Today’s guest is Miriam Schulman.

As someone from the creative and performing arts industry, I know that the business and side of what we do, is often the most challenging and most overlooked. Our finances are geared towards investing in professional development with a specific focus on improving our skillset and talent and there is little or no investment in building our understanding of how we can build a sustainable income in a creative industry.

This week on A Voice and Beyond, I am delighted to welcome MIRIAM SCHULMAN, who is an artist, author, and host of the podcast The Inspiration Place, which is listened to in more than 100 countries around the world and is currently in the top .5% of podcasts globally. Miriam is also the founder and creator of The Artists Incubator Coaching Program, a program where she has helped thousands of artists around the world develop their skill sets and learn how to generate six figure incomes from their passion.

Recently, Miriam released her new book – ARTPRENEUR: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity (HarperCollins; Jan. 31, 2022). In this episode, Miriam discusses her brilliant book and some of her strategies and principles that have been proven to help creatives grow a thriving business, her practical tips on marketing, scaling, and pricing, offers guidance on how to develop the right mindset in business and why selling in alignment with your core values, creates more sales. So, if you are keen to improve your bottom line in your creative business or beyond, this interview with Miriam Schulman is not to be missed.

Find Miriam Online





In this Episode

1:15 – Introduction

3:56 – Miriam’s story of becoming an entrepreneur

22:06 – Growing an online business

28:07 – Building an email list

32:47 – Miriam’s book ‘Artpreneur’

48:29 – Time spent learning new tactics

57:56 – Miriam’s one piece of advice


Putting yourself first is important because it allows you to prioritize your own needs and well-being, which in turn can help you be more productive, creative, and fulfilled in all areas of your life. By taking care of yourself first, you are better equipped to care for others and contribute positively to the world around you.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Hi it’s Marissa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include healthcare practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond, your voice is your unique gift. It’s time now to share your gift with others develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:15

As someone from the Creative and Performing Arts industry, I know that the business side of what we do is often the most challenging and most overlooked. Our finances are usually geared towards investing in professional development, with a specific focus on improving our skill, set and talent. And there is little or no investment in building our understanding of how we can generate a sustainable income in a creative industry. This week, on voice and beyond. I am delighted to welcome Miriam Schulman who is an artist, author and host of the podcast the Inspiration Place, which is listened to in more than 100 countries around the world and is currently in the top point 5% of most listened to podcasts globally. Miriam is also the founder and creator of the artists incubator coaching programme, a programme where she has helped 1000s of artists around the world develop their skill sets and learn how to generate six figure incomes from their passion. Recently, Miriam released her new book, art printer, the step by step guide to making a sustainable living from your creativity. In this episode, Miriam discusses her brilliant book and some of her strategies and principles that have been proven to help creatives grow a thriving business. Her practical tips on marketing, scaling and pricing guidance on how to develop the right mindset in business, and why selling in alignment with your core values creates more sales. So if you are keen to improve your bottom line in your creative business, or beyond this interview with Miriam Schulman is not to be missed. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:48

Welcome to a voice and beyond we have a very special guest today. Miriam Schulman. How are you?

Miriam Schulman  03:56

Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited for this conversation.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:01

I am too because you and I, we were in different fields. But we’re both creatives and we share a lot of the same philosophies around what we’re going to talk about today. And that is being an entrepreneur I love the way that you describe what we are we we are creatives who make money from the arts and that makes us art art printers. But yes, I think I’m saying right. Yeah, I

Miriam Schulman  04:32

mean, it’s a made up word and other people make up different words like entrepreneur but are like our partner.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:38

I love that. I love that. And that kind of creates a whole different mindset around what we do and and we’re going to start off though, with some of your story because you are an artist and author of this brilliant book that I have received that I’m just like hoping and I shared with Miriam, that I don’t read books. I’m more of an audio book person because I don’t like sitting for too long. But this book here is definitely one that I’m going to be reading. So well done on that and host of the podcast, the Inspiration Place, which is listened to in more than 100 countries around the world and is in the top point 5% of podcasts globally. And you’re also the founder and creator of the artists incubator coaching programme. Well, Marianne, congratulations on all your success. What an achievement.

Miriam Schulman  05:45

Thank you so much. As you know, there’s like a lot of blood and sweat, and tears and courage that goes into that

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:53

is people don’t realise, do they, they don’t realise how much work and effort and courage goes into what we all do. And now, you’re a creative, but you actually started your career on Wall Street. So how did you end up on Wall Street? Because I know that you had this love of art at a very young age. So what happened? What derailed you from becoming an artist early on?

