talk about Pretty Woman? Diane: I would love to talk about pretty women. I've seen it many times, Miriam: All right. Well, you remember in the beginning, and I'm gonna say this in a way, for people who maybe haven't seen it, who are, maybe they're younger. I, I don't know. It's on Netflix. All right, so Julia Roberts is in this movie and Richard Gear wants to pay her to be a ladylike it, not in the sexual way, a ladylike escort to accompany him on fancy business things in Beverly Hills. So he says, here's my gold card. She goes to Rodeo Jive. And what happens, Diane? Diane: She gets the snobby shop assistants who try to like shuffle her out the store and tell her she doesn't belong and don't want to let her try anything on, Miriam: Okay. Now we think we're not those mean salespeople, right? But how many times have we thought, oh, you know, I don't think she's gonna pay for that coaching package. Or, you know, this might be a lot of money for her. All these things are belief and doubt in the customer and it feels icky. It feels terrible to the person who you are serving. It feels like what, how Julia Roberts felt in that movie. So even though we think that like we're making it all about us and we're like, have all this doubts about us and our prices and our services, and really we're acting just like those mean salespeople and pretty women. Diane: Worst case, Nora, we climb into their wallet and then we decrease our prices to a point that we feel like people will pay cuz we've judged what they can Miriam: That's right. You've offered a discount before they've even opened their mouth or, and it sometimes it shows up in [00:06:00] more subtle ways. Like how many times, Dan, perhaps, maybe you have three levels of coaching and you've only offered a customer maybe your bottom level service cuz you didn't think they would want the top level. Diane: It's so interesting to spin it on that head of like, what have I actually based that assumption on? And I think we hear a lot of times, In the industry, like if you just hold your price, your people will come, your people will come. And I think that's really hard for people to do because as you say, we focus on us in that Miriam: right, that's right. And then here's another example of where this comes in, because we think when we put a price on our, on our services, on our art, whatever it is. So if I'm trying to sell you a painting, Diane, You are not trying to decide if Miriam Schulman's painting is worth whatever. It's $5,000. You are trying to decide if you, Diane, are worth spending $5,000 to get something that you want. That is the decision that is going through your customer's mind. Not if you, Diane, are worth spending $5,000 on a coaching package, but whether it, let's say I'm the customer now, whether I Miriam Am worth spending $5,000 to invest in my baby business in a coaching package. And then the other thing they're worried about is, is this gonna make a mistake? Is this gonna be a mistake? Is this gonna work? Me, they're thinking about themselves, and so when we remember and have compassion for our buyer in all these situations, then that puts us in a different mindset than you're not making it transactional. You're not making it about the price. You're really coming to a deeper place where you understand what's really going through the mind of your buyer and meeting them where they're at. Diane: And then when you think of it from that angle, it's much easier to view their customer journey from their [00:08:00] perspective, I guess, versus from our perspective of I need you to know these seven objections and I need you to know it's more, okay, this person. What makes them comfortable investing in themselves? What kind of mistake do they think they could be making? What are they used to? People looking at them like when they walk into the store with the credit card and people don't know. Like how many times has someone, like you say, offered them the lower package, when actually what they really want is access, or even just the offer of access, right. Miriam: And it's happened to me where I've had a coach make it all about the price and she wants to know, and this is. Bro marketing technique, they want you to commit very early on, like, so do you have $50,000? You know, or whatever, you know, this obnoxious amount is, and you know, well, I might, but I don't even know what you're offering yet. And you haven't asked me any questions about like, who I am or whether this'll work for me. So when, when people make it about the price and they, and when people, when you're selling something and you assume even if they say, one of those pricing objections. I can't afford it. It's too expensive. Don't always believe them. It's usually, it's a knee-jerk response. It might feel expensive only because they've never spent that type of money before on this particular thing. So if they say it's too expensive, then you can ask them questions like, well, Ever invested