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Posts Tagged ‘business’

Post Painting Euphoria

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say post painting sale euphoria. But then often it is pretty much the same thing as of late many of my works are sold right often the drafting table. I have sold four originals this month. Some big … some little and the experience is pretty much the same.

Once I sell a painting, I am awash in the warm fuzzy-ness that is a sale. Now I’m greedy. I get a little high off from pretty much any sale prints and notecards as well. But the sale of originals are always a little more special. You might think it’s because in general the amount of money is increased, therefor the euphoria is in direct proportion to it. But no. Or at least not directly. The euphoria is in direct proportion to how long the money lasts. Which on average no matter how great the sale is 24-96 hours.

The thing about running a business is you have a second set of bills, so there is always something in need of paying.

I’m writing this because … well so many who want to get into the arts have glamorous visions of what being an artist is. And while I’m sure some people live that life of luxury and creating what and when they want to. Most of the artists that I know who make a living from their art (or even those seeking a nice additional income boost to their real jobs) have to work it. Indeed, far more time is spent being a business person than an artist.

Now this isn’t as depressing as it sounds. But it’s reality. At least it’s my reality. So here’s a slightly tongue in cheek look at the emotional cycle of painting sales.

The steps of the painting emotional rollercoaster are as follows:

* Stressed trying to get a painting out that I think is worthy of selling.

* Elation and euphoria when someone willingly trades their hard earned money for something I created. This, even after all these years blows my mind just a little.

* Giddy and happy with check in hand and while depositing in bank.

* Pleasant glow
while paying bills.

* Relaxed
while pondering the start of the next painting

* Stressed trying to get a painting out that I think is worthy of selling.

I’m pretty sure the only way I can extend my euphoria stage is to sell the art for more. While some of my patron collectors would be willing to pay 2x as much or more I would most assuredly lose others. This is a line I’m not ready to cross yet.

I was reading recently where an artist coach says to n ot only factor in your painting time but your down time as well. Which truthfully the only way to make it a living is you have to cover all of your living expenses.

When mentoring young artists the first thing I tell them after they have talked about their dream of “just painting for a living” is to look at how much money they are currently spending on living. All of it. The gas, food, household expenses, movies and health insurance because as an artist you are self employed. Now picture just how much art you need to sell to cover that. Again I’m so not trying to be cruel but in order to be successful in any endeavor you need to take a hard look at exactly what it all entails.

There are tons of benefits to being an artist and I truly love my life most days. But there are some days where the thought of a steady paycheck and the idea of working 9-5 five days a week holds a strong appeal.

But today is not one of them. As the sale I made yesterday was a good sized sale which should keep me in my happy place for a least 4 to 5 more days.

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The 80/20 Rule

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the 80/20 rule but for those of you unfamiliar with it, I’ll explain. The 80/20 is simply the percentile of positive and negative in any given area. Of late I’ve been thinking about just how true it is for all aspects of my life. It applies fairly accurately to my marriage, relationships, business, painting and writing.

In relationships and marriage it is usually defined that if you have a good relationship with someone it is 80% good and 20% you’d like to see changed. The reason many people get divorced is they think they can’t live without that extra 20%. The truth is no relationship is 100% and so they just exchange this person for that person, but the equation stays the same.

Since I’m not one to talk about relationships on my blog I’ll focus on how the 80/20 rule applies to art and writing.

With art the 80/20 split quantifies the balance of successful to not successful. So using my squidoo lenses as an example approximately 80% earn .00 to .35 cents each per month. While 20 percent earn $15-$50 each per month.

This rule also applies to my art in a couple of ways. First 80% of my work is mediocre to crap. While 20% is good to brilliant. 80% makes me little in print sales while 20% is the cash cow. Food for thought Mind you great art does not equal high selling.

In business 80% of my customer base will be new people while 20% will be repeats. Often those 20% will make up 80% of the overall sales. So take note if you have a good patron respect and honor that relationship. They may keep you afloat.

The trick is trying to figure out how to get more than 20% to be high performing. Of course the point of calling it a rule is that it means you can’t. You need to create that 80% in order to achieve the 20. You can of course learn techniques to improve your skill and your sales but for some reason the math seems to stay the same.

Does anyone have any thoughts on your own experiences with the 80/20 rule. Has anyone managed to avoid this rule successfully and made the bulk of their art or sales high performing, I’d love to hear about it.

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So I never realized how much I like to illustrate my blog post until now that I can’t. Sigh.

So I decided to pull out a post that I had been saving for the art fair season. But since I just published a lens with very much the same information to be used as a resource and checklist for packing for the upcoming art fair season I’ll go ahead and post this now. If you want to check out my new lens Art Fair Equipment essentials click here.

