Permission to Kick Ass

60: Miriam Schulman

Episode Summary

My guest today, Miriam Schulman, is an artist and entrepreneur — but it took a big sign from the universe to set her on that path. After years of grinding on Wall Street, Miriam left to pursue her own dream. She didn’t end up where she thought would… in fact, her life turned out even better than she imagined. To find out what’s possible when you follow your passion, listen now.

Episode Notes

Not wanting to be the “starving artist,” Miriam put down her paint brush and turned to the security of hedge fund banking. After her company went under and the 9/11 tragedy showed how fragile “guaranteed” stability (and life) can be, Miriam knew she couldn’t go back. She fully embraced the artist in herself and not only has she made a living doing it, she also helps other artists create a business with their art. If you believe the BS that you can’t turn your passion into a paycheck, this one’s for you. 

Can’t-Miss Moments From This Episode:

This one is jam-packed full of advice. Don’t miss out - listen now!

Miriam’s Bio:

Today's guest is an artist and founder of The Inspiration Place, where she helps other artists learn how to profit from their passion. Through her online classes, business coaching programs, and top-ranked podcast, 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 signature coaching program, The Artist Incubator, has helped dozens of artists go from so-so sales to sold-out collections.  

After witnessing 9/11, she abandoned a lucrative hedge fund to become a full-time working artist. Since then,  She's been featured in major publications including Forbes, The New York Times, Where Women Work, Art of Man, and Art Journaling magazine. Her artwork has also been featured on NBC’s “Parenthood” and the Amazon series “Hunters” with Al Pacino. Her forthcoming book with HarperCollins Leadership on how to make it as an artist is scheduled to be released in October 2022.  Please welcome to the podcast, Miriam Schulman!

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Episode Transcription

Angie Colee (00:01):

Welcome to Permission to Kick Ass. A podcast about leaving self-doubt in the dust, punching fear in the face and taking bold action toward your biggest dreams. I'm Angie Colee, and let's get to it. Hey and welcome back to Permission to Kick Ass. And with me is my new friend Miriam Schulman. Say hi, Miriam.

Miriam Schulman (00:25):

Hey there.

Angie Colee (00:26):

Hey, I'm so glad to have you on the show today. First, tell us a little bit about what you do.

Miriam Schulman (00:32):

So I'm an artist.

Angie Colee (00:34):

Yes.

Miriam Schulman (00:34):

And an artist, you know, capital A artist. I mean, I know writers are artists too, but I'm a painter and I help other artists either those who wanna learn how to paint and learn techniques or those who wanna turn their passion into a paycheck.

Angie Colee (00:50):

Oh yes. I love that so much. Especially since I feel like there are a lot of people out there that would be artists full time, but they have that head trash around them about, I can't make money from this. I can, this always has to be my side hustle or my hobby.

Miriam Schulman (01:05):

Yeah. Well, I swallowed that Kool-Aid too, which is why when I, you know, when I went to college, I didn't fully commit to an art. I didn't go to an art school. I did art history with engineering, cuz I thought I had to be practical and I actually to start it off on Wall Street. Oh. So cuz I had swallowed that whole storyline that you can't make a living as an artist. Well, PS it's that's not true. My, myself and my clients are living proof of that and there's lots of artists make a living from their art

Angie Colee (01:41):

Complete and utter BS. We here to trash this, if you haven't learned by now in this podcast, I'm gonna tell you anything you wanna create a business out of. You probably can figure out a way. I mean, if you think about it, somebody got paid to create Buba teeth. Like they made money.

Miriam Schulman (01:57):

Well, I mean, there are some things that like, I will tell my clients, you know, they'll cause some people will come to me. It's like, well, I, I paint on rocks. And um, my problem is I can't find a big enough audience for painted rocks and I'm like, well that's not your problem. I mean, I think you need to do paint something else.

Angie Colee (02:17):

Yeah. You know that that's a good point to bring up because make a business about anything is there is a caveat to that. You have to have a large enough market and interest in that. I think that's the reason why, uh, I was so comfortable. So I thought I was gonna be a screenwriter. I wanted to be Shonda Rhimes. I wanted to create these big TV shows and worlds. First of all, I didn't really have the world building skills that she does. I was a pretty decent writer, but you know, when I, when I wound up laid off from my television development job out in LA, uh, I fell into copywriting by accident, which is, I think adjacent to it, especially since I got to scripts like TV commercials and all kinds of sales videos and things like that. So I still got to play in this space that I really love and be really, really creative, but it just wasn't for TV, you know, like there's always a way to make it work that's that may not necessarily be the way you thought it was gonna work.

