I’ve had a few interesting conversations recently about money. As a society – at least in the US – we are often brought up to not discuss money. Don’t ask your parents how much they make, don’t brag about what you make, etc. Don’t brag, don’t pry, don’t boast… all kinds of issues come up for people when it comes to talking about money.
In business it’s important to talk about money.
If you are talking with an agent about representing you, I think it is not only OK but IMPORTANT to discuss money. Will they be able to tell you exactly what you will make? Of course not. Can they help you set realistic expectations – tell you what some of their highest earners make and what an average earner makes? I should hope so!
Same with manufacturers. If you are trying to decide if you want to enter into an art licensing agreement you should have some idea of what it will mean to your bank account. If it is a royalty-based agreement, there will be no guarantee, but the same kinds of questions are reasonable to ask when talking to a new company. “What does a huge success look like, in sales, for your company?” “If something does ‘ok’ – what does that mean?” Then you can do the math to figure out some royalty ranges you might expect and decide if the deal is good for your business.
You need money to run your business. You need to do your best to budget what is coming in and what is going out and make sure what you are doing makes sense. Unless you are independently wealthy and doing this for the sheer joy of seeing your art on products, it is your DUTY as a business person to ask the money questions.
How do you handle these conversations? Do they make you nervous? Do you just cross your fingers and hope things will sell and the checks will come?
Here’s to your creative success!
– Tara Reed
P.S. Want to learn how long it can take to make money in art licensing? Read this blog post…