OK, So you have at lease one great idea. Now what?
Hopefully, unlike many artists, you will actually do something entrepreneurial BEFORE engaging in your next great artistic project.
One of the greatest challenges for artists, when you have a great idea, is to not allow it to blossom into an art project before you understand if it can create financial value for you.
As artists we all love to feel energized by our ideas and creativity. Most of us jump right into a good idea and think later about how to sell it, where to show it, and how to pay for it. And, sadly, often we jump into these projects self consumed with our vision, which we use as our justifications, for not even caring if we ever sell or show the work in the first place.
You can read a beautifully written story, that recently appeared in the New York Times, about an artist named Manny Vaga and his passion for mosaic tiles. It is a lovely story of great ideas and the development of an artist through life experience. But what it does not tell you is does Manny make a really good living doing this? Does his beautiul work pay his mortgage and feed him? Sure his work is being displayed in interesting places and well regarded but like so many artists I know, it is far more likely to not pay his bills.
While the work of filling our soul with our creativity is certainly a huge plus, and likely something that almost seems not possible for us to stop doing, in this life, failing to honor it with achieving for it financial health can lead us to anger, greater despair and artistic and personal hardness.
So, what you need to do FIRST, before acting on your idea, is the necessary research to be able to point your art project in the right direction out of the gate.
Here is your starting list of questions to answer:
#1 What audience(s) will your idea reach? ( be specific)
#2 Is this audience base big enough to support your idea financially?( identify sources that will lead you to statistical information on the demographic size of this audience and where to find them in your backyard.)
#3 How much will you have to charge and how many will you have to reach to benefit? ( you must develop a working budget and understand all your costs to bring your product to market to answer this question.)
#4 What are some of the most economical ways to target this audience and test your idea? ( if you seriously work on this list, you will already be tackling this issue in question #3)
#5 What do you need to begin to do to inexpensively test if you can reach your audience? A website, mailings, sample product or work to show to potential buyers that you set up sales calls to meet- what exactly?
#6 How much money do you need for supplies, mailings, web development etc to start?
While I realize that research, planning and the business side of art is not nearly as fun as jumping in to your idea ad turning immediately into a project, by doing research and writing down these first steps and taking the time to work through each, you will begin to learn how to balance art and commerce and find where creativity meets economic freedom.
While it may seem dull and not nearly as interesting, trust me when I tell you that it takes a lot of creativity to put all the pieces together. You will not only learn how creative the process actually is by building your artistic great idea into a business, but will also learn more about yourself and how best to service your artistic needs by actually meeting your financial goals.