How We Can All Learn From Art

A picture is worth a thousand words.  We’ve all heard that phrase before. So what does that mean for Art?  Art is is a way of expressing beauty, emotions, and feelings, in a way that can help make sense of the world and problems around us. Art teaches and saves key moments in history by freezing frames and perspective of individuals from those time periods. Let’s take a moment and explore the different ways we can learn from all different forms of art.


Expressing your individuality through art

Art both through the image you’re creating or the lens in which the viewer sees it is a universal language used to express individuality both through conventional or even rebellious forms.

If painting or drawing isn’t your forte, consider something everyone loves, food! By exploring different spices, tastes, textures, and any combination thereof can be just as artistic. If you don’t believe me ask some of your local chefs or friends what their signature dish is, and see how variable it is based on who they are.  Ask them if their signature dish has ever changed and why. It is unbelievable how entire cultures have been formed and imbued with the local cuisine.


Expressing your individuality through music

It’s no surprise people like different music.  Have you ever considered what instrument you would want to learn to play? Why that instrument? If you do play an instrument, you have a great way to express your emotions through the melody, pauses, and rhythm in the songs that you play or write.  If you don’t have an instrument, try taking a moment to find a classical symphony or a instrumental version of a song you enjoy and listen to it. Academic learnings suggest that music has a direct and near instant impact on emotion. Therefore, listening to an upbeat song can positively impact you mood.


Expand your creativity

Take a walk through a part of your town that “you’ve been a million times”.  When you’re there try and notice something new or unique, something you haven’t noticed before. You might see a painting, a trail, or architectural feature that really speaks to you. All of these new features can be a new inspiration or expression of art.  They can, and will in time, bring out the creativity in us.

Paint your Creative Inspirations and Curiosity

As mentioned in the “Expand your creativity” section, take notice of a new feature that you are otherwise familiar with.  Take it a step further by painting this feature. If it’s something new try and make it stand out by painting it brighter or in a different style than the rest of the painting. This will allow the viewers to take notice of something they may have missed as well.  


Any work of art can help bring attention and appreciation to beauty

Many of the other ideas and ways to learn from art focused on painting, drawing, or photography.  Don’t be limited by the form you want to communicate your art through. It may be a sculpture, a painting, a poem, a short story, a novela, a sunset, a new sight, an old sight through a new lens. Whatever you appreciate or find inspiration in, we should to and think about it because that is how you perceive beauty. Lose our emotional baggage and get lost in the work of art you are focusing on.


Make a bucket list!

We’ve all seen movies about a bucket list or 100 things you must do or see before you die. Some people include films, places to see, things to eat, books to read, art to create, or an endless list of what may be important.  This idea is a great one. It will constantly remind us about the gaps in our knowledge and perspective and provide a way that the you are trying to fill that gap. It’s a wonderful way to increase awareness and beauty of the world around.


Art makes you happier

It’s no doubt that expressing your emotions and seeing or exploring the world around you will lead to a more fulfilling life. With this in mind, go out and look for ways to express yourself, to interpret the world around you, and make yourself happier in the process.

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Finding Inspiration for Your Artwork

Finding inspiration in the activities you love

For many of us, we face difficulties including writers block or we struggle to find inspiration for our art. And as it turns out the most effective way is to find inspiration in the activities that you love and that make you happy.

Finding Inspiration in nature

People have been turning to nature since the beginning of time! Nature has inspired some of the worlds greatest pieces of artwork from the sky (Starry Night) to the Forest (Bob Ross), and more scientifically, it has inspired consumer products which mimic nature to solve problems. For example, velcro mimics those pesky burrs you get in the woods, and electronic screen borrow ideas from butterfly wings.

Nature has come to humans rescue in almost every aspect of our lives, and most commonly it is without us even realizing it.  These benefits inspire revelations everyday across the globe. So how can you find inspiration in nature?

  • Go for a walk in a nearby park.  Go for a walk at a State park.
  • Take a camera outdoors, in your back yard or a park, and take a picture of anything and everything that catches your eye.
  • Draw or paint a scene outside an area that you’ve been to many times. Notice new and small details.
  • Watch Planet Earth to explore the sky, oceans, forests, caves, deep sea, plains, and the Earth’s natural beauty.
  • Meditate on your thoughts. Try this at a park.
  • Practice Yoga outdoors.
  • Listen to the sounds in either a new or familiar area.

