How to Strengthen Your Weaknesses to Become a More Successful Artrepreneur

The short answer? People!

The short answer? People! But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, you have to start by really understanding what your weaknesses actually are. For example, I have a weakness in operating technology. I can get by, but don’t excel in utilizing technology to it’s fullest potential. That’s why it’s so great to have a tech-savvy business partner! He teaches me new things and is responsible for the technological aspects of our work. We balance each other well in our strengths and weaknesses.

That’s what I mean by people. We can select creative partners in accordance to our relative strengths and weaknesses so that each person has a unique value to bring to the table. And it doesn’t have to be a permanent partner. Often artists must partner with others to get a project done, and once the project is over, each part of the team moves on. [Hollywood is notorious for utilizing this sort of collaboration. Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt refer to this kind of business structure as “nano corporations” in their book A World Gone Social. ] Together, nano corps create something awesome by allowing each member to contribute their unique strength. Plus, when the next project comes along, you already know who to call when a specific skill is necessary!

Photo by LivDeco

Building a (permanent or temporary) team around your weaknesses is helpful for many reasons:

  • Two heads are greater than one: These team members can help you find easier and more efficient ways to do things in their field of expertise.
  • Working with others gives you the opportunity to work on more projects, or to add more of your own value to a single project.
  • They can bring creativity to the table, and so can you. Having multiple perspectives not only breeds relatability for multiple potential target markets, but can help the creative process expand further than you could have originally imagined.
  • More hands on deck means more work in the queue. Again, working as a team increases efficiency, giving you the opportunity to work on more projects at a single time.

Start by thinking about your own strengths and weaknesses, and find trustworthy individuals who complement you. Look around your existing network and within your local community. But first, make sure you truly understand the value you can bring to them, because the benefits you’ll give each other will help to build a creative team that is efficient and perfectly interdependent.

Network effects

Yes, bringing in more people will help you to work on more projects faster, but it will also help you to reach more people faster. Creative partners are often some of the biggest promoters and evangelists for your work, because it’s really our work. If you’re trying to build a brand, the more people sharing your work, the better.

Remember: It’s important to be genuine when building your creative team. You want your potential partners to know that you have their best interests in mind, and that you are capable of executing your own responsibilities. Make sure your creative partners recognize your integrity when they work with you, and you’ll be one step closer to becoming a successful artrepreneur.

Peace, Kayla

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Finding Inspiration in the Ordinary

As artrepreneurs, inspiration is crucial for our success. But where do we find it in times like these?

Impacts of the Coronavirus have taken much of the spontaneity and unknown out of our lives. We’re stuck inside with the people we know best, searching for something new in our TV screens and thoroughly read books. As artrepreneurs, inspiration is crucial for our success. But where do we find it in times like these?

I’d like to encourage all of us to take this time to find inspiration in the ordinary. As a filmmaker, there is beauty in the dynamic of a family dinner. As a painter, there is newness in seeing your home in this rare, quarantined form. As a writer, there is wonder in the many lives taking place around us behind walls of concrete. Sometimes it just takes a shift in perspective to find inspiration in this time of “ordinary” living.

Where art and entrepreneurship meet. Finding inspiration in the ordinary during the time of the Coronavirus
Photo by Elaine McClure

If you’ve never seen it, you’ve most certainly heard of the TV show that’s captivated millions–The Office. This mock-umentary style TV show has gained unimaginable praise across the internet for over a decade now. Why? The show is based in the office of a small town paper supplier, with characters who are certainly no Hollywood superstars. So why is the show so popular? It’s concept is built around the idea that there is beauty in the ordinary. Its relatability and familiarity breaks barriers between viewers and characters, creating a bond between the two that has proven to be stronger than one might expect. The Office has thrived on inspiration of the ordinary.

Right now is a perfect time to do the same in your work. Where does relatability exist in your life right now? This presents an opportunity for you to connect with your potential customers in a way that’s genuine and trustworthy. How can you bring the beauty of the ordinary into your own work?

