3 Misperceptions About Entrepreneurship That Every Artrepreneur Needs to Consider

How many times have you heard the phrase: “I want to be my own boss,” and thought, “Yup, that sounds pretty great!”?

Here at Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet, I’m dedicated to sharing straight-to-the-point information that’s critical for any artrepreneur’s success. That’s why I think it’s important to discuss 3 of the most common misperceptions about the entrepreneurial world.

Photo by Tim Sao Koo

No bosses

How many times have you heard the phrase: “I want to be my own boss,” and thought, “Yup, that sounds pretty great!”? I’m betting lots. Me too. But what I’ve learned in my time counseling entrepreneurs and small business owners at the Nevada Small Business Development Center is that even as a business owner, you will have a boss–the customer. As an entrepreneur, you work for your paying customers and clients. Might sound cheesy, but it’s true. You have to keep the customer happy, because without them, you don’t have a job. Their preferences will decide a lot of what you do, so be ready to work your hardest for them.

Even further than that, when companies become large enough to “go public,” shareholders and board members become the boss, and CEOs must still report to someone. So if being boss-less is your goal, entrepreneurship only gets you so far. My suggestion is to remove this hope from your mind and focus on how you can be the best employee in your company. After all, you are the first employee of your own creative business!

More vacations, Less daily work

Social media and word-of-mouth have somehow engrained in the public the idea that entrepreneurs enjoy a 4-day work week and take vacations whenever they want. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, especially in the first few years of starting your own business. In fact, most micro-business owners are working an average of 52 hours a week, and Gallup found that 39% of owners work over 60 hours a week. Even further, many millionaire entrepreneurs suggest working 12-16 hours a day in the first few years of building your business.

Obviously, it’s up to the entrepreneur how much they can, and want to work. But most who are successful choose to work at least the typical 40 hours a week that many people think entrepreneurship will help them to escape. If you’re looking to work less, consider designing a lifestyle company that can provide you enough income to cover your expenses, without guaranteeing potential growth. If you’re looking to become the next big name entrepreneur, work on developing a growth company business model that is scalable, and be ready to work hard to grow it!

Entrepreneurs are millionaires

Due to the popularity of a few well-known entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, some people assume that all entrepreneurs are rich. What isn’t so popular is the fact that most entrepreneurs are small business owners, and don’t actually make millions of dollars every year (99% of business are small businesses!). In fact, Sokanu claims that entrepreneur salaries usually range from $10,400 to $129,200. And according to Fox Business, the average is around $68,000 a year. Obviously, the range of entrepreneur salaries is broad–some become millionaires, but some go bankrupt.

This is why it’s important to create a killer business model before embarking on your artrepreneurial journey, and to truly understand whether you are trying to build a lifestyle company or a growth company. Keeping your expectations realistic can help you build the creative business you dream of.

NOTE: I don’t say any of this to discourage you. But I do want you to have a realistic perception of entrepreneurship before deciding to embark on your own artrepreneurial journey. Being an entrepreneur, especially an artrepreneur, is not easy. But for the right people, it can be the perfect fit. Let your WHY drive you, and follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get more straight-up information that will help you along your artrepreneurial journey!

Peace, Kayla

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.

The Easiest Way to Create a Killer Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch should help you clearly and concisely state your value — here’s an easy way to create one.

The elevator pitch. It’s mystified and old school… so what’s its real purpose? It’s all about being able to clearly and concisely state your value to potential customers, partners, and/or funders. It’s about sharing your value in a way that leaves people wanting more. There’s all kinds of advice out there on creating elevator pitches, but I want to share with you an easier way to develop your perfect pitch. 

NOTE: Your pitch shouldn’t actually sound like a pitch at all. Instead, it should sound like you clearly and passionately understand the value you bring to others. 

Today I attended the International Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium and learned a new, easy approach to the dreaded elevator pitch from two amazing marketing wizards, Kay and Shi! Here’s a basic version of the super helpful template they shared: 

When TARGET CUSTOMERS want/need THIS THING, I help provide them a solution by DOING THIS.

Before creating your own elevator pitch, I hope you’ve worked through your value and messaging. If not, please revisit this article

Here’s the elevator pitch I created for myself during the Symposium

When creatives and artists want to become entrepreneurs, I help them by sharing helpful and straight-to-the-point information about how to build their brands and business models.

