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!

Delivering Value in the Time of Coronavirus

In the time of the Coronavirus, how can you ensure that you are still delivering your value in a way that works for both you and your customers?

As an artrepreneur, delivering value to your customers is one of the most important aspects of your art-based business. Once you’ve taken the time to understand what that value is, you don’t want to self-sabotage by not understanding how you can deliver your value, or how your customers want your value to be delivered. After all, it’s this value which the customers are paying you for.

So in the time of a pandemic, how can you ensure that you are still delivering your value in a way that works for both you and your customers? It depends on what your business is, of course, but here are some tips that will help you evaluate your situation.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

What online options do you have?

At CREATIONS, the creative business that my husband and I founded together, we often like to deliver final videos to clients in person so that we can discuss the project and end off communication on a positive note. However, we do have the option to deliver the final video via the cloud, and have had to take advantage of this tech-based delivery option during the Coronavirus. We also use FaceTime and Zoom to conduct a closing meeting with the client to ensure that communication is positive and complete. Using online resources works well if your final product is digital. Think about how you can take advantage of technology when delivering your value.

If your product needs to be delivered in person, what precautions can you take to avoid close contact?

For many of you, digital transfer won’t work for delivering your product. So how can you deliver your product in person without putting anyone at risk? Consider using mail services to send out finished products. If you’re product is too fragile to mail, consider front door drop off for local customers. Either way, you’ll want to include a note of some sort that thanks the customer for their service and expresses your regret for not being present at the time of delivery. Let your customers know that you are really trying during this time of separation and that you are there for them should they have any concerns or questions.

If you cannot deliver your value now, how can you maintain communication with the customer until you can?

What if neither of the two previous options works for delivering your value? If this is the case, you’ll need to be upfront and honest with your customers right away. Make sure you have some kind of contact information for every customer so that you can stay in communication with them. Don’t bother them, but keep communication consistent and ensure them that you’ll be able to deliver your value once bans are lifted.

How can you adjust the way you communicate with customers in order to maintain the relationship?

In each of these three scenarios, communication with your customers is key. Maintain a tone of urgency, but make sure that your communication and interest is genuine. Ensure that your customers feel like their needs come first, and do your best to bend over backward for them. During this time of silent chaos, customers will remember the companies who did their best to serve them. Think about what additional, helpful value you can bring to them during this time. Maybe you include an extra feature or product, or maybe you give a small discount so that they can continue purchasing from you and other small business. At the end of the day, delivering your value is all about making sure that the customer is happy, so think about what you can do to make their day a little better.

Stay persistent and strong-willed during the time of the Coronavirus. Be honest and genuine with your customers. Creative businesses that keep their customers first and continue delivering a strong value will come out of this pandemic with loyal clients and new insights that might change how their value is delivered forever.

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to access helpful information as you continue developing your creative business during the time of the Coronavirus!

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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3 Easy Ways to Build Contacts in Your Artrepreneurial Network

Here are 3 easy ways to build contacts in your creative space, even during the time of the Coronavirus.

#1 Take advantage of free resources in your community

Free? That’s right, free! In every state there are organizations that exist for the sole purpose of stimulating the local economy through small business growth. One of these organizations is very dear to my heart: the Small Business Development Center!

Myself, Kayla Banda, providing free business counseling to an SBDC client – Photo courtesy of the Nevada SBDC

Small Business Development Centers are non-profit organizations that exist all over the country. There are 13 in Nevada alone! At the SBDC, business counselors are waiting to help you develop your business model, find funding, develop marketing strategies, assist in your research, and ultimately help you grow your creative business! All you have to do is sign up and make an appointment. Not only do counselors act as your business advisors, but they can help connect you with the rest of your local entrepreneurial community. So click here to locate an SBDC near you!

Another nationwide organization that provides business advising for free is SCORE. Their team consists of retired executives who have extensive experience in all kinds of industries. Check out this site to see if there is a SCORE counselor in your area who has the experience you need.

