Today, just over a month later, I shipped both individuals their pieces after getting their final approval by sending them a photo of what I had made. So, this ended up being both a rewarding experience and a growth opportunity for me as an artist. So why did this work? I have a few thoughts on this first experience:
1) You need to be comfortable with, and trust the buyer. Use your instincts - do they seem like someone who is going to be good to work with?
2) Do something that is not too distant from what you are already doing. In my case the materials were the same, just the configurations and the flower were different.
3) Start as soon as possible. Don't delay or procrastinate
4) Keep in touch with the person. Email is great for this. Send sketches, photos etc.
5) Only do it if you feel you will also benefit from it. A growth opportunity.
6) Take a deposit - 50% of the estimated cost is a good idea. Let them know that you will ship the piece but they will need to cover the cost. Give them an estimate of what you think it will cost to ship it to your location
7) Make more than one. In my case I made about 5 orchids and this allowed me to have more for her to choose from. I was able to keep the rest and sell them. I made a second set of the spiders so that I could photograph it for my portfolio.
8) Bring your portfolio to shows, especially when there are things that you have made that you either are out of or cannot bring to the show - you never know what someone might order