Finding Inspiration in Yourself

You are a great source of inspiration and understanding both your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to fully embrace your full potential. Find yourself by:

  • Turn off your Facebook, Instagram, and cell phone for a day. Take this time to write in a journal or notebook or diary.
  • Try something new that will either push your body physically or mentally.
  • Take a day off.  Do nothing but the things you enjoy.
  • Acknowledge and write down or embrace your strengths.
  • Relive an experience or accomplishment that had a positive impact on your life or someone you love.
  • Sing in the shower or sing in the car!

Find Inspiration in Other People

People can be products of the environment and choices they make.  So find inspiration in the people and actions of other people around you!

  • Ask your friends and neighbors what they are grateful for today.  Or what they are most grateful for this year.
  • Ask your close friends to explain and describe the thing that they love the most in life. Take note of the words and expressions they have when describing.
  • Ask someone you love what they find inspirational about you.
  • Ask someone you love the most important or life changing they they have ever learned.
  • Read the autobiography of someone who you look up to.
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Write an email to your favorite author or musician.
  • Ask your parents or grandparents what you were like when you were young.
  • Ask your parents or grandparents what they were like when they were young.

Find Inspiration in the Future or the Possibilities you can Create

Looking into the future that you can influence and that you can create can inspire you to do great things.  So take a few moments to look at ways you find inspiration and how you can positively influence the future.

  • Think of where you want to be in the future.
  • Create a vision board to help remind yourself of your future goals.  Hang this somewhere you see every day.
  • Try something you have always wanted to but never really made the time for.
  • Find someone to help mentor. As a mentor unlock your leadership potential and help teach someone.
  • Create a bucket list.  Do this with friends and family.

Regardless of the way you find inspiration be sure to inspire and bring out the best in people around you.

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Open Canvas and Wine Reservations

Singing Buckeyes Open Canvas Courses

We have received a number of requests over the past semester to hold a wine and paint course where many of our readers will be able to enroll for an opportunity to paint one of two picture designs. These courses will be coached and one of our professional artists will guide the enrolled painters on how to complete the drawing and add their own personal flare.  


Open Canvas Options

Option one is an outdoorsy painting where the painter will focus primarily on nature including trees, scenery, water, and the sky.  Many of the personal touches available come from differences in artists brush strokes and density of trees and texture added.

Option two focuses on a more abstract painting of a dragonfly. The background will vary by artist from a defined outdoorsy background to something more abstract such as a solid pattern with designs.


Both options are great fun and when paired with wine this course can serve to be a great team building or couple event. Throw on your painters smock and joint us June 24 outside the arts building.


To enroll, reach out to me on our contact page.  Enrollment is $20 to cover the art supplies. Bring your own bottle of wine, otherwise Red and White wine will be available at $5 per glass.

Tell your friends!


Open Painting Canvas Hours

Monday – Closed

Tuesday – Thursday – 5pm – 9pm

Saturday – 10am – 6pm

Sunday – 12pm – 5pm


Open Canvas Age Policy

Many people have asked about family packages and our child policy:

Family classes can be scheduled for Saturdays for children ages 5 and up.

Tuesday – Thursday and Saturday and Sunday classes can be attended by children 12 and up.

Friday and Saturday evening classes can be attended by 16 and up.

And of course wine is available for adults aged 21 and up.


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Celebrating Small Successes with our Art

It has been another successful semester of imagination and creativity and I would like to take a moment to celebrate the small successes that we have observed both inside and outside the classroom.

Celebrating Small Successes Around the Class

While everyone is hoping for that one big break, success is often accomplished in small portions which continue to build on each other.  Each of our students is celebrating a small victory this month.


Graffiti removal and re-purposing – Alec

Alec worked with local municipalities to identify areas around town which have experienced vandalism in the form of graffiti.  After three areas were identified he was awarded a grant to paint over the graffiti and replace it with artwork of his choosing.  The village awarded Alec in the form of a $6,000 grant which will cover the time and expense of his work. The village believes that people are less likely to vandalize another piece of artwork as opposed to a white wall.  This is a step in the right direction and anyone who will be driving past the elementary school will get to see his largest mural painting. Way to go Alec, we look forward to hearing about how you can continue to create and inspire those around you.

