Artists as Entrepreneurs – Day 44

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 44 of the 365 Days Project is by Angela Treat Lyon.]

Painting of cats by Angela Treat Lyon
“Silly Tall Tales” by Angela Treat Lyon. Photo courtesy ©Angela Treat Lyon.

Entrepreneurs are creative, intuitive, risk-takers, passionate and a bit obsessive about their projects. Artists are creative, intuitive, risk-takers, passionate and a bit obsessive about their creative work.

#44 – Artists are creative entrepreneurs.

I don’t believe for one minute that artists aren’t capable of fine entrepreneurship. I personally know artists who make a good living solely from their work and who don’t have a partner to manage the business side or a retirement fund to finance their production.

If you’ve ever read The E-Myth you’ll know that many businesses are started by employees with technical experience in producing a product or service who decide to work for themselves: a baker decides to open a bakery, a writer starts a blog, a programmer launches a software program. The problem is while they may be experts at their craft, they do not have experience in running a business.

Artists are no different. Some are good at turning their artistic talents into profitable businesses and others aren’t.

The business of selling art is actually the same as any other business venture – over 50% of small business start-ups fail in the first five years and approximately 70% fail after ten years. Where the difference lies is in the product. If a particular product doesn’t produce a return on investment, an entrepreneur simply moves on to the next project.

But an artist is an artist. The primary reason they create is not to make money, but as a means of exploration and expression. When faced with the choice of compromising their work to make it more profitable, many choose to supplement their income in other ways. Some, however, are fortunate to create exactly what they want and also enjoy the rewards of financial success.

Is it easy? No. Artists have to not only produce excellent work, they also have to be adept at marketing, budgeting, negotiating, sales, operations and management – unless they can find someone to do that for them.

Steve Wozniak was the electronics engineer, computer programmer and technology genius who developed the first Apple computer. But it probably never would have made it out to the market without marketing and business development genius of Steve Jobs. Artists in the upper echelons of the art world have sales geniuses like Larry Gagosian to market the work to the wealthiest collectors in the world.

But there are many artists who are doing it all and doing it well – on their own terms. They have embraced their entrepreneurial side and are not waiting for the “gate-keepers” to make them profitable. They are determined, focused and, most importantly, they never quit.

“All artists are entrepreneurs.
All entrepreneurs are artists.”
Seth Godin

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
Andy Warhol

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Sculpture by Angela Treat Lyon
“Alert” by Angela Treat Lyon. Photo courtesy ©Angela Treat Lyon.

Angela Treat Lyon’s artwork can be viewed at: Angela Treat Lyon

Description of the images included in this post:
Silly Tall Tales
Angela Treat Lyon, Hawaii
Acrylics on canvas

Angela Treat Lyon, Hawaii

The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.

Click to view The 365 Days Project

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