Miriam Schulman  06:27

Well, first of all, my father passed away when I was five years old. So I saw my mother who you know, she was a child of the 1950s. And she was taught, women grew up to be wives. And she left college to marry my father. She did finish college later, but we really struggled after my father died. You know, we we were on Social Security. We were on food stamps. I mean, we really struggled. And then my mother’s answer was to get married again. So which was not a great marriage. So I always had this very strong knowledge that I wanted to be or this belief that I have a goal to be financially independent. That was, that was something that I knew I needed for my own survival. Now, I was being told that I wouldn’t make money as an artist and I believed that I believed that for a very long time. So I figured, well, if the point is to make money, where do they make money? They make money on Wall Street. Yeah. And that so that was the path that led me there. But I worked for a very famous, infamous, let’s say, trading desk on Wall Street. And then hedge fund that blew up famously I took a break from that and after 911 happened so round right before that, I think I’ll maybe I’ll go back I’ll put back on the pantyhose because that’s what we wore back in the yellow in the 90s. Yes, I’ll put that back on. I’ll trade my sweat up but my spit on sweatshirts with for like my entail are closed again. And so right about the time was fantasising about going back and there’s nothing to fantasise about, believe me, I mean, there was like, I was sexually harassed while I was there, I you know, all the things, all the things that many women experience, but I wasn’t remembering that I was just remember it, okay, I just want to look pretty again and be out in the world. And around that time, that’s when 911 happened. And I took that as, Oh, all right. This is a sign from the universe. Not to go back. I hadn’t figured it out then. But I knew I wasn’t going to go back to Wall Street. Like I knew that in like my soul, my soul, my bones. And I right now we’re living for through a very similar time for people, that the pandemic has been an awakening for many people. That’s why millions have walked away from their jobs. They call this the great resignation. And really, because there’s nothing like a crisis, to lift the veil over what’s not working in your life. And really, to help forced you to reevaluate those existential questions. Why are we here? Why are you here? Yes. And it was not to make money on Wall Street, that’s for sure.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:20

Hmm. So at what point then did you decide okay, I’m not going to go back to Wall Street. And now I’m going to start dabbling in my art because you started with your artwork at school, your teacher identified that you were an artist. And so then did you think Ah, okay, well, maybe I can make some money from this.

Miriam Schulman  09:48

There’s several things that I want to unpack here. Sure. So the first thing is about my teacher identify me as an artist. So I start off the first chapter. First chapters choose to believe and my teacher did say you’re the class artist. Now I don’t know that there was any special, quote unquote, air quotes, talent that she actually saw. What really happened was she said, I’m an artist, and I believed her. Of course, she was an authority figure. That’s right. I believed her. And that was really what motivated me to be an artist was like, I somebody said it and I believe, stop. So that’s why I started with that choice of belief. And I know that you feel strongly about this as well. It’s not about the

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:33

talent. No, it definitely is. What

Miriam Schulman  10:36

even does that mean? Like, it’s not even a meaningful thing? Yeah, we all know, very, quote, very talented people in any industry. So singing, business, art, whatever it is very talented people not succeeding. And people who we look at, like, I don’t know what’s so great about her who are very successful.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:03

Exactly. There’s people in the singing world, in the music industry, who are not great singers, but then make bucket loads of money. And then there are other people who are amazing singers. But they can’t seem to make a career out of it.

Miriam Schulman  11:20

Exactly, exactly. I know. Alright, so but I do want to answer all the questions there shall So now, all right, so I knew I wasn’t going to go back to Wall Street like that I knew I didn’t, I did still didn’t believe I could make a living as an artist. So what I did at first was I was painting, I was creating portraits. But I took a job as a Pilates instructor, cool.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:48

Just because,

Miriam Schulman  11:50

well, I needed to make money. And I knew I didn’t, I didn’t want to figure it out. I never figured out. So when I took the job at the gym, they actually had us go through training on how to close sales on personal training packages. And I just moved to New York City recently. And I was going to the gym, and they were trying to use those same techniques on me. So like, why is this important to you know, like, you know, what, why do you want to do this? And why is it important to you? So when I got that training on how to do sales, how to follow up with customers, I had this aha moments like, Oh, of course, these are sales techniques. I can use them to sell my portraits. And that’s when I became a student of marketing. And I’ve never stopped learning since then I’m always looking at how can I learn how to sell better and understand the sell. So that is really like what is in this book is like really understanding the psychology and the anatomy of what goes into selling?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:54

Yeah. What is really interesting out of everything that you just said, it’s like that, I think the thing that I was not expecting you to say was that you learned all your sales and marketing techniques from working in the gym as a Pilates instructor, and not from Wall Street.

Miriam Schulman  13:17

That’s right. I learned some things on Wall Street that I like now when I look back I can give credit to but I was not in a sales job there. The one thing I did learn there, especially as a woman on Wall Street, was the importance of marketing myself. So this is not something I do I talk about in the book, but I’ve been I’ve been thinking a lot about lately was how I, the first year I was there so this again about the whole town. The first year is there I worked really hard I was I was very good at what I did at the end of the year. They no one seemed to know what I knew what I did.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:50

So what were you doing? Well, I was

Miriam Schulman  13:53

I was programming and I was I was creating these things, but like my boss’s boss, who are the ones who decide who gets the raises and who gets the bonuses and bla bla bla, they didn’t really seem to know. So the second year I was there, I did not rely on my boss to tell my boss, the boss’s boss, you know, like what I did every month, I basically put out a newsletter for myself about what I had done. So self promotion. That’s correct. That’s correct. So I would do that I would also show up to a meeting. That was seven o’clock New York time. Why was it seven o’clock? Seven o’clock AM New York time. Why? Because it was a global finance firm and they had to meet when Tokyo and London and New York could all get together. Now what was I doing at that meeting? Nothing. I was showing my face. I was getting to know the people who mattered in the room so they would know who I was at the end of the year when they decided who got who got the bigger bonus. And I would show up at the end of the trading day around 430. I would do not wait for my boss to tell me what needed to be done. I would go for, you know, at the end of the day at 430, I would show up on that trading floor and back in 1990 Whatever it was, the trading floor was basically like walking into the male’s locker room. You just had that that crackling energy like you felt like someone’s gonna snap a towel at you any moment. Yeah, not that anyone did that. Not that they want to hit me on the ass or anything. I would love to talk that way in your podcasts that that actually happened. But it was that energy was there. Yeah, you know that feeling like I was going and, and it is ballsy to go to your boss’s boss, by the way, like that is like trumping levels. Exactly. Guess what it worked. At the end of the year, I was promoted, I got like this mega bonus. And that was really marketing myself. So those those foundational pieces, that is something I did learn how to do there.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:51

