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Roadblock 6: Art School Does Not Teach You How to Run a Business

Lesson 23 from: Art School Rehab: Finding Success Without Selling Out

Megan Auman

Roadblock 6: Art School Does Not Teach You How to Run a Business

Lesson 23 from: Art School Rehab: Finding Success Without Selling Out

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

23. Roadblock 6: Art School Does Not Teach You How to Run a Business


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Reprogram The Art School Mentality


Roadblock 1: Art School Makes You Feel Guily about Making Money


Exercise: Get Comfortable Charging More


Q&A: Pricing


Student Examples: Pricing


Roadblock 2: Art School Gives You the Luxury of Working Slowly


Exercise: Develop a Process for Getting Past Decision Paralysis


Lesson Info

Roadblock 6: Art School Does Not Teach You How to Run a Business

Let's dive into our final roadblock were in there. Uh, and that's this idea. That art school does not teach you how to run a business. And I talked about at the very start of the day. This isn't actually art schools full because it's not art schools job right there. Job is to make you a better artist. But then the problem is that you come out of art school and you're like, Now what do I dio? In my case, I was like, I don't know what to do with the FAA. Let's go at an M f A. And then I had to still figure out what I was going to do after that. So the first problem comes from this idea. That art school gives you a narrow view of how you could make a living of an artist. And this is, I think, especially true now, as all the ways to make a living are there so many more. But your professors and your teachers probably knew about a very slim handful. So one of the things that I want to get you guys thinking about is this idea that you were an artist slash entrepreneur. So you're not just an a...

