The Importance of Stages in Artrepreneurship

A culture of instant gratification, 0 to 100, now or never, is becoming more and more prominent–don’t let it jeopardize your artrepreneurial success.

With false expectations of what it means to build a creative business, many artrepreneurs are left disappointed. I’ve seen dozens of clients face “failure” because of their own failure to address the importance of stages in their entrepreneurial journey. Should they have prepared properly, they could have obtained the success they were looking for.

NOTE: It’s true–not all paths are the same. Some people work through these stages one at a time, some work through multiple at once, and some jump between stages throughout their journey. Do what’s best for you, but remember to at least think through each stage during your preparation process.

PREPARATION

Study the market – Take some time to understand what’s already being offered. Don’t forget to think about competitors and target markets that aren’t immediately obvious. Here are some resources to help you.

Master the craft – Learn as much as you can about your art and the business in which you will operate. You don’t have to become an expert before you start your artrepreneurial journey, but you should work on becoming an expert as soon as you can.

Build a solid business model – Before you jump into launching your creative business, make sure you have a game plan. Better yet, your game plan should be backed by data or experience. And that’s where TESTING comes in:

TESTING

Test your product – As you’re developing your product or service, it’s important to test it as you go. You don’t want to build what seems like the perfect product, only to find out that your customers actually hate it’s design or functionality.

Test the target market -After studying the market, you should have a good idea of who your target customers are; but, its helpful to confirm your assumptions. Approach your target market, have them interact with your product or service, and ask them to provide feedback about their experience.

Test your pricing – As you’re working on testing your product and target market, don’t forget to test out your pricing, too. After you’ve interacted with customers, ask them about the pricing. Would they pay XX amount for this? If they say yes, great–you might even be able to increase the price a bit. If they say no, you’ll know your pricing is too high. Read more about how to price your work here.

LAUNCH

Take what you’ve learned and apply it – As you work through the preparation and testing phases, remember to make note of the insights you discover. Don’t forget to incorporate what you’ve learned into your future business decisions. If that means adjusting your business model or product offering, do it.

Take your creative business full time – Once you’ve gotten to a place where you’ve tested your business model and have secured your first few clients/customers, it might be time to take your business full time. However, some businesses can be launched as a side hustle, so think about what is right for you and your creative business.

Consider looking for additional funding (if applicable)Depending on your business model, you might need additional funding to start up your business. Read this article to learn more about financing and discover what’s right for your creative business.


Building a successful business is about the long game–build a good foundation and success will come more easily in the future. Take the time to work through each artrepreneurial stage and watch your artrepreneurial vision come to life.

Remember: Your artrepreneurial journey will consist of many levels. Don’t be so eager to get to level 100, that you forget to enjoy the levels in between. Levels 5, 20, and 80 all come with their own satisfactions. Don’t miss out on the journey because you’re too focused on the final destination.

For more straight-to-the-point information about artrepreneurship, follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet.

Peace, Kayla

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

Need a Physical Location for Your Art-Based Business?

But not sure where to start? Keep reading to get started in securing the right location for you.

Much of today’s business is done online, and while you can’t escape it, you may also be interested in opening a physical location for your art-based business. Here are 5 important considerations to keep in mind:

1. Think about how much space you’ll need

Based on your business model, what activities will take place in this location? Based on those activities and the number of workers and customers you might expect to be in the space at one time, how large will your location need to be? Be realistic and understand that more space means more money in rent.

2. Think about how much you should spend

Based on your business model and expected target market size, understand how much revenue you expect to make. Many experts advise that your rent cost should not exceed 20%. Of course, the lower your rent is, the more profit you’ll make. With that being said, there are factors other than rent that should be considered when looking for a location.

3. Think about what area would be best for your creative business

Who is your target customer? Where do they live and what other areas do they frequent? Think about what factors are important for your kind of business. For example: Depending on if you’ll need lots of foot traffic or a large industrial building, your ideal area will vary greatly. So ask yourself what you’re looking for in a perfect location. Do forget to ask: What other businesses would be best to have as neighbors?

NOTE: Develop a list of important criteria you can use to help select your final location. Prioritize those criteria and refer to them whenever making a decision about a potential location.

4. Research local commercial real estate agents

Finding a real estate agent whom you think is honest and benevolent is an ideal situation. While that won’t always happen, its important to try your best to find a knowledgable and connected real estate agent. Ask around for recommendations and scour the web for reviews. Once you start working with an agent, share your prioritized list of criteria with them.

