What’s the Deal with Side Hustles?

Yahoo! Finance reports that nearly half of all Americans have side hustles. That’s a whopping 50%.

Some people have side hustles just to stay afloat (driving Uber to be able to pay all their bills, for example). Some people have side hustles as a way to enjoy their favorite hobbies (selling custom birdhouses to neighbors, for example). Some people have side hustles to allow them to indulge their entrepreneurial inkling while maintaining steady income elsewhere (building a business model to one day take full-time). Into which category do you fall?

Since you’re reading about Artrepreneurship, I might guess that you fall into the last category; you’re developing your creative business on the side of your main source of income. Cool. Sometimes, this is the best way to develop your creative business. Starting your creative business as a side hustle gives you the flexibility to: test out your business idea, understand if your predicted target market is truly your target market, and build a strong foundation on which to launch your creative business full-time. Of course, maintaining other sources income while you do these things as always a plus and can reduce your amount of artrepreneurial stress.

However, your ability to reap the benefits of this kind of side hustle often depends on the type of creative business you are developing. Some businesses require massive amounts of funding at the start, or intense pieces of hardware or software that are needed to make the business possible. If this is the case, starting the business as a side hustle can be tough. You might be able to prep your business plan and even find funding as a “side hustle,” but once the “doors open,” you’ll need to be completely dedicated to your business.

CHALLENGE: After working through your creative business model, think of your creative business in stages. What will you need to accomplish in each stage in order to move on to the next? At what stage will your creative business require your full attention? Answering these questions will help you understand if starting your business as a side hustle is the best strategy.

Many businesses work well as side hustles in the beginning. For example, maybe your just selling your yourself and your skills and can start with one new client a week or even a month. In this situation, you can test out your business model and start to build a brand and customer base before turning your scalable business model into a full blown business. Taking the time to learn about your creative business and the market it will operate in will become invaluable in the future.

Side hustles also appear in another form; they can often morph into supplemental income after taking your business full-time. Just like side hustles that are used to supplement income made from your day job, you might need a side hustle to supplement the income you receive from your creative business, especially within the first year. In this situation, it can be hard to say which is the side hustle: your creative business or your other forms of income? It depends, and often doesn’t matter. Learn how to balance your commitments in a way that gives you the freedom to develop your creative business while forgoing financial stress. And understand the importance of learning and building a foundation that will last.

Are you working on your creative business as a side hustle? Want to read more about how to transition out of the side hustle lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get content delivered straight to your inbox!

Peace, Kayla

Tips for Naming Your Art-Based Business

Naming your business is an important step in developing a recognizable art-based brand. Here are some tips to help you find the “perfect” name!

1. Be clear about the product or service you offer

Every see or hear a business name and have no idea what the company actually does? Be careful with creating a name that is hard to directly relate to your business. Many artrepreneurs choose a descriptor word that follows the core business name to help give customers a hint about what they do. For example: Creations Film or John Doe Design. Others select names that play on the product or service provided. For example: The Sound Station or Artist’s Cafe.

2. Reflect your brand

In this article, we talked about building a brand around your art that acts as the core to your business image. Keep your brand in mind when developing a business name. Does your proposed name fit with the messaging style that you’ve decided on?

Some artrepreneurs name their business first, and then build their brand around that name. This is a slippery slope that can cause you to lose sight of the value you’re trying to offer. Instead, think about the value you’re providing your customers and how your business name can help to enforce it.

3. Be original, but easy to remember (and even familiar)

Originality is often praised in artrepreneurship, but Derek Thompson, author of the book Hit Makers, makes the argument that originality on its own is not king. People are more drawn to things that feel original AND familiar. Familiarity makes a business name easier to remember and creates a positive feeling in the hearts of consumers. So when naming your business, think about names that are somewhat original, and somewhat familiar or recognizable. This meet-in-the-middle method will help you create a business name that is preferred by most consumers.

4. Do your research

So you’ve gone through tips #1-3 and think you’ve found the perfect name for your business. Before you get too attached, make sure you do your research to confirm that the name is not already in use. There are 4 main places you’ll want to visit:

Google

A simple Google search can tell you right away if your potential business name is already in use. Is there another business or blog that floods your search results? If so, you’re going to have a hard time getting to the front page of Google, and a harder time becoming the very first search result that people will see. Check out what already exists online so that you can get an idea of the plausibility of your new business name.

NameCheckr.com

If you don’t see any competing online presences that might threaten the success of your new business name, it’s time to check out NameCheckr.com. This site allows you to simultaneously check all top-level domains and social media sites for your preferred business name. For example: You might want to name your business: Artist’s Cafe. On NameCheckr.com, you can see if that name is available for a .com domain, and as a username on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Using this kind of resource helps you to think about name consistency across your many digital presences.

USPTO

The United States Patent and Trademark Office should be your next stop. Here, you can search all trademarks to understand if your potential business name has already been trademarked. You can search all US trademarks here (search for “Basic Word Marks”).