rtist here, an artist who makes money, right? That's what this means. I'm an artist who makes money. But that question still remains. How are you going to make money? And so that artists slash entrepreneur, that entrepreneur actually reflects a lot of different types, a lot of different types of that you can be. So I'm gonna talk about a couple of these and see where you kind of feel like you fit on this artist entrepreneur spectrum. So the 1st 1 is artist retailer, and this is really a person I think of who sells their art aircraft directly to the customer. This might be through your website. This might be through craft shows. You are out there with your product selling directly to the people. Um, and then the next one is artist wholesaler. Or, if you want to sound fancy, you can just call yourself a gallery artist. Really? This is where you're letting someone else do most of the selling for you. While there is a store or gallery. This is an area that you can kind of focus on. From there. You might end up becoming an artist product designer. So maybe you designed products that can be manufactured, so you might decide that you don't actually want to make the stuff yourself. You want someone else to make it? So I showed you guys that example of at least furniture line that would me playing out if I wanted to be an artist. Product designer. What happens if I let someone else in the gold? My work? Will that work for me? He may be an artist. Freelancer. This is something we were talking about with Anna over lunch. So working with companies, toe license designs for print or products, Maybe you don't want to sell your original art as as a wall hanging. Maybe you want to work with companies. Who are they gonna take it and put it on products, Put it on fabric, put it on mugs, put it on whatever it is, they're going to put it on. Put it on furniture. You might also decide that you want to be an artist teacher. So what's interesting about this profile is that this is the profile that actually your college professors are most comfortable with because this is them. But this route is no longer limited to I'm gonna get my BFF my MF a I'm gonna teach right, because now we have the Internet. So we have platforms like creativelive. You can develop classes on your own. You could develop classes to teach in person at a community center. So if this is something where you're a person who's like I and I watched all those last exercises and I just I still really want to talk tech like I just want to talk about technique and process. I'm super passionate about that. That's what I care about. Way to go for you, then. You're not so worried about selling your art, your teaching other people how to make. So that's an option. You might be an artist. I could not. We couldn't think of a better way to call this. So we're calling it bespoke maker. This is really to say you take custom work, right? Someone brings you their piece of furniture and says, Can you hand paint this for me or someone wants you to make custom bags or whatever it ISS? These are all choices. This is not like a you must do all of these things. This one personally would never work for me. But I have plenty of friends who do a ton of custom work. Obviously, customers big in jewellery writes. I have a ton of friends, you a ton of custom work, and it's a great way to run their business. You might even decide that you are when artists, curators, maybe you assemble in percent the work of other artists. Maybe you create a store, you create a gallery. You create an online space where you're curating her. Maybe you're an artist writer, you write blog's your articles, you write books about art, whatever that is, that's a possibility. And really, the sky's actually the limit here, right? Anything you can think of? Any thing you want to put after that flash, it's totally doable. Connecting so And the thing to keep in mind is that actually many artists, our hybrid of a few of these things, it's not an either or so if you ask me, I'm probably an artist, wholesaler, retailer teacher, right? I'm here teaching. I fell the stores I sell directly on my website. I do a couple of different things, and your profile might also change as your business evolves, so you might find that one thing was working for a while. And now you're moving to something else. An idiot question. I have a question. Can you say when doesn't get too confusing for your, uh, um, plans or whatever you want to call them? I mean, at some point, it won't get too confusing, right? Because I feel like I could do all of these. You just said and I want to do all of that. Yeah, but, I mean, I don't want to communicate. No, I'm not on the right. Are used me for this. Oh, and but yeah, So that that's a great question is like, if you do have multiple hats, how do you juggle them? So I think the first thing is like, you can't pick all of them, Just gave you, like, eight options like two or three like, that's probably the most I would take on at any one time. And truthfully, I would focus on one at a time. So when I say that I'm like an artist wholesaler, retailer teacher, I spent several years really aggressively focusing just on the wholesale side of my business, and so that was my primary thing. And then I decided I wanted to do a little more one of a kind work that lent itself more to selling directly to the customer through my website. But the wholesale business didn't go away because I'd argue built up a client base. But I'm not actively focusing on it anymore. So I'm really now working on driving people to my website and selling directly to them. So it's kind of one of those words better if you can layer on one at a time, then trying to do all of them at once. So in your case, what profiles are you kind of thinking would be the ones that you would gravitate towards. I mean, like I said, I'm also a graphic designer, but I want to get a little more away from that. Uh, I like the, uh I I was I also advise people, uh, insufficient lard, and I like doing that. I just don't want to do it myself. I just want to tell people and also do my art. So I want to do that and my art. And maybe also I already did a ah, a little bit of jewelry, but illustrating it sounds weird. I know, but illustration jewelry, You can say that s I want to do more of that as well. So I think in that case, that's a lot of things. One was interesting is like some of those in talking to you. I don't like what we've been talking about through the day. Some of those are not things that I would have expected. Like in our conversations. I think it seems like the artist freelancer route is definitely one that you tend to lean towards. Andi, I think that might be a way to fulfill that. Like, I want to do some illustrations for jewelry where you don't actually have to make the jewelry yourself. So you're like licensing illustrations to someone would be using it on jewelry or developing a co branded product line so that you're not handling that process yourself. That seems to be maybe the better path for you. And what's interesting about that? Is that No. Where did you say, Like I just want people to buy my paintings? So is that something that you want? Yeah, I think that's the thing that, like, you have to decide with this one, like what is going to be your primary focus? We're now, and it goes back to you guys in the online audience work here for our lunch when we were talking about at lunch. This idea that you should How do you say it like you don't have to do everything right now. So, like, what do you want to pick and focus on on, def. It's just if you want people to buy your work, and in that case, then you're either thinking about the retail route route, probably selling through your website or selling at craft fairs or something. That or your thing about working with galleries. So what I would say is like pick one of those 22 starts, that's it. The way to narrow that down. Are you gonna do website and craft shows, or you gonna do, like trying to get into galleries that much? I just want to make money off my okay, so that is actually a really interesting question. And so I think in that case, then what we want to look at is like what is better suited to your personality Titan and what's better suited to what you're interested in doing. So do you want Teoh spend a lot of time at craft shows? Like, Is that something you're okay with going to a lot of cross shows every weekend? Or are you like I really hate that idea. I