The Artrepreneur’s Battle with Ego

This is a blog about artrepreneurship–so why are we talking about ego?

Beowulf’s inability to control his ego and let go of his pride ultimately resulted in his death and the vulnerability of his people.
Lucifer’s hubris and selfish viewpoints disconnected him from his heavenly people and caused suffering for the world below.
King Oedipus’ prideful attempts to deny the prophecies of the Greek gods brought about the death of those he loved.

Our (real and imagined) relations with the phenomenon known as the “ego” are nothing new. For centuries, we’ve been intrigued by ego and its impacts, most likely because it affects each of us. Our fascination with ego is not unprecedented–when not monitored and dealt with strategically, our egos can cause problems for us that we never intended.

artrepreneurship, ego, successful entrepreneur
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

That’s why it’s important for us to talk about ego here at Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet. As an artrepreneur, you will be faced with many challenges related to your ego. After all, this is YOUR creative business, this is YOUR vision, and much of your success lies on YOUR decisions and actions. It’s hard not to overemphasize the importance of yourself.

However, there are some ways you can keep your ego in check during your artrepreneurial journey:

Listening to others
As an artrepreneur, its important to ask others for their thoughts and opinions. We’ve talked before about the importance of others along your artrepreneurial journey: involving others can help you strengthen your weaknesses, come up with new ideas, and see things from different perspectives. Take the time to listen to what others have to say. You might find a gem in their advice one day.

Asking others for advice (and sometimes, taking it)
This is similar to listening to others, but requires that you take the first step in initiating their involvement. When you do ask for advice from others, listen deeply and consider what they have to say. Remember: you don’t always have to follow their advice. But, if there seems to be potential in what they have to say, don’t be afraid to take their advice and give them credit for the benefit they’ve added to your creative company.

Trusting the ability of others
Sometimes, we’ve added people to our team but still don’t fully trust their ability to execute. It’s easier to trust and rely on ourselves, because we’re confident that we won’t let ourselves down. But sometimes, you have to give others a chance to prove their ability and add to your vision. If they let you down, you can re-evaluate their position with your business–but at least give them a fair, fighting chance.

Evaluating yourself realistically
We’ve talked many times about the importance of being able to evaluate yourself and your circumstances from a place of reality. Sometimes, our ego can cause us to overestimate our own abilities or underestimate the abilities of others. This can leave promises unfulfilled and opportunities undiscovered. Work with your ego by evaluating yourself realistically and acting accordingly.

When you don’t take the time to check your ego as an artrepreneur, you might face unnecessary problems, such as:

– Losing potential partners
– Losing potential clients
– Missing out on good opportunities
– De-valuing your brand

Dealing with your ego might not be the first thing you think of when planning for your artrepreneurial journey, but it’s important. Keeping your ego in check will help you build a successful creative business that will last.

Peace, Kayla

Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to receive more straight-up information that will make your artrepreneurial journey easier.

Funding Sources for Artrepreneurs

Looking for funding as an artrepreneur can be overwhelming. Start by learning about your options.

Depending on your business model, you may or may not need a cash infusion to start up your art-based business. For example: If you need a certain machine to create your product, or you need a physical location, you might be looking for sources of funding to help you get started. Let’s talk about some options.

Remember: Successful funding is reliant on your ability to pay back the money you borrow, with interest. In order to do this, your business must make money–enough to pay back debts and still make a profit. That’s why its so important to understand your business model and ensure that you will make the amount of money you think you’ll make.

Note: The word DEBT is a four-letter word to many people. But, it’s not always bad. If you can make enough money to pay back what you’ve borrowed and still make a profit, debt is really a tool you can use to help build your business. However, if you don’t do your due diligence to ensure that you will be able to make the amount of money you think you’ll make, debt can become your worst enemy. Preparation is so important in artrepreneurship. Before taking funding of any kind, make sure you do the prep work needed to ensure it’s a good decision! (If you’d like to read about how to do this prep work, let me know in the comments section below!)

Types of Funding Sources

Banks
Most banks give out business loans. However, most banks only want to invest in “low-risk businesses” (cookie-cutter businesses that are part of secure industries and have proven business models). As an artrepreneur, your creative business, most likely, does not fall into this category. Visit your local Small Business Development Center to ask if your business might be considered a fit for bank loans.
Remember: Lenders are most concerned with your business model (is it sound, will it make money, is there room for growth?) and YOU. Lenders want to see that you have extensive knowledge in your field/industry, that you have good credit, and that you are personally financially stable. Banks want low-risk investments. If you’re credit is poor, or you have a hard time handling your personal finances, banks will be much less likely to invest in your business. It’s important to take the time to improve your personal situation so that funders will be more willing to work with you.

Investors
Investors are usually interested in tech/software/medical companies who have high growth potential. As an artrepreneur, your creative business, most likely, does not fall into this category. However, there are investors of all kinds out there. If you can prove that your creative business has potential for high profits and growth, this could be a good path for you. You’ll need to look for investors who have an interest in the arts. A personal connection between yourself and them is always helpful. Again, these investors will be looking at both your business model and YOU. When talking with investors, you must be able to sell your ability to execute the business plan and create a profitable business. Practicing your elevator pitch and understanding your business model will be VERY important.

Crowdfunding
Many artrepreneurs take to crowdfunding sources to help raise money. Crowdfunding platforms allow individual people to donate small to large amounts of money to businesses. Kickstarter is a popular crowdfunding platform. On Kickstarter, those who donate are guaranteed a gift of some sort in return for their investment, with larger donations resulting in larger gifts.
This funding source is usually most successful when the business already has a strong online following, or their offering is so innovative that people are drawn to it and want to be part of its development.