NOTE: Trademarks rely much on the “Likelihood of Confusion.” If your trademark is too similar to another in your same goods or services category, you may get denied. However, let’s say there is another “Artist’s Cafe,” but the associated goods and services category is Clothing. Since you want to open a Coffee Shop, this other trademark will not be a problem, because it exists in a completely different industry.
But, if there is a trademark registered for “Artist Cafe” in the Coffee Shop industry, you might have a problem. “Artist’s Cafe” and “Artist Cafe” are too similar, and are considered to have a high likelihood of confusion for consumers–so you will most likely be denied a trademark under that name.

State Business Entity Search

The last place you’ll need to visit to confirm the eligibility for your potential business name is your state’s business entity search portal. This search engine will populate any competing business names in your state. If another business has already filed a business license under your potential name, you’ll need to choose another. To find your state’s business name entity search, go to Google and type in: ‘Your state’ business entity search.

Here are the Business Entity Search Portals for both Nevada and Oregon:
Nevada Business Entity Search Portal
Oregon Business Entity Search


Naming your business is one part heart and one (large) part strategy. Work through tips #1-4 as you develop the right business name for your art-based business! Remember: There is no formula for developing the perfect business name, so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to find the perfect one. Once you find a name that checks off tips #1-4, stick with it and get started on building your very own creative business!

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

Peace, Kayla

Want to Be a Successful Artrepreneur? It’s Time to Adapt the Creator Role.

There are all kinds of character traits thought to make some entrepreneurs more successful than others. Taking on the role of the creator might be the most important.

About four years ago, my husband came home and showed me something that would change the way I thought of myself. He was in a personal development and leadership class; the professor talked about the role of the “creator.” He showed me the summary they had discussed:

“Adapting the Creator Role” Courtesy of Jennifer Kaplan

I still keep this paper on our refrigerator, because it reminds me of a critical challenge that every artrepreneur, every person, is faced with: becoming a creator.

Taking on the role of the creator is all about accepting an internal locus of control: the idea that you have more control over your outcomes than do the circumstances you are presented with. When you lose this internal locus of control, you fall victim to your circumstances and to others–you lose control over your outcomes.

The creator role is critical because as an artrepreneur, you are solely responsible for the success of your creative business. Of course, you can attribute failures to poor market conditions, fierce competition, or something else, but remember: others are competing in similar conditions–someone will be successful… why not you? Oftentimes, its due to a victim mentality.

When you accept the role of the creator, its easier to “see life’s challenges as opportunities” and make strategic changes as a response to circumstances beyond your control. When you’re acting in the creator role, you’re using your energy to continue building your creative business, instead of acting passively. The role of the victim is for those who make excuses. The role of the creator is for those who make changes.

Stress and anxiety are major symptoms of being stuck in the victim role. When you are stuck in the victim role, you feel helpless and out of control. This causes fear of all kinds. But if you can shift to the role of the creator, you’ll be able to adjust your response to uncertainty by understanding that you have the power to affect your situation–you just have to strategically take action.

I’ll admit: this is all easier said than done, but being aware is the first step. So the next time you feel stuck or out of control, think about the creator role. Are your thoughts and actions in line with the behavior of a victim, or a creator? Accepting the role of the creator is one of the most important steps you can take in creating your very own art-based business.

Peace, Kayla

Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get more straight up information about becoming a successful artrepreneur!

Why Vision Matters in Artrepreneurship

Vision is a critical component to building a creative business. So I’ll start by asking: What’s your vision for your art-based business?

As an artist, you already understand how important it is to have a vision for a project before you start creating it. A vision helps you make decisions as you start building your artwork. A vision helps you to stay on track even when you feel discouraged. A vision helps you to understand if you’ve created the final result you hoped for. It’s no different in business. Vision is a critical component to building a creative business. So I’ll start by asking: What’s your vision for your art-based business?

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Long-term vision

Growth company: If you’re envisioning a large company with a worldwide presence and a mega customer-base, you’re going to need to think about the scalable part of your business model. In this case, you want to build a growth company and need to start thinking about about how you can create a brand and business model that will cater to your strategy as you grow (check out this article for more on scalability). For example: When you’re branding, you should focus on the company and how it can be shared by many people over time. As your company grows, you may expand locations, hire managers, and grow a large team of employees. Your brand needs to be relatable to them and easy for them to share as they become part of your creative business.

An example of this kind of creative business might be a clothing brand, a film company, or a music label. But remember, any kind of creative business can be a either a growth company or a lifestyle company–you just have to make that strategic decision and act accordingly.

Lifestyle company: If you’re envisioning yourself as a highly paid individual who holds the ultimate value in your own talent and time, then you’ll need to think about how you can access markets with customers who will pay more and more for your value. For example: When you’re branding, you’ll need to think about how you can brand yourself and your artistic talent. You might still employ a brand name, but artists who pursue a business of this sort will rely heavily on their networks in order to grow. This means that you are your business’ money-maker, and you’ll need to focus on small markets where there’s lots of money to be made.