Miriam Schulman (03:09):

Right. I agree with that. So it's like the skill, the skills are needed, but maybe manifests in a different way than you initially pictured.

Angie Colee (03:19):

Exactly. That's you know, but I think that is the power of daring to follow your dream in the first place. Because I don't know, I joke all the time that I fell into copywriting and that was because of one talk with somebody that I had in one, my screenwriting classes while I was getting my master's degree to go get that screenwriting job in be Shonda Rhymes. And later on, I remembered that book and read it and went back and started to become a copywriter. So just by starting to follow the path, you find other little steps that might lead you down. Interesting journeys that wind up becoming the actual journey like

Miriam Schulman (03:55):

Well, yeah. And also, um, so your, your viewers cant see me, but meanwhile, I don't know if you can guess my age by looking at me cause I keep my gray hair brown but um, when I was in college, you know, we, we barely had the internet. I mean, I, I think, you know, you, you could log onto an internet from the college website, but that wasn't thing so a lot of the things that I'm doing now, like didn't exist. Podcasting didn't exist. Um, online classes didn't exist, which was a huge part of my business the last 10 years. So, and, and the thing is, and this is what I tell my kids who we were saying before, before I think it was before we hit record. So my kids are in their twenties, by the way. So like I say, my kids, you know what you end up doing may not exist yet.

Angie Colee (04:47):

Yes. Yeah. That's, you know, I love that. And I love that because for a long, long time and, and I got that message too, growing up, like you're smart. You need to do something practical, be a doctor, be a lawyer. One of those guaranteed things, nothing is guaranteed. If anything, the last few years have showed us that everything can change on a dime. Nothing is guaranteed. Why not follow your bliss and see where it leads you? Why not follow it? Ooh. It's, I'm interested to know actually, because you, did you snuck that in there sideways that you used to work on wall street. Tell me a little, little bit more about that and how you wound up actually pursuing fine art.

Miriam Schulman (05:26):

Okay. So, you know, fine art was something I always did. So it's not like suddenly at age, you know, 25 or 30, I says, okay, I'm gonna pick up a paint brush for the very first time. So it wasn't that it was always something I wanted to do. And I denied that piece of myself. And so I worked for a very large bank, very profitable job, and even worked for a hedge fund. So it was serious, serious money. Um, but I had to take a step back. No, I didn't have to. I chose to take a step back. Um, when my hedge fund had blown up very famously in 1998 and I decided I, I became very disillusioned with the whole world. I took a step back, which I thought was gonna be temporary. It then when 9/11 happened, I decided it was permanent. Cause um, I was looking for a sign from the universe. What should I do next? And that sign for the, from the universe of watching the world trade center meltdown, including one of the buildings I used to work at. So I used to walk inside several world trade. Um, seeing that crashed down, I knew I couldn't go back. More over Angie. I actually was in the world trade center when the first terrorist attack happened, which most people don't remember, um, because 9/11 has completely overshadowed it. But in 1993, there was a bombing of the world trade center. And I was in those buildings at that time. My colleagues kept working throughout. Right? So like I was at, I had gone to lunch. I came back to my desk and I could see outside the window, what was happening that there was this people were smashing the windows to, to let the smoke out of the building. And there were helicopters and we learned, um, that there was a terrorist attack cause we didn't have cell phones back then. You know, we learned that what was happening and my colleagues were sitting there at their desk working at their computers. So when 9/11 happened, I felt like, well, I would've been dead. I would've been, I would've been one of those people in the second tower who didn't evacuate if, if I had been working there. So there was no way I was going back to that world ever.

Angie Colee (07:43):

That's just, I don't know that hit me in my core, like in my, in the center of my being, knowing when you see something terrible, like the tower's falling, that that could be me if I stay on this path, something and, and I'm not trying to make light of it. I'm not trying to use it to make any kind of point other than, you know, 9/11 world trade center, collapse, pandemic, all of these things. I think just reinforced. Every time we get a little bit comfortable that life is too short, like, and it could be gone in an instant,

Miriam Schulman (08:20):

One hundred percent. And there is nothing that lifts a veil from, whatever's not working in your life faster than having a crisis, whether it's the collective trauma that we're all experiencing. Now, if the pandemic or a personal trauma, like you lose a parent or a partner or someone else that's close to you in your life, that's suddenly, you're like, oh wait, I may not live forever. And what the heck am I doing each day of my life?