NOTE: Both organizations are offering virtual counseling through the time of the Coronavirus.

#2 Find out who the leaders in your industry are and connect with them on social media

Social media offers a great way to stay in the loop on all things happening in your field. Find and follow your industry members and experts to start building relationships with them and learning from the content they post. Work hard to engage with them authentically.

But first, make sure that you are providing helpful content on your social media pages so to encourage others to follow you. If you’re a painter, maybe you post content about your process or mistakes/lessons you’ve learned that could be helpful for others. Give people a reason to remember you so that when you meet them in person, they’re already familiar with you and the value you bring.

Social media is a great way to learn about in-person events that are happening, especially in your area. If one of your favorite local artists is hosting a gallery, go and support them. If an expert in your field is hosting a webinar, join! Supporting your local network is the easiest way to get support back.

#3 Go to local events in your creative space

Again, supporting your local artrepreneurial community is one of the best ways to gain trust with potential contacts in your field. When you support others, they’re more likely to support you. Try to maintain a benevolent spirit, meaning that you are there to truly support them. Keep a learning attitude–you never know what tidbit of advice might be a huge learning lesson for you in your artrepreneurial journey. One of the easiest ways to find local events is to search online for people and organizations in your field and stay up-to-date with the information they post. Often they will share information on events, meet-ups, and openings.

Connecting with potential customers, mentors, and partners is a huge part of developing your artrepreneurial network–but you must stay genuine! People are much more willing to work with others who they feel are benevolent, well-meaning, and honest. So try your best to support without a hidden agenda. Ego is not welcome here!

Remember: Building a network takes time and benefits are not always immediate. Stay with it. Becoming a recognized name in any community takes time and effort, so consider this a strategy for the long-haul.

Peace, Kayla

Challenge! Visit your social media pages right now and start searching for local members of your creative field–they can be people or organizations. Then, think about the value you can offer them through your own social media page. These two steps are the core of starting to develop your artrepreneurial network and can be done now, even in the time of COVID-19.

How To Keep Your Creative Spark During the Coronavirus

Coronavirus got you stuck at home? Stay productive and feed your creative flame!

When you’re stuck at home, it’s easy to get stuck watching TV and your favorite movies–twice. Here’s some advice on how to stay productive and feed your creative flame!

Make a list of creative projects you need to finish or want to start.

Giving yourself a written list of things to do can help you choose them over that pesky television. Sometimes having multiple tasks and projects to choose from gives you the push you need to work on your art!

Read or watch something that will inspire you to work on your own art.

If you’re going to lounge on the couch and watch or read something, choose a selection that will inspire you! For example, I (re)watched Inception, my favorite Christopher Nolan film, and suddenly remembered why my current film project is so important to me! Sometimes we need to see other people’s awesome work in order to re-ignite the motivation to work on our own.

Do a random project in your house.

Right now, you might have the opportunity to do a fun, small project that you otherwise might be too busy to take on! If you’re stressed with your larger projects, do something easy to help keep your creativity flowing! This is the opportunity you’ve been looking for to do a project for fun–not for work, for a client, or with any expectations.

Sit down and really work on your creative business.

One of the hardest things about being an artrepreneur is that you are often working on your business in your limited downtime. While you’re stuck at home, you’ve been given extra downtime to dedicate to building your art-based business! Pour yourself a cup of tea, make yourself a work space, and start working through your art-based business model!

Do something creative with those who are stuck with you!

Maybe you’re stuck in the house with your kids or significant other. Great! Pull them off the couch and tell them its time to start creating! You’ll be surprised how much creativity grows when you brainstorm and work together.

Whatever you end up doing, make sure to keep creativity, fun, and inspiration at the forefront of your activities. Coronavirus got you down? Feed your creative spark and stay motivated on your artrepreneurial journey!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artpreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship meet to feed your creative flame and continue building your very own art-based business.