Chemical graffiti removal

Removing graffiti with a chemical cleaner. Wall will be repainted with a sponsored image.

Stained glass window replacement – Emily

Emily was a late comer in the class, but was able to join shortly after she had worked out a deal with the Baptist church where she was hired to remodel several of the stained glass windows that are located inside the church. All six of these windows require custom work, customer input, and extreme attention to detail.  For the first three weeks she worked with the board to identify which images to paint, the design, and shape of the glass. After the designs were finalized they commissioned her work for a whopping $7,500. We are very pleased with how the work is turning out, and we encourage all of the community to check out the new designs when they are finished and installed on August 1.


School Wall Painting – Danny

Danny found a great opportunity to repaint some of the school walls.  He partnered with the local elementary school to design educational paintings on the backside of the gym walls.  These walls are visible by all of the students during recess and by the track and field. Danny worked with the school board to identify topics such as athletics, geography, and teamwork to centralize his drawings around. His work was completed on June 8, and can be visible from the north east entrance.


Continue to build your art careers with one small success at a time.  Small successes combined with perseverance will create a lasting art career.

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Donovan’s 2017 Success Story

Don’s Success – Vinyl Frosting For Windows and Siding

It is my pleasure to speak to our readers today about Dons success he has had in starting his own business.  He was and has continued to be an excellent student, and has worked very hard to get to where he is today. Don will continue to be an hard worker and will continue to grow and be successful.  He has recently partnered with a window and Siding Contractor who does business in Milwaukee and Chicago.  Don is working with Window Concepts to create custom vinyl frosting on windows for businesses.  The vinyl frosting is used in boutiques, restaurants, offices for law or dentistry, or anywhere custom branding on windows is desirable.

Don and I both agree that his artistic nature is allowing businesses to distinguish their storefronts from the competition through custom branding.  The services he provides local businesses are:

  • Custom look and branding opportunity
  • Elegant and contemporary way to design windows and doors while still allowing light to pass through
  • A timeless and expensive look without damaging or weakening the glass window surface
  • Easy customization and replaceable if you decide to change your image
  • Vinyl serves to filter UV sunlight to protect the furniture and interior of the building from fade

A Word From Don

Don would personally like to take a moment to describe how he got to where he is today.

Thank you Matt for helping me through some tough life decisions over the past three or so years.  We both know that you’ve inspired me to find something that I am passionate about, and when I finally see that coming together, it really means that we’ve made some great strides.  So thank you.  I’d also like to take a moment to speak with the other young professionals that Matt is helping coach.  If you’re reading this and really struggling to get a handle on your creative nature, or struggling to find passion, take a moment and talk with Matt.  He has helped me figure out what I want, and helped create a plan to get there. It wasn’t easy, but it is worth it.  Good luck, and if you would like to contact me please do so.

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Selling Art on Social Media

Social media has always been a great platform for advertising purposes, managing to offer a wide variety of tools and a large audience. Nowadays, many artists are using social media as a standard marketing method, for promoting and selling their creation. Still, there are some artists who didn’t have great results on social media and they were disappointed about the outcome. Like any other long-term campaign, social media advertising requires lots of dedication, a good strategy and a good knowledge of SM marketing tools. In the following, we will provide some helpful tips, which will improve your social media marketing campaigns, allowing you to sell more of your creations.

1) Perseverance

There are many people who tried to promote their art on social media, but abandoned this idea after a short while. This happened because their expectations were too high, and they were hoping to make a sale, as soon as they’ve posted the ad. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Social media is great for marketing, but it will not generate sales immediately. Like any other industry, even here, you will face a rough competition and you need to stand above them. How? With PERSEVERANCE! Be committed to your campaigns and always try to improve them. Build yourself a small network and share your works with them. Instead of wanting fast results, try to wait for them. You will start making sales when you least expect it.

2) Personal Interaction

The marketing strategy of an artist, differs a lot from a company’s marketing strategy. When you want to sell art through social media, you have to understand that your potential buyers are interested in both your work and your personality. After all, your art has to be personal and related to some events from your life. If you establish a personal connection with your audience, they will learn to appreciate you and they will find your work more interesting. However, you should avoid talking about religion, politics, geo-political issues and any other sensitive topics.