I’m literally dying here because no know. I love that story. There’s something Can I just quickly share a story you and I had least some incredible similarities. As I’ve you know, as a woman also, I’ve had one office job, and I was there for two years. And it was with the state government in Victoria, in a different state here in Australia. And I don’t know if you watch Seinfeld, but every day, okay, so literally we do you remember the episode with George Costanza and the Penske file? He literally had a file that it was called the Penske file and there was nothing in it.

Miriam Schulman  16:42

Oh, yes. And they were like, did you make progress on it? And he didn’t had no idea what he’s supposed to be doing with it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  16:47

That was me. It was me in this government job grind. And I literally walked around with this Penske file for two years, and just kept showing up that we had five floors we in this building. And I would literally walk from floor to floor to floor with my Penske file. And I kept getting promoted. And I was doing nothing. I had no idea. No one trained me in my job. But I just walked around with this file for two years and kept getting promoted. And when I saw that episode with George Costanza and that Penske file, I died and listening to you, you actually were doing something. But I was doing nothing other than walking around with this empty file and just turning up and dressing up.

Miriam Schulman  17:42

But here’s the thing. That’s just showing how the marketing is more important than the talent.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:49

Yes, yes. Yes. That because that’s what

Miriam Schulman  17:53

it is. Yeah. You were marketing. You were you were basically muted. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:59

So that’s why I was sitting here dying. When you were telling me that story. It reminded me of my days of working in the government. And it was so boring. And people there thought they were the hardest working people in the world. And they literally all walked around with Penske files, probably. But I can’t I just kept showing up, dressed up for work and immaculately carried myself walked around like I owned the place. Yep. So anyway, we’re straying from the conversation, but I just had to share that.

Miriam Schulman  18:36

I was thinking it’s important. I mean, like, this is branding. Yeah. You were very well, granted, you knew how to be the brand of like,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:46

my own brand. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. But anyways, let’s get back to this. I want to talk about your training programme. Okay. But before that, at what point of time did you give yourself permission then to go into that, that business of selling your art?

Miriam Schulman  19:09

Okay, so basically, pretty much right after I got the Pilates training, it wasn’t Pilates training, they were training me on the sales piece of it. So the Pilates training was separate their training in the sales piece and they and one of the instructors even recommended a book and I went and got the book and the book had nothing to do with gyms it was just sell it. So that’s why I was like, of course, of course I could use this for for my art because it didn’t, it didn’t matter what you were selling basically. And pretty much that same year, that’s when i Everything started clicking for me. And if I had any doubts that I should be only selling my art, the universe definitely wanted to keep me out of the gym. So back to back I had appendicitis and then I had a broken toe. So there was like this physically one thing after the other, the universe kept saying you are not doing this, you there’s nothing else for you to do here.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:07

Clearly, like Houston, we have a problem and you got to get out of here. Oh, okay. So then you decided you would start working? Oh, then

Miriam Schulman  20:19

I was all in. I was all in I quit working at the gym, I quit all those those little jobs I had I had taken that I thought I needed. And I was all in on selling my portraits. Yeah. And the first, I would say, first five to 10 years that was mostly guerilla marketing. So what I mean by that is I didn’t I didn’t have an email list yet. I didn’t know about the email list yet, which is very important. But what I would do is like, I would take the portrait of my son, I would stick it in the hallway in the foyer. So when parents came to pick up their children from my house, when there was playdates, they would see it. Oh, that’s so clever. And my son was a very good influencer. For me, he was a very good influence marketer, I didn’t put him up to this. But you know, he’s four or five years old. And he would he would say to his friends, look at this painting of me, you know, as I painted him in his Batman costume, he was so proud of it. Look at this painting of me, and they were impressed. And so they would say, Mom, look at this painting of SAF. So it was like beaut a beautiful thing, I would get the commission. And then I would do the same exact thing, though. I would expand it by the mother would say, Oh, can I come by? I would let them notes, call them up, let them know, it’s these phones back then this phone call call you call each other remember that? Call it? Oh, the painting said and they’d be like, Oh, can I pick it up? I said no, no, don’t. Don’t worry about it. I’ll bring it to pick up. Why? You know, it’s just like what I did in Wall Street. It’s like, so everyone can see the painting being delivered. You know, they see the painting and they’re looking at, you know, this is where my customers are the other mothers. Yeah. Okay. And now they get to see it. So we didn’t have Instagram back then.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  22:06

So at what point then did you transition to other modes of selling.