Indoor Events
1. Lights This has to do with the “S Rule” (Shiny Stuff Sells) The more light the better.
2. Extension cords
3. Tables with cloths and covers
4. A rug for the floor is a really nice touch.

Outdoor events
1.Weights and stakes
2 Tie downs
3.Tarps
4. Ice and something cold to drink
5. Snacks
6. Hats
7. Clip on umbrellas
8. Sunscreen

For Either
1 Calculators (at least 2 preferably 3) Heat and cold will fry them.
2. Change this includes bills. I usually take around $400 worth of 1, 5’s and 10’s.
3. Totes (for storage)
4. Pens, receipt books and bags.
5. Comfortable chairs
6. Guest book to collect names for mailing list.
7. Breath mints
8. Comfortable Shoes
9. Display Units, baskets etc.
10. Shop Towels
11. Plenty of Inventory. Nothing torks me off more than running out of something.

A Few Things That Are Nice To Have But Are Not Essential
1.Small broom for sweeping outdoor booth space
2. Blankets
3. Extra tarps
4.Tool Kit complete with zip ties
5. Shims for uneven or not level surfaces

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Okay so some of you may remember my post regarding copyright issue and the Orphan Works Act. If not here’s a refresher.

The bill (in a nutshell) was created so those who found stuff (like art, music, writing or your family photos) online, could use them for their own purposes (whatever that may be) as long as they put reasonable effort in finding the original owner to get permission for use. The Act will take away the automatic copyright currently granted and force artists (writers, musicians and maybe even your personal online photo album) to register everything for a fee. (Um Hum . . . thats right) And most importantly if the searcher doesn’t find you in the registry or you don’t reply in time, they can use the image (again, for whatever purpose) and you have absolutely no recourse. (scary huh?)

So I was looking through some squidoo lenses today and I came upon this lens from a fellow equestrian artist on copyright and Orphan Works. But here’s the best part . . . She has a link where you can sign up to Say NO!

And then cast your minds back to my post called
Horns of a dilemma: I would really love to get that George Stubbs original painting for sale on ebay . . . but it just feels so wrong. (a rant)

And looky here . . . d-artist also talks about a free-to-join group called the Equine Arts Protection League which was created to help artists protect themselves from copyright theft in places like Ebay.

Yes I’m signing up.

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Do You Do Squidoo?
Early in 09 I worked like 35 hours to create seven squidoo lens. (See sidebar blogroll right) And then promptly ignored them and moved on with my life.

Fast forward a year (i.e. now) and I’m looking at my business goals going “oh yeah, squidoo.” I really should do a few more of those. So I pop over and low and behold there is actual coinage in my account. $3.33 to be exact. (I’m like whoohoo!) So that equals out to less than 10 cents per hour worked on the project.

So what was my very first thought?

I need to build more lenses. (Yeah I know right? like isn’t that the reaction everybody would have? ) And so I promptly did. I’ve nearly doubled my lenses, though 1 is still in the building stage.

Okay I’m kinda mocking squidoo or more correctly my feeble attempts at income earning through my lenses. But I know (or have heard tell at any rate) that really good money can be made from squidoo lenses. They just need to be networked a little bit more than “create and leave.” Plus if you become a big squid (make at least 50 lenses that rank well) your earning potential goes up.

Part of the problem (besides my lack of computer talents) is that I focus really hard on providing content (which is the original intention of creating them) and not at all on monetization. (i.e. including advertising links like amazon) So that too is on my To-Do list.

I think 43 new lenses to become a big squid (or is it giant squid?) is out of my grasp for this year. So let’s see . . . if I do an additional 7 lenses this year . . . oh heck lets shoot for 13 new lenses to bring me to the nice even number of 20, maybe I’ll earn $10 by the end of 2010.

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she.

UPDATED:If anyone looks at my Squidoo lenses and finds them useful, I would really appreciate you ranking the lens. This helps with my overall ranking and listing placement as well as payout. You do not have to be a squidoo member to rank a lens.

Updated Again:
SO it turns out that $3.33 was only for the month of October. From what I can tell that was the first month that generated any income at all. For some reason the lenses just sort of spontaneously started earning cash. Huh?

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Art Business Goals For 2010

Recently Angela Finney was asking about goal setting on her blog (and has since posted her goals for the upcoming year.) And from that post sprung some deeper thinking (I tend to keep to the shallow end of the pool when thinking) about how I feel about goal setting. Here’s a few thoughts of mine from the comments section I left on Angela’s blog.