Angie Colee (08:49):

Well, and some, I read something interesting recently at the advice of a mentor. Oh, and I can't remember the name of the book now, but it basically talked about your life and your business in seasons. And the interesting idea that I got from that book was that the natural result of both success and happiness and failure and being upset is depression eventually. Because if you get to success and happiness, now you're coasting and you're bored a little bit, and you need to shake things up and it's kind of depressing that you don't have anything interesting and new and challenging, right? You don't have anything making you passionate. It's just kind of, uh, status quo. And then of course, if you fail and you get stressed out, you're gonna be a little bit depressed. And that came up recently because I told him like, I don't know everything's going really well for, for me right now, but I've just had a couple of days where I can't, I can't just, I get up it's enough to take a shower, make sure that I eat, but I'm just not doing anything. And I was like, there's not really anything wrong. That's leading to depression here. And he pointed that book out to me and he was like, it sounds like you're in the doldrums. And I was like, Ooh, interesting. Sometimes there's a season to just like hunker down, write out the feelings and then trust that, that creativity and that change is coming once you stop fighting

Miriam Schulman (10:05):

Yeah. Or as I've heard, other people say that life is gonna be 50 50, and you'll you'll make, you'll manufacture that 50% of misery, no matter what.I've seen myself do it, you know, like, oh, things are supposed to be really great. What can I get upset about

Angie Colee (10:22):

I think we all do that. Like, uh it's too perfect. It can't be, I don't trust it.

Miriam Schulman (10:28):

Right. You just look for things to, you know, well, I, I must be an imposter then, you know, like I must, I must, I must be a fraud. This is good. So I know one of those different flavors of self sabotage, you know.

Angie Colee (10:42):

Which we love to do because we're all human beings. So tell me a little bit about, you know, you mentioned that you started leaning into fine art and then the 9/11 was basically the thing that said, no, I'm not going back. How did you build your art business from there once you decided that this was the thing for you?

Miriam Schulman (11:00):

Yeah. Well, it, it, I like many entrepreneurs. Like I, I didn't start off thinking. Yeah. Art is the thing. Like I still didn't trust that I was gonna be able to make a full time living from that. So I thought I was gonna make a living teaching Pilates, like for, for some reason that seemed like, you know, I, so who explained to me that that's where the riches were, obviously they weren't. Uh, but when I was working for the gym, they were very invested in making sure that the trainers knew how to sell personal training packages. And so it was then that I had this aha moment. I was like, oh, you can selling is a skill and I can sell anything I want, I don't have to sell personal training packages. I can sell paint tanks or portrait. So that was really kind of my aha moment that I wasn't gonna put all the work in that they were telling me to do for the personal training package. And I said, bye Felicia to the gym. so, except as a, except as a client, you know, but not. I stopped teaching pilates

Angie Colee (12:08):

That's the best way to do it though, like peace out on the old job and then come back as a paying client.

Miriam Schulman (12:14):

Right.

Angie Colee (12:16):

Um, I love that you said that selling is a skill. I think that that's something that so many entrepreneurs are scared of and, and I've met people that have been in this for 10, 20 years that are, are still scared of selling. Uh, do you have any advice for someone that's like just paralyzed by the idea of, oh my God. Oh my God. I have to sell.

Miriam Schulman (12:43):

Yeah. So, um, there's, there's lots of things you can, you can learn, but it's always about starting from the place of, of sharing and what would a friend do. So I'm just gonna give you an example that will help illustrate it. Oh yeah. So one of my clients is hosting an open studio. So that's when artists invite people, basically you turn your, your studio or your home into a, a popup gallery. So she had in tell me the, I said, well, did you, I'm going down the list of things. I said, did you send out invitations? And she said, yeah, I sent out 25. I was like, well, that doesn't sound like very many, you know. How do you only come up with 25 people? And she said, well, those are my past collectors who live locally. I was like, well, I'm assuming you have more than 25 friends that you could invite. And if you were having a party and they knew about it because an open studio is essentially a party serving wine and cheese. Um, don't you think your friends would be insulted if they found out you didn't invite them?

Angie Colee (13:45):

Yeah.

Miriam Schulman (13:46):

So having flipping that attitude of like you're bothering people and you're selling to them to like, you're including them, sharing with them. What you're doing now. Some of them are going to wanna buy it. And some of them aren't, but they, but no one's gonna be, feel bothered because you have included them in something you're doing in your life. That's important to you.

