If you went to school, then you were probably encouraged to avoid an artistic career.
Art, drama, music and other artistic subjects were likely put at the bottom of the hierarchy. You’re encouraged do these in your spare time, but you gotta do something “serious” for a living! Right?
Think about where the most money is spent. Where do people take their income after the necessities are taken care of?
That’s right, the artistic pursuits are where the big bucks are. The school system is antiquated, a throwback to the Industrial Era. The hierarchy simply no longer applies.
But because it’s still like this, no one taught you how to take that artistic talent and passion, and turn it into a profitable business.
Well, I’m an artist. I can’t draw for shit, but I play the bass like a demon and dance like a drunk. And coaching is art. Engaging in a psychologically enhancing conversation with someone is creative and spontaneous. No coaching session is ever the same.
And I’ve made a business out of it.
So, today I’m going to share the things I wish I had known before I got started.
IT CAN BE DONE
With the help of the internet, there are now profitable niches for every type of artistic talent. Even if your passion is something that requires particular tastes, like you paint or play music, there will always be a way to make money from it to… and without sacrificing your integrity.
Painters can do anything from graphic design to website creation and advertising. Musicians can produce, session-play, and write music. Authors can blog, write copy, or become journalists. Dancers can choreograph, actors can create video-blogs, and so on and on and on.
And of course, anything that you have mastered can be taught. Thanks to the unfair schooling system there are tonnes of artistic people who lack the education to grow their talent. Teach them, through classes, online video products, seminars and more.
FIGURE OUT THE NEED
Your art solves someone’s problem. The first thing you need to understand in business is the simple fact that a business only has one purpose: it solves a problem.
Artistic people often struggle to create profit from their art because they see it as an optional commodity, a luxury item. You need to understand that other than food, water and shelter, everything is optional. That means your art is as worthy of money as any other form of business.
But you need to know what problem your talent solves, what need it meets, and what pain it removes. Find your ideal clients and talk to them. Try to figure out how your artistic product or service will make their life more enjoyable, and then reverse that to figure out the problem you’re solving.
Creative designer? You’re bringing colour and beauty into their lives. Problem solved: reducing the ugliness of their home.
Dancer? You’re showing them how to get fit and meet new people in a safe enjoyable way. Problem solved: loneliness and poor health.
Musician? Bringing interesting and powerful tunes into their world. Problem solved: boredom and stress.
When you learn how to reach peoples’ pain, you can sell your art. Or, more specifically, your art will sell itself.
START WITH WHO YOU KNOW
Your first clients are probably going to be people you already know. Let go of limiting beliefs about who you can and cannot sell too. That’s just fear of rejection talking.
My first two clients: one was a friend and the other was a family member’s workmate. Then there was a guy in my dance class. Then another friend. Then an ex workmate.
It was ages before I had a stranger as a client. Give your friends and family the pleasure of supporting you, don’t deny them this because of your petty fears. They will also give the best reviews and testimonials.
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS ONE AT A TIME
This is more of a general business idea. It’s about how to grow your business without needing to engage in manipulative or sleazy sales techniques. You simply create relationships.
Figure out who your ideal client is. Who is the person who would benefit most from your work AND is someone who you’d love to work with? Create a psychological profile of this person.
Then figure out where you can find this person, and go meet them there. Use courage to break down social barriers and create real relationships with people.
PROVIDE POWERFUL SERVICE
Don’t try to sell, try to SERVE. Nobody needs art to survive, and they know this. Trying to force artistic services and products down someone’s throat will not create a thriving business.
Instead, look at your talent from a new angle: how can I serve people powerfully with this?
Behind your talent and skill is wisdom. You can provide great advice and guidance in your field.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you could contact newly engaged couples and offer to give them advice on how to plan their wedding, because you’ve been to so many. You could hook them up with discounts through wedding-related businesses you’re connected to. And so on…
Aim to be the only person they think of when they eventually do want to invest in your particular type of product or service. Serve them so powerfully that they recommend you to their friends.
And do this without trying to get anything from them. Take the neediness away. When it comes to offering your product or service and charging for it, this should simply be more value provided. You’re serving them by allowing them to purchase.
GET WISE FEEDBACK, BUT DON’T LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS
Most people have been through the same schooling system as you. Which means they don’t know shit about creating a successful artistic business. That won’t stop them from giving you advice though!
Instead, find people who are already successful in your field. Reach out to them and try to serve them, as powerfully as you would potential clients. Then open yourself up to receiving their advice and support.