Here’s why I LOVE this template: It’s one sentence! Two tops. This makes your elevator pitch easy to create and natural in conversation. Ever tried developing a pitch that sounds too much like a pitch? Or one that seems impossible to remember? Me too. This strategy will solve those problems and help you feel confident about sharing your value with anyone who asks!

Try developing your own quick and easy elevator pitch and comment what you come up with below!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Here are some more examples to get you started:

When business owners need help growing, I help them by creating tailored video content they can use to share their brands and reach new customers.

When authors and publishers need to make their work stand out on the shelves, I help them by creating eye-catching covers and graphics that perfectly capture their stories.

When restaurant-owners need the perfect atmosphere for their new locations, I help them by creating murals that transport and entertain their customers.

Your turn. Let’s see what you’ve got!

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!

5 First Steps in Building Your Art-based Business

You might be thinking that it’s time to turn your art into a business. Here are 5 crucial steps in starting to develop your new art-based business:

You might be thinking that it’s time to turn your art into a business. ‘Artrepreneurship’ is becoming more and more common and maybe you’re ready to take a whack at it. Not exactly sure what ‘artrepreneurship’ is? Take a read through Is Art Entrepreneurship? to make sure that you’re ready to take the leap. If you’ve already read through the post, then you’ve decided that you’re ready to move forward with your lifestyle or growth company. AWESOME! (If you’re not familiar with the difference between a lifestyle company and a growth company, please take the time to read through Is Art Entrepreneurship? so that you can have a solid foundation on which to move forward!)

Regardless of which kind of company you’ve decided on, there are 5 crucial steps in starting to develop your new art-based business:

1 – Understand your value

As an artist, you have a very special set of skills and people of all kinds are looking for your services. The first step to serving those potential customers is to identify exactly what it is that you can offer them. Start by thinking about the need you are fulfilling. Perhaps companies have a need to share their messages through video content, but can’t make quality videos by themselves. As a video content creator, for example, you can help to fulfill that need.

Think about your customers’ “pain points,” or things that are hard or impossible for them to do on their own. For example, maybe they can’t make that high quality video because they don’t have the knowledge to edit their videos in professional editing software, but you do. A successful business helps solve it’s customers’ problems — what problem are you helping solve for your potential customers?

2 – Decide on your message

Now that you truly understand what helpful solution you’re providing for your potential customers, it’s time to think about the best way to communicate your value with them in a relatable way. “We help bring your brand to life.” While this isn’t about making slogans, you can develop a message that underlies your creative business. Maybe it’s an internal statement that sounds something like: “I help people grow their own brands by creating killer video content for them.” Decide on what your message, your mission, is so that you can work on sharing this message with your potential customers.

3 – Think about your branding

One of the best ways to share your message with potential customers is through your branding. Your branding consists of everything from fonts to colors to slogans and logos. Your branding should make your message clear to the customer; let them know what problems you can help them solve.

There are two main elements of your brand: the visual elements, and the emotional elements. One common way to share visual elements is through a branding board. See the example below. Read more about how to create an awesome, comprehensive branding board here.

MARQUE ONE brand board
Branding Board example by Krishna Solanki

While a branding board can help you share your brand visually, you should also work on sharing your brand by focusing on relevancy to the customer — this helps to create a emotional response. One way to do this is by creating relatable slogans like the: “I help people grow their own brands by helping them creating killer video content.” Make sure you focus on your value and the problem that you’re solving. Another way is to develop a list of keywords that summarize your value and how you want to share it. “awesome video content, collaborative concept development, message sharing, fun to work with, creative business, professional yet casual, the list could go on. There are many ways to describe how your want your brand to feel. Write down as many as you can think of, then choose the top 5, 10, or 15 that really describe your brand in a way that’s relatable to your potential customers.

4 – Evaluate your resources

Alright, you’ve got your value, your message, and your brand — but how are you going to deploy them? You need to evaluate your resources. How much time do you have to spend working on your business? How much money do you have to support your marketing efforts? Who do you know who could act as a mentor, partner, or evangelist for you? Do you have all the tools you need to execute for your potential customers?

One of the best ways to evaluate your resources is by making a plan:

5 – Make a Plan

Business plans sound stiff, but the benefit you can get from prepping one is well worth the work. Making a plan doesn’t have to be hard. Strategyzer.com provides the Business Model Canvas, which is like a one-page business plan that can help you get a plan going for your new artrepreneurship endeavor. Follow me to the next blog to learn about how to create a one page plan for your art-based business!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Through each step, remember to always be thinking from the perspective of your potential customers.