Jan 28, 2009

Carving out Time

Well, I just took stock and...

apparently I'm not an artist (very much that is). And not because I don't want to be, or that I don't have it in me. Because I don't have time to create. I've been so busy on the business of art, that I forgot about the art part.

I've been working with a client as a business coach. Every session for the past 4 months (and we meet weekly) the conversation, no matter where it starts, ends back at her timeline or so I call it. When she's weighing new opportunities, planning to take on something, etc, the first thing I do is remind her to pull out her timeline and goals and see if it fits and where. If it doesn't fit in the timeline, she doesn't do it. I think I need to heed my own advice.

TTYL - I have to go work on my timeline and then off to the studio (aka dining room table)!

Jan 21, 2009

The List

Well, I'm hunkering down and getting serious this year. I'm getting my beach glass art sold! So to start I took a look at where I'm currently selling my work and and where I want to be selling my work. I removed my product from one store in Bloomfield (that's a blog story in itself, but not for public consumption!) and already have two new ones on board. One is a great boutique in Port Stanley, ON (my home stomping ground and where my beach glass collecting all began) called the Sandpyper Gallery. If you're down that way make sure to have a peak, it's very cool. The other one is closer to my current home, it's Gallery ArtPlus in Belleville. What a beautiful gallery! And the staff are so great. They both met my criteria.

Do you have criteria for stores that carry your art? When I first started I would put my work in any store that would carry it, now I'm the one being picky. It has to be the right fit. Here's my criteria to give you a head start on yours if you don't have a list yet:
  1. Is it on the water? (specific to me because of it being beach glass)
  2. Does it communicate with me?
  3. A maximum of 35% take (except in a few cases)
  4. Do they carry any other beach glass work and is it authentic?
  5. Do they allow my own branding?
  6. Do they pass the secret shopper test?
  7. Is their target market the same as mine?

Jan 16, 2009

Your product beats your marketing

When I ran Market Me (a marketing company) a few years a go I was very picky with the clients I took on. I knew that not everything was marketable, well wait, everything is marketable, just not sellable. I've seen many people try to use a good pitch or ad to sell a very mundane thing. I've also seen in the art world, artists afraid of selling out, not willing to create anything that people are willing to buy.

I agree there's a fine balance between creating just for the sake of selling and for creating just for the sake of creating. Unfortunately, if you don't have a buyer you won't be able to eat so some compromises do have to be made. And if you get it right, you'll have a profitable balance between the two.

I recently set up a few blogs and it really does come down to what you're selling as to how successful you'll be. I'm sure you've heard the term selling ice to an Eskimo? Well, one of my blogs (http://weddingsundera1000.blogspot.com/) on the first day I launched it already had more subscribers and visits than this blog ever has! It has a better selling proposition or higher demand. It proved to me that it comes down to what you are selling not what you are marketing as I hadn't even started to market it yet.

So if you wondering what you can do to increase your sales - before looking at your marketing campaign, look at what it is you're selling.

Jan 7, 2009

Show Time

Now is the time when most artists are planning their shows for the year. Applications and payments are usually due in the first 3 months of the year. It's really a great system, the winter months are typically slower for sales and allow for more admin time (yuck!) and it forces us to sit down and do our planning. The trick is putting all this money out in show fees when our sales are lower. Artists should take this time to do a little cash flow planning as well. It doesn't matter how much money you make at the end of the year if you can't pay your bills in the middle.

So sit down with your cheque book and your spreadsheets, just remember to take time in the studio too!

Jan 2, 2009

Let the plans begin....

Well, it's now more than 24 hours into 2009 and I've got my plans in motion - do you? I've got my revenue goals, my show list, and a 'I'm going to finally work on creating..." plan all outlined in a new book that Santa got me. Every year I start the year off like this. In fact, in the fall I found an old Hopes & Dreams book of mine and it was very refreshing to get to check off the things I put on my TO DO List 10 years a go.

I've also already had 2 requests to help friends sort out their new business dreams and where to start. During those discussions we talked about what a business plan really needs. Many soon-to-be entrepreneurs and artists are overwhelmed with the business plan outlines they find online, in books or remember from school. And honestly, your plan doesn't have to be that complicated unless the business you are in is that complicated. The most important thing is that it's useful and used!

Take 1 hour today and every week for the next 52 weeks to work on your plan. It only needs to include: what makes what you do unique - really unique and better than other options out there; who are your customers and how will you find them (not wait for them to find you); and money - how are you going to make it, how much and milestones. That's it, that's all, now go get started.....