Miriam Schulman  22:12

So I went online, with eBay and my website, and I would say that was about 30% of my of my income, was doing that. And the other 60% was commissioned portraits, and also my fine art that I was selling, you know, in person at Art Fair. So it’s like, 30%, online, 60% in person. But what happened was in about 2012, or 2013, somebody on Etsy reached out to me says, I really like your art. Do you teach online art classes? Oh, wow. And I had never heard, like, doesn’t like it’s only 10 years ago, but like, my god, dog years, when you’re talking about online 10 years ago, it’s like, doesn’t seem so long. But really, I mean, the whole world has changed. Yeah. So that is, that was my first like, introduction to the idea. But remember, I didn’t have an email list. And I naively thought all I had to do was post on Instagram. And that’s back when people saw our posts. I thought, what I thought all we had to do, and that did not work. So that’s, that’s when I, I did take some training from people in the online space on how to build an email list and how to build those more complicated sales funnels.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  23:36

And how quickly did that income grow? Once you transition to all the online stuff? Did that make a significant difference to your turnover?

Miriam Schulman  23:47

Yes, because not only so since that time, I’ve sold over a million dollars in online art classes. By the way, I think it’s like $1.3 million in online art classes. Well, however, what also happened is now I was able to use those techniques that I learned how to sell online classes. Now I was using it to also sell my art. So I was using an email list to sell my art. I like everything exploded that because I didn’t understand how important an email list was until then. And then now it’s like, everything. Yeah. Do you want to talk about that for our listeners? Okay. Yes,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:29

because you do have a programme that’s called the artist incubator coaching programme. And I’m assuming these are some of the things that you teach people through the programme?

Miriam Schulman  24:39

Absolutely. But what I really want your listeners to hear is because so many people have believed they drink the Kool Aid that they just need to post on social media. And they don’t understand why they need an email list and they think email list is dead and social media is where it’s at. And it couldn’t be further from the truth nor we Actually now reached a place where it’s the other way around. Social media is like Thelma and Louise about to drive off a cliff. You know, like,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:08

yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s so hit and miss, I don’t understand why you share something on social, and you get 1000s of views. And then the next day you get five? Well, it’s no, I mean, I’m exaggerating, but you’re not. It is. So hit and miss.

Miriam Schulman  25:28

Okay, so here is what the data shows. So when I started writing the book, I knew it was a problem. When I started writing the book, the average engagement rate on Instagram was 1%. By the time I went to edit that section of the book in early 2022, and now we’re a full year later, early 2022, the average engagement rate had fallen 2.6%. What does that mean? That means out of 1000 people, only six people are going to engage with that post. What about all these people who are saying to us, I will teach you how to increase your engagement? We have lots of those people, right? Yeah, maybe some of them have been on this podcast. Yeah. But

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:10

I actually get them reaching out to me every single day,

Miriam Schulman  26:15

every day, every day. Okay. All right. And then we all know the Guru’s saying the same things. The average engagement rate of an influencer is 1.12%. Yeah, it’s better, but it’s still not good. It’s still that means out of 1000 people, only 11 People are paying attention to them. Wow. Wow. Now let’s compare that to email, because this is the really important thing that I want people to hear. Yes. So for email, and we’re only talking about averages. on email, the average open rate is 24% 24%. That means if you have 100 people on your email list, 24 people will see it and open it. So now let’s make this the same. How many people do you need on Instagram to get the same results as email? For email? 100 People 24 People will open it and engage with it. To get the same result on Instagram, you need 4000 people to get 24 people to engage with it. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of work to build. Yeah. 1000 people versus 100.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  27:24

Yeah. Well, I’m really happy that you shared those statistics, because at present, I have someone that’s helping me build on my email list. You know, I’m not going to share numbers bad. My engagement is probably twice or three times on people opening higher than that average. My opening rate is really good. Based on what you’ve just said, then, obviously, I’m doing well in that area. Yeah, if

Miriam Schulman  27:56

you have a four if you have double if you have a 40% open rate, you are gold.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:01

Yeah, it’s actually even higher than that.

Miriam Schulman  28:05

Fantastic. That’s fantastic.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:07

Yeah, yeah. So no, that’s incredible. So at least, that’s really good to know. Okay, yeah. So how do people then build their email list? If it’s that important? How do they build it? And what do they do with it?

Miriam Schulman  28:23

Okay, because that’s what people ask me. And first of all, if you if you know what you’re doing on Instagram, that’s the that’s the same thing. You send an email. And then like, I also get questions. Wait till should it be different posted an Instagram, which I put on my email list, like we just said to you that nobody’s seeing what you’re posting on Instagram? Did the same. And we always flatter ourselves. We think everyone’s seeing everything we do and all the places. They’re not seeing it all. Like I have I have a cousin. This is what I’m sure you saw the picture of, you know, her daughter on Facebook. Oh, I didn’t see that, like anything, and then did on Facebook and weeks.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:03

Yeah. Or as some of us we had people that do that for us. They do our posting for us. That’s right. So it’s not us. Right, it

Miriam Schulman  29:14

looks like I’m there. I not

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:17

know when they’re posting stuff on our behalf. They’re not some of them are not necessarily engaging with other posts on any level, but they are just simply putting work forward that represents ours. And therefore people think that we’re we are the ones that are on Facebook. That’s true on Instagram.

Miriam Schulman  29:40

That is true. One more thing I just wanted to share about Instagram. It’s not just about the algorithms being quote unquote, evil. That’s not even what this is about. Everyone blames the algorithms. So there’s two there’s two things I want to point out. The first thing I want to call is the death of the scroll. Oh,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:00

Can you say squirrel again?

Miriam Schulman  30:03

Scroll, scroll, scroll. I have a New York accent. So luckily you like Seinfeld, you don’t mind listening.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:13

I just love I just love. I have another American friend and he has squirrels in his backyard and I just love Murrells

Miriam Schulman  30:22

squirrel. This is so I’m saying squirrel. So like the swiping,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  30:26

whereas we say squirrels. Okay.

