Defining Your Business
Rules for terms business terms right? Cheryl is shaking her head. Why is cheryl shaking her head? Well, this is something that you and I went through when we were working together and I hate it every moment glad you're welcome. Yes, thank you, but it really put the kibosh to some bad business practices rules that I have a lack of rules lack of rules that I have been employing and that were really working against me. Can you give me one example of where that happened? Well, the best example is discounting my work so somebody would come up to me actually, people do this, I would never do this to somebody, but I have many people come up to me and say, she I really like that, but, you know, can I have it for x? Does it really happen a lot or does it when it does happen, does it just magnify and you're probably yeah, I don't think it happens a lot, but when it does happen, if you don't know howto handle it, it can actually be struggle and embarrassing and awkward and some part of you wants ...
to punch them I mean it's just the whole like I'm gonna give you a tactic to deal with that the discount question not favour you could all rip it right off you can use it yourselves so when someone says and it doesn't happen very often I mean I couldn't actually I don't even remember the last time it happened with someone asked me for a discount they said you know, may I have a discount and I said, well actually in fairness to all my collectors I don't discount because it wouldn't be fair for those who paid full price which is true and then I say and actually I'm about to raise my prices so now's a good time to buy I didn't say when I was gonna I will eventually so lift him up make him down level him out you're not in a retail environment because no one would dream of going into safeway and going up to the checkout desks and say can I get a discount eyes that do you think that's where it comes from the father's in a private environment perhaps I don't know I'm just curious I mean it happens all the time if maybe people that don't have boundaries I'm not really sure but it happens at that I guess I should just say it happens at street fairs you just did it for people who don't have boundaries and I'm gonna say this right now a lot of artists don't have clear business boundaries and so the general perception is that they can that you are starving and that you are weak and that we could take advantage of you yes the more professionally you show up the more organized and clear you show up the less of that you will encounter have you found that to be true do you get less discount questions absolutely yeah in fact I only had one at the last street fair that I did and it was a much more subtle it wass will you be discounting what you don't sell at the end of the day all that you can blame that on bloomingdale's and macy's and every other retailer that does that that was so easy to say no to exactly no and this is the on ly one of its kind now wasn't it satisfying to say no yeah is empowering great it's empowering tow walked away but no sorry yes and sometimes I feel obligated or I want to offer a discount to people that I know or that who have supported me and I know a lot of people I just had a big show on saturday and I went through this and I had to stop myself from saying it you know and they're there they want to make a purchase there like I just bought and I feel obligated to say but I know you it's okay you know I'll just pay you I don't know it's not terrible yeah oh hi paula paul do you ever feel that or hell no no did you feel that in the past no, I got no rent pay a mastercard visa american no I do not have and here I don't tell you another thing I have a price range so whatever your budget is you can get an exclusive edition print you can get an original oil painting of different sizes the different price point so you know first of all no one's got a gun to your head you don't have to buy a painting right? And I'm giving you give my give my collector's a range of choices so no I don't feel bad for them they don't have to you know like it's not like I'm selling life saving medicine or something if they don't if they want it they can get it if they don't want it they don't have to have it they'll be fine you e I would I'm going to guess that the people who know you and care about you don't want you to feel that kind of awkward obligation if there were truly supporting you I don't think they want teo have you feeling as if you are negating your own the value of your work right do you think they would know so this is just again meditate tail and investigate what stories and beliefs you're running in your head and I have a question for you actually so there's many different kinds of artists and write some artists you can continue to create your art you don't really need anybody else there some artist like in the performing arts field I was just thinking about this you kind of need other people to really be creating our because you can write on leasing in your shower sing at home alone so many times or perform or get up on stage you know you really need that outer experience and what I'm getting at is for those kind of artist I experienced that I know of big community of if you move experience that they're so eager to do their art that they're very willing to say oh sure you don't have to pay me because I'm getting to do what I love right what can you say to people like that where to find a balance well I think again it's a back teo if that artist who is in operating in that context has really defined their target market and their value proposition they're goingto command not only more money but more sway right so it is still even even in that instance being taking on an entrepreneurial mindset and really understanding what your value is you're just goingto have clear boundaries and I think you're gonna demand more that almost gets back to a discussion that went on thanks tow erin's prompting earlier on the discussion that took place in the chat room where they were saying how do you define what is a hobby but it's and they came up with more perhaps it's more amateur against professional I think for somebody who