want to just try to like something, works galleries and get them to sell it. Just one of those found get totally stressed out by the thought of galleries. There you are in. That's perfect. Then we're for right now you're thinking about largest retailer on then maybe thinking about like that freelancer pieces. Well, putting. That's a good way to kind of think about that. It's like, how can I narrow it down? And you could always change it later. Uh, what about anyone else? Are you guys gravitating sorts towards certain profiles? Russia. Um, I think for me just a lot of the things that you were talking about with, and I kind of reinforced that I I I'm leaning towards artist, wholesaler, an artist product designer. And for a while I've had a business idea around being an artist curator. Okay. And you know, tear earlier point. I don't think I can do it all at once, and I honestly think that I have to actually started artist Retailer. Yeah, an artist wholesaler may be parallel path thing and seeing which where I might get a little bit more traction before I can kind of evolve where I go next. Yeah, I think that's a really good point. So one of the things would like the artist wholesaler or even like the working with galleries. Is that stores? Do you want to see a pretty well developed body of work? And in the beginning, if you're still trying to figure that out going, the more retailer out where you're working directly with customers, it makes it easier to get that marketplace feedback and develop the line before you go to stores. So even though I said like I spent years young artist wholesaler, the first year and 1/2 of my business was pretty aggressively craft shows where I was selling directly to customers getting that feedback that allowed me to evolve my line pretty quickly, and then I could move into that artist wholesaler role. You know about you also written down that the retail in the wholesale for sure because I feel like those air two avenues to go. And then I also wrote down freelancer only as much as, like, illustrations services. So something along that right? Right. So for you, you have, like this obviously very natural and defined illustration style, and you are, in a way, sort of limiting yourself by only doing it. I know you have the green cards, too, but by focusing on furniture where that is a very defensive, it's labor intensive so that there might be something there for you in the freelancer. Were lets you paint and create more and give you a more consistent revenue stream as well said something to think about. So how many areas or streams of income do you recommend when in the initial stage of business development in the artistic setting one on and that you know, that seems counterintuitive because you want to hedge your bets, right? You have a lot of interest. It's hard to feel nailed down. And so you're like, Well, if I try a little of this and I try a little of this and I try a little of this and I try a little of that, something's got a stick, right, Right. That's kind of what it feels like. But the reality is that this try a little this try a little this, try a little list, try a little this nothing sticks because things just don't stick like you have to work to get them to stick. And so I really recommend committing to focusing on one and working on that for really, like six months to a year and then deciding if you want to layer on something else because I think it's just to threats. Falls now. That said, when I say focus on one, I really mean focused. So you can't be like Well, okay, I picked artist retailer and I need you one big craft show this summer, and that's gonna be all my money. That is not what I mean, because what happens is and that is literally like all your eggs in one basket. And what happens if it's now Duracraft show and it rains or this happened to me was the rainiest summer ever, and then the indoor craft show I did. That was like the only beautiful weekend we had all summer. So who wanted to go inside for a crash. Oh, right. So if you're thinking OK, maybe a retailer I'm gonna do 68 10 craft shows this summer that if one doesn't go well, you're not totally up the creek without a paddle, right? The same thing. If you're thinking I'm gonna be an artist wholesaler, that doesn't mean you get to pitch one store and move on with your day, right? I'm pitching lots of stores. Everything about multiple trade shows. Whatever is that you need to you to get the work out there. So even though you might focus on one stream, you still want to think about how to make sure that you've got money coming in for multiple sources. So if you're an artist retailer in the beginning, you might say, OK, you're trying to sell online, put some stuff on etc. And I might put himself in my own online store and let's see what you want. I can get to work first, right? So that's another way to kind of think about multiple things or I'm gonna do some shows, but I'm also gonna start setting things up online. So even though you're focusing in one area where the bet struck to customers or stores or the freelance gig. You're still thinking about bringing in multiple customers from different places. All right, let's take a look at the next question. Do you think we one more? So I find that when I mentioned what I sell or that I haven't online shop people are listening. But when I mentioned it's all handmade by me, it seems they are not just listening, but interested. How could one say all that in a short sentence or two without sounding too weird? Um, so I'm assuming that you're talking about meeting people in person here, Wanda, and I'm going to re read this question because that was a lot happening there. So I think it's something as simple as like, I sell my handmade products and I'm sorry want, because I cannot remember what you make and I know I should. But something like, you know, I sell handcrafted whatever in my online store. I think it's a simple is that I think if it seems like they're more interested in the handmade part, lead with that you respond to what the audience is. I always say that selling is a little bit like stand up like you stand up. You like I don't know. I've never done stand up. I just do this. But you you tell a joke and you see how it lands. And if it doesn't land, you don't do it. If it lands, you tell the next night you see how it goes from there, right? Or each week it selling is the same way. So if you know these things, this is the response. Okay, let's try it this way. Oh, I got a great response. Okay, that one fell flat. Let's go back to trying it this way. So it's really that process of like iteration. But I think if you know that this is where people are interested lead with what seems to be drawing people in. OK, do we have any other questions? Okay, so I think we talked about some of the people in what profile, but I want to kind of seated. We don't talk about think we don't talk about you killing. Um, I I am thinking retailer wholesale and then maybe some teaching. But right now I'm still developing my products, so I feel that retail is the way to go until my line is more developed, right? They give you time to expand the line before you head into that. Yeah.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Art School Rehab Class Workbook

Ratings and Reviews


This class was so good - it's not just for people who went to art school, but anyone who has (or wants to have) a creative-based business. Megan's lessons break down the overwhelmingness of roadblocks and gives you tangible tools to get past them, shift your mindset, and shows you how to focus. There were so many elements to this class that were helpful, but overall I think if you feel like you're stuck, you overanalyze every decision, and feel like you want to move forward but don't know how, this class is for you. Thanks Megan, for helping me work on a plan to move me past my hurdles.

Kiki B

What a great class! Megan has helped me to really understand what my business goals are and how to achieve them, and has given me heaps of confidence to boot. This is going to be a great year for my creative business!

Kim S. Joy

I have owned this class for awhile and just decided to start it.... well I should have watched/taken this class years ago! I did not go to art school but follow that mindset. This was amazing. So much to learn and unlearn. The pricing and raising your prices what just what I needed. Thank you Megan for another wonderful class.

Student Work