Miriam Schulman  30:30

All right. So whether you’re on reels or tick tock, if you if it’s you, or have you seen somebody, all they’re doing is with like, I don’t be people on the podcast can’t see me but the people on YouTube, I’m just swiping my finger up, up, up, up. When you’re on one of those platforms, they don’t even want you to finish watching the video. They want you on to the next video. So what does that mean for the content creator, that your the people watching you. They’re not stopping to click on your call to action. They’re visiting your profile. I had a client who had a real go pretty much viral. She had 47,000 views on it. But nobody visited her profile like you can see on the on the insights like maybe she got five, maybe she got five new followers and no sales. That’s not worth it on tick tock. You can follow somebody and never see their content ever again. And that’s why that building that huge following on tick tock like there’s, there’s people with these huge following and tic TOCs. Like there was a somebody my publisher reached out to me, and he said, Well, she has half a million Tik Tok followers. I said, I don’t care. How big is your email list?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  31:45

Yeah, yeah,

Miriam Schulman  31:46

this is what they wanted me to put her on my podcast and email about her. It’s like, she’s like, well, she’ll put you on Tik Tok. Like, so. What doesn’t do it? You can put a billboard in Times Square for all I care. It doesn’t matter. How many people see it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  32:03

Yeah, so true. So with your coaching programme, I would say that, obviously, it’s been highly influenced by all the lessons that you’ve learned through your journey of becoming an entrepreneur. Yeah. And you help other creatives make six figure incomes? Yes. From from their art or from their, their craft as a creative artists. What is the biggest mistake Do you believe that creatives make and what is the reason that they don’t achieve the level of success that you have?

Miriam Schulman  32:47

Yeah, okay. So there’s five areas that I identify in the book art for newer, and that I also teach in my coaching programme. There’s production, pricing, prospecting, promotion and productivity. Yeah. And usually there’s a problem with one of those areas. Now, what most often happens is that they know they have a problem, and they’ve mis identified the problem. For example, we’ve talked a lot about social media today, because that’s where people think it’s at people will come to me, I just need a bigger audience. And I said, Well, maybe that’s not the problem. The problem is, it’s usually something else. Either, they are selling something that is a low cost item, like don’t laugh, a handmade greeting card for $10. That takes them like half. But literally, this is not just artists, really, it’s across all industries, they’re making something that is very time consuming compare pair to what it is that they aren’t charging very low profit items. So low profit thinking.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  33:49

And then I just bought in with teachers. They’re selling their time. Yes, at a very low cost. Yes. But for the skills and the knowledge and the education they’ve had. That’s right, and the level of their teaching.

Miriam Schulman  34:08

So one of the things I do put in there, I’m from the visual world, and I mostly work with visual artists. But I did put in there case studies in the book of musicians who like and I show you the different examples, what what it would look like if you’re charging a premium price versus a low price, what would it look like if you made it into a group class? What would that look like? And it’s showing people how you can really scale back your time and

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:35

that’s the pot in the book. Hey, go. I’ve got it here.

Miriam Schulman  34:39

So just like I did compare, and let’s compare it let’s do the math. Just like I did with the Instagram and the email. I’ll show you the math of like, and there are so many people who just don’t do that math problem. Like I’ve had a lot of people come to me over the years. Oh, the problem is I just don’t I just need to find more people who want my handmade greeting card or sticker or whatever it is. It’s like, no, that’s not the problem. Stop making handmade greeting cards, make something else, make something that’s more that’s more profitable? Because if you’re selling something for $10, and you want to make $50,000, which even then, you know, that’s not even a lot of money, you, you need to find 5000 people. Yeah, yeah, no, if you’re selling something for $1,000, now you to make the same money, you only need 50 people, if you’re selling something for $5,000, you only need make sell 10 of them. So it’s, you quickly see that it’s less work.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  35:38

Yeah, yeah. And I don’t want to go off track.

Miriam Schulman  35:41


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  35:44

how much of that is their own self worth? And how much of it is they just don’t know that, like, it’s a knowledge, it’s, it’s a gap in their knowledge and their training to know that you can actually create something that has a greater profit margin, and how much of it is around their own self belief and their own self value and self worth that, Oh, I couldn’t possibly charge that. Because no one’s gonna buy something that I make, or something that I a service I’m providing at that amount of money. It’s all

Miriam Schulman  36:23

those things. And, and so so many people talk about the believing in yourself, the believing in your art, and this is what I call the belief triad. What they don’t talk about is the third part of that belief triad, which is belief in the customer. Because here’s the thing, Marisa, let’s just take the example from my world, if I wanted to sell you a painting for $5,000, I can believe in myself and I can believe in this painting. But if I don’t believe in you, you’re not going to buy that painting. And here’s why. What’s going through your mind is not whether Miriam Schulman is worth 5000 It’s not worth myrams Shulman’s painting is worth 5000, what you’re trying to decide Marissa is if you are worth if you feel that you’re worth investing $5,000 in to get this painting that you want. Now, if I lose sight of that, I will sabotage the sale. If I’m thinking it’s all making it all about me, I will sabotage the sale. And if I have any uncertainty about whether you’re gonna invest in yourself, if I don’t believe in you, and love you even more than you do yourself, you will, you will have doubts about investing in yourself. That’s the piece that people

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  37:36

lose sight of. And I think that is a really important piece, not from the perspective you’re talking about. But it kind of takes the pressure off us, because we tend to make everything about us. And ourselves like aware of failure, we’re not worthy, we’re not bla bla, bla, we carry so much baggage. So it’s kind of a way to have releasing some of those shackles and that baggage. That’s right, and taking the pressure off ourselves. Because ultimately, as humans, we want to be rescuing everybody else. And we kind of then go into some kind of rescue mode or, you know, I love you. Let’s make it about you kind of thing. Yeah.

