You and Artrepreneurship

Here at Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of a strong business model based on a need that your potential customers have. But here’s something we haven’t talked enough about: YOU.

The probability that your business vision will actually become a successful business, without you, is 0%. Someone might do something similar, someone might even pursue the same model based on the same need, but they aren’t going to do it just like you. You’re the artrepreneur in artrepreneurship, so it’s important to evaluate yourself before, and as, you pursue your artrepreneurial journey.

Strengths and abilities

What are you good at? What are you not so good at? Understanding your strengths is important in using your abilities to their full potential. You must understand what you can do, so that you can decide what you will do. Look for fit between your strengths and abilities and your business vision.

Think about your weaknesses, too. Will you need to balance your weaknesses with others who have strengths in those areas? Will you work on improving those weaknesses so that you don’t need to? These are important things to think about as you develop a plan for moving forward with your artrepreneurial journey.

Financial readiness

Your personal financial situation will affect your artrepreneurial journey. If you have a slow start, do you have emergency savings to back you up? If you decide you’ll need outside funding to start-up your business, are you in a good position to be lent money? (Good credit score, solid amount of personal capital, etc.)

In order to build a successful creative business, you’ll need to be able to handle the business’s finances in a strategic and responsible manner. Doing so with your personal finances is the best kind of practice.

Emotional readiness

When there are struggles with a business’s finances, the emotional side of being an artrepreneur is usually hit first. In fact, there are all kinds of things that are going to affect your emotional rationale: unexpected mishaps, uncertainty, rejection, failure. As many of have stated before, artrepreneurship often resembles a rollercoaster–good and bad times following each other over and over again. Do you feel prepared to deal with the emotional effects of building a successful art-based business?

Your network

Considering your network is an important step in preparing to build your own creative business. Think about who you know, and who they know. Think about who you don’t know that you should. Evaluate the strength of your current network and make a plan for how you can expand it. Who can you learn from? Who can help you test your business vision? Who might become a potential customer?

You may want to work on expanding your network appropriately before starting your business, or you might do so while starting up your business. Either way, networking is one of the most important ways to build your brand–and its centered around YOU and your ability to communicate your value to others. Don’t forget to focus on others, too–networking is most successful when you work on recognizing the value that other people bring.

Your desire

Your dedication is going to be the driving force behind your success as an artrepreneur. However, the desire we’re discussing now is your desire for yourself and your future. What are your long-term goals with this creative business? What would your ideal future look like? What do you really want, really desire, for yourself? This vision for yourself will be what helps motivate your dedication. It’s also a way to measure your artrepreneurial success in the future. Write down or draw out your desire. Keep it with you as a “postcard” for the destination you’re trying to reach.


I’m dedicated to giving you straight-to-the-point information about how to be the best artrepreneur you can be. It wouldn’t be right to NOT bring YOU up in one of our discussions. I hope you’ll take some time to have honest dialogue about yourself, with yourself. Doing so will help you understand the fit between who you are and the creative business of your dreams. Finding this fit is one huge step toward becoming a successful artrepreneur.

Peace, Kayla

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Funding Sources for Artrepreneurs

Looking for funding as an artrepreneur can be overwhelming. Start by learning about your options.

Depending on your business model, you may or may not need a cash infusion to start up your art-based business. For example: If you need a certain machine to create your product, or you need a physical location, you might be looking for sources of funding to help you get started. Let’s talk about some options.

Remember: Successful funding is reliant on your ability to pay back the money you borrow, with interest. In order to do this, your business must make money–enough to pay back debts and still make a profit. That’s why its so important to understand your business model and ensure that you will make the amount of money you think you’ll make.

Note: The word DEBT is a four-letter word to many people. But, it’s not always bad. If you can make enough money to pay back what you’ve borrowed and still make a profit, debt is really a tool you can use to help build your business. However, if you don’t do your due diligence to ensure that you will be able to make the amount of money you think you’ll make, debt can become your worst enemy. Preparation is so important in artrepreneurship. Before taking funding of any kind, make sure you do the prep work needed to ensure it’s a good decision! (If you’d like to read about how to do this prep work, let me know in the comments section below!)

Types of Funding Sources

Banks
Most banks give out business loans. However, most banks only want to invest in “low-risk businesses” (cookie-cutter businesses that are part of secure industries and have proven business models). As an artrepreneur, your creative business, most likely, does not fall into this category. Visit your local Small Business Development Center to ask if your business might be considered a fit for bank loans.
Remember: Lenders are most concerned with your business model (is it sound, will it make money, is there room for growth?) and YOU. Lenders want to see that you have extensive knowledge in your field/industry, that you have good credit, and that you are personally financially stable. Banks want low-risk investments. If you’re credit is poor, or you have a hard time handling your personal finances, banks will be much less likely to invest in your business. It’s important to take the time to improve your personal situation so that funders will be more willing to work with you.

