Last weekend I went to Seattle to teach about goal setting and art licensing at the School House Craft event. There were about 65 creative people sharing ideas, products and lots of beliefs – whether they realized it or not. 🙂
I spent my 3.5 hour drive north from Portland listening to Sean Smith’s audio series – Release the Brakes. Which talked about recognizing and changing limiting beliefs – so beliefs were on my radar! (He has some great ideas and food for thought – you can find this series and more here > http://www.coachseansmith.com/wp/products/ (I have no affiliation – just passing on great resources)
Over lunch a conversation went something like this… “I do XYZ … I’m not saying I want to get rich or anything, but I’d like to make more than $2/hour for my time after all of my expenses.”
Another artist nods her head in agreement, “Me too. I’m not greedy or anything, but it’s so hard…”
After a few more people parrot this idea, I find my mouth opening and my voice saying, “Why don’t you want to make money? There isn’t anything wrong with it. It isn’t like Apple is going to charge us less for our iPhones because we are so creative…”
Money can be such a sticky wicket for people. Why do artists feel they have to starve to be valid, or reassure others that “they don’t need to be rich” or equate wanting to make a living with being greedy? I bet you don’t hear conversations like that in silicon valley!
Money is a tool and it’s a tool everyone needs to live and make choices. There have been many conversations about money in regards to the SURTEX show… the booths are too expensive. The show should realize how our business has changed and give us other options… the reality is, their costs are going up too. The Javitz Center in NYC isn’t lowering rates, or paying less for workers or electricity because the economy has gotten harder since 2008.
We, as artists, decide how much we charge, what royalties and what size jobs we are willing to accept, and how we spend the money we earn. It is our job to pay attention and make it work. If that means you do a show every other year, or put off exhibiting for the first time for a year, then that’s what you do. If you think being at the show every year is valuable for your business, you figure it out.
I suggest we all DECIDE that making money is a GOOD THING.
While I’m not saying our business is a piece of cake and you can make a ton of money in your sleep, if you look at other businesses, it might not seem so bad. In the 6 month coaching program I recently completed (that I invested $9,000 to participate in – my choice and in my opinion, worth every penny) there was a man who was a builder. His specialty was remodeling – kitchens in particular. He shared with us that his business had to do $70,000 in sales EVERY MONTH – to break even. TO BREAK EVEN. I don’t know of any artist that has to have that level of income to break even… at least not any solo artist. Studios with a large staff might but not the average artist in licensing.
Many large companies are happy if their profit margin is 10% of what they bring in. I can assure you that I also don’t know of any artist spending 90% of what they bring in on their business.
Everything is about perspective, attitude and your belief system. If you believe it will be hard or that we have it good – you are right.
I encourage you to notice the things you and those around you say about money and business. Are they fear based statements or optimistic. Your attitude about money feeds your attitude and action in your business… luckily, you can control and change your attitude – if you choose to.
Here’s to your creative success!
– Tara Reed