3) Find a Certain Social Media Platform

If you have deep marketing knowledge or know how to handle all the major social media platforms, that’s great. But if you don’t, you shouldn’t put too much time in that. It’s pointless to spend time in mastering new platforms, when you don’t have an established strategy, for at least one. If you’re a beginner in SM Marketing, focus on one platform. Try to master its secrets and understand how you can attract more audience. Once you’ve done that, you can move to other social media platforms.

4) Master the Secrets of Your Chosen Platform

Once you’ve settled upon a certain platform, you should find all its marketing tools, and learn how to use them. Thankfully, social media is more marketing-friendly, than it was 5 years ago, and this will be highly beneficial for you. There are many ways to promote yourself on social media. Even if you create yourself an audience network or if you opt for payed advertising, it’s important to understand how everything works. Many artists are choosing Facebook, as a default advertising platform. If you want to use Facebook as well, you should access a very popular topic, called Advertiser Help Center. Here, you will find some information about the most popular marketing trends and tools, sufficient for getting you started. If you use Payed Advertising, it’s better to learn some of the practices, because you don’t want to spend money in vain.

5) Set Some Goals

Obviously, the main goal when we advertise on social medias is to make sales. But, like we’ve mentioned before, things aren’t so simple. Of course, the main goal of your whole promotion is to sell your work, but there are a few more steps until there. If you want to be successful on social media and to get results, you have to understand the value of a conversion. Every person that clicked your link, left a positive comment, subscribed with its e-mail address or put some of your work in a buying wishlist, represents a conversion. Even though that certain person isn’t bringing you any money for now, it’s highly possible that he / she will make a purchase in the near future. In this context, your goals should be represented by the number of conversions, and not by the number of sold paintings. If the conversion rate is high, the money will come as well. They always do!


In this society, a talented artist is not necessarily a successful artist. It depends entirely on you if you learn how to promote yourself and let the others see your true value. Start following a sustainable marketing strategy on a social media platform, and you will soon reach success.


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General Rules for Art Commission

If you are reading this we know that you have thought about what it would be like to sell your art and earn extra money. Well, we have to ask, have you already taken some pieces of commissioned work? Do you fully understand what should be done for the piece? Many of the artists we have helped have made loads of extra cash by creating, marketing, and selling their custom artwork for people. Some sell to restaurants, hotels, or bars at first until they get notices. From there it is nothing but up when you continue to sell to residential, businesses, or private parties. It is a fun and challenging experience, but it does have major issues if you do not address them early. Before you dive deep into accepting commissioned pieces, here are some more things to consider.


Art Commission Rules

1.The most important thing you need to understand is to not sell yourself short. So the next time you ask yourself, “What is my art worth?” or “How much should I charge for this commissioned piece?” Remember, do not undersell yourself.

When you assign some dollar value to your work, the person or business you are selling this piece to will value it at that price. In one corner you can give the piece away for free, and that has sentimental value. On the other hand you can assign a huge, high dollar price tag to it. Each of these options is appropriate for different clients. If you believe that one of the clients would introduce you work to larger circles, maybe a free and sentimental gift is necessary. Where on the other hand there are circles of people who enjoy talking about how much they’ve spent on their art and include tid bits on who the painter or author is. Regardless, of your choice both have the possibility of becoming an heirloom for the buyer of your art.

The only thing you must never do, is place a bargain price on your art. In this scenario, the customer will value it as such and the piece has a high probability of ending up in the trash or worse, a rummage sale, within the next couple years.

  1. Price your work according to your skill level. Remember, when you’re just starting your art career you won’t be selling pieces for the same price as someone with a 20 year tenure. You must show that your skills are worth of the price that you are charging. Did you know that Van Gogh once sold a sketch for a meal, where nowadays that sketch is worth millions! The point is, unless you have or can reach a high skill level in a very short amount of time, don’t set yourself up to sell something that you cannot commit to. Be honest to your customers and yourself, and make sure when you paint anything your name is in the corner and that is the most valuable part of any painting you will ever make. Show your skill to prospective clients through examples of your work and make sure you are in agreement before setting off to do any piece.