gets up and sings that this is one finally doing my passion but doesn't expect to get paid for it perhaps that this still an amateur at that point it's when you you know I'm sure you wouldn't do that if that was your living you weren't going to eat tonight unless you got paid for the act so I think again perhaps it's that discussion of what what point you become a professional artist on what point is still doing it for a hobby you can make that decision right now whether or not you've sold a thing this here's here's what's underlying that conversation and then back and forth it's about money and money is a very emotionally charged topic for some people more than others and that's sort of when it's emotionally charged it sort of blurs the meaning blurs the definition and things can get very unclear yeah so I would say investigate what are your feelings about money what is your attitude about money do you have a healthy relationship with money are you willing to exchange value would you want to create value in exchange for receiving value is that where you're at you have to be there in order to operate a profitable business in any way that's peaceful in your mind and anyway that's sustainable you have to have a really good relationship with money and if you don't you can you can work on that but that's very important because it's so emotionally charged yes, if you if you have a collector, for example, who's purchased three or four paintings or maybe it's a brand new collector, and they're a little nervous or something, and you feel like for whatever reason you wish to give more, you can always get a cupcake. I was going to say, you can always offer to consult about framing, or you can add value if you want to or hanging, if he you know, it's up to you, these air, you're you could get the rules like, you know, if consulting with someone about framing would actually help them make the decision and you don't feel like you're discounting your work and maybe that's a way you could add value and actually help that help them guide them towards the purchase, right? So again, it be up to you someone else. We're going to consult with him about framing that's not my job, it depends. You know, it depends on where you're coming from. I think it's, good to think of ways to be of service, I think it's great tio, you know, I bet you pour over beads with people, right you don't. You could be you could take the position, you know? I'm just going to make this and you're just going to like it or lump it right? You probably go through quite an emotional story telling journey that is part really part and parcel of your entire offering, so look for ways to be of value or to offer value without discounting anywhere just don't discount don't get all the innocents so critically important for artists and I mean artists in the broad sense of the term because everyone is already all confused about what they should pay. Why does that paint stuck on canvas cost so much and it's confusing it's not like there it's not like buying milk where you go or gas right where you can expect to pay a certain range it's very confusing, and most people who are going to be buying your work are not necessarily seasoned collectors. You have any context for your prices, so make it easy for them and out leaving this with with one really I don't know who to credit this too, but a confused mind says no, so don't give infinite choices don't say a discount, but if be really clear, confuse because a confused mind us, they know lots of studies to support this smart lots of market research so let's just cope down this briefly because, um discounts we covered that and that's why it's on the top of the lift it always comes up returns and refunds what you're going to dio if people are not happy are you willing to stand behind it? This is all going to be committed to writing all of it so that you're clear and so that in fairness to your fans or your collectors it's clear them okay cancellations what if someone burn and what if someone cancels on you in five minutes before the show did they have to pay yeah we start this ought to pay that I'm writing if they come if they come to workshop see, I've been writing it on it's already written out when when they signed up for it they know that if they don't show up they don't get a refund right? Okay satisfaction guaranteed does anyone have a satisfaction guarantee no speak good want to define would you do want your your fans you want your customers wanted to collectors your client's whatever word you use to be satisfied you're gonna tell him to stick it there's gonna be some recourse way to work this out what's fair what's fair to you what's fair to them put yourself in their shoes or taking a risk maybe they've never worked but before you know do you want teo? Can you? And if it's not feasible then that's cool to just like vernon's instance it's not feasible if you don't show up you don't show up and I don't I don't know if you offer seeing a singing guarantee if you don't like the sound of your voice still I mean you have to bad you need to take more thing lesson payments are we take in cash you're taking credit cards you taken checks I mean no check see cheryl's learned that no, thank you not taking your checks. No. So put that in writing so that your clear so when someone asks you for a discount or if you take checks you're not stumbling around for the answer because you've already defined the rules for yourself and you've committed to writing so you can say this with confidence and that confidence that I think everybody looking for and I think it's that confidence that actually self what you d'oh okay deposits and booking fees. All right, I want to talk a little bit about this I'm not a lawyer. I'm not given legal advice. I'm not given financial advice but I do know that in the state of california there's a legal definition between deposits and booking fees and here's a significant difference a deposit is refundable in the state of california. Booking fee is not you have a booking fee someone was you perform on stage that's a booking fee some deposit so this may or may not apply and again, I'm not giving legal advice look at your own