Art Smart – Under Promise & Over Deliver

Part of being a little art smart is knowing what you can’t do. Most of us end up learning this the hard way; or never learning it all. Making a promise that you can’t keep is no way to build a relationship, a business, or an art career. Start now to know what can do, what you can’t do, and what you won’t do. When you learn to under promise, and then back it up with an over deliver, the stress level in your professional life drops off a cliff. The sooner you do this on a regular basis the better off you will be…

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Under Promise & Over Deliver, CashArtBlog

Art Smart – Under Promise and Over Deliver

I was about as far away from being art smart when I started in the sign business many years ago. At the sign shop where I worked there was an air brush artist with an ego the size of the moon. In fact, on a clear summer night when I look up at all the stars I can still see his ego. This guy would make promises and declarations all day long… “I’m going to paint the greatest mural the world has ever seen on your truck and it will be awesome and amazing.” would be a typical promise…all day long. The work would never back that up, and he wouldn’t even show up for work every day.

It was from that guy that I started to learn to “Under Promise and Over Deliver”, so I wouldn’t be like him.

You can call it a people skill, self help or personal stress relief, I just happen to call it art smart.  It may not be as monumental as the 80/20 Rule, but it has worked for me more times than I can remember. The fact is that people often have unrealistic expectations when it comes to a lot of things. When it comes to custom or commissioned art, I personally feel that the artist does not need to promise a masterpice by next Tuesday.

The Under Promise – Keep it subdued and vague, but confident. Don’t back yourself into a corner. When you under promise you know that you can get the job done in a couple of weeks, but you don’t pin yourself down to a specific day, just an approximate. If a client needs the project done by a certain time, tell them you will try your best. You know what you can and can’t do so you focus on what you do well, what the client is after, and attempt to manage their expectations. Maybe you just know it is going to turn out great, but you temper your excitement and enthusiasm with a quiet confidence.

The Over Deliver –  Deliver more and better than what is expected. That project the client thought they needed in a couple of weeks, you got done a couple of days early. That particular thing they had to have, you went the extra mile and gave more than they wanted. You came in on or under the budget. If  there was an unexpected road block but you got it done on time anyway. You gave more of yourself and your abilities.

You can seperate yourself from the crowd by being a little “Art Smart” and using this simple and easy formula. Less stress, healthier relationships and smoother business dealings.

More than Being Art Smart

The under promise and over deliver technique works in more areas of life than just art and business. Don’t promise your wife or husband the moon if you know you ain’t gonna do it. Don’t promise the kids Disneyland if you only have enough time or money to go across town to Grandma’s house.

Another benefit is that your clients, collectors or customers will brag about you…and they will likely come back. The only down side to this art smart technique is that you and your work will be more in demand as time goes on. And that’s not much of a down side is it?


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