Miriam Schulman  38:27

I mean, there’s I don’t know if you’re at that part of the book yet. But I include an overcoming objections chart for people who are in sales. And the reason I include that is not to get Yes, at any cost. It’s so that you can learn to understand and have compassion for where they’re at in their buying journey. What is going through their mind,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  38:48

I loved that part of the book. I haven’t had the book very long. I haven’t had it long enough to have a good read of it. But I loved like, let’s just do a quick role play. I don’t want to get bogged down in anything too much because I literally have a million questions for you. But I love the part where you know, you give different responses. So maybe asked me at all be the customer. Let’s just see. Let’s just roleplay an objection.

Miriam Schulman  39:21

Okay, so I’m selling you this painting. Mm hmm. Um, would I be now the role playing I’m going to be the good salesperson, right? That salesperson is a good one. Okay, so how would you like to pay for this?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  39:36

I’m not really sure. I just have to check to see how much I have in my bank account. I may need to use my credit card. Good. I’ll take credit card.

Miriam Schulman  39:47

I mean, it’s like I don’t even get there with with most people because I’m not I’m not like believing their own bullshit. So no, here’s the thing that I want the listeners Understand, it’s never that your customers are lying to you. They’re usually lying to themselves, ah, ah, and this is what we need to all stop doing as well, because it’s very disempowering. It’s so easy for somebody to say, I can’t afford it. It’s too expensive. We’re conditioned to believe that’s the polite thing to say, that is so disempowering, and I want everyone listening to stop saying, I can’t afford it. Say the truth. And that doesn’t mean you have to buy everything, but say the truth. The truth is, you choose not to Yeah, yeah, have that agency over your choice. Yeah, I choose not to invest my money that way. Or I choose not to spend that amount on these things, or I choose not to make this a priority at this time.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:56

So then, if you’re a singing teacher, I know this is not your, I mean, you’re basically dealing with products. But let’s just say, I’m a singing teacher. And I’m charging, let’s just say $150 an hour. And I have a potential student that rings up and says, Oh, I really, I really want to have lessons with you. How much your lessons and I say they’re $150 an hour, and you get, wow, that’s really expensive. Or there’s a teacher down the road. That’s only charging 120. What do you say to that person? I mean, because this is actually a real thing that happens with people in private studio. Okay,

Miriam Schulman  41:47

so you know, you don’t want to compete with people on price, you can see that Walmart was just unseated by Amazon, there’s no commute competing with price. So what you need to make the experience of even that sales, conversation less transactional. If he got to the price so quickly, then it was a transactional conversation. You want to keep the focus on what it is that they want to solve? What is their wet dreams? Not just their problems, too many people talk about problems, we have to talk about what is their fantasy, future, pace them into their fantasy of what they want to achieve. And if you need to then talk about other students that have done the same thing. Now I saw people doing this at the gym. So it’s like, it’s hilarious to me now that I’ve had, you know, 20 years later, I’m going to sign up for a gym, and everything I say they’re they’re like, using all the sales techniques. I mean, I was like, Oh, I know what you’re doing here. Yeah. So for example, just to make it like very clear for your listeners who maybe are vocal coaches. So I went into the gym, and mostly I wanted to sign up for the gym because my bathroom is broken, and I needed a good place to take a shower. So so I’m telling this to the gym salesperson, and he’s like, yes, many people join the gym. For that reason, no matter what I said it was like, Yes, we have a lot of clients who do that he kept reinforcing that the reason that I wanted to join was a good idea. Okay, even when I was saying these ridiculous things, like I just want to see your locker room. And he was he was coming up with more examples. Oh, yeah, we have a lot of people who are students, and they, they they really want you know, I live in New York City. So it’s people with very small apartments with lots of roommates, blah, blah, blah. So whatever it was, it was like reinforcing my own reasons. So a lot of the sales is about listening to what your customer wants, and then yes, reinforcing what they want. They will not make it about the $30 price difference, if they know that you understand them and you listen to them.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:05

So true. How much of it is listening, it is so true. Now let’s get back to what did some of the other steps that you use in that five step programme. Okay, so

Miriam Schulman  44:20

we talked about production and pricing, those two things work hard hand in hand. And a lot of what I talk about an entrepreneur is, well what is it you’re making and how is it marketable? And that’s when we talk about in chapter six, embrace your inner weirdo. Mm hmm. I don’t know if you want me to share some some of that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:40

Yes, I’d love for you to do that. Yes. Okay.

Miriam Schulman  44:44

So first of all, let’s talk about why. Why do I even call weird? Why do I even call it weird?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  44:50

Why do you call it weird? Okay.