Do not take on a job that is too far above your head.

  1. When you finally settle on a price and the piece, get the commission in writing. I cannot count how many times I have seen young artists get ripped off because the person would agree to paying more, then when the art is delivered they would say take it or leave to a smaller amount. By getting a written agreement you are protecting yourself and your brand. Be specific in your contract and make sure there are no surprises for your client upon delivery. This is where the second step is very important as well.
  2. Lastly, you should always get a deposit on your work. There will be an occasion where someone will decline the artwork because it is not what they had envisioned, but it is what they described. This is just a reality of dealing with people and a business that is as subjective as painting. This is just another way of protecting yourself.


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Boosting your Brand Through Marketing

Coming up with a strong brand is very important when you want to turn your art into a business. This is mainly because the brand you develop is the one that will drive the marketing plans you have. In fact, this particular approach is applicable to every business that wants to do effective internet marketing. Getting a strong brand might sound much easier than it actually is. This is especially if you are not able to properly tell the difference between marketing and branding. You might also experience challenges if you do not know exactly when to start. This makes it paramount to effectively know the differences between branding and marketing.

To understand these differences between these two important components for any business we reached out to our brand strategist. To effectively build your brand and grow your business you need to follow these four principles which have successfully been used by professional marketers.

  1. Dig Extra Deep to Discover Your Brand

First of all you need to get rid of the believe that a brand is just a logo and a website. This is mainly because to successfully brand your art you need discover yourself. You need to know exactly what your audience will see and think when they come across your brand. You also need to know exactly why you make the kind of art you make and the message you are trying to put across through the art. The message your art puts across will be your unique identity and this is what your audience will think whenever they come across your name. You will be selling an emotion and experience with your art. The brand you create will turn the audience from strangers to customers.

  1. Ensure You Leverage Your Brand So That You Can Engage an Audience

The brand you develop will be the main thing that creates a strong following for you. You will win the trust of the audience and this trust is the one that will turn the audience to customers. In some situations especially while scaling a business branding is considered to be even more important than marketing. The brand you create will be the main pillar of your business for it is the one that will make you relatable to your customers. When you are not a relatable brand you will not have customers and therefore nobody to market to. If you make your personality a part of the message then it will be easier to commit to your brand. When you are totally true to yourself and to what you belief in then your brand will say exactly who you are. This will mean that the customers will relate to the values you believe in and not just your art. Therefore, creating a relatable brand will result to the process of selling your art more natural and therefore easier.

  1. Interact With Your Customers Through Marketing

Since you want to increase sales you have to promote your branded message. This is attributed to the fact that while marketing your work you are just expressing your brand. Artist Christine Rasmussen from My Art Resources defines doing marketing for your art as simply your pitch. It is precisely how you express yourself to people regarding the reasons they should buy your art. While doing marketing you are actually interacting with your customers and the community at large. You can even use your audience to determine where exactly where to market to them. If the customers spend a lot of time in the local farmers market you should make a point of putting some of your marketing materials in that area. If the brand you develop is focused on making people feel connected to the earth you should try to direct your marketing towards donating some of your profits to an environmental based organization. This will make your brand unique and easily recognizable.

  1. Be Consistent With Your Brand

The brand you develop will be carried in all the things your customers come into contact with. Such things include; social media, print and digital materials, vendors, emails, live events and the other marketing aspects you might decide to apply. We advise that if you are consistent with your art brand in all platforms you will eventually be able to create a loyal following. You will also be able to create diversification which will let you reach out to new areas and create a premium price.

Stay True To Your Self While At The Same Time Having Fun

Above all you should make sure you are having fun with the art you are creating. Make sure you apply your genuine creative trying not to copy anyone else. If the brand you create is showing who you are through your art you will be able to make your art and your art business come together in a smooth manner and you will be able to benefit more.


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Transitioning Your Career

Just like aspiring sportsmen, aspiring artists need to take bold steps in order to change their art career into a full-time job. Doubts and fears are the biggest obstacles that prevent talented artists from taking the bold steps. If you look at those that are successful in this industry, you will notice that their career paths have a lot of similarities. They had a clear plan that implemented without getting distracted by the many challenges that they faced. Your paint strokes and gallery submissions should be aimed at taking you to the next level. The following steps will help you to build a solid foundation, and set you up for success as a full-time artist.

