I love this question.
How do you scale up and step up from making for friends and family to offering your service to the world of critics?
Short answer: Just do it.
Long answer: I lucked out in this aspect because I really did dive head first into selling to strangers right from the beginning. Within 6 months of ever even touching resin, I applied to an art festival that I didn't realize at the time since it was my very first one, but turned out to be one of the biggest festivals in California. I remember sending in my application and how it only asked for 5 photos of my art with 2 of those photos being images of previous displays.. meaning being part of other festivals.... #newbie I decided just to send in 5 photos without those displays and just hope for the best. Within a few days I got a returning email saying that they needed booth pictures and ultimately was told I had to get those booth photos turned in or my application would be invalid. SOOO next thing you know I am putting up tables in my driveway and whipping out all the white table cloths/sheets in the house. I propped up some of my pieces up and added a few plants to the table to help with this makeshift "booth". I took some photos and sent in the application again and within a few days I was accepted!
Below is the first piece I sold at that festival to a real life complete stranger. It was such a surreal feeling when the couple who DID NOT seem interested at all came back to my booth pointing to the piece and said, "We'll be getting this one".
I share this story because, like I said before, I only had 6 months experience of ever even knowing what my medium that I was using was. Technically only 4 months before I decided to apply. I really skipped over selling to friends and family right from the beginning and went straight to the strangers. It wasn't until friends and family started requesting commissions that I started to freak out. SELLING TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY IS TEN TIMES SCARIER!!!!! ( In my opinion at least). But hear me out, with strangers they are already coming to you because they really like your art. They are actually truly interested in what you are selling. With friends/family, they could be buying out of pity or just to be nice... and that scares me soo much more than strangers. I have a good point. Don't lie.
If you are selling to friends and fam then you are set. You're already doing the hardest part. Selling to strangers will be a breeze for you. All you have to do is find opportunities to sell to strangers. Whether that is at a local farmers market, festival, co-op, instagram, etc. This can be a post for another day about all the different opportunities to take.. but basically theres opportunity everywhere.
I think the only piece of advice I have is to be CONSISTENT. It is hard to keep posting or in my case keep painting if no one is showing interest in my work, but the consistent effort that you put in is what brings in the success later on. Now I feel like I should definitely take my own advice here, but I certainly struggle with not getting that instant gratification when I put in a tiny ounce of effort. lol. It's hard to keep pushing through when if feels like I am preaching (or trying to promote) to an empty room. As you keep taking steps to your dreams, your dreams will take multiple steps towards you. THAT was 100% a Pinterest quote I referenced lol. BUt you get the idea right?
I know I was extremely lucky with getting into that art festival, and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be in such an awesome festival selling to strangers and getting my art out in the world with such little experience. I hope that this somewhat inspires you to go and do whatever you have been holding off on. Realizing that the only barrier in the way is you. If you really want something, you'll find a way to make it happen even if it's not the most 'ideal' path.