Day job: Fine artist and business coach for artists and other creatives
You’re an artist in your own right. Why did you turn to coaching other artists and creatives?
I went through the art-school route and learned that they don’t teach you anything about how to make a living with your creative abilities. When I got out of art school, I had student loans and went back to what I was doing before school, which was marketing. As I was learning more about marketing, I thought, what if artists could harness these tools? Since I was an artist, I saw a need for helping them, plus I really like marketing a lot. I do it as a really creative thing.
Why do creatives often have a difficult time monetizing their talents?
There is this idea that artists have to be starving. It’s so ingrained in our culture that artists don’t make money and what they do is not valued monetarily, and that if you profit from what you create, then you’re a sellout. And artists can be very scared of selling because there’s so much fear—fear of being judged, fear of being rejected.
What are a couple of concrete things that you suggest creatives do to grow their business?
One thing is to have a dedicated email, like a newsletter, that you send to people on a regular basis to let them know what you’re working on. An email list trumps social media any day of the week. The other thing would be a concrete pricing strategy. Artists really find pricing to be difficult, but I have a system for helping artists figure out how to price their work in a way that they can feel confident about it.
Tell me about someone who benefited from your coaching.
Most of the people I work with are taking a hobby to the next level. I recently worked with an artist who was building her painting business. Right after we worked together, she sold a painting for five times more than what, up to that point, had been her highest-priced painting. Because of our work together, she felt confident communicating her value.
Do you believe that as a society we don’t value art or creative endeavors as much as we should?
Whether you’re a painter or a writer or an interior designer or making leather bags, it’s your job to explain to people what your work is worth. The noncreative world needs the creative world so, so much. It’s easy for people to feel like they don’t need it because it’s not food, clothing or shelter. But in the history of humans, culture and creativity has always been with us.