Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Artist Myth #1: Money gets in the way. It’s better not to talk about it.

To treat your career as a business, you’ll need to gain some distance on your work. It helps if you can begin to think of the fruit of your creative endeavors, not as artwork, but as a product. The easiest way to do this is to create an Artist Menu. Creating an Artist Menu will help you begin to view and organize your art from a marketing perspective.

The Artist Menu
Now that you’ve come up with prices for your services, paintings, shows, or merchandise it’s time to do something with them. I suggest you create an Artist Menu. Like a restaurant menu, the Artist Menu is a descriptive list of everything you offer including prices. Just like a patron at a restaurant likes to have information about possible items (which includes prices), this information can be invaluable for any number of reasons.

First, having this information can help you make income projections for the year and develop a budget. For instance, if my T-shirts sell for $25 each and I know that I sell roughly four t-shirts per show, I can calculate how many t-shirts I may sell by the end of the month or year based on how many shows I will be performing.

Secondly, it’s good to have an Artist Menu on hand when you meet with a potential venue. I not only bring one into every meeting, but I leave one behind for the person I’m meeting with. The menu adds a nice professional touch and helps you appear prepared and organized which can give you the upper hand when you’re competing with other artists. Venues like to work with professionals.

During my last meeting with an art center, having my menu on hand helped me sell three additional products which probably might not have happened had I not had the menu. By the time I left our meeting, the venue booked three shows, one workshop and decided to take the menu to a school and pitch an additional workshop for me.

Third, the artist menu puts all your information in one place, which is good to have when developing your website. Whether you build your site yourself or have someone else do it for you, you’ll want to have all the information in one place for easy reference.

And lastly, once you set a price, it will give you an idea of who will want to pay the set price, thus helping you define your ideal buyer.

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