Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art. ~Andy Warhol
Living life as a self representing, self taught artist is part adventure and part quagmire.
Becoming a business person who is also an artist has been a journey of education, failure and sweat. Self studying art for 20 years, (2018) I have learned how to “see” life in a different way and has served me well in my art practice. However, it has not helped one little bit in learning to be a business person. Not one iota.
Working artists, sometimes find it hard to learn the art of business, it can be overwhelming to manage money spending and money making.
Doing business with art, is even harder to sort out. Seemingly simple things, like: How much do you charge? Does your web site work? How’s your SEO? What’s happening with the investments in materials, education and time spent practicing? Do you have your tax situation mapped out? How are you ranking in the search engines? Can anyone find you? Can they buy from you, easily? I know, right?!! SO. Much. Stuff! The art of business is the Zen approach to learning a new skill. You already know so much about making art, business is just as intuitive for artists.
So. how do you eat this elephant? Yup. One bite at a time. The skill sets required for being a successful artist, in any field or medium, are remaining flexible and open to a process. While also implementing sets of rules to keep flow happening, imparting consistency to the work, overall.
The same goes for being a living artist, working for money.
It’s all hard until you practice.
Remember when you were first learning how to make your art? Art business is just like that, only with money. Take your time, ask questions, take a business course. The only wrong move here, is not taking the time to learn basic business concepts and web site marketing.
Learning how to build and maintain (without breaking the bank) your own web site, is daunting enough. I suggest WordPress to those artists that want to carve out their own slice of online real estate. like it because it’s fairly easy to use and understand. The happiness engineers are amazing magicians who gladly will help you. That means a lot to me. Plus, the cost is uber reasonable. I am using Pressable for WordPress. Both company’s are great, and pressable only cost 25.00 a month and that allows 5 web sites.
Learning how to make a web site successful, is another thing.
You can learn anything now, it’s all at your finger tips. Spending the time to learn everything is very, very worth it. I am working on the SEO for this site and I am starting to see results! SEO is all about loading and labeling your web site with great keywords that will improve the search engines ability to find, categorize and rank, your web site. This matters greatly. If you make an incredible, responsive, hip web site and no one ever sees it…is it really a web site at all?
It takes time and patience to figure out what your keywords are but the work is so worth it.
I’m using a plug-in called Yoast. It’s super easy to use and it helps you find keywords in a jiffy. It also helps clean up your content writing, that’s awesome for me. Its a free plug in, so check it out.
When to pay the big bucks. Knowing what you need to do for your products to be seen.
Recently, we took steps to make our business work better for us, we became an LLC. We live in Oregon, it’s pretty easy here as the process is all online. It took some time to fill out the forms but it wasn’t too hard. It cost $100.00. Now, we have the business separate from our personal life. This allows us a better tax position. It also allows us to buy our supplies at a wholesale price point, which in turn, allows us to pass the price break on to our customers. So, that was money well spent!
Knowing the difference between a retail product and art.
We learned the process for acquiring UPC codes for our company and products. Watch out world, The Pour Paint Kits are coming to a retailer near you, soon! If you want to sell original artworks, you don’t need a UPC code. If you want to sell retail products, that can be uploaded into retail stores inventory system, you have to have a UPC. Companies like Amazon, require UPC for inclusion into their system. There are not a lot of places to get UPC codes. There are a lot of places that will sell (for cheap) codes but they are not allowed for places like Amazon. I bought ours from GS1. The cost was $250.00 + 50.00 yearly fee. I got 10 codes to marry to our products (i.e. Art Kits) so they can be sold retail.
Should I trademark?
We are starting the Trademark process. I will keep ya’ll in the loop about the experience, but so far it’s been pretty straightforward. Cost is going to run $275.00 to start with. We will be trademarking our name and our flagship product. This will double the costs but offer us the ability to become a registered brand! This will also help us acquire retailers and distributors for our products. Plus, it allows us to protect our intellectual property. You can learn about the info on trademarking (in the USA) HERE.
Once everything is accomplished.
Yes, these things have taken us over a year to discover, learn and accomplish. The time has not been wasted and our company is growing because of it. The time in the studio, getting to actually make art is so much more profitable…in terms of productivity. Now when I paint I can let all the other things I need to do go and just stay in the flow. It’s wonderful to know that a good plan is coming together. None of it would be possible if not for our fans and supporters. We are so very grateful for you all.
I really must get on with my work day, I just wanted to pop in and share some of the stuff I’ve been learning. I hope you found value in it.
Have a question? Well, just go ahead and leave it in the comments! I’ll be pleased as punch to help you in any way I can. Big love to all, HA!