No one is a success overnight and I don’t expect to be either. Over the last six months I’ve made considerable progress in getting my art business startup on its legs. Following are the many sources of inspiration and information that have really helped me along the way.
The $100 Start Up: This book by Chris Guillebeau isn’t about art, but it is about the entrepreneurial spirit and how to get started. His first business was selling Jamaican coffee on the Internet from a folding table in his home. From the inner book flap:
Chris identified 1,500 individuals like himself who have built businesses earning $50,000 or more from a modest investment (in many cases $100 or less), and from that group he’s chosen to focus on the 50 most intriguing case studies. In nearly all cases, people with no special skills discovered aspects of their personal passions that could be monetized and were able to restructure their lives in ways that gave them greater freedom and fulfillment.
I can’t recommend this book enough if you’ve ever thought about starting your own business. As I write this I am tempted to reread it to make sure I haven’t forgotten key details.
MicroBlogger: Jim Wang authored the Bargaineering blog which later sold for $3 million. At MicroBlogger he teaches people how to get started in blogging through WordPress. The main focus of MicroBlogger is to help people who wish to build blogs that bring them income through advertising and referrals. While that is not my aim here, many of his articles about WordPress plugins, mailing lists, and Search Engine Optimization have helped me make this a better site. Helpful additions have been the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, and Contact Form 7 Plugin.
The Unconventional Guide To Art & Money: Chris Guillebeau strikes again! In this self published guide Chris interviewed a number of artists on how they made a change from the traditional gallery model of selling art to doing it for themselves. What inspired me to spring for this the fact that I’d actually heard of some of the artists interviewed for this project. A significant mention was putting up a website to share work and blogging. So here we are.
Steal Like An Artist & Show Your Work: This pair of books by Austin Kleon are quick reads, but full of good advice for creative people. Steal Like An Artist focuses on idea creation and refinement. It’s based on the ten things the author wish someone had told him when starting out. Show Your Work is an extension of the first book and focuses on how to get your work out there and seen by others. Part of it is to share your processes, your sources, and your secrets and that’s what I’m doing with this post.
On a more personal note, here are some of the artist folks that have kept me inspired.
The Mincing Mockingbird & The Frantic Meerkat: My aunt is Kim Bagwill, The Frantic Meerkat. I’ve watched her paint and take photos all my life. Her husband is Matt Adrian, The Mincing Mockingbird. They are real people that I know who had regular jobs like most people until they started buckling down and making art a priority. Now that’s what they do and their products can be seen in stores all over the world.
Eulojio Ortega: It’s a small world and I met Eulojio because he is married to the daughter of my childhood babysitter. He got his start painting houses and doing faux finishes. Now he travels the country doing incredible murals proving once again it is possible to make a living making art.
If you’re an aspiring artist or entrepreneur I hope I’ve shared some resources that will