Angie Colee (14:07):

Yeah. I love that because I mean, most of the time, especially in a situation like that, it's just an invitation, Hey, here's what I'm doing. Come join me. It's not, Hey, come here and buy a painting. Otherwise, uh, otherwise you have to pay for your cheese and crackers.

Miriam Schulman (14:19):

Exactly. The lead magnet is the cheese and crackers.

Angie Colee (14:27):

All the cheese and crackers. You can eat

Miriam Schulman (14:28):

Right. But if you have that attitude towards your friends, then it's easier to have that a, that same attitude for strangers. So it has to start first with like, you have to have that attitude that you're inviting people that you already know. And like, and then it's easier to translate that attitude to the greater world. But if you don't have it, even with your own friends, you can't do it for the greater world.

Angie Colee (14:52):

I love that. I think a lot of the, the trepidation, if you will, around, you know, that attitude with friends about selling, I think it stems from like network marketing and people feeling like they're being that nuisance of like, Hey, come join my downline. But in an instance like this, I, I honestly say go to your friends and family because they are probably gonna be your biggest supporters. If they're not, then just don't share your dreams with them. Don't share your dreams with people that are gonna crap all over 'em. But invite them. You never know who never, who knows who like your, your friend from high school might suddenly be into art or have like a famous art collector boyfriend, or you never know who knows. And so you deciding for them that they probably don't wanna come, that this is probably bothering them, is robbing them of an opportunity for joy robbing you of an opportunity for sales and for joy that come from sales, like don't make up people's minds for them. Don't spend their money for them, you know?

Miriam Schulman (15:51):

Yeah. I, that me think of two expressions. I have one is make people say no to you. Don't say no for them. It's number one. And then the other one is what I like to share with my clients is organic marketing is different than you think. So organic marketing. And this is more than just artists. This works. If you are a writer, if you are coach, if you are X, Y, Z, fill in the blank, the, the best thing you could do is to start owning that identity. Yes. And tell everyone everyone who you are. I am okay. I'm just gonna like make up an example. That's not my example. So I am a writer and I, you, you know, whatever I write screenplay, I don't know what it is. I don't know what it is for you and start telling everybody, you know, because it tell that does several things. First of all, it reaffirms that identity for yourself. Because one of the hardest things about starting your own business is really believing your new identity. It tells the universe, Hey, I'm open for business. And the third thing it does is it helps you refine that elevator pitch. If you will, like how your messaging gets refined, the more you do it. And then of, of course you pick up email subscribers and clients along the way. Cause you never know where those are gonna come from, but you have to be open to it first.

Angie Colee (17:15):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, I think it's really funny too, in, especially in I'm in marketing. So I'm a copywriter, I'm a sales writer historically. And when I got started, I had this head trash about how business had to be, and it included like business cards and a professional website, and I've gotta build this like complicated funnel so that people sign up and they think that I'm a professional. And I spent years probably tinkering with that website being too ashamed to share it with anybody all while getting business, by going to meetings and talking to people about what I do. I'm a writer, here's what I help people with. Then they would introduce me to, so, and then one day I was just looking at everything I was doing with this website. And it suddenly just clicked. This has never gotten me any business that has going to meetings and talking to people. I wonder. So I just started reaching out to, I made a list literally of everybody that I had met, even remotely related to what I was doing, classmates, former classmates from college by everybody went on this list and I reached out and I was like, Hey, it would be great to catch up. Wanna hear what you're doing right now? I just left my job and started, uh, being a freelance writer. If you know anybody that needs help, I'd be happy for a referral. If you don't know anybody, it's good. Just to catch up, hit me back. Love to hear from you. Uh, and just left it. Like you said, it was an invitation, it was no pressure. They could write back to me either way, whether they had someone to introduce me to or not. And I was just inviting them on this journey with me. And if, Hey, they happened to be looking for a writer, wasn't it just timely that I wrote to them.

Miriam Schulman (18:49):

Yeah. Like I see so many people Angie, over complicating it. Like I people say to me, how do you build an email list? Like well start asking people to join your email list. If you, if you're doing more than that, you are over complicating it.