Know why you want to be a full-time artist

It is important to be honest with yourself about your career aspiration. Why do you want to become a full-timer? You should know the time and resources that you will have to invest in the job. In addition to that, you need to be aware of the fatigue that comes with moving away from a part-time schedule. Unless you really know why you want to establish a full-time career out of this, it will not be easy for you. With honesty, comes a passion that pushes you to do the things that you hardly cared about when you were working part-time.

Are you ready for the task?

No matter how motivated you are, transitioning your art career into a full-time job is going to come with a lot of challenges. This is going to be more than just coming up with pieces of art. For example, you need to start positioning yourself as a new business owner. To make a living you of this, you have to brace yourself for the responsibilities that come with running a business. This is the reason why you should determine whether you are ready for such a business. This is the only way you can properly plan for your new venture and succeed.

Learn from others and be confident

Artists are known to have extraordinary confidence when doing their job. This is attributed to the fact that they are some of the most creative people in this world. Therefore, you will need to step up your confidence when you choose to move to the next level. You cannot enjoy a successful full-time career when you have too much self-doubt. Just learn to believe in yourself and things will work out. This will be much better if you learn from other self-timers. You do not have to copy everything that they did. However, if a few of them can share their experiences, you will know how to avoid most of the mistakes that they committed.

You also need to prepare yourself financially and emotionally. Transitioning your art career into a full time job required more investment. You will need to pump more money and time into it. However, when you finally hit the road running, you will look back at your journey and say to yourself that it was worth the effort.


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Pricing Your Artwork

How would you feel when someone comments “your artwork is too expensive?” After all the intense hard work and passion that has gone through the artwork, should you take it for granted that the spectator is completely unaware of the value of the work or should it be taken personally? But you are not alone. A lot of other artists have been in your shoes just like you not knowing what to say.

But with a little positive attitude and a few little tricks, you can be more professional even in such unbearable situations. Who knows you may even close a deal!

Here are 5 ways to handle that moment “Your artwork is too expensive”

#1. Closing the Deal

Not everyone knows artwork. Otherwise, there might not be such a question in the first place. Grab this opportunity to explain about your creation, the endeavor, and exertion you have made and slowly justify the price. Such questions are great conversation starters and a golden opportunity to explain about your style and creations. It may also be the best time to seize the moment with your awards and accolades in your career. This could be an eye opener to the values of your work. After all, you are the best person in the world to market yourself.

#2. Knowing your customer’s budget

If the customer feels “your art is too expensive”, it is a sign you are dealing with a potential customer. Maybe it’s beyond their budget. Ask them what price they are looking for and direct them to some of your lower priced artworks. This way you sell more artwork at the same time make your customers happy. If they still don’t find the right piece, enroll them for your newsletters or to your next exhibitions. If not this time, maybe next.

#3. Educating the Audience

Almost all artwork out there is the end result of hard work, devotion, and dedication. One cannot simply understand the complexity of creating an artwork. It has to be explained from the creator’s mind. This can give the audience a whole new perspective of the way they look at the artwork. Not everyone has the patience, but an art enthusiast will certainly listen. The more they understand, the easier it is for you to push your work.

#4. Say Thank you

Saying “Thank you” might even be offensive sometimes. But it’s the best you can do to turn the awkward situation into a positive one. Gleefully establish the fact that great artworks costs a fortune and at the same time execute humbleness in your every move. Who knows you might even blandish your customers with true majesty and class.

#5. Let them walk away

If you sense the comment was just to bring you down on the price, just walk away. The customer may not know the true value and may try to bargain it all the way down to his comfort zone. Don’t let this happen as you may look foolish in the end rather than simply letting it go.

Just walking away could be rude and embarrassing too. But give attention to customers who are more willing to share your mind’s creations. its definitely worth it and may even see some sales.

Say it with all your heartIf you are facing it for the first time, then probably you are a newcomer. People of such sort happen to be everywhere and you cannot avoid these situations. It only matters how prepared you are to embrace such position. The more intellectually you answer, the more professional you become. Answer with all your heart, sincerely and with a big smile. It may even lead to a big sale!


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