An example of this kind of creative business might be a high-end muralist, couture fashion designer, or upcycler who creates art pieces for high-end businesses. I mention high-end in most of these examples because, as this kind of artrepreneur, it’s important that you identify ways to continually increase the amount of money you charge for a single project or product over the course of your career. But of course, you don’t have to pursue high-end markets. What’s beautiful about a lifestyle business is that it’s main purpose is to support your lifestyle. If you’d prefer maintaining a simple lifestyle, you don’t have to pursue high-paying jobs. You can serve your local community at reasonable prices and still be a successful artrepreneur.

Understanding what you want your creative business to look like in the future is the first step in understanding where you need to start today.

Short-term vision

Vision is also important in the short-term, as it allows you to understand how you can complete projects in a manner that aligns with your long-term vision. Whether you decide to pursue a growth company or a lifestyle company, each of your upcoming decisions should reflect that strategic goal. Most artists have a strength in short-term vision because it’s what helps us to build artwork according to our inspiration and plans. But just like with art, don’t be afraid to pivot and change directions whenever you feel it’s necessary. Just remember to consider your long-term vision first. If you want to adjust your long-term vision, too, do it! Just be strategic and intentional about every choice you make.

Creative vision

Creative vision probably isn’t new to you, but using it in business might be. One of the most important benefits of creative vision is that you can use it to help rally others around what you’re doing. Your vision is what you’ll use to share your plans with others, to convince them to partner with you and to buy from you. Most artists have creative vision in the bag, but sharing that creative vision can be hard for anyone. Practice talking about your plans with others. Try to understand whether or not they can see the same vision as you after you’ve spent time explaining it to them. Wherever they have questions, try working on sharing that part of your vision in different ways. Test out your vision on those who are close to you and who will give you honest feedback. Don’t be afraid to take their criticism and apply it to what you’re doing.

Understanding how to share your creative vision with others will make all the difference in your success as an artrepreneur. If you decide to pursue a growth company, you’ll need to encourage others to join your creative business and help it grow. If you decide to pursue a lifestyle company, you’ll need to convince others to work with you and buy from you. Having a clear creative vision and knowing how to share it will help you do both.

Challenge: Try writing down, drawing out, or in some way making your vision tangible. This will help you see it from an outsider’s perspective and will allow you to make adjustments where necessary.

As an artrepreneur, vision is critical to success (however you decide to define it). Once you feel confident about where you’re headed, check out the rest of Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to help you start executing your vision and building your very own creative business!

Peace, Kayla

How to Gain Life-long Customers and a Dedicated Creative Team

It takes trust.

Artwork by PLotulitStocker

There’s all kinds of literature out there that talks about the impact trust has on entrepreneurs and their businesses. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to do business with you. Sounds easy, but as most of us know, trust can be hard to build and even harder to regain once it’s lost. If you’re thinking about how you can ensure that you’re building trust with your customers and partners, focus on these three factors:

[Note: If you would like to read my full research paper on this topic, with citations included, please click here.]

Trust = Benevolence + Integrity + Ability

Some of the most respected researchers in leadership have identified three important factors in developing trust with others: perceived benevolence, integrity, and ability. Note the word perceived. Trust from others doesn’t depend on how well-meaning, honest, and competent you think you are. It depends on how well-meaning, honest, and competent they think you are.

Benevolence – Defined as: “well meaning and kindly.” Benevolence is present when others feel like you have their best interests in mind, when they feel like you mean well and don’t have a hidden agenda.

Integrity – Defined as: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” Integrity exists when a person acts in accordance with his or her beliefs and values, and when a person does what they say they’ll do.

Ability – Defined as: “possession of the means or skill to do something.” Ability is what allows you to do what you say you’ll do. Ability is a requirement for getting things done. Understanding your own abilities and promising accordingly is important in maintaining the trust of others.

The combination of these three characteristics is a perfect catalyst for building trust with others, and trust is one of the most important factors in gaining life-long customers and a dedicated team. In the research paper linked above, I looked at multiple studies that show how important trust is for encouraging people to share in your vision. A shared vision is at the core of successful relationships with both your customers and your team. When your vision is clear and when you, as a leader, are trusted, magic happens. Customers recognize your value and share it with others. Your partners work hard to push the common mission forward. All things work together in unison, and creative businesses thrive.

Think about how your customers and partners perceive you. You’ll have to ask them, and try picking up on social clues that can give you insight to the way you are viewed. Then think about how you can increase your benevolence, integrity, and ability. Oftentimes, just being aware of these characteristics can help you to improve them. How can you work toward increased trust between yourself and those who make your artrepreneurial success possible?

This week’s blog posts have been centered around integrity, relationships, and trust for a reason. Emotion is so deeply tied to the way business is done, that a successful artrepreneur must visit these topics in order to find the success they know they can accomplish. As you work on becoming a better leader for your art-based business, you’re gaining lifelong benefits that you’ll come to be grateful for down the road. Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the more technical side of building your creative business in the next few articles, so stay tuned!

Make your artrepreneurial journey easier by following Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet below!

Peace, Kayla