Angie Colee (19:04):

Yeah. I'm betting by now. You probably have several hundred people that you're connected to you on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on your, all your various social channels. It is totally okay to reach out to someone and say, Hey, I just started a new email list where I talk about X, Y, Z. Would you be interested in joining? Let them say yes or no. And then if they say that they're interested get their email address. Or give 'em a link to sign up. It does not have to be hard and you are not bothering people. You're giving them an opportunity to participate and they get to say, no, that's not a bother.

Miriam Schulman (19:37):

Yeah. Also I think one of the most valuable things you can do on social media and I am not one to spend a lot of time on social media, by the way, I'm kind of, uh, you know, reels what, okay. However, however, every new person who follows me, I ask them, Hey, did you find me because of the inspiration place podcast. Thanks for following me here. And I begin a conversation with them. That is the most valuable thing that you can do on social media, on instragram are the direct messages and not the robotic hand responses that we've all got. And that are like three paragraphs because that's kind of like walking to the department store and the perfume lady starts spraying you. I mean, you really have to like have the permission based conversation where it's reciprocal like a little bit back and forth. Give them an opportunity to say no, actually I heard about you because, um, I heard you in Angie's podcast or what, whatever, whatever it happens to be, give them an opportunity to respond and be a human being. And you be at a human being back, it will lead to of course, how you can help them. Like, so I might say, Hey, have you gotten my free artist profit plan yet? And then if they say no, it's like, okay, well here's the URL Schulman art.com/profit. Yeah. See how I slightly did that on your show too.

Angie Colee (21:03):

Oh, absolutely. They have a link at the end. It does. Yeah. Uh, you are definitely, you're gonna have a link in the show notes. People are definitely gonna find you. Um, and, and I really was glad that we got introduced too, because as you know, when we were talking before, I was specifically looking for non-writer creative people to bring on the show, to illustrate that all of this stuff there it's, it's different, but there's still some overlap in these creative industries as to how you approach and build a business. It's exactly the same as what you did. I went out to people and said, Hey, I'm a writer. This is what I'm doing now. Do you know anyone? You go out to people and say, Hey, I'm an artist. This is what I do. Would you like to come to a show? I'm kind of making it out there, but

Miriam Schulman (21:45):

Yeah, no, that's, that's that's 100%. Right. And Angie what's so interesting is that artists think that like, whether they're writer, artists, paint, or artists, clay, arts, whatever kind, artists, we all think we're unicorns. And like, well that business stuff over there that doesn't work for us. And what's interesting is the business world. They think that like, they also look at us like we're unicorns, oh, you must do things really differently. I'm like, no, no, actually it's exactly the same. You know, everything you're talking about over there and everything we're talking about here, we might have like different vocabulary to describe it, but the principles are the same. Selling is selling.

Angie Colee (22:22):

Oh yeah. And I think it's really interesting because I was talking to someone, um, earlier this week that consider to be a really smart business person. Like I love being in his orbit. He totally just gets it. And he and I vibe on one thing that I think is pretty powerful. Never underestimate the power of the right idea at the right time.

Miriam Schulman (22:43):

Mm. I love that. Say more.

Angie Colee (22:44):

Like I mentioned earlier that I took one screenwriting class. Like what are the odds of, I chose the school. I got accepted. I signed up for this particular screenwriting class. I was in class with this woman who interviewed an author and this is the book. And then two years later when I'm laid off, my brain suddenly goes, what about that book from two years ago? And then I would go and find it. I spend $20. My broke ass does not have and read this thing in an afternoon and go, yeah, I can be a copywriter. Think I could do that. Start reaching out to all my friends and saying, who do you know, who needs help? Um, that was how fast I changed directions just from getting that book. Like it wasn't the right time. Clearly when I was in screenwriting, cuz I was already on this path trying to be a screenwriter. But when suddenly it looked like my dreams of being a screenwriter and a show runner weren't necessarily gonna happen the way that I wanted it to. And I'm looking for a new opportunity. Brain goes, Hey, what about this thing? Ooh, there's this book that someone wrote that literally changed my life guys, like don't underestimate the power of art, of creative work of ideas. Ugh. Like that's what that businessman, I love like intellectual property is an asset class. You create something out of nothing that blows people's minds. Of course it's valuable. Of course it's valuable.

Miriam Schulman (24:04):

Of, of course it is. And, and right now with the world we're living in, we need beauty, comedy, feelings. We need all that, those experiences more than ever. We are so sensory deprived from the way we've been living by, you know, just the lockdown. But then I think many of us, and I'm including myself in this, you kind of got used to being a agoraphobic and not leaving your house and not like people call me now they have to drag me out. It's like, oh, we don't do that. We, you wanna have coffee with me? I didn't know. That was still a thing. You know, I forgot, you know, like that's what it means to be a social person. So, you know, we are so sensory deprived. So anything in the arts is the world needs your art more than ever.