5. Visit multiple locations, if possible

Its often helpful to have multiple locations to choose from, so that you don’t find yourself settling on an almost-perfect location. With that being said, there is almost never a 100% perfect location. So make sure to keep your list of prioritized criteria handy and refer to it often. Discuss your available options with your business partners. If you’re a “soloprenenur,” ask your friends and family, or your SBDC Business Advisor, what they think. Talking through your options can often help you understand which selection is best.


Looking for your ideal business location will take time, so plan ahead and try to be patient. If you’d like to read about securing a physical location in more depth, leave a comment below. There are many aspects to finding a great business location; these five tips are the best place to start. Good luck!

Peace, Kayla

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

5 Things to Avoid When Monetizing Your Artwork

Thinking about these 5 things early on in your artrepreneurial journey will help you avoid time-wasting mistakes.

1. Undervaluing Yourself

As you start to think about asking for money for your artwork, it can be hard to place a dollar amount on your value. But doing so is one of the first steps to monetizing your artwork. It’s important to strategically price your artwork–learn about how to do so here.

If you’ve never charged for your art before, it can be easy to undervalue yourself. You might sell your first oil painting for $300 and realize later that it was worth at least $1,000. A mentor once told me to start high to test the market; if people won’t buy my product because it’s too expensive, then lower my price. Do this until they finally purchase, and you’ve found your sweet spot. Unfortunately, lots of artrepreneurs (myself included) do the opposite. We price too low and gradually increase as we realize the value that we’re really providing. Save yourself some time and lost money, and make sure you are valuing yourself and your artwork fairly.

2. Undervaluing Others

Artrepreneurs are often “solo-preneurs”–people who are building a business on their own. As a solopreneur, its easy to undervalue the help and support of others. You might think that it’s easier to do things on your own, but have you tried working with someone else to accomplish the same goals? Of course, working with others isn’t always easy, but the power of teamwork makes the collaboration worth it. Instead of trying to do things all on your own, start off your artrepreneurial journey with others on your side.

3. Not Thinking About the Customer First

Being an artrepreneur is unique because artwork is often more important to artrepreneurs than other products like, let’s say, toilet paper or toothbrushes. Artrepreneurs are so connected to their artwork, that they often forgot to think about their customers first. Remember: As an artrepreneur, you are creating for other people, not for yourself. The customer must be the core of your creative business. Your art-based product or service is made for them.

4. Only Creating for Money

However, artists also need creative time that is not restricted by product limitations or the wants of the customer. As an artrepreneur, remember to take time to create for yourself, not only for your customers. Become dedicated to working on art for your business AND art for yourself. If you forget to create for the sake of creating, you risk losing the joy of creating artwork for others by burning yourself out.

5. Not Asking for Feedback

Depending on the creative product or service you offer, you may have a close interaction with your customers or you may not. Regardless, you must find a way to ask for their feedback. Understanding the experience of your customers will:

– Help you ensure that your product or service is of quality
– Help you improve the customer experience in the future
– Help you identify important changes that you might need to make to your business model
– Help you develop trust with your customers

Whether you create a standardized digital survey, informally ask your customers about their experience in person, or do something in between, getting feedback from your customers and your partners can mean the difference between building a sustainable creative business and not. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others; its purpose is to make you more successful in the future.


Thinking about these 5 things early on in your artrepreneurial journey will help you avoid time-wasting mistakes. But also remember to revisit each of these points as you grow your creative business. All are important to your continued artrepreneurial success!

Peace, Kayla

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Artrepreneur Caitlin McCarty Shares Her 3 Main Tips for Artists Turned Entrepreneurs

VLOG: Want to create your own art-based business? The importance of learning from real artrepreneurs cannot be overlooked. Caitlin McCarty, Founder and Artistic Director of contemporary dance company Collateral & Co., is here to share her top 3 tips for all artrepreneurs!


Don’t have time to watch? Here’s a RECAP:

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

“The worst they can say, is no.” Ask others for what you want and need–you’ll be surprised at how willing they might be to help. But remember, don’t just think about WHAT you want–think about the HOW behind implementing what you want.

2. Use your contacts to make more contacts.

“Someone you know probably knows that person.” Take advantage of your network. Each member in your network has a network of their own. Your contacts will be able to help you make new contacts. Like #1, don’t be afraid to ask those in your network if they know anyone who… or if they know a contact at… You’ll be surprised at how quickly your network will grow when you use your existing contacts to make new contacts!

3. Be consistent.

#1 and #2 are more likely to work in your favor when you are consistent in what you do. Be consistent in:
– Creating and delivering your product or service
– Building and maintaining relationships
– Branding yourself and your creative business

Caitlin writes about how to startup, market, and manage your own business. Check her website out here:
Creatively bringing your goals to life | https://caitlinmccarty.com/

If there are additional topics you’d like to hear about from real artrepreneurs, leave a comment below!

Peace, Kayla