in a website before? Have you, you know, what have you spent in the past? And then if they say they haven't, you can say, well then of course it feels uncomfortable making whatever it is, a $7,000 investment to get the kind of website that you see that you can get with me, or whatever it is that you do with them. So by being compassionate, And not only just believing in your buyer. So I said the belief triad. Belief in yourself. Belief in what your product and what you're doing, and belief in your customer. It's not just believing in your customer. You actually [00:10:00] have to love them. So this is a chapter in my book, love Your Buyer. You have to believe in them. You have to love them. You have to believe in their result more than they. Diane: As you were speaking, I was thinking, sometimes when we're selling we might have invested 10 times the amount we're asking someone to invest. And I think that's when they're, oh, you just have to believe in yourself and just invest in their money. Can be really difficult, you know, cuz you are not going back, you're not actually in their shoes. You can't remember what it was like to invest at that level for the first time. So how do you. Teach your people to price their art Because in entrepreneur land, this is the, like, if you could bottle a formula for the perfect price for something that would be it. You would never have to work a day again in your life. You could literally just trademark it and you would be set for life. Because I feel like it's the number one question at any level of entrepreneurship that people get uncomfortable with. Like, how much is my thing worth? And. . In the non entrepreneur world, you obviously have people that you can look at what's, who's doing something similar to you. But in a more artistic world, you're unique. What you're doing is different. So how do you teach pricing? Miriam: Okay. Well a, a lot of it all is gonna boil down to mindset. Just like in the entrepreneur world, I mean, you can look at what, what are other artists charging, but then you're gonna probably be copying their own pricing, drama, and their own starving artist mentality. I love to give the examples from the world of women's underwear. why should a pair of underwear range in price from a dollar 49 to $400? Diane: and we all own the spectrum. Miriam: we do, because especially, you know, women, we need the, you know, it's that time of month underwear, and I have a hot date underwear, so I'm not saying I have $400 pairs of underwear, but we have a, we have a spectrum in our drawers. Diane: of underwear. Yes. Miriam: So, and the thing is, is that we always think as, as [00:12:00] business people, as even art artists who are selling their art, we always think cheaper is easier to sell and price is the deciding factor. But if it was underwear would all be the same price. What makes somebody so you can get a, a Hanes 10 pack for for 1497 at Walmart. So in other words, a dollar 49 per pair. Okay. Or you can go to Victoria's Secrets and you can get six pairs of underwear for whatever it is, $30, so $5 a pair. Or you can go to like Neiman Marcus and you can get Notori underwear for $30 a pair, or you can go to. Diane: Like Miriam: Much higher. You know, Dolche Gabbana has, you know, leopard print thongs for $400 and then there's pri prior price underwear. So maybe you don't like Dolche Cabana cause they're not inclusive. You don't like their politics. So PIA is an inclusive underwear brand and that has underwear higher than $400. And these are all successful businesses. So the dollar 49, the Walmart shopper, they, they're even pricing it to the penny. They're letting you know you're watching every penny, and that's what you're gonna get. And there's really no. Difference between that underwear and the Victoria Secrets. But I don't, I still don't like getting the dollar 49 underwear. I really don't. I, I mean, I need a little color, a little lace, I don't know, something. something. something. So, you know, Victoria's Secrets generally, I, I am a shopper there because I've always been a shopper there, and it gives me too much anxiety. to buy underwear in a size, in a different brand that I don't know if it's gonna fit me or gimme a rash or whatever, right? So there's that customer loyalty factor, which we always have to take into account. People are gonna spend more money with you if they already have, and you've gotta nurture that relationship. But let's look at Notori. That's $30 a pair. And when I go on the website, they're talking about the [00:14:00] founder. so the founder story, so, Josie, not Tori, she was in finance and she left finance and she wanted to bring a big bit of her Filipino heritage to the lingerie industry. That was such an appealing story, and that was actually on the Neiman Marcus website, and I was like, wow, maybe I do want a pair of Notator underwear after all. They, they are talking to people where they're at. You know, some