Angie Colee (25:00):

And oh gosh, like I am current I'm in Pompano Beach. So I travel full time. I don't know if I've told you that I have, I've mentioned it on the podcast. So my, my listeners know I'm currently in Pompano Beach, which is just a little bit north of Fort Lauderdale, Miami area. And a couple weeks ago I met up with a friend who decided to take me to a place called Wynwood in Miami. And I don't know if you've ever had an opportunity to be there, but it's this giant outdoor art gallery where people have set up the, the beautiful murals and big like 3D sculptures and uh, these intricate rock carvings. And it's never, so I don't think that it would ever have occurred to me to book that experience for myself without her. But I can't even tell you how I felt walking in there and just being surrounded by this beauty, walking into the gallery and seeing this stuff for sale and being like you go, you know what, maybe I'll switch to painting. That's a $25,000 painting. It was inspiring in multiple ways. And it just kind of made me want to go home and start drawing stuff.

Miriam Schulman (26:04):

I love that. That's a great story. I know I was in Miami this year, but I didn't know to go to Wynwood now. I'll make sure I add that to my list for next time.

Angie Colee (26:12):

Wynwood is a good one. And just down the street is this amazing restaurant called Bakan where I had a grasshoppers taco. That was also incidentally. Really good.

Miriam Schulman (26:19):

Oh, cool. I guess. Can't say that my mouth is watering for grasshoppers, but I trust you on that.

Angie Colee (26:27):

I have a weird role with, uh, being on the road in this grand adventure try things that you ordinarily wouldn't. So, uh, I don't know that I would make it a staple of my diet, but at least I can say that I tried it

Miriam Schulman (26:38):

Well, that's a good lesson. I think for entrepreneurs that like, I like to say that successful people are willing to try things that unsuccessful people aren't.

Angie Colee (26:49):

Yes, yes, yes, yes. I think, yeah, the people that keep themselves stuck in place think that they know how every move is gonna turn out and uh, Hey, the world has a funny way of surprising you and the way that you think things are gonna work often, it's not actually the way things work

Miriam Schulman (27:06):

Yeah. Or, or they do this to themselves. They look at two scenarios and they imagine failure in both of 'em like, oh, you know, if I do this thing, all these bad things are gonna happen to me.

Angie Colee (27:18):

Oh goodness.

Miriam Schulman (27:20):

It's just a way of brains. Keeping us stuck cuz coming up this. Okay. Here's why that's a bad idea.

Angie Colee (27:28):

I know, like I, I try to be gentle with my brain cuz I know that she's just trying to protect me from what she perceives to be like the most dangerous, scary thing that you could possibly do be doing right now. But if you kind of take a step back from that initial moment of panic of like, oh God, I gotta reach and tell people that I'm doing a new business thing and it's scary and they're gonna judge me. Oh my good, uh, and go, is this real? Like, is there really somebody behind me about to stab me? Or is there like a tiger on the loose? Or am I just scared that people aren't gonna give me the reaction that I want? Hey reality is that there are gonna be people that don't give you the reaction it's okay. Let it go. Look for the people that give you the reaction that you want. They're out there. I love that. I love that. So I'm curious, I wanna circle back again to the beginning of your art business. Cause I love how you approached that. Getting good at sales. What led you to creating the courses part of your business and kind of expanding what you do?

Miriam Schulman (28:27):

Oh, great question. So, um, I got approached by a customer in Etsy who said, Hey, could you teach me how to do that? Um, do you have any online classes? And this was back in, I think 2012. So early days, I, I hadn't heard of online classes yet and I didn't wait for the next person to ask me. I was like, I looked into that right away. I was like, okay, this is cool. I'm gonna try this. So some, some people say, look at me and they say, oh Miriam, you don't have fear. I don't know if it's that. I don't have fear. Angie. I think sometimes it's just cause I'm like this impulsive ADD child. Like I'm just stupid. You know? Like ADD kids will just like run their, run their bike over the cliff, you know, let's see what happens. This is gonna be fun. That's like me, you know, like it's just not, it's not that I'm scared. I'm like too naive to know like how badly sometimes something's gonna turn out. So that was my online class entree. And my first one was not a success by the way. Um, cuz I didn't know the whole, oh yeah. Lead magnets and email lists. And I didn't know how to do that. But once I learned how to unlock that, then things turned around.