This is also a great opportunity to evaluate how you can create a scalable portion of your business offering. For example: dinnerware. Dinnerware is a part of (almost) everyone’s life. It’s beauty lives both in its functionality and its design. As a painter, maybe you’ve only thought about selling canvas work. But what about dinnerware that’s designed with art-lovers in mind? This idea might be spurred from having to eat home-made meals for the last two weeks. Dinnerware is ordinary, but with the right perspective, it might inspire a whole new component of your artrepreneurial journey.

I’m wishing you well in this time of quiet chaos, and hope that you’ll find inspiration in the ordinary that surrounds you!

Peace, Kayla

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5 Mistakes Creative Entrepreneurs Make

I hope this list helps you avoid learning some lessons the hard way, like I and so many others have. But even if you do come across some mistakes of your own, remember that there’s a lesson behind every mishap–you just have to be looking!

Photo by artist Anna Shvets

Let’s dive right into it! Here are common five mistakes I’ve discovered along my artrepreneurial journey:

#1 Not tracking your time

How long does it take you to create a finished art piece? How long does it take you to develop the concept for a new project? How much time do you spend with your customers before you actually get paid? The answers to these questions are so important, because they help you understand if your pricing is fair.

For example: Maybe it only takes you 15 hours to paint a mural, but you spent 10 hours collecting materials and 15 hours developing the concept art. Let’s say you charged $1,000. If you aren’t tracking your time properly, you’d think you’re getting paid $67/hr for 15 hours. Sounds nice, right? But in reality, you’re getting paid $25/hr for 40 hours. Tracking your time will tell you how much money you’re really making. You wouldn’t work off the clock for an employer, so don’t do it at your own company. Value yourself and your time!

#2 Not being able to quickly and concisely express your value

Ever heard of an elevator pitch? It’s a 30-second monologue that can be given in the time of an elevator ride, in the case you ever get the chance to ride with someone big. In this elevator pitch, you’re concisely sharing about your value: what you do and why you do it. Feel like you could pitch Jay-Z or Bill Gates in 30-seconds? Maybe not. But what about a potential customer? This is something you should get comfortable with–practice makes perfect.

Note: It might be called a pitch, but that’s the last thing you want customers to feel when you deliver it. Be familiar enough with your value and messaging that you feel natural when speaking. Try practicing with your family, friends, and creative business partners. It will take time and practice, so don’t be afraid to mess up. 

#3 Not evaluating what has business potential and what doesn’t

Sometimes it can be hard for artists to recognize which product or service ideas have the best business potential, because the beauty in one’s work is always self-evident. But remember: the value of your product should be measurable in cash, not just beauty. Don’t ask yourself, “Would I pay for this?” but ask yourself, “Would other people pay for this?” How do you know if other people would pay? Ask them! Do some research online. Talk to some potential customers and see if they bite. With every new idea, you should evaluate it’s business potential

Remember: Testing your creative business idea, thoughts about your potential customers, and other assumptions about your artrepreneurial journey is going to be a major key to your artrepreneurial success!

#4 Not checking your ego

If you feel like you can skip mistake #3 because your idea is just that good, mistake #4 is extra-important. Ego can often cause opportunities to be missed and good advice to be overlooked. I say this from a place of humility, as this particular “mistake” comes from my own experience. You don’t want to create a barrier for yourself as you work hard to build the creative company of your dreams. Be ready to learn, ask others for help, and become vulnerable as you collaborate your way to success!

#5 Not really wanting to be a business person

This is a tough one. Because you’re an artist, I assume that you love spending time creating your art. But if you want to pursue “artrepreneurship,” you’ll need to become a business person, too. This means that you might have to go to meetings and send emails and think about your business model and value. That’s what being an entrepreneur is all about. But what’s so cool about artrepreneurship is that you don’t have to be just an entrepreneur, and you don’t have to be just an artist… you can be both

If you think being a business person might not be right for you, consider bringing in a business manager who understands your value and is looking to play the yin to your yang. You’ll still need to learn the basics of the ‘other side,’ but now each of you can focus on your favorite side of the artrepreneurship dyad. Both (or even all) of you can build a successful creative business together!

I hope this list helps you avoid learning some lessons the hard way, like I and so many others have. But even if you do come across some mistakes of your own, remember that there’s a lesson behind every mishap–you just have to be looking. 

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get the straight-up and straight-to-the-point information you’ll need to be successful on your artrepreneurial journey!