Reading back my own advice definitely makes me feel better about why I'm continuing to write these blogs. I really have something to offer this community because out of all of these 10 pieces of advice I've taken... drum roll... all 10 of the. They really were a great stepping point (especially the part about having a close group of supporters and people in the industry. And don't worry if you don't know anybody personally, Instagram connected me to a ton of people who were more than willing to answer my questions.)
So if you’re here then chances are you’ve read part 1 of this series and you’ve decided that you’re ready to put forth all the hard work it takes to own your own business. Cool, me too… now what?
Well, now you have to understand some basic business concepts, get your finances together, and construct a team. (which might be easier than you think) Here are the last 5 pieces of advice I learned from my small business intro class.
6. Collect a group of people to act as your “business advisors”
“Business advisers” might sound like you need to get a team of lawyers and handsomely paid men in suits, but really it’s just a group of people close to you who have expertise in your field.
Possible “business advisers” include:
Of course, never forget to include anyone in your life that is supportive of your dreams. They are arguably the most important people, because they’re the ones who will encourage you when you want to give up, and celebrate with you when you get your first sale.
7. Decide if you’re going to be a Sole Proprietor, LLC, or Corporation
In order to legally start your business you need to decide what type of business you are. The most common include Sole proprietorship/Partnership, LLC, and Corporation. Just a quick disclaimer that I am not a lawyer and by no means should you take this as legal advice, that is why I’m simply giving you the dictionary definitions of each of these business types and providing links to the IRS website. There you can read more in depth and decide which is right for you!
Sole Proprietorship – A sole proprietor is someone who owns an unincorporated business by himself or herself.
LLC or Limited Liability Company – A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Each state may use different regulations, and you should check with your state if you are interested in starting a Limited Liability Company.
Corporation – A corporation is a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law.
8. Keep your personal and Business Money Separate
On any blog I’ve ever seen titled something like “5 Things I Should’ve Done When Starting a Business” or “Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make” one that always comes up is money mixing. This basically means paying for anything you need for your business out of your own pocket.
Now, if you’re like me and you haven’t legally started a business yet, you are allowed to spend money on drawing materials, a camera, and other things necessary to create with. (Otherwise no one would have a business) However, the second you register your business, everything that encompasses that business should go through a business bank account.
9. “Features Tell, Benefits Sell”
This is a term Lacey quoted that really stuck with me. Basically it means that telling people the facts about your product will help to educate them but ultimately getting people to relate to your product will sell it to them.
If I tell you my greeting cards, for instance, are on high quality paper and printed with the purest color ink you’ll be educated and know that I have a good product. But if you look at the card and the drawing and quotes make you feel something, you are much more likely to buy it. (Art sells itself in a way)
10. Understanding your customer’s emotional drive will unlock the secret to success.
This accompanies tip #9 and is really focused on marketing and advertising. Think about how many products you bought because the imagery made you feel good.
Figure out what feelings your artwork evokes and then market accordingly.
There’s a lot to consider when starting your own business as an artist, but if you really want it then this should give you a good place to start. As I learn more I will continue to update you (this is a journal after all) and in the mean time look for business classes in your area! Going to the University of Hartford Business Center was the first big step for me and it really helped me to organize my thoughts and get a solid plan together.
I hope you liked part 2 of this blog! Do you have any advice for starting your own business as an artist? Share your tips in the comments below.
Until next time,