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

Examples of Artists Turned Artrepreneurs

Famous artists of all kinds are using business to bring their art to the next level.

Artrepreneurship isn’t a new concept, it’s just more accepted now than ever before. Let’s take a look at some artrepreneurial pioneers who have proven how important it is to use both art and business to help share your vision with the world.

Andy Warhol

Photograph of Andy Warhol in Moderna Museet, Stockholm, before the opening of his retrospective exhibition. Brillo boxes are seen in the background. Sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol is known for bringing concepts of capitalism into his famous pop art, as is seen in his Moderna Museet exhibition or his most famous Campbell’s Soups paintings. As a self-declared “business-artist” in the 1960’s, Warhol created a whole new perspective of artrepreneurship that was still yet to be popular or even well-accepted in the art community. To Warhol, building a business and using it to spread his art was a form of art in of itself. To others, using business as a tool was considered “selling out.”

Andy Warhol mass-printed his work and sold it to people across the world, bringing his art to those would have never been able to see it. Using his own warehouse factory created a lot of controversy around Warhol’s name, but helped him gain notice and cash that he otherwise would have never seen. As the idea of artpreneurship becomes more and more popular in the 21st century, do you think Warhol’s experience would be the same, should he have been a modern-day business-artist?

Warhol paved the way for artists to start taking control of their own distribution and utilizing business to share and create their work.

David Bowie

Graphic image of David Bowie. Image by heisan from Pixabay

David Bowie pursued many creative entrepreneurial endeavors during his career. His interest and innovative use of technology led him to successful, and some not-so-successful, artrepreneurship attempts including a “cybercast” concert in 1997 that was ahead of his time. As the first musician to sell a song online, Bowie was known for using technology to monetize his work.

Bowie was always looking for entrepreneurial opportunities, and even launched his own Internet Service Provider in 1998. Although the project wasn’t a huge success, his risk-taking in the realm of business earned him credibility in the entrepreneurial space. In the early 2000’s, Bowie often spoke of a day when artists and musicians would no longer need labels, because they would have full control of their work and it’s distribution, made possible by business.

David Bowie has been credited as a visionary not only because of his music, but because of how he used business to share it.

George Lucas

George Lucas, Photo by Wally Fong/AP Images

Creator of the Star Wars empire and Indiana Jones series, George Lucas is a true artrepreneur. Lucas not only broke into an industry that was saturated with Hollywood-born individuals, but he created a company that would later be sold to Disney for $4.6 billion dollars. The base of this deal came from the beautiful synchronization of art and business that was Lucas Films. Lucas’ imaginative, ground-breaking concepts and top-notch execution would have never been realized without his entrepreneurial spirit and strategic business decisions when forming his company and working with others to fund his projects. Although his concepts would later be considered as some of the best feature-length films ever produced, they did not originally help him gain his empire. It was Lucas’ use of business that helped him share his art with the world, so that it could be recognized in the way it is today.

A huge inspiration for myself and my team, George Lucas is one of the most interesting artrepreneurs to study–and one of the most successful.

Artrepreneurship has increased in popularity from the time of Warhol to the time of Lucas, and continues to grow in it’s importance. In the 21st century, artists have more and more resources to help them take control of their artwork, its distribution, and their own brands. Congratulations on finding your way to this article, because it means that you’re asking the right questions about how to use art and business together to help you share your vision with the world. You’re ahead of the herd, if you start building your creative business and brand now.

Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get all the information you need to start your artrepreneurial journey!

Peace, Kayla