Artist to Creative Entrepreneur

What Creatives Have to Say: Chelsea Moore

Chelsea

Chelsea is another of my former students who has gone from artist to creative entrepreneur. I like to share the stories of my students as an inspiration to others!

Chelsea is an artist who sells her handmade ‘goodies’ as she calls them, on Etsy. She creates crochet accessories, jewelry and art prints. In addition she does freelance photography and video for weddings and other events. Being a true creative entrepreneur, also gives lessons in photography.

Chelsea has advice to share to other creatives:

  1. Pricing: At first her prices were too low, which not only hurt her, but also other artists as it conditioned customers into believing handmade equals cheap.
  2. Branding: She waited too long before she started using the name MountainThings which now communicates her image of nature inspired art created with eco-friendly materials.
  3. Targeting: You may start in business by selling to friends, but that does not mean they are your target market. She learned she needed customers who could afford her products.

You can learn more about Chelsea’s work at www.mountain-things.com

 

Pricing Your Product

Putting a Price on Your Time so Everyone is Happy

One of the most difficult tasks for any entrepreneur is pricing your product. This last week I experienced this same issue as I wrote a research proposal. One of my interests besides the cultural industries is economic development. I and a colleague are involved in the Center for the Study of Community and the Economy where I am Co-Director.

CSCE LogoThe Center is built upon the idea that a growing economy is necessary to maintain a vibrant community and a vibrant community is required for economic growth. The Center takes as interdisciplinary approach to researching and improving the quality of life.

We were recently asked to write a proposal to determine the effect of Marcellus natural gas industry growth on housing affordability and availability. One of the issues was putting a price tag on research that would take about four months to complete – all at the same time as I am working on my latest book. So I decided to take my own advice. Here are five lessons that I have adapted from the website The Abundant Artist.


Learn these Lessons for Pricing Your Product

  • Feel Good About the Price
    • You put hours of work into the product or project.The price for the product should be a fair exchange where both parties feel they got a fair deal.
  • Don’t Get Defensive
    • You know what you are worth. If the customer is unhappy with the price, stay friendly but stand firm.
  • Some Customers Aren’t Worth It
    • You are better off without a customer who always complains about the price.
  • Be Quiet
    • Give a price, not a price range. Of course, the customer will want the lower price.
  • You’re Worth It
    • If someone is willing to pay a price, it is the correct price. You cannot overcharge for your own work.

Rules for Successful Authors

Rules for Successful Authors – thanks to an article on successful artists

I found this article on successful artists and decided to adapt them for authors.

Traits Common to Successful Artists


 

  1. Have art at the core of your life:

Over my morning coffee I am already deciding what subject I will write about that day.

  1. Understand how art works in the business world:

Over time I have learned to think like my editor whose primary role is not my happiness. His primary role is to find books that will be purchased by readers.

  1. Have a strong work ethic:

I write because that is my job. I don’t complain about having to write even though some days I am banging my head on my laptop keyboard trying to get the words out.

  1. Are resilient:

If one day my writing is crap, I tell myself at least I got something done and hope that tomorrow I will be inspired, the words will flow beautifully, and readers will delight in my virtuosity! This is probably not going to happen but it is fun to think about.

  1. Spend time only with supportive people:

True friends are interested in what you write, but don’t test their friendship too much.

 

Meet A Creative – Stephanie Robinson

I was speaking with a friend about Nashville and the entertainment industry. What I find interesting is that the line of demarcation between the artist and the manager has now blurred. Some artists now serve as their own managers. And, some managers are also artists. The model below that I found on Outside the Box Music demonstrates the creative possibilities for musicians that they can pursue. However the same holds true for visual artist, who may also be a musician.

The New Nashville Music Middle Class

newmodel

 

Stephanie-Robinson-Photo-8.However people who handle talent are also creative. After all putting an event together takes creativity. One of my former students is now working as an agent.Stephanie Robinson works in the entertainment industry booking all types of talent. She started in college with an internship at a nonprofit community arts center and now works professionally. She needs to ensure that the talents of the musicians, singers, comedians and poets she books match the benefits desired by her clients. She promotes her clients through emails, phone calls and personal selling. She believes the skills that are essential for targeting customers are:

  1. Developing cold calling tips and tricks.
  2. Understanding the legal lingo of contracts.
  3. Using all types of business database programs.

You can see learn more about Stephanie’s company at their website: www.neon-entertainment.com

Creative Entrepreneurship Being Taught at Julliard

Creative Entrepreneurship Being Taught at Julliard!


Creative entrepreneurship is being taught at Julliard. If you are talented enough to enter Julliard it might seem you don’t need to worry about the future.

Julliard2Not True! I noticed that Julliard is investing a $5 million gift into entrepreneurship education.

It seems even Julliard students need to learn how to put together their own career rather than waiting for someone to knock on their door. All first year students will study business skills and entrepreneurship.

New Book CoverAdditional courses such as The Musician as Entrepreneur are also being offered.

Musicians, artists, and creatives of all types need to learn entrepreneurial skills, which is why I write my books.

I hope they use mine.

American Rescue Workers

Having Fun While Doing Good

Sometimes people think all I do is sit behind my computer and write every day. While this is true Monday-Friday from 7:30am to noon and sometimes on the weekends, I do have fun like when I volunteer with the American Rescue Workers!

Last night was the annual winter dinner for the Crosscutters, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Don’t forget I live in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the home of Little League Baseball International Headquarters so of course I am interested in the sport.

PhilliesThis year’s dinner was a fundraiser for the American Rescue Workers an excellent organization (I am a board member) that provides homeless services.The photo is of me along with the Phillie Phanatic selling raffle tickets.


