Personally I am not a great fan of playing artist in the garret. It may be noble to be poor – may be even spiritual, but being unsullied by the dirt of modern money does not get the mortgage paid, the kids to school and a pension fund to see us through our worn out days. I suppose we could all live in a commune or in a caravan but again we still need the filthy lucre to actually pay for spare parts for our mobile home, buy the food we can’t grow ourselves, and clothes to keep us from being arrested for indecent exposure. But then I suppose if we ended up in the clink, we wouldn’t have to worry about a roof over our heads for a while.
Art for business or art for the heart? What is the best advice?
Is it possible to put our creative energies into making money? Can we turn our inspirations to the task of becoming financially self sufficient? Are there strategies that we could employ to capitalise on our artistic assets? If you were to ask these of many of our government funded business advisors, they would probably look at you as if you were slightly insane. Some may be inspired by such a notion and perhaps would even have some thoughts on how you could do it. However, I have to ask how many of us actually know any business advisors who have a sufficient understanding of the artistic temperament and the creative brain to know how far they could push their ideas before the artist declares rebellion against pimping their art for prostitution rates?
Some of us are fortunate in that they have tasted both ends of the spectrum of financial success in artistic businesses. To be able to draw on experiences of a life both empty and full of abundance makes us considerably stronger than if we have only known one or the other. I have done the single mother, on benefits, struggling to stay ahead of the debts endeavouring to maintain my inspiration to keep my work interesting enough for someone to buy. I have also experienced the glamour of a successfully run internationally known enterprise and meeting some of the wealthiest people in the world. The trick is to be a slave to neither debt nor wealth and to maintain our connection with that which inspires the heart and soul of our being.
If we are financially disadvantaged we have little or no power to advance our earning potential. Every step is plagued with eternal struggle and invariably this attracts dissatisfied or patronizing customers who treat you with the attitude that they are doing you a favour by buying your pathetic wares. Sadly they are!
If however, we are able to gain a regular and sustainable income from our art then we are in a position to make more choices but only if we keep up the momentum and get consistently good business advice for our arts business.
Artists who have climbed the echelons of success, often after many years of consistent and constant effort can reap the rewards of their persistence. Few take the flying leap to the top of the ladder and if they have, their precariousness can be far more daunting than if they had walked the sure and steady path of certainty and security.
For those of us taking the first tentative steps towards the bottom of the ladder, we can easily be intimidated by those that seem to have climbed into the clouds. We aim low hoping to achieve moderate success, and worse still we believe the business advisors ideas and thoughts on how we run an artistic enterprise.
How to find out about the art of business whilst understanding business of art.
Bring back the old days of apprenticeships where wisdom can be passed on from someone who has walked the path before us rather than someone who can just talk the talk. Most of us will invest the time and energy in learning how to run a successful business, gleaning the best from the advice we get, being taught by the mistakes we and others have made, and in time build on successes taking our artistic creativity to greater levels of achievement and satisfaction.
Thankfully the term ‘mentoring’ has become fashionable. So too has ‘coaching’ but as one fellow internet marketer recently stated, a good mentor will help to take responsibility for your successes whilst a coach regularly kicks you up the backside and makes you take responsibility for your successes and how you get there. It is up to the individual to decide which tactics suit their own personality.
Successful mentoring begins with a perfect marriage of skills, interests and expertise. Those with experience can gain a great deal of satisfaction from guiding those that lack particular expertise to achieve specific goals. Those who are at the beginning of their journey can learn the tricks of the trade, with a map of short cuts to get them to their end goal quickly and effectively.
Mentoring happens naturally in our social circles if we choose our friends wisely and carefully. Successful networkers hone their skills at pinpointing perfect contacts that will further their endeavours. Regardless of whether we have a formal arrangement with those that can teach us something, or we are just good at listening carefully to other like minded people. The value of what we can learn from those around us can never be underestimated.
Interested in arts connections?
Over the years, I personally have learnt more from taking notice of other successful business people and entrepreneurs and actually it does not matter whether they even have an understanding of being an artist, if they have succeeded then they understand the most important fundamental issue – the art of success. It is worth remembering the many business advisors have come from a background in accounting, banking, or other similar activity which gives them absolutely no experience of what it is like to be in business. Worse still they have become advisors because they themselves have failed in business. Whilst I do still value what they have to say and the good ones break the rules of convention and come up with some good stuff, you cannot underestimate the incredible lessons that can be learnt from those that are in the same field.
Hence the birth of www.arts-wales.co.uk. It is intended to provide a platform for artists to discuss their ideas and inspirations as well as share wisdom to inspire the arts community as a whole to greater levels of success. So connect, commune, collaborate and share your resources. The more that you put in – the more you will get out.