Think of your business card as more than something you leave behind after meeting someone. Make it an extension of your brand and your story
You need a good business card and I put emphasis on “Good”! I have met many artisans in casual situations and even at art fairs who don’t have a business card. Not only do they miss out on future sales they are not giving their brand a professional image that says, “I mean business!”. Here are some ideas and tips on putting your business card to work for you.
If you are serious about your art business you need some business Moxy!
If you sell your art you are in business! Whether you are just selling your art as a hobby, to make extra income or you are going all out in your art business you need to learn about business. More than likely you went to art school and not business school but don’t worry, the learning about business is not out of your reach. One of the things I have found in teaching business to hundreds of students is that those with an art background did not have a problem “getting it” and in many respects excel because of their creative talents.
Hopefully since you are reading this blog I probably don’t have to convince you that business skills are an important part of any creative career whether you are in business for yourself or you work for someone. The business world has changed and many of the things that have worked in the past may be less effective or not effective at all. Having a good grasp on how business works will help ensure the success of your creative enterprise or make you more valuable to your employer.
If you are just starting out or your art business is young make sure you have these things covered
In working with artists and other creative professionals I find that they are in a wide range of phases with regards to their art businesses. Some are just starting to think about starting an art business while others have a more or less fully developed enterprise. Many who are selling their art still need to complete some of the basic steps in forming and running a business. Here is a checklist to help you get some of the basics you will need to move your art business forward and minimize problems down the line.
While these items are necessary for starting your art business they are not a substitute for having a well thought out business and marketing plan. These items will not tell you how to do them or what choices you may need to make. I advise that you dig in deeper to each item and make the right choices and appropriate strategies. A good place to start is The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox by Neil McKenzie. The book is available as a softcover and eBook from major book sellers. There are also many articles on the Creatives and Business LLC website that will help you in starting your art business.
If you just started to sell your art or have a show coming up in the near future here are some things you need to address:
The importance of the creative economy in economic development is a hot topic these days in the governmental, educational, nonprofit and private sectors. The creative sector is usually defined as professions in science, engineering, education, design and the arts to name just a few. The general approach is that a robust creative sector will help accelerate job growth, foster entrepreneurship, make communities more vibrant and position us to compete in the world economy.
The top down approach
There are a lot of efforts being made to build the creative economy from the “top down” by a variety of educational, nonprofit and governmental agencies. Today, many are jumping on the band wagon even as some cut back on these efforts as a result of limited budgets. Examples of the top down approach include creative- and innovation-centered educational programs, arts districts and funding of creative placemaking efforts just to name a few.
A major challenge with this approach is to develop measures that prove that the money was well spent or in business terms “return on investment.” In an era of scarce resources, taxpayers and donors are demanding effective investments that lead to sustainable outcomes. Another challenge major challenge is to insure that these efforts have a positive and long term effect on the people they were designed to help – namely the individual artists and creative enterprises as well as the communities where these efforts are targeted.
The bottom up approach
It’s just what it says – developing the creative economy by nurturing the individuals and enterprises that make up the creative economy.This could take the form of direct investments into the entrepreneurial sector, incubators, mentoring and education for those involved in the creative sector. One of the advantages of this approach is that the funding and other efforts have a more direct route to those involved in the creative sector with fewer layers of middlemen.