I work very hard. I set goals to accomplish things above and beyond my current standing. However, life and relationships (including that with one’s art) are ebb and flow. They move, change and evolve.

My goals in my younger days were become a vet tech and work in a zoo, which when accomplished turned out to not be what I wanted. When we moved to Iowa I got a lung infection . . . When just barely recovered my husband got severely burned. Our plans to be organic farmers while not ended, were definitely changed by our financial issues over [farming] start-up costs and paying off the hospitals.

It was a wild card that I started a gallery and pursued my art. It was never a plan or a goal. It was more like what can I do out here in the boonies to help make some money. . .

I’m a survivor type. So for me, not punishing myself for failed ambitions (which is what I’d do if I took my goals too seriously) is how I cope with change.

I set goals and work toward them. But mostly it is my intentions sent out to the universe (or God if you prefer) saying this is what I want. But I’ll roll with whatever you give me.


So with all that in mind, Here’s my goals for 2010

  • Increase gross sales by at least 10% This has been my course of action for several years. Of course each year the gross goes up so I must earn even more to make that 10% Once we appear to be leaving this recession behind I will bump up the percentile. 10% means I am doing slightly better than keeping up with inflation, which is a must to stay in business. But really I want to strive for more.
  • Write an article for every Apples ‘N Oats issue. I’ve yet to do this and this is gonna be the year. I can feel it.
  • Update my Inventory Paper work. This hasn’t been done in a few years and I add and delete so much artwork it is getting to be a nightmare to keep inventory records.
  • Stretch my comfort zone. I think for this year I’ll try to learn more computer stuff. Like how to update my website myself. I tend to rely on Mike quite a bit especially since he actually writes the code for stuff like my blog and website. It’s not like I can read a tutorial. I need him to show me.
  • Create 20 new paintings. I didn’t manage to do this last year but will give it another go. It’s a big number for me to do, but seems worthy of a good stretch to try it.
  • Continue to do 4 blog posts a week. Since last year I was 3.846 this year I want that number to be over 4. without having to round up.
  • Create more Squidoo lens. I’ve already begun that, see sidebar for new additions. I think I’d let to have a total of 20 lenses by year end 2010. I started with 7 and now have 9. So just 11 more to go. Still, it will be challenging.
  • Business Expansion. No new expansion planned for this year. Mike is planning to take classes on massage therapy and this will be a big financial commitment.
  • Remember to take “me” time.

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  • 2009 Goals in Review

    This is one of those posts which is of little interest to others but is a valuable tool for myself. I believe in the importance of not only setting goals but also being accountable for them at the end of the year. If I don’t review them, it’s hard to tell where I need to progress and when I can say “job well done” when I’ve earned it.

    So these were my goals for 2009.

    • Increase gross sales by at least 10% Of course the year isn’t over but we managed this by a healthy margin. Considering we did fewer art events and those that we did do, most were average to poor. This was a surprising outcome.
    • Write an article for every Apples ‘N Oats issue. Nope, once again was 3 out of 4.
    • Also again this year, try to do at least 2 new events be it horse or art.No again. A few months after I wrote this I decided the economy was in a downturn and decided to actually cut back on events. So no “new” ones though we did a few that we hadn’t done in years.
    • Update my mailing list. Done. Yay me!
    • Stretch my comfort zone. Teach a class, Give talk at an art group, Take on more commission work. All things I get asked for multiple times a year.) We did the talk in October to the Siouxland Artists Group.
    • Create 20 new paintings. I created 14 new pieces (worthy of selling that is) this year. Which is more than ever before but still short of 20.
    • 4 blog posts a week. Yes, though not every week. I actually did the math and I created over 200 posts for 2009 so the actual number is 3.846 per week. And yes I’m rounding up.
    • Learn more about Twittering and Squidoo lens. I created several squidoo lenses but did absolutely nothing about twitter. (and probably won’t)
    • Business Expansion. Look into getting (though not necessarily get) some new framing equipment. 2006 I bought the new business van, 2007 I bought my gallery building, 2008 I rested (if you could call it that.) For 2009 perhaps an Under Pinner (costs about the same as a cheap used car) or computerized matcutter. (Costs about the same as a new, rather nice car.) I did look into it but made no purchases.
    • Remember to take “me” time. “Me” time can be hard to quantify. But I think yes, I have done that much more this year than in the past. Though could certainly do more.


    Upcoming Posts

    In the near future I will post my 2010 goals sometime before 2010 actually occurs. (I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath.)

    Also I will finally start the new horse painting Preliminary Line Drawing (for real this time) and I have begun a post titled: How To Paint A Dead Horse in 5 Easy Steps. (Ummm . . . yeah, I may change the title.)

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