The Business of Art

Close to 6 months into creating my new Art Business and I'm learning something new every day. I thought I might have a leg up, leveraging my former corporate career. But being in business for yourself is a different ballgame. Every day, the decisions you make can have major impact on the direction of the business. You can course correct, but there's a thinness to the margin of error, not felt before being in a corporate environment. From how you sell. The routes to market you choose. Who's your Buyer? Your quoting process. Understanding exactly what the Client is looking for, before blurting out a price. Keeping the value of your Art whole. Keeping it clean for those that have invested in your work. It's a balancing act to say the least.

Art is an emotional buy. It's not a necessity. It's a want. A desire. A connection to what the Artist is trying to represent. Art is subjective. A thin line between High End and Low End at times. The categories of buyers are many. Getting to the serious ones are the challenge and the golden ticket. Weaving through that is like gymnastics, at times.

I'm setting new Standards on a weekly basis. From defining my ideal Buyer. To my RTMs. Initial Customer interaction. Post delivery. Social Media. Marketing. On and On. Haven't touched on the "back office" aspects of ensuring you have the proper systems/infrastructure in place to do basic accounting.

Then there's the elephant in the room. Pricing your work. How do you come up with the right price for your work without being too high or too low? I'm truly a niche Artist. There's not many that do what I do. I can't price per square inch of a canvas. My work can take hundreds of hours to complete. Calculating a price based on a wage barely above $15/hr seems to offend people. So what does an Artist do? Well, I'm finding that I set the bar based on the Market and what I can "live" on to support my business and my family. It's a business, no different than a restaurant, a corporation, a grocery store, any other Mom and Pop out there. Seems fair? No?

At the end of the day, an Artist's time is worth something. The Product they're producing is worth something. When I'm asked, "Hey, how much does a _______ cost?" I used to just blurt out an answer. Then crickets. Now, before we get to a price. There's a conversation. There's a real understanding and connection to what the Client is looking for. A trading of ideas and sketches, a real confirmation that I've comprehended what the Client really has in mind. Then, and only then, do I produce a detailed quote. Because now, not only have we connected on the vision, but you also understand the value I bring to the table. Now we can have a proper conversation on price and the associated value. My Quote truly represents the vision.

Already I've taken on a couple of projects that I bended a little, "just to get my foot in the door". But I'm learning fast. I understand that there are those that are now buying my art for its value and it's up to me to defend it. And I owe it to my fellow Artists to not set expectations that we will continue to bend to account for "small art budgets".

I love it. I love learning and adopting to this new perspective. I love meeting new people and being in new situations. I love the look when I deliver a piece of art to the Client. I love "working" 12-14 hours a day. I love solving problems. I love creating. Who knows where this will all lead to. I have my vision, my intention down on paper. I'll plow a path to that end. But it's on me to appreciate and enjoy every step along the way.

So, if you're looking for a truly unique and authentic piece of art, connect with me. Let's talk. In the meantime, I'm gone to make more Art.

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