We raised over $6,000 for the cause! And, I got a free Chase Utley bobble-head. To all you doubters, this is the year the Phillies start the road back to another World Series championship!

From Artist to Creative Entrepreneur

Week Two of writing has been completed and I am on target with my word count. Writing a book is a lot like taking a long hike where at first the scenery is not very interesting. You just have to keep going in the knowledge that there is an exciting view up ahead somewhere!


I have written much about the change in the relationship between the artist and society and the change from artist to creative entrepreneur. First artists were artisans who learned a craft. Then they became geniuses, who without a patron, would starve in an attic. With the growth of cultural organizations and the MFA and other related graduate programs, the artist became a professional. And now? The artist is a creative entrepreneur. What does this mean? We are all still working out the definition.

The article,  Death of the Artist and Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur in The Atlantic, discusses two changes in the way artists live the artistic life. First, they do not confine themselves to one type of artistic expression as they can be both a painter and a photographer. Secondly, they rely on networks rather than just an artistic circle. Check out the article and the comments as there are some very strong feelings about the change!

Death of An ArtistThe visual is by JavierJaén.


 

Business Skills for Musicians

Why business skills for musicians in a university or college program?


I have been an advocate of creative students understanding business for two reasons:

  • First so that they are comfortable working in a business environment.
  • Second so that they are able to run their own businesses.

Recently Dr. Bill Ciabattari, Chair of the Music Department of Lycoming College shared an article with me. Why Music Schools Will Go Out of Business if Music Education is Not Improved published on the website Music School Central explains that parents will no longer be willing to shell out money for a music degree without their son or daughter graduating with employment skills. Check out the article link below:

Why Music Schools Will Go Out of Business If Music Education Is Not Improved

I was intrigued by their first two recommended priorities:

  1. “Don’t sell the dream of being an orchestral musician – provide the skills to becoming a paid musician”
  2. “Make music marketing and business classes a requirement”

I couldn’t agree more!

 

 

Business Skills for Artists

Introducing Helena Vyvozilová

Helena Photo

Helena has shared with my her ideas on business skills for artists. One of the privileges of my job teaching creative students is the wonderful and unique individuals I have been taught. In my newest book, Entrepreneurship for Creative and Cultural Organizations, I start each chapter with advice from one of my former students. I had asked each what they wished they had known before they went into business.


Helena doesn’t think of it as selling, but her company provides music groups and ensembles for any type of occasion. In addition she also organizes events for clients; anything from team buildings to galas. Helena markets online but gets most of her new clients through personal recommendations. She prides herself on providing a service that is highly personalized. The business skills Helena wishes that earlier she had been:

Business Skills Needed by Artists

  1. More patient as business builds over time.
  2. More proactive in raising funds.
  3. Less idealistic and more insight into cruel reality.

You can see Helena’s work at www.hmmanagement.cz

I suggest that you click ‘player’ in the upper right hand corner and listen to some wonderful music with lyrics in both English and Czech.

I hope that creatives who read my new book before starting a business will find reality a bit less cruel!

Writing update

The new book is underway! I meet my word goal which means that I have a little over half a chapter written. Of course, it is not very good writing.

diamond-in-kimberlite-with-round-brilliant-cut-diamondThe first draft of a book is the equivalent of the first cut of a diamond. There is still a lot of work to be done before it is a shiny gem.

 

Writing a New Book in 32 Weeks

Starting a New Book

On Friday I finished correcting the proofs for Entrepreneurship for the Creative and Cultural Industries. I am now writing new book in 32 weeks.

I should have started on my new book immediately but I have been stalling and instead have been working on my new website. I am learning WordPress as I go so hopefully it will continue to improve.

It is snowing outside so I can’t use the excuse that I need to run errands.

So, it is time to get started on writing Strategic Marketing for the Creative and Cultural Industries. Anyway that is the title so far. It is the editor and publisher who determine the final title.

If you are thinking that an author starts out on a new book by staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration, perhaps you are right.

Blog Post 2 Image

How to Write a Book in 32 Weeks

However, I start with an Excel spreadsheet!

I know that the book must be completed by August 15. I know the number of words that must be written. I know that I must calculate that my second and third drafts of the book chapters will take as long as the first draft. However I must also factor in that I will be in the classroom teaching for the next fifteen weeks so will have less time for writing.

After working the numbers I have calculated that I must write the first draft of 100,000 words in 18 weeks. That’s 5,555 words a week. I will write Monday through Friday, 1000 words a day and then 555 words on Saturday and I get Sunday off!

Since today is Tuesday, I am already behind….

You Start with a Spreadsheet

Here’s what my spreadsheet looks like. Each day I log in the number of words I have written, my total number of words written, the percent completed and if I am on track to meet my weekly word goal.

I will check in on Friday to let you know how it is going. Editors LOVE an author that meets deadlines.

Writing Schedule
Date Day Total % Completed Goal
5-Jan Monday – Week One 0 0
6-Jan Tuesday 0 0.00%
7-Jan Wednesday 0 0.00%
8-Jan Thursday 0 0.00%
9-Jan Friday 0 0.00%
10-Jan Saturday 0 0.00%
11-Jan Sunday 0 0.00% 5556
12-Jan Monday – Week Two 0 0.00%
13-Jan Tuesday 0 7.00%
14-Jan Wednesday 0 0.00%
15-Jan Thursday 0 0.00%
16-Jan Friday 0 0.00%
17-Jan Saturday 0 0.00%
18-Jan Sunday 0 0.00% 11112