Last week, BlkArthouse hosted artist coach and author of "Tripping Over Canvases," Dontae T. Muse for a special artist seminar on artrepreneurship (art + entrepreneurship). You can find the recording of that seminar here on our Youtube channel.
We also spent some time reading his book so we at BlkArthouse can not only run our art business more effectively, but also assist our artists in doing so too. In sum, to avoid falling into the "starving artist" trope, it is important that all creatives fundamentally understand the art business, and how to run your own -- from marketing to finances to understanding how selling prints may affect the market value of your originals.
Here are three big things we learned from Mr. Muse on how to become a successful artrepreneur from both his seminar and his book:
1. Nurture Your Community & the "Rule of 7"
According to Episerver's "Reimagining Commerce" report, 92% of consumer will visit a website for the first time for reasons other than to purchase. Instead, generally consumers will be browsing your site, comparing your products against other products, products of competitors, prices of competitors, and other details. That means when a potential buyer is coming to your website to check out your artwork for the first time (yes, you absolutely should have an artist website, even if you're not selling through it), they likely will not purchase anything, even if they like it and it's within their price range.
Hence comes the advice to "nurture your community." The Rule of 7 posits that you must "touch" a prospect 7 times within a defined period before they become aware of your product/service. Accordingly, it is very important to build trust and a relationship with every person that comes across you as an artist, so you can eventually enter their subconscious as it relates to your line of work. You can do this in a few ways, including:
- collect contact information/leads
- pushing community newsletters
- sending individual/thoughtful follow-ups
2. Finding Your Target Audience
In line with "nurturing your community," you must also identify who your community is so that you may continue to grow it. You find this out from three sources: (1) lead collection (referenced above); (2) your buyers; and (3) data analytics. From these sources, you should be able to determine the demographic information of your target audience, such as age, sex, race, education level, location, and interests. This will help you understand your audience and market your materials towards them.
But where do you find this information? First and foremost, you should collect the information of every person that checks our your website, these are your "leads." You can do this by having a clear call to action to sign-up for your newsletter/sales and using data analytic tools like Google Analytics (here's a quick guide on how to use Google Analytics).
Mr. Muse notes "the real purpose of your lead magnet is to create a relationship. A lead magnet is an indicator of a prospect's interest in your offerings. Giving their contact information is giving you permission to contact them. This allows you to begin fostering a relationship with that individual." Over time, if you're truly keeping track of your data, leads, and buyers, you'll learn who your audience is and how to grow them.
3. Legitimize Yourself and Your Creativity
How buyers and other audiences see you as a creative is a product of how you are presented. Thus, if you want to be taken seriously as an artist, you must take yourself and your passion seriously. You can start by:
a. Creating your website and displaying your artwork as a professional creative (as mentioned above). Check out the exceptional website design from two of our former artists: Abi Salami & Onnissia Harries
b. Setting up a business structure. This is tricky and may take the advisement of an attorney or a great deal of online research. Our best advice is to go for an LLC to protect your assets and avoid double taxation.
c. Building business credit. This is a big pay-off from filing as a business. You can now start using business credit to purchase materials for your career such as art supplies, and is helpful to building a credit score so you can purchase a studio space.
Interested in learning more about becoming a successful artrepreneur? Make sure you purchase "Tripping Over Canvases" available for $20.00. As a BlkArthouse community-member, you can also attend one of his masterclasses for 80% OFF with the code "ARTMONEY." RUN, DO NOT WALK.