FFF
FFF stands for Friends, Family, and Fools. This kind of funding source draws from your existing network and requires that you convince those you know to join you in your artrepreneurial journey. Like the other sources of funding, those investing will want some kind of return for their investment. They might ask for a percentage of the business, interest on a time-specific loan, or unlimited use of the product or service in the future. Whatever it is, it’s important that you treat these investors like any other… Create a contract! Let them know exactly what you’re asking for and exactly what they’ll get out of the relationship.
This funding source can be tricky because you are involving friends and family (and maybe some fools) in your business affairs. Only work with those you trust–people who can act professionally and take on the role of an investor, not just a friend.

Grants
As an artrepreneur, you may have some opportunities to receive grants that are created just for entrepreneurs in the arts. You’ll have to do research to find them. Remember: Just like every other funding source, the money you receive isn’t “free.” In the case of grants, you might have certain limitations on how the money can be spent, or there might be goals you need to accomplish with the money. Make sure to read the fine print to understand what you’re agreeing to before accepting any grant money.

The Business
Depending on your business model, you might not need to look for outside sources of funding. If you’re able to start making profits for a relatively low amount of cash, you can use those profits to fund the next round of your business plan. Think about how you can strategically launch your business so that it can pay for itself. If your business model fits this strategy well, you’ll be happy that you took the time to develop your business in a way that allowed it to become its own source of funding.


We’ve only scraped the surface of each of these funding sources. Hopefully, you’ve identified one or two that might be a good fit for your creative business. If so, now is the time to do more research. Before you approach any of these funding sources, you’ll need to confirm that your business model is well thought out and has potential for profitability.

If you would like to read more about how to approach each kind of funding source, leave a comment down below!

Peace, Kayla

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Your Artrepreneurial Journey Isn’t Going How You Planned… What Now?

It’s time to step back and evaluate.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels

It’s been a month, 6 months, maybe even a year, and your new career as an artrepreneur isn’t working out how you thought it would. What do you do now?

It’s time for rest and reflection. If you’ve already said goodbye to your other sources of income, you might not have time to rest, but you MUST make time to reflect.

#1 What’s going RIGHT?
#2 What’s going WRONG?

Because every artrepreneur’s situation is different, I’ve listed a few possible scenarios below. These scenarios are meant to be an example of how you might go about evaluating what’s going right, and what’s going wrong, with your creative business.

NOTE: Throughout this article, you’ll see many links to this article (and others). Revisiting your business model is one of the most helpful ways to evaluate your situation and make necessary changes. I would suggest that you visit this article and conduct an evaluation of each part of your business model. This will give you a comprehensive view of your art-based business.

Scenario 1

Maybe you’ve secured a few customers, but not as many as you hoped for. Where did these customers come from? Did you already know them? Did they find you via social media? Through word of mouth? Think about the communication you’ve had with them to understand whether or not the channels you’re using to advertise are actually working.

Secondly, who are these customers? Do they match the target market profile you created when you first started out? You might find that your real customers are totally different from the ones you assumed you’d have. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers about how they found you, why they chose you, and how their experience was when working with you.

Scenario 2

Maybe you’ve gotten lots of engagement online. That’s great! Look at the kind of content you’re posting and see who’s interacting with it. By doing this, you’ll be able to tell what kind of content is of interest to whom, and that will help you better focus your time as you continue on.

But perhaps you still aren’t booking customers, despite your positive engagement rate online. Are potential customers reaching out to you, then backing out once they learn about your prices? This might be a sign that you need to restructure your pricing model. Are people not reaching out at all? This might be a sign that although you post engaging content, your value or the service you offer isn’t clear enough. Or maybe customers don’t know how they should contact you if they’re interested. You might need to revisit how you’ve written or worded your messages to understand if your value is clear.

Scenario 3

Maybe you’ve developed a solid business plan and have created a cool brand, but you’re getting no interest at all. This could be a sign of a few issues:

1) The market doesn’t exist. Maybe the need that you believe you’re filling just isn’t really there, or maybe it doesn’t exist on a large enough premise to sustain a sustainable creative business. Consider conducting more research to understand if this might be the case.

2) You’re way off target in regards to who your target customer is. You might be sharing your awesome value with all the wrong people.

3) The way you’re sharing your value isn’t resinating with people. Your branding might be fogging up the true value you provide, leaving people disinterested or unsure about what you’re offering.

4) You’re missing the strategic partners you need to make your business model complete. Maybe you’ve created a product and have been trying to sell it online through your own website, but what you really need is a retail partner to help sell your product at the rates you want. Or maybe you don’t have enough credibility to secure the customers you want, so you need a strategic partner who will back you.


There are all kinds of potential factors that might be contributing to the slow growth of your creative business. It’s your job to take some time to reflect about all you’ve done so that you can identify these factors and make adjustments to fix them.

Whatever you do, don’t give up... UNLESS:
If you find that there might not be a big enough market for you to serve, or that you’re value is already being provided in the same way somewhere else, or that you don’t have the passion to push past your slow beginning… it might be the right decision for you to throw in the towel and start pursuing something else. In today’s world, people are chastised for “quitting.” But sometimes, quitting is exactly what you need to do to find success elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to move along in your artrepreneurial journey by dropping an unsuccessful business model and picking up a successful one. Your artrepreneurial journey is not limited by a single business idea, but by how you evaluate that business idea and ultimately find a successful way to share your art with the world.

Now is the time to take a step back and evaluate. If you run into questions during your reflection, please leave a comment below so that I and other artrepreneurs can help you work through it! Good luck!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get more straight-up information that can help make your artrepreneurial journey easier!