jurisdiction to figure out what that means to you arbitration meditation our meditation should be meditation mediation so here's the thing when you write your terms think of it like you're getting married and eventually you might have to get a divorce so if you get a divorce are you going to split things up? We're gonna deal with the conflict this is what you want to thank you anticipate in advance and it will actually prevent less conflict because you already figured out a fair way out for both parties if you put it arbitration mediation klaus than you know obviously you could save yourself some legal battles and fees releases so if you're using models you know and there's coffee right, you know you have to you can't just borrow someone's image so you know, like when we when we went through the unique value the mission a unique value proposition you noticed lately I didn't have a pick painting of thomas kinkade up there because I can't we can't infringe on copyright and it wouldn't just be my infringement than creative lives would be um buyable they have to be very careful about this and also that goes both ways right? You have to communicate to your collectors whether your photographer or a painter or whoever he's got our you know songwriter you own your intellectual property and if you let people take advantage of it, I'm telling you now that if it comes to a case where it's before a judge, they're going to say, did you grant implied permission to the market because it's been going on for a long time and you never did anything about it it could come up so you want to make sure that you have addressed this ru licensing your copyright? Are you being really specific about what? Your licensing, how your licensing it's a whole nother topic but it's one of the things you have to define in your rules okay, so let's go to the next segment. You may certainly after question so for defining these do you have any specific advice as to where to go to get some information on lee returns and refunds? I just want to say no, but you can't say no, I know I can, but I'm just thinking like, where would I really be able to research? What is fair with these things? You know, what I did was I looked at refunding cancellation policies from businesses themselves from other businesses for here is simple and clear language and then I wrote the terms based on the rules that I wanted to play by and I had a business attorney review them to make sure that what I had written was jeopardizing me legally in any way so that's one way to do it but I think you start at the top but you just say okay these are all the rules that I want to play by you know just use common language and you may want to talkto other artists who do work similar to yours and see what kind of hurdles they've encountered and then make a rule to prevent that hurtle from from occurring and then look for language and then then you hire business attorney to give it a final once over to make sure that you haven't missed anything that's what I would recommend thank you um now I'm going to talk a little bit about this that remember I said from the beginning and jump into the chat rooms get on tio facebook, email your friend call your friend and asked them to teo join you in this course whether it's right now today or whether it's later you know and in completing fifty item checklist you know? And I was saying that because I was trying to make the point over and over again that we do not succeed alone well, you know you can also you won't succeed alone and you want you're not gonna learn by yourself either, you know, take you could take advantage of other people's council wise counsel that's what I did with wayne tebow and that's what I did with gregory condos, I asked them how they how they evolved right and some of it obviously I didn't pay attention to some of what I did but let me give you some tips on this when you ask people for I call them an informational interview could be you know, having coffee if someone normally charges for that information like you don't go to an accountant and say yeah, I'd liketo teva I like to pick your brain about my taxes this year well you're going to pay for that right so just be mindful of you know what that person does you know is that really appropriate or going to cross any boundaries um I don't have a head people emailed me and asked if they could pick my brain I get that a lot don't want my brain picked and I charge for that okay so just just be really mindful of people's time they might be busy asking us free you can ask if there's someone you admire and someone that you was doing something that you'd like to dio I mean most people are really generous and able to share but you know what where they can just you know they usually will just ask them if they say no so what? Asking us free one of one of the rules in my book asking his free so I asked lien tebow and I'll tell you how I made that ask it was back in the day when we had slides right it slides so I wrote a letter to wayne tebow because um art collector said your color palette is reminiscent of tebow did you study with him and I said no I didn't and he said wow will be great if he could mentor you and I said yeah it would be so I wrote him a letter and I put my slides in there and I said you know, dear mr tebow, I admire your work very much now bear in mind he was actually teaching for free at uc davis when I asked him this question so I knew he might be open to talking to me and I put the slides in the envelope and I said dear mr tebow, I'd love for you to just review my work I really appreciate your time and your insight and if you're willing to do that would you take a look at the slides I've been closed and phone me so I'm working at the development director and a battered women shelter not not a very colorful place and so the phone rang and it was weighing tebow yeah I like your work very much why don't you come to my studio and I will critique your work so it's just that easy and then I said, hey wayne, is there anyone else you think I should speak to and he said, yeah, I want you to talk to my friend gregory condos so then I talked to his frank gehry condos gregory condos became a mentor