Miriam Schulman  44:54

And the word weird in Scotland actually used to mean fake fate or destiny, or even magical. So that’s why in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the three witches were the Weird Sisters weird only took on a negative connotation when the supernatural became vilified. So over the centuries, as the supernatural became vilified, the word weird took on a negative connotation, but that is not the origin of the word we are the origin of the word weird. Is Fate, destiny magical when you are embracing what is weird about you, you are embracing your fate. You’re embracing your destiny. You are embracing what’s magical about you.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:39

So I, you are giving me permission to call myself a weirdo, please. And I can give myself permission to call myself a weirdo, even though I’ve always thought I was one.

Miriam Schulman  45:53

That’s, well, it’s not that I’m giving you permission, because you probably already did it. But I’m saying I’m celebrating it. Yeah, let’s all be weirdos.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  46:03

Yeah. So how does this then tie in?

Miriam Schulman  46:08

Okay, so let’s say I wanted to talk about this specifically, because one of the examples that I gave is, so Britney Spears, who we think about her as being very commonplace, because now we’re 20 years out from when she hit the scene. But when she was first arrived, which she did, nobody else was doing. She when she was introducing all that valley talk into her singing, the vocal coach could have trained it out of her. They could have taught her to sing in a way that she didn’t have the that valley talk sounding way, said they recognise that this was something that made her different. This was something that made her special, and this is what made her weird. So instead of training it out of her, they dialled it up to 11. And that’s why so many she became successful, and so many people then copied it afterwards. But what makes someone successful is not because they copied something that’s a style that’s popular, it’s because they bring something that’s brand new, a brand new point of view. Yep. And they embrace that. Yeah. And

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  47:19

it always comes back to I believe that we need to embrace our uniqueness, and being authentic in what we do,

Miriam Schulman  47:30

and have a point of view, because this is why I’m not worried about chat GPT or any of these AI programmes because none of them have a point of view. No, you keep us chat. GPT what’s better hamburger hotdog, it can’t tell you and to to be an artist, is to have a point of view, you have to have a point of view, every great artist, and by art, were saying music, writing, movies, theatre, all these things, they’ve always had a brand new point of view that pushed against what came before it. So we had Nirvana with the cop rock and immediately pushing up against it, we had Atlantis Morissette. And these, you know, very empowered women. So everything pushes up against what came before it in the contrasting point of view.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  48:25

So true, so true. With everything that you’re sharing, I think it’s really interesting. And I think this is something that people in the creative industry and I’m talking to people in my industry here singers, people who are within the singing voice community, who spend so much time honing in on their skills as singers as teachers developing that knowledge base. Question is, how much time do you spend learning about this stuff? You know, because I love

Miriam Schulman  49:10

that you asked this question because people who think that way never get there. No, they just never get there and I call this Sleeping Beauty complex. So in the Disney movies, I love all your

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  49:24

your little idiosyncrasies and your little phrases and your catch terms. Okay, sleeping beauties. Okay.

Miriam Schulman  49:32

I wanted to call it I actually wanted to call it sleeping beauty syndrome, but apparently that’s a real disease. So Sleeping Beauty complex. It from the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty. When they find out that the princess is cursed. They take this little baby the fairies take the little baby and they bring her to the woods. And you don’t see the princess again until she’s fully grown. She’s like 16 or 17 years old. We don’t see her with pimples. We don’t see her with braces. We don’t see her go through puberty. This is what a lot of creatives artists, business people, fill in the blank, people want to do, who are doing this perfectionist thing as you want to take your creative baby, your business baby, or whatever it is your vocal technique, baby, you want to put it out into the woods, and you don’t want anyone to hear it or see it or touch it until it’s a fully grown adult. And listen, you can’t do that. You have to love your baby. Now, you have to love your baby as it it’s an adolescent, you have to take it out in the world, because you don’t know what people are gonna resonate with, unless you do, because look at Britney Spears, she, she had all these weird vocal tics going on, they kind of train that out of her, they could have kept her in the woods until all until they taught her how to not do that anymore.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  50:48

Hmm. Yeah, that’s the thing, you have to stop putting it out there, don’t you? Because that is so true. You don’t know what audiences, what students, whoever it is that you’re working with. You don’t know until you start putting it out there, what part of your work, they’re going to embrace what’s going to be successful and not. And I heard many years ago, that to perfect something, you actually have to be doing the thing. You can’t perfect something that’s in the woods, you actually have to be doing it to perfect it. And when you do hit a speed bump, or you hit a wall, you learn from it, and you go well, that that clearly doesn’t work. And you learn from it. And you don’t do it again, you don’t repeat the problem again. You’ve learned how to fix it, but you can’t do it in the woods. I love that you keep you said that it’s in the woods. Yeah. And it’s like, in our industry. People think that talent and the skill set is everything. And I used to teach a business module at a performing art school. I did that for many years. And then the first lesson, I would say to students who are doing like a diploma, I would say you know what, that’s only 10%. Only 10% of your success is going to be based on your skills and your talent. And the other 90% is what gets you the job. And you can’t be what I used to call a door knocker. And that is that you sit at home, waiting for someone to knock on the door and go, Oh, I hear there’s a dancer that lives here. Or I hear there’s a singer that lives here. Oh, I hear that someone cells aren’t here. Like there’s so many aspects. The business side about what we do is more important than the actual skill itself. Right?

Miriam Schulman  52:56

So you I love that you call it door knocker. I call that Rapunzel style. They’re waiting. They’re waiting for someone to come. And not only to calm but to like climb that tower and rescue them.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  53:10

Yes. Yes. Yeah. And and I mean, I also sometimes I teach once a year, I teach a business module to postgraduate students at a university, about the business side of the industry. And yet they get it so wrong. People spend 10 years having saved vocal lessons. And don’t spend any money investing in their careers. Like what’s going to get them the jobs.