Investors
Investors are usually interested in tech/software/medical companies who have high growth potential. As an artrepreneur, your creative business, most likely, does not fall into this category. However, there are investors of all kinds out there. If you can prove that your creative business has potential for high profits and growth, this could be a good path for you. You’ll need to look for investors who have an interest in the arts. A personal connection between yourself and them is always helpful. Again, these investors will be looking at both your business model and YOU. When talking with investors, you must be able to sell your ability to execute the business plan and create a profitable business. Practicing your elevator pitch and understanding your business model will be VERY important.

Crowdfunding
Many artrepreneurs take to crowdfunding sources to help raise money. Crowdfunding platforms allow individual people to donate small to large amounts of money to businesses. Kickstarter is a popular crowdfunding platform. On Kickstarter, those who donate are guaranteed a gift of some sort in return for their investment, with larger donations resulting in larger gifts.
This funding source is usually most successful when the business already has a strong online following, or their offering is so innovative that people are drawn to it and want to be part of its development.

FFF
FFF stands for Friends, Family, and Fools. This kind of funding source draws from your existing network and requires that you convince those you know to join you in your artrepreneurial journey. Like the other sources of funding, those investing will want some kind of return for their investment. They might ask for a percentage of the business, interest on a time-specific loan, or unlimited use of the product or service in the future. Whatever it is, it’s important that you treat these investors like any other… Create a contract! Let them know exactly what you’re asking for and exactly what they’ll get out of the relationship.
This funding source can be tricky because you are involving friends and family (and maybe some fools) in your business affairs. Only work with those you trust–people who can act professionally and take on the role of an investor, not just a friend.

Grants
As an artrepreneur, you may have some opportunities to receive grants that are created just for entrepreneurs in the arts. You’ll have to do research to find them. Remember: Just like every other funding source, the money you receive isn’t “free.” In the case of grants, you might have certain limitations on how the money can be spent, or there might be goals you need to accomplish with the money. Make sure to read the fine print to understand what you’re agreeing to before accepting any grant money.

The Business
Depending on your business model, you might not need to look for outside sources of funding. If you’re able to start making profits for a relatively low amount of cash, you can use those profits to fund the next round of your business plan. Think about how you can strategically launch your business so that it can pay for itself. If your business model fits this strategy well, you’ll be happy that you took the time to develop your business in a way that allowed it to become its own source of funding.


We’ve only scraped the surface of each of these funding sources. Hopefully, you’ve identified one or two that might be a good fit for your creative business. If so, now is the time to do more research. Before you approach any of these funding sources, you’ll need to confirm that your business model is well thought out and has potential for profitability.

If you would like to read more about how to approach each kind of funding source, leave a comment down below!

Peace, Kayla

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Should You Still Start Your Own Creative Business in the Midst of COVID?

Coronavirus has brought a lot of uncertainty to our lives, especially for those planning to take the artrepreneurial leap. With businesses closed and consumers running out of disposable income, you might be wondering if now is still the right time to start your own art-based business. Before making a decision, ask yourself the following questions:

Photo by Andy Dean Photography

Does the need still exist?

Hopefully, you’ve been able to work through your business model and you understand the need that you can fill with your creative business. The solution you create to help fill your customers’ needs is your true value. To understand if you should still start your creative business or not, you must think about your value and whether it is still strong enough to move forward. So, if the Coronavirus has completely changed the market you’re thinking about entering, your value might no longer exist.

You must be candid with yourself: Does the need for your product or service still exist? You might want to do some research to understand what’s changed.

How has the need changed?

Maybe the need does still exist, but has shifted in some way. Maybe customers could still use your product or service, but your offering would be more valuable if you modified it. For example: Lots of artists are taking full advantage of online classes and online formats to help deliver their value. Consider revisiting each portion of your business model and asking yourself what has changed and what you can expect things to look like in the future.

Are you financially prepared?

Let’s say you’ve decided that the need does still exist, and you’ve thought of ways to adjust your services to match the impacts of COVID-19. There are still a few important questions to ask about yourself: How has your financial situation changed? Do you still have a solid source of income to help you get by in the first few months? Emergency savings? A solid funding source? Re-evaluate your current financial situation to understand if starting your art-based right now is the best choice for you.

Are you emotionally prepared?

Lastly, it’s important to make sure that you are emotionally prepared to take on this already challenging endeavor amidst a global crisis. Becoming an artrepreneur is hard work and building a business takes time. Do you have the emotional capacity to launch your art-based business right now? Entrepreneurs often struggle with putting the brakes on starting a business–but sometimes its needed. Your business will not be successful if you’re not ready to take on the artrepreneur role. It’s okay to take some time to prepare yourself and your business before taking the ‘big’ leap. Remember: Direction is more important than speed.

So should you still start your own creative business in the midst of COVID? It depends on your answers to these questions. Be honest in your dialogue–the success of your creative business relies on your ability to coordinate your vision with reality.

If now isn’t the right time to start your business, that doesn’t mean your artrepreneurial journey is over. Timing is important in the world of artrepreneurship, and you’re doing yourself a favor by evaluating how COVID-19 will affect you and your future creative business.

Peace, Kayla

Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet for more straight-to-the-point information that can help make your artrepreneurial journey easier!

Monetize Your Art By Finding the Blue Ocean

There’s a phenomenon in the business world that’s all about red and blue oceans. Some of the world’s leading business strategists cite the “blue ocean” as the frontier of hope for new businesses. So what is the blue ocean?