Just remember, provide them with value FIRST, and with no expectation of return.
DON’T HOLD BACK, BE AUTHENTIC
Art is not about practicality or affordability. It’s about having something unique that no one else can offer. So don’t moderate or filter yourself to try to appeal to more people.
Instead aim to appeal to a tiny, exclusively select niche of people. The small few who will argue with others about your work. These people will become your biggest fans, as long as you are authentic and unrestrained.
Mass appeal gets minimum sales. You’re not selling toasters. Which of course leads to the next point…
If you’re ready to take your artistic idea and make some $$$ from it, grab a free sample of The Legendary Life and start your planning today!
GET A COACH
Mentors and friends are great for support. The only problem is they a) are not paid to support you, and b) may not be experts in the areas of development you need the most. This means that despite their best intentions they may lead you astray or give you unhelpful advice.
I always pay for coaching. Why? Because then I’m guaranteed to have quicker results and make progress past my internal barriers. Your fear and limiting beliefs will be the biggest barriers to your success.
If you want your business to succeed you need to invest time, energy and money into it. And as your business is merely an extension of yourself, this means investing in YOU.
CHARGE WHAT YOU’RE WORTH
Figure out how much your service and product is worth by looking at the results it brings your clients. Look at what they would need to pay to provide this to themselves. How much have you spent on training? How many hours of practice? How much heartache and failure have you endured? That is what they are paying for!
How much is it worth to make a home beautiful? How valuable is it to have fear removed? How much would you pay to have your big day preserved perfectly in photographic memory?
Value is intangible and subjective. Your clients don’t know how much money your work is worth, because it is art. You need to decide how much it’s worth. And get this: how much you charge is how valuable they will think it is.
Know what that means? Correct: if you sell it cheap they will assume it’s not valuable. I can almost guarantee, if your business is not working out right now, one of the best things you can do is double your prices.
Go do it right now, I’ll wait…
BE PREPARED TO BE BROKE
You have so much to learn. And for a while, you’re probably not going to make much money while you learn.
Instead of trying it out for three months and then giving up, give yourself at least three years or more. I promised myself I wouldn’t give up for at least five years.
This means learning how to manage money (I royally screwed this one up myself). Firstly, I recommend saving up at least enough money to survive (bare minimum survival, no luxuries) for six months’ worth of no profit. You might also need a part-time job, or angel investors.
Don’t cry about it; most businesses have to go through this pain period. There’s an old cliché about how eight out of ten businesses fail in their first two years. In reality, it’s more like they gave up. A “business” is just a piece of paper. It can’t fail. Only you can give up.
It will take a while. Be patient. It’s TOTALLY worth the wait to live your dream life.
STRETCH YOUR COMFORT ZONE EVERY DAY
If you feel comfortable, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Your business will grow mostly from one thing: rejections. The more rejections you can rack up, the quicker you learn. This separates the successful from the others.
Prepare to hear the words “No thanks” over and over and over again. Learn to embrace these rejections, and constantly look for the next, bigger one. Shoot for out-of-your-league clients. Reach out to people who intimidate you.
Aim to work with those who inspire you, and prepare for them to say No. Be yourself and dare them to say No. Push the boundaries and then push some more.
Bigger the risk; bigger the reward.
Artistic people are lazy, disorganised, scatterbrained freaks. I know this because I’m one of them. We’re also social wimps a lot of the time.
This means that we will prioritise anything we enjoy the most and requires the least effort. This is not how a business is grown. In know, it sucks eh?
There is only one way to grow a business: creating more clients who pay more money. If you can’t accept that, then go back to the soul-crushing 9-5. There’s no getting around this.
You know all that fun, artsy stuff you love? Yeah you can do as much of that as you want… after you’ve created new client relationships and taken good care of your current clients. The first-third of your day at least should be all about creating new clients and astonishing current clients.
Then you can design your ebook, play with the cat, practice back-flips and scroll through Facebook.
“START SMALL AND SUCKY” – MARIE FORLEO
Forget business plans. They suck.
Instead of planning… and strategizing… and mind mapping… and dream boarding… just get out there and do some shit. Do it poorly, do it unwisely, and get it wrong. You will make immense progress by just charging into action.
As Marie says, just start small and sucky. Don’t worry about getting the final product out there, start with your first draft. Get rejected and then learn from that. Build up each draft based on feedback, until the feedback is “Yes please”.
Then do it all over again with the next idea.