underwear is geared more towards the male gaze and they might use different language because the customer may not even be the woman. It may be somebody buying it for their partner. And then all the way up. Why does somebody pay $400 for Dolche Gabbana? Because that's what celebrities buy. It's like they have a, a niche that they are catering to. So I talk about this, an entrepreneur, and I boil it down to 14 lessons to think like an abundant artist. And I weave those examples throughout. Diane: right? I guess it's thinking about who that customer is, what they believe about themselves, what they're prepared to invest in themselves, and then pricing to match, I guess, your marketing to that particular person. But again, it's pushing it all back onto who is the customer. Assuming that you're covering your own costs and that you are making enough money for yourself and not discounting yourself to the 1 49 underwear. We don't need anybody unless you're like mass producing something, you should probably not be aiming to be the 1 49 underwear. Miriam: because you can't compete in that category because there's always someone who can do it cheaper. Look at Amazon Unseated Walmart last year as the king of the cheap. So, it, it's a race to the bottom if you're trying to compete on price, and it's so much easier to position yourself. As a higher end brand by changing your messaging, which is what these higher lingerie brands do. Diane: And so once we've, we worked out like, okay, we're not gonna jump into their wallet. . So we're gonna like assume that people are gonna bring their money. [00:16:00] They've got the, like black Amex in their back pocket. That's my first assumption about anybody coming to me. And then I've thought about where they are in their journey and what they need from me and I'm pricing appropriately. But I'm trying to picture what a buying journey or a customer journey might look. For an artist who you know, is maybe not being like, oh, here's my free PDF on why you should buy my art. You know, Miriam: That's right. Diane: There must have a much more subtle buying journey that I think I'm like, I'm super curious about. Miriam: I, this is a great thing to talk about cause I know you really wanna talk about what the difference is and, but a lot of what I do is something that everyone can do. So you'll hear a lot bro, marketers and marketers talk about you gotta sell the pain. the pain, but when it comes to the arts, There really isn't a pain point. And, and I was trying to argue with one of these gurus and you're like, oh, no, no, no, it's, it's the blank wall. I was like, no, no, that's not a problem. You can put a mirror on the blank wall. How, what is, what's gonna differentiate between somebody who's gonna wanna spend $10,000 on original painting to put in that wall? And the difference is you're not pushing pain, you're pushing pleasure. So it's just like, why does somebody buy? A Tesla, why does you know you can buy a Toyota? So again, with the underwear, you have a dollar 49 underwear, $400 pair of underwear. You can get a Toyota or you can get a Tesla. And so when you're selling pleasure it's not about. Solving a problem. It's about how that thing makes them feel, and it's that self-actualization piece. So what does that say about you, Diane, when you're the type of person that collects original art? If you wanna be that kind of person. Diane: That's so good because I think people are, really turned off by pain based marketing at the moment. I think the pandemic just, people [00:18:00] hit their point with like, I no longer want somebody to stick a knife in me, twist it around, make me cry on a sales call anymore, and it is so much of what we've been taught and honestly because we're humans and we have like more of a negativity bias, it's much easier to write. It's much easier copy to write. And you know, especially if you've been through the journey yourself, like you know what that person's thinking at 3:00 AM it's very easy to stick the knife in. I don't think what you just said there about like what does the person buying, whatever it is they're buying from me, say about them as a person. How does it connect to their values? And the type of person they wanna be is just like, I feel like everyone should write that on a post-it Miriam: And I wanna give a few examples that will rate relate to people who are in your audience. So what does it say about you? Like if you were a website designer, it's not like you have a shitty website, you're not making sales, blah, blah, blah. It's like, what is, you know, you are a million dollar, what does million dollar Diane do? Million dollar Diane. Has a gorgeous website that is professionally designed, that is not like the free Shopify template, , you know, like, so it's like really stepping into that idea of what does the highest version of your customer, how do they want to see themselves if they're a life coach? It's not about how you feel