Sunday, October 3, 2010

Creating a small art or craft business on a shoe string.

I was just reading an article on Empty Easel on how to become a full time artist with a five year plan. They said that the first year should be all about getting your marketing materials and web page done professionally so that you don't look like a hobby artist. The recommendation was that $5,000 should be spend on proper items to represent yourself as an artist, because no one wants to purchase from a hobbyist.
EE 5 year plan suggestions

After reading this suggestion, it compelled me to write my thoughts. Yea yea, I've heard it all before, dress for success, get an education, people will see you  as how you represent yourself. But, I'm not a conventional thinker. Perhaps that is why I'm a artist.

I am not marketing to the few people that can pay top dollar for a dog painting. I am marketing to the masses. I have no gallery representation. Why would I give them 50% of my earnings just to say,
I have representation? Does that make me a better artist? No, it doesn't.  Are people purchasing my art without top notch business brochures? Yes, they are.

People don't purchase my art because I make them think I am this wonderful skilled sought after artist with all the bells and whistles that go along with fancy marketing,  and top dollar web sites. People purchase my art because I am good at what I do, and I don't falsely represent who I am. They know
I'm a  bit quirky and am building my business at home on a shoe string. I don't tell them it takes me weeks to complete the work, or how many brush stokes I make. I paint to the rhythm of my soul, and from the energy I get while looking at the photo of the cherished pet.  So, if that fine art collector turns to another artist because my business cards come from Zazzle. So, be it. I don't wear designer jeans,
but I am a designer. I design portraits of pets that make my clients cry with joy.

So, if you are trying to get your business going, think twice about going to get that small business loan to print materials describing someone you want to be. Be who you are. People buy from  who they
know can do the job, and who they can trust.

Sure, once you make some money, upgrade in your brochure and web site, but test the waters first.
There are hundreds of ways to market without paying money. There are lots of free web reciprocal links. Gift shops that may take your product on commission, and places to sell on line for free. Do your homework. Network with other small business people. And if you have a passion and a goal, keep working toward it. It can be done.

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