Angie Colee (29:40):

I think, you know, that's a, that's a great point too, because I think a lot of newer entrepreneurs, especially if they're gonna create digital products or courses like you're creating, they worry about all of the steps that they're gonna get wrong and they'd stall taking action for years. Cuz they're afraid they're gonna mess it up here. You are telling me that you jumped in, did not get your first course, right. By a long shot. There was a lot of stuff that you didn't know, but you figured it out.

Miriam Schulman (30:06):

Yeah. You know what I did was, which is what a lot of people do is that I kind of, you look on the surface and this is why I'm, I'm very negative about um, the Zucker verse because I looked on the surface and what you see, like saw people who had online classes, they would just make a few social media posts. That's what I could see. But what I couldn't see are like the emails and the ads. I wasn't seeing that. So I didn't know it was there so sometimes I think people, that's what they think like, oh, I just have to build a big Instagram falling and I'm gonna make all this money. And they don't see. Well, well actually the reason why I'll just I'll use an example. Ashley Longshore, who pop artist has such a huge Instagram following is because she did so much press and the press is what built her Instagram following. The press is what built her business. The Instagram following is just a symnptom of, of that success. It's not the cause of the success. So we all guys have to be very careful when we're looking, what other people are doing that sometimes what appears to be what's working is not actually how the, you know, how the sausages are made.

Angie Colee (31:19):

That's such a smart thing to point out to. It's not that the followers came first. It's that she put herself out there first.

Miriam Schulman (31:26):

Correct.

Angie Colee (31:27):

She stated to the universe to circle back to what you were saying at the beginning, this is my identity. This is what I do. She went out there and she got press about it. Then she got the follower. That's how she got the followers. The followers didn't make the press.

Miriam Schulman (31:39):

Correct. The followers didn't make the press, the press made the followers

Angie Colee (31:43):

And you know, to, to the people that would listen to this and say, yeah, but I'm nobody. Why would they? Cause I know that I had that same head trash once upon a time too. I, you can learn how to pitch. You can meet people that write articles. You can get articles written about you. You can figure out how to get stories out there about what you're doing.

Miriam Schulman (32:02):

Oh yeah 100%. That was something I had like caught onto very early on. Is that how easy it is to get press. So I would just send like to the local press, I'm not talking about trying to get into the new Yorker and Vogue magazine, but like my local paper, if there was an art show, I would send a photo of my art and a press release. And even if I was in a group show that I wasn't sponsoring, I would do that same thing. So the other artist would get really mad at me. Like, how'd you get your artwork in it? Like, I'm the one who's been like standing by the punch bowl. And I made all these cookies, you know? And I planned this whole art show. How come my art isn't in the paper. And it's like, well, you didn't send a press release. That's all.

Angie Colee (32:44):

I'm sensing a theme to this show. And I really, really freaking love it. It's like the subtle art of self-promotion and understanding that you didn't just go out there and say, here's my art world. I'm gonna wait for people to notice me.

Miriam Schulman (32:58):

Oh yeah. I call that Rapunzel style marketing. So many people think that that's how it happens. That you get discovered. And Angie, I can't even tell you. There's like people who are I, our level who are marketer. So I have a, a book deal right now with Harper Collins. And somebody I was interviewing said to me, how did you get that? The they approach you. It's like, come on. You know, by now that that doesn't happen. You know, you have to like write a book proposal. You have to shop it and have to get an agent nobody's coming for you.

Angie Colee (33:30):

Yeah. Like they don't have enough people.

Miriam Schulman (33:33):

Nobody's coming for you.

Angie Colee (33:34):

I know like.

Miriam Schulman (33:36):

You have to make these opportunities.

Angie Colee (33:36):

They don't have enough work on their plates. So they're out there stalking the internet. Like who can I discover today? That's not.

Miriam Schulman (33:43):

Exactly. They're so busy. And they're getting, and people are pitching to them all the time. They don't need to go looking for you.

Angie Colee (33:51):

And I, you know, I love your bravery and I'm gonna, I'm gonna challenge myself to pull a Miriam the next time that I am feeling just like jump in. Cuz I'm one of those chronic overthinkers that will delay for years. You know, I've been a writer for over a decade and recently just dipped into the, the publicity pond and started learning how to put to pitch, uh, big publications. I just got two articles into Insider, but I was so scared.