Miriam Schulman  53:42

Yeah, it’s time.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  53:46

And this is where your book comes in handy. People go and buy this book, you are going to learn so much honestly, this is really well needed. I know that you’re an artist, but this is for all creatives. So it’s the art printer, the step by step guide to making a sustainable living from your creativity and so much of it is around mindset, isn’t it, Miriam? It is. So

Miriam Schulman  54:12

sometimes I like to joke that it’s really a self development book in disguise as a business book for creatives. But that’s only because and I’m sure you’ll agree with this building a business is the best self development work you’ll ever do.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:29

Oh, I guess. Yeah. You learn so much about yourself too. You learn about your resilience, your tenacity, the value you place on yourself and the belief and that poverty mindset that a lot of people have that stop them from making money because they don’t believe they are worthy or they come from families where having money was evil, or having money was so elusive. So Have them and they carry that belief system throughout their whole lives, don’t they?

Miriam Schulman  55:05

Well, it’s very difficult, especially for women and even more so for marginalised group women of colour. Because we have been taught. I think American women especially we’ve been taught not to desire, sex and money. Like it’s kind of part of that puritanism that is really infects my, the culture that I’m from. But but there is definitely evidence of socialisation, that it’s it’s not proper for women to desire power and money and sex and money is a big piece of that.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  55:40

Interestingly enough, the other night, I watched 50 Shades of Grey. Now, when I told my kids, I have two adult daughters, that I watched that movie, they were horrified. But I didn’t watch it from the aspect of what all the other women will watch it from was like, Oh, I wouldn’t mind that having that happened to me. Like, it wasn’t about that. And it wasn’t about that fantasy of meeting the guy with the power and the money. It was what the movie represented, if you watched it from the standpoint of being a strong, independent woman, and you watch that movie and the message it’s sending out, it kind of aligns with what you said that women can’t have the sex and the money. Because there is a movie that so many women went and watched that’s actually exacerbating that message.

Miriam Schulman  56:43

I feel we I saw a joke recently where somebody had said, yeah, if he wasn’t a billionaire, it would just be about a creep. You know, like, it was the fact that he was a billionaire. Like, yeah, made it okay. Made it hot. But if he wasn’t a billionaire, it’s not hot anymore.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  57:03

Yeah, exactly. If he if he worked in like the department store down the road, or, you know, was picking up garbage in the streets of New York.

Miriam Schulman  57:14

They were just making the DVD, right? Yeah, but because he’s a billionaire. It’s okay.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  57:18

Yeah, exactly. But in winding up, Miriam, what else would you like to share with our listening audience from your programme or from your brilliant book that they all need to go out and buy? I’m 100% endorsing your book. It’s amazing.

Miriam Schulman  57:37

Thank you so much. Well, if you like what you heard today, come find me on the Inspiration Place Podcast. I’m also giving away chapter one absolutely free chapter one is choose to believe. showman, forward slash believe, or Yeah, or get our printer at our printer

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  57:56

Yeah. And we will share your links in the show notes to where people can find the book. And in wrapping up, what are any final pieces of advice you would like to share with the listeners? Okay, so

Miriam Schulman  58:12

I’d love to end today’s interview the same way I ended the book, which is keep marching forward, there’s going to be so many times where you think you’re taking the right actions, you may not get the results you want. But as long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other, not marching in place, and not blaming your boots, not blaming the circumstances. But keep marching forward one foot in front of the other, you will make progress.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  58:40

Fantastic. That is amazing advice. Thank you for that. And look, we wish you all the very best for everything that you you’re up to next and wish you success with your book and your your programme. We will share all your information, your details in the show notes. I really appreciate you taking the time out to spend time here on the podcast and with the listeners. And I hope to reconnect in the future I actually would like to read the book in greater detail. And I will probably have like, I didn’t even go through all the questions that I had, because there’s just so many and I’m sure I’m gonna have way more in the future. And if you would consider some time coming back. It would be amazing to have you here. What you’re doing is so valuable.

Miriam Schulman  59:36

Thank you. It’d be an honour. You’re a very dynamic Interviewer And I very much appreciate what you did here today.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  59:42

Oh, thank you so much. Well, thank you, Miriam, and good luck and all the very best in the future and look forward to reconnecting with you soon. Maybe in New York next month. I don’t think we would come up for air we would be like this

Miriam Schulman  59:59

right? Do you like to go to a good restaurant or what is it your What? Is it your guilty pleasure in New York? Do you like to go to the ballet? You want to go to the museum?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:00:08

Actually Broadway?

Miriam Schulman  1:00:10

Oh, Broadway, okay. That’s my guilty pleasure musicals or plays or doesn’t matter. Actually, I’ve

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:00:17

never been to see a play really play you can recommend that you think is amazing. I’ve always gone to musicals. But if there’s a play,

Miriam Schulman  1:00:27

of course, because you’re a singer, there’s like a real there’s a play that just came out with Jessica hat and Laura Linney about woman female friendship. It’s supposed to be very good.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  1:00:36

Okay. All right. Let’s do it. Yeah, let’s do it. All right. Thank you, Miriam. Have a good rest of your evening. Thank you. Bye. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it, as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth, and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode have a voice and beyond