terrible. It's about how good you're gonna. wanna feel good. So, and we see this in all industries. I mean, like you have a headache, you can take an aspirin, but champagne tastes a lot better and it's so much more fun. both will fix your headache problem. Diane: I love that. I think that's such a, like a turning point for people to just step away from the Broe slash Becky stuff and just be, okay, how do I wanna show up as a business person? And then what does that allow my clients to step into? And then how do I explain that through my copy and through my marketing? Oh, [00:20:00] okay. So if you could only tell. , all entrepreneurs one thing about creativity and their business, what would that one thing be? Miriam: Creativity is a survival strategy. So this is something that Darwin actually said. It's not that it wasn't cr, it wasn't survival of the fittest, it was the survival of the people who are willing to adapt. Oh, Instagram's no longer working anymore. What can we do now? That's creativity that is not being stuck in your ways. That is looking okay. Always thinking what now? What next? The longest, the long-term success is gonna come from your being willing to be creative to problem solve solutions throughout your business. Diane: And it's much easier, I think, for creatives to find those solutions, to think outside the box, Miriam: Yeah, I think actually we all are creative and where we get stuck is that anytime we have to do something new, so let's say we have to, we had this amazing Instagram strategy that worked great during the pandemic and now it's not. And I hire Diane as my business coach, and Diane says, Miriam, you, you have to do Facebook ads now. And I get nervous cause I've never done that before. Your brain has evolved for survival, not goal achievement. So what does that mean? If you wanna do something a little different, you're gonna feel uncomfortable. This is not what we always did. We might get eaten by a tiger if we do this. So anytime you feel any kind of fear, Your brain is gonna come up with all sorts of stories about why that doesn't work. And here's why I say everyone is creative, because if you have those stories running through your head, the smarter you are, the more creative you are, the better you're gonna be at coming up with those stories about why this thing won't work for you. And here's, here's the truth, is that we don't perceive these as excuses. We're perceiving these stories as, no, this is the truth. This is what's gonna happen. So you have to. [00:22:00] That's right, . So what we have fear that leads to, I call them doubts, not excuses. And then what's gonna happen is you're either going to go into what I call procrast, the learning mode, because you don't wanna make a mistake, you don't wanna fail, you wanna make sure you get all the information. Or you just don't do anything. But either way, you're gonna end up procrastinating, not doing anything, because if you're procrastinating learning, then you might get conflicting advice and now you still don't know what to do. Like, well, d Diane told me to do Facebook ads, but gold Khan over here told me that they, they were a disaster for her, and she, and we should do YouTube ads. I don't know what to do now. No, I don't wanna spend money on these ads if they're not gonna work. So you end up not doing anything. And it seems like a fact, but it really isn't. Diane: Oh. So actually when we're trying to talk ourselves out of things, we just need to take a step back and be like, oh, look how creative I am. Miriam: exactly. Like if you talk yourself outta things, you are very creative. Diane: So if people are discovering through this, they're discovering their inner creativity and their inner artist, do you want to tell us a little more about the book and how people can, can get hold of it? Because I know for me, I find inspiration in industries that aren't necessarily my own. It's fascinating to me how you could learn a strategy for a completely different business and apply it to your own. So I think even if you're not an artist, I think the book. Holds gems for people. Miriam: Every chapter, I, I'm not gonna go through chapter by chapter, and this is what you're learning. Each chapter says, don't worry, it's gonna sound like I'm gonna do that, but it's not. Every chapter is basically an affirmation that, or a like kind of a command that every entrepreneur, every entrepreneur really needs to embody, starting with choose to believe. Choose to believe. You need to take the first step. So these are basically chapter titles that are gonna walk you through. But this is not just a rah rah book. There is very. Practical information in there. So for example, I don't think we even got to prestige versus charm pricing. Think like an abundant artist. We talked about that, but I really gave. The [00:24:00] details and the examples of all the different ways that you price, and the reason why this is appropriate for a lot of