Photo by solarseven

The blue ocean is an open market free of competitors. The red ocean is a crowded market filled with competitors, or sharks, constantly attacking one another. The barbaric nature of competition leaves businesses bleeding, and oceans red. So business strategists Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim wrote a whole book about the importance of finding a blue ocean.

“The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.”

In saturated markets, its hard to compete on much more than having the lowest price. And as an artist, I would bet that you don’t want to just compete on price–you probably want to compete on the creativity and quality of your artistic abilities. This is where the blue ocean comes in. If you can find a new ocean to swim in, you don’t have to worry about other sharks, other competitors, driving down your price. Your value stands so far apart from competitors, that you’re in an ocean of your own. Of course, easier said than done. Finding a blue ocean isn’t easy, otherwise everyone would do it–and that would defeat the purpose.

The first step in finding a blue ocean is understanding what’s already happening in the marketplace. Ever think of an awesome invention, only to find out that its already been invented? Don’t let that happen to you in your artrepreneurial journey. Do your research to understand what other people/companies are doing, and think about how you can offer a value that’s truly different.

The authors of Blue Ocean Strategy urge readers to look beyond demand that already exists and think about how new demand can be created. Sometimes people want something that no one offers. Sometimes people don’t even know they want something until someone else offers it to them. New demand can come from many places. Think about how you can “innovate” your value to help create a blue ocean, free of competitors.

What do you think about the “blue ocean strategy”? Would you like to read more about the tools that are presented in the famous book? Leave a comment below.

Peace, Kayla

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The Importance of Execution

You know the famous Nike slogan – Just Do It! Execution is all about just doing it, and doing it strategically.

You know the famous Nike slogan – Just Do It! Execution is all about just doing it, and doing it strategically. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Business plans? Crucial. Marketing research? SO helpful. Financial projections? Yes!

But in order to accomplish the things you plan, or to put that research to use, or to meet those sales projections, you must be able to execute. Sounds obvious, but execution can be one of the hardest parts of artrepreneurship.

Businessmen Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan co-wrote an entire book about execution. Let me paraphrase some of the most helpful tidbits of information below, so that you can spend your time executing instead of reading! Much of what they discuss revolves around two common execution struggles:

#1 – You don’t have the necessary time, resources, or partners to execute what you’ve planned.
#2 – You don’t have the habits or system in place to help you execute timely and well.

So how do you overcome these struggles?

#1 Robust conversation: You must be willing to have conversations with your partners (or friends, or yourself) that revolve around digging deeper into what the situation is and how it should be approached. Honesty is key here–you must be able to face reality. In order to set goals that are achievable, you must truly understand what your capabilities and resources are. 

#2 Set clear goals and prioritize: Be explicit in what you want to accomplish. Create deadlines for yourself. Think about what actions will result in a successful project and prioritize those actions. Try thinking both long-term and short-term here. And by short-term, I mean even one day. What will you execute today?

Some other things to think about:

To-do lists
Writing down your tasks for today, or even for the entirety of phase one of your plans, can be so helpful in helping you get past slumps and lazy days. Don’t get me wrong, rest is important. But on those days when you’re feeling lazy but really want or need to get something done, to-do lists can make it easier to choose where to start. Plus, it feels great to cross something off your to-do list, which can give you motivation to tackle the next item!

When’s the most productive time for you?
You should also think about when and where you work best. Although at its core, execution is really all about doing things even when you don’t feel like it, it’s also important to know when you do feel like it. These are the times to take advantage of. Remember, these aren’t necessarily the times when you are used to working, but rather when you are truly most productive. For example: I’m used to working in the evenings, but I really get more done in the late morning. In accordance with #2 above, execution is really all about knowing yourself.

Align your planned tasks with your strengths and interests
Often, we have to do things we don’t want to do, and this can cause us to procrastinate. There’s no real way around this aside from will-power. However, you can plan your tasks around what you know you like and dislike. For example: I plan to do things I like on the weekends. Otherwise, I’ll procrastinate, cram my least-favorite tasks in on Sunday night, and dread it the whole time. If I plan to do things I like on the weekends, I’m way more likely to wake up in the morning and be excited to get to work on a Saturday or Sunday.

My husband and business partner always says: Eat the frog for breakfast. For him, doing his least-favorite things in the morning gets them out of the way and sets him up for a productive afternoon of executing tasks he really likes doing. Again, it’s all about knowing yourself. 

Remember:
– To truly execute a larger vision, sometimes we have to do things we don’t love doing. Do them anyway.
– You must know yourself in order to set goals that are achievable. That means we can’t shy away from the reality of things.
Direction is more important than speed. Having a plan makes your time working worthwhile, because you’re working on things that are truly going to help your plan come to life. It might take you a while to reach your goal, but all that matters is that you reach it.

Challenge: Make a plan for today or tomorrow. List one or more things that you’ll accomplish, and make a note about why those things are going to help you reach your larger goal of becoming an artrepreneur. Then, execute!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get straight-up information on how to make your artrepreneurial journey a success!