Honey Boo Boo is the latest thing in reality tv and seems to have gone viral overnight.  I have seen licensing art directors sharing the link to get her famous SKETTI recipe on Facebook – but I won’t tell you who!  I have come to enjoy watching clips on YouTube and now DVR the show just to see what on earth will happen next!

Regardless of how you feel about the girl, the family or the show – people are very polarized – there are lessons to be learned and applied to our businesses.

Here are 5 things we can learn from Honey Boo Boo to help us build an art licensing business.

No. 1:  When you have a hit – make it count!

Alana – aka Honey Boo Boo child – was originally one of several contestants on the reality show Toddlers & Tiaras, which I believe is in its fourth season.  There have been many, many pageant girls on the show but Honey Boo Boo had something extra… she has a big personality, a very unusual family and makes for crazy tv.  TLC recognized the value of the characters in the family and now they are a hit.  Honey Boo Boo’s family recognizes the overnight success and are holding out for more money for season 2.  They are trying to maximize on their trendiness – and hopefully realize it won’t last forever.

If you are fortunate enough to have that art collection that seems to connect with the marketplace and all of the sudden manufacturers are contacting you to be a part of the hot new thing you created – manage the process well!  Make sure you have solid contracts with very well defined Product definitions so you can license to as many manufacturers as the market will bear. (Learn more in How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts)  Don’t assume the money will continue forever and save or invest it wisely. Most importantly – enjoy the ride and be working on your next big thing.

No. 2:  Have a winning attitude!

Honey Boo Boo is nothing if not confident!  She believes she is a beauty queen and that she will win and guess what – she does!  If you can’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

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No. 3: Always bring your A-Game

If memory serves, at the end of the episode called something like “A-choo”, Alana gives a great monologue about bringing your A-game.  She discusses it in other episodes as well and sadly I can’t find any clips on YouTube. 🙁  (I thought you could find ANYTHING on YouTube… not yet!)  She says, “To win a pageant, you have to bring your A-Game.  I always bring my A-Game.”  She then wonders why anyone wouldn’t bring their A-Game.

If you are at a trade show or meeting with manufacturers in person – you absolutely need your A-Game!  Bring your A-Game into the studio, to your online presence, to your marketing and your contract negotiations.  Better business are built by A-Game mindsets than a C- attitude.

No. 4:  Think outside of the box and do what it takes to make it happen.

Many artists wonder about the expenses involved in successfully licensing their art and building a business – the most of these questions and fears are in regard to the expense of exhibiting at a trade show.

We can again look to Honey Boo Boo to see that if you want it bad enough – you can get creative and find a way to make it happen.  Pageant dresses, make-up, coaches and entry fees aren’t free and as you can imagine if you watch the show, it isn’t like her family is rolling in disposable income for these events.  Honey Boo Boo has done everything from selling lemonade to playing Bingo to raise the money she needs – what out-of-the-box ways can you think of to make the money you need to follow your dreams?

No. 5:  Be committed to what you want.

Honey Boo Boo wants nothing more than to be crowned Ultimate Grand Supreme at a pageant.  She knows she is a beauty queen even though she will admit that sometimes she finds it all a bit boring and she doesn’t want to practice. (We all have our moments…)  Overall, she and her family live and breath the dream – even her pig, Glitzy, helps her prepare for the next event.

There are a lot of artists that “play at licensing”.  They want to try it out, see what it’s about, are casually curious.  The artists who succeed long term are committed, focused and passionate about it.  The more you work for something, the more likely you are to succeed.

So whether art licensing in your main passion or you choose to earn a living with your creativity in other ways, all of these lessons will apply.  Be authentic, surround yourself with people who will support your dream and do whatever it takes to make it happen!

Here’s to your creative success.

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Want a free Honey Boo Boo ringtone? (You know you do!)  Get them here: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/here-comes-honey-boo-boo/honey-boo-boo-ringtones.htm

P.P.S.  What to know what your Honey Boo Boo nickname would be? Find out here: https://www.facebook.com/HereComesHoneyBooBoo/app_274643699317380 (Mine is TUTU ROO)