wind up I won't up going to france and studying painting with him it's just that easy just ask don't be intimidated it's really? I think you'll be surprised at what you can get if you just ask and again, just asking politely and being mindful of what you're asking for what I'd like to do is ask if anybody has questions in the chat room, I had a really interesting discussion about some some of the challenges that you've been saying and that I should let everybody know the chapters have already formed a facebook groups ugo help you resolve something things than to carry on the discussion that bans being sharing there as well. A lot of people have different solutions to the the challenge of, you know, how do you politely refuse? How do you stand by your principles the scepter somewhere saying organizations continue us to donate art? Yeah, they see that is a very good marketing tool, but it's not benefiting the necessarily financially unless people have seen their work so there's lots of different discussions going on, which is fascinating thank you keep the discussion going. Giving things away is not a marketing strategy when we just let me just touch on that now if it's very deliberate and you're going to get the um exposure on your terms that's going to expose you to your target market it may be an opportunity but grammy dan says in my book you know beware of exposure gigs they are dubious time suckers can you really to that burnin so giving things away I mean like pole pieces of art talk you know photography not a marketing strategy how does that how do you think the values perceived in that case? Right not so much so really think carefully about about that's important are there any other questions? I like getting questions from the audience I mean I have so much to cover but I want to make sure I'm responding to people and and helping people at home subject saints okay not discounting the work for no reason they understand that but instead of what about making a trade for a discount trade their wonderful I wouldn't say I would say as long it is very defined as long as they're very clear boundaries I've done a lot of trade. My first website was the website the graphic design firm assigned a value of a dollar a specific dollar amount of what it would cost for them to build my first website this is long time ago and I traded them a painting equal was about equal it wasn't to the penny but it's close enough so that we both felt like we benefited and they were very clear boundaries around it I've traded for hair salon services I've traded for oh my god have traded for so many things trades are wonderful you have to ask your epa about another question that came in was about sharing art with everyone every way all want as many people to have access to art as possible in an ideal world but not everyone can afford it how do you bridge that gap with without having discount specifically in terms when you're talking about commissions and thinks that it's free to look I mean I mean what was any warhol doing with the happenings right I mean so he's creating you know is creating this atmosphere and people were looking at his work and you know so yeah it's free to look don't catch tomorrow is it as anyone conducted any informational interviews or are sought out a mentor or an adviser cheryl I have um actually one of the ex uh jewelry teachers that I've told that's right frequented you know, taking most of her clout I probably taken oliver classes by now ok and she was very generous very easy toe answer emails and things like that and as I got to know her we've actually become friends and that's been invaluable to me having her insight how did you first ask her how did you what did you ask her how did you approach or you were you were student and teacher in terms of your relationship and then you obviously made an ask so what did you ask for and how did you do it how do you feel? Well the class that that I was taking with her required homework okay? And I came across a construction issue that I couldn't resolve myself and I tried but I couldn't so I just e mailed her and she had said at the beginning of the class if you have questions please feel free to email me and I'll try and get to everybody before the next class on dh she responded right away and gave me the solution and then we talked about it in the next class on dh that's was kind of the platform and then you build a relationship from there and yeah and then she has been an important mentor for you yeah like invaluable okay that's great so it's pretty easy then ray, did you feel a little nervous or did you have a little bit of reservation? Yeah, I was very intimidated by her expertise in the area you know you sound like she responded willingly totally very generously. Okay that's the good news that people generally dio they're really quite helpful when and where they can and if they can't they can't and it's just because they have another obligation or another priority and that's fine got to respect that right? We're going to get their comeuppance but well, just one very clara question clarification is asking in your mind. And what is the difference between just picking your brain and an influential informational interview? Well, I think the person who's asking knows the answer that question right? If there, you know, if they dio can, things are, like, value exchanges. So, like, what can you offer them in exchange for their information to you? And it sounds like with a mentor mentee situation. You would they benefit by having mentees thinking of their influence, depending on the mentee. So yeah, so that could be the value exchange that you get as becoming someone's mentee. Now, just again, it's a case by case basis, right? I think it goes back to if someone normally charges forgive, you know, like, going to your you know, I have a good friend who is a family law attorney. You know, if you want her advice on your divorce, a recent separation should we should book console? Don't ask her at the party, has rude, right? But she gets stuck with I've got this child custody issues like, really, you're really gonna ask that right now? That's? Not cool. So those are some example, okay?