When you get recognized at any level it’s going to be up to you to maintain that recognition. Or when you sell a piece you have to ask yourself “How did I do it and how can I make it happen again?” it’s going to be your responsibility to keep the sales coming. And until you find an agent you will have to spend some time serving as your own agent.
I read an article in Professional Artist Magazine recently that said something that sounded like “There is no such thing as a professional artist who gets to do nothing but paint.” Half of your time will be spent producing the work and the other half promoting the work. The best thing to is get into the whole entrepreneuring lifestyle. Make it a habit to keep producing and promoting your work.