Paper Mache Animals

My Experiment in Selling Art Online – Last Update

Well, this experiment just isn’t working out very well. I made some really big mistakes right from the start, and because of those mistakes my new online art store is getting from two to six visitors a day. You can’t sell anything online with that kind of traffic. 🙁

And, unfortunately, I can’t think of any way, going forward, to get more traffic, because I can’t afford to buy ads.

Be sure to watch the video for the details.

Even though this experiment didn’t work, I’m still glad I did it. I may not be able to fix the problems I’m having with getting traffic to see my animal prints, but I did learn a new way to create a WordPress website (and I think my new design looks really nice), and I learned to not ignore the advice of experts when it comes to researching the potential traffic before starting an online business.

And, of course, I learned how much fun it is to paint animal portraits using Paint Tool Sai.

Thanks for all your support while I played around with the idea of selling art online. It’s been a fun adventure, but now I go back to work at my real job, writing books. I start on that just as soon as this post has been published. 

PS: Shelbot just sent me this link for an article that lists the common mistakes made by people starting their first online business. I made mistake #1. 😉

You may also like:

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Hyena Mask PatternHyena Mask Pattern
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  • I love your honesty and your incredibly generous nature. Your paper mache site is the absolute best and your art is wonderful.

    I am sorry that this online sales venture did not work out. I hope you will not become discouraged by this.

    So many of us love you and your work.

    • Thanks, Jane. No – I’m not discouraged at all. I try all sorts of experiments, as you’ve probably seen in my other videos. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. But there’s no way to know until you try. I still think there’s probably a way for an artist to get traffic to a website using Pinterest, but I just couldn’t crack the code.

  • Jonni,
    Might I suggest you sell the patterns to your projects instead of giving them free? You could offer a discount if the person likes your page. Place your items on Facebook store.
    Your paper machete is really nice.

  • You are one of the best sources on Paper mache… and for that you deserve a standing ovation. I am trying to get into crafting as a business too, but I’m targeting the gift market, not the art, as I see it much easier to market than art. You mentioned it yourself, most people looking into paper mache online are those crafty people who are looking for inspiration, so if they see a beautiful piece of art they will most probably try to make a similar piece. but with Etsy and gift websites, people want special gift ideas, so try to combine small art pieces with nice sweet packaging or insignia and I guess you should make a great, repeatable income. Keep it going, we all love you <3

  • What you have is the best mask making videos on youtube or even online. I’m a 3D digital artist professionally and your videos show you have the skills, and knowledge to be an expert. I bought your book b/c even you referenced it in a video. Keep doing that.
    What you can do that doesn’t have a lot of overhead is make/sell pdf ebooks. They can be super short or as long as you want filled with a, or many, tutorials on something specific that you learned since writing your mask book. Even if you have a video on it, an ebook doesn’t cost you money to sell, and all the money comes back to you. If you put a link in your video on youtube for the ebook that is relevant people can find it there as well as on your site.
    My sister started he business on etsy and still does sell wedding dresses there and in her store. I don’t know much about it but it seems like a great place to sell art. If you invest in another silicon mold for masks it could be a place to sell them. You can even make them to order. I don’t know if that interests you but you are really good.
    Thanks for sharing all your great knowledge on the subject!

    • Thanks, Dave. I think I might need to mention my patterns more often, too, because I do sell downloadable products on my site. Not many – most of the tutorials on the blog are free, but I did start charging a small fee for some of them. It’s a good thing I did, because book sales are down (for everyone, not just me) and the pattern sales help keep this site going. It’s a lot more expensive to run a popular blog than most people realize.

      My purpose in starting my art-selling experiment was to see if there was an easy way to get it to work. If I found that secret method, I intended to write a book about it to help other artists. I’m primarily a writer (who writes about art most of the time). It was disapointing that I didn’t figure it out, but there are always other things to write about. I have a new book already started (not about art this time).

      Thanks for the suggestions. One of our regular readers does make very nice masks and sells them on Etsy, but he told us that he’s having trouble getting traffic to his page and isn’t selling as many as he would like. So I don’t think the problem is in the product sold, but getting the people who want the product to find you. That’s true on etsy as much as it is on any other website. I don’t know how to do it, but if I do ever figure it out I’ll let everyone know. 😉

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