Miriam Schulman (34:16):

Congratulations.

Angie Colee (34:16):

Thank you. It was fun. And it was mildly terrifying. And I don't even know why, cuz I I'm a writer with 10 years of experience. Like this is, it's just a new medium, but I've been writing for fricking ever. Why is this so hard? I don't know why it was so hard. I psyched myself out pretty hardcore. And then when they accepted my pitch, I was like, oh. And then they were like, and we'd like to pay you to, to for the rights. I was like, oh wait, wait, wait. You're you're paying me, publicize my own business. What?

Miriam Schulman (34:43):

That's great. Awesome. That's fantastic.

Angie Colee (34:47):

And then now I've got that leverage to say, here are some recent articles I've published when I go out on the next pitch, like, Hey look, here's my article on the Insider. I've got some legitimacy as an author. You can do the same thing with the local papers like you were talking about. Here are some articles that I've got with the local papers. I'd like to write something for you. I'd like to be interviewed for something like this. It's not as hard as we've all made it out to be. I'm totally including myself in that

Miriam Schulman (35:11):

Because we don't need to be the next Elizabeth Gilbert. We just have to have that micro celebrity so that the local celebrity or micro celebrity, you know, if you, if you have, um, if you're an artist you can build, definitely build a local business. You don't need to be known all over the place. And if you are a writer like Angie, you could just have micro celebrity, just that thousand true fans of people who know who you are and love what you do. You don't, especially if you, we didn't get into this, but especially if you're asking premium prices for your work.

Angie Colee (35:45):

Oh yeah.

Miriam Schulman (35:47):

Then you don't need like as long as you're not, you know, trying to be the Walmart of copywriters, you don't need lots and lots of people.

Angie Colee (35:54):

You really don't. And I think that's the misconception that people really get into when they build a business that like I've got to get to that level. I gotta be Oprah. I gotta be Walmart. I've gotta be somebody big, but you can build a truly great business with just a couple hundred people. And there are 8 billion people on this planet. I think you can meet a couple hun. You probably already have a couple hundred on your Facebook fan page or, or whatever. Somewhere on social media. Hey, you're halfway there. Just tell 'em what you're doing now. Oh goodness. This has been so much fun. Thank you for getting very ranty with me. I love it. When people rant with me

Miriam Schulman (36:33):

Well, when you started it, it was like, well, what are we talking about today? I was like, I don't know, just hit record. We'll come up with something.

Angie Colee (36:40):

These are the best conversations that I have to like, do we know what we're talking about? No, we don't know what we're talking. Go. Let's go. We'll find something. Oh, it's been fantastic. So tell us more about where to find your artwork. I know you slipped that link earlier. Say it again. Tell us more.

Miriam Schulman (36:54):

Yeah. Well, if you like the conversation you heard here today, then we've got more of it over on The Inspiration Place. That's my podcast. That is the gateway drug to all things, Miriam. Um, if you want more of that drug faster though, you can download the Artist Profit Plan. That's schulman art.com/profit. I'll tell you the five things that every business needs to focus on.

Angie Colee (37:17):

Fantastic. Oh my gosh. I love, I don't think that I have had a single guest compare themselves to a drug so far. So this is a first seriously. I love it. I think they really are gonna get addicted.

Miriam Schulman (37:30):

Well, my podcast is the drug. It's not that. Yeah. Yeah.

Angie Colee (37:34):

Miriam is the drug it's okay. It's okay.

Miriam Schulman (37:36):

It's the Miriam drug.

Angie Colee (37:39):

Thank you so much for being on the show and we're gonna have to do this again.

Miriam Schulman (37:42):

Yeah. Thanks for having me Angie. It's a lot of fun.

Angie Colee (37:48):

So that is it. Another awesome episode of Permission to Kick Ass on the books. If you want to know more about the show or if you want to know more about me, Angie Colee and the mission I'm on to help entrepreneurs punch fear in the face and do big bold things, then head on over to permissiontokickass.com. That is all one word together, permissiontokickass.com. Make sure to sign up for my email list so that you know whenever there's a hot, fresh and ready podcast episode out for you. And also on Mondays, I like to send out a little newsletter called Kick Monday's Ass. I'm sure you're totally, totally surprised by that. So thank you for being here with me today. I'm Angie Colee. Make sure that you share this with a friend that needs to hear this message today. Like it, share it. Comment wherever you're listening to this today and let's go kick some ass.