people who don't consider themselves artists is cuz my publisher asked me to make this broad enough that it could apply to any artist, meaning writers. Dancers, musicians, playwrights, and the thing is, Diane, once you make it broad to include all those definitions and not just painters, it really can apply to anybody because like what's your art? Well, your coaching is your art, your website design is your art. Diane: Amazing. And how can we get hold of it? Miriam: Well, you can get chapter one for free. If you go to schulman art.com/believe. And then decide if you wanna order the book. Diane: I'll make sure to link that in the show notes as well, just to make it easy for everyone to find. So to finish up, I always ask my guests the same two questions. First of all, what is your number one lifestyle boundary for your business? Miriam: Oh, I love this. Except I keep breaking them all the time. So I only have, and this is true of I think everybody, we only have about four hours of genius time in ourselves to really be creative. So I try to give the best part of my day. Those genius hours to my creativity and to the things that need me that only I can do. So that could be recording a podcast, writing my book, doing my art. Those are the things that really need me to show up and be present and outsource as much as I can. That does not need to be done by me. Diane: I guess with that creativity, you need so much of not just the output time, but the recovery and, and like, like restoration time so that you can then be creative again. Miriam: Yeah. And the the biggest lie that art entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs, people, just people in general, tell them themselves is that, oh, if I had more hours than the day, I could get more done. Well, that's the biggest lie, because you don't have more energy, your batteries are drained. If I were to wave a magic wand and give you four more [00:26:00] hours, you wouldn't be able to use them. Diane: I think Netflix's success is proof of that, right. Because we, we probably, we probably all do have several other hours that we could be using if we had the energy or Miriam: Yeah. We don't have energy, so don't beat yourself up Diane: Okay. Finally, what is the worst piece of cookie cutter advice you haven't given as an entrepreneur? Miriam: Oh, well you already talked about that. Focus on the pain. How would you promote Harry Potter? Watch Harry Potter. It relieves boredom. Diane: Good news. Once you see his life, yours will seem so much better. Miriam: Exactly right. This is like one of the, could you, that would be hilarious if like, we redid like one of these movie trailers, but written by a bro. Diane: that would be a, that would be hilarious series. Oh dear. This has been so much fun. Where can people find you on the socials to stay in touch, to check out, I guess what you're doing on the book side, what you're doing on the art side, where can they find you? Miriam: Okay. So wherever you're listening , you can find the inspiration place. That's my podcast. If you liked what you heard today, there's a lot more of that over there. Or just go to entrepreneur book.com. Skip, skip the freebie. Diane: Skip the freebie. Buy the book, . Oh, this has been great. Thank you so much. Miriam: Well, thank you for having me. It's been a lot of fun.

If business is feeling a little bit boring, we got the new angle you’ve been looking for from movies to your underwear drawer.

Miriam Schulman shows you how thinking like a creative might just be what you need to unlock your business even if you don’t think you’re creative at all.

Key Takeaway

If you’re stuck in your business, check what assumptions you’re making about your client.

We talk about

  • Creating a customer journey like an artist
  • How Pretty Woman (yes, the movie) demonstrates where we tend to get stuck in our business and what to do instead
  • Pricing lessons from your underwear drawer
  • Miriam’s lifestyle boundary for her business
  • The worst cookie-cutter advice Miriam’s been given on her lifestyle business

About Miriam Schulman

Miriam Schulman is an artist and founder of The Inspiration Place, where she helps other artists learn how to profit from their passion or become better artists. She’s helped thousands of artists around the world develop their skill sets and create more time and freedom to do what they love. Her art and story have been featured in major publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Art of Man, Art Journaling magazine, What Women Create as well as featured on NBC’s “Parenthood” and the Amazon series “Hunters” with Al Pacino. Schulman’s forthcoming book with HarperCollins Leadership Artpreneur is scheduled to be released on January 31, 2023. The Inspiration Place podcast is in the top 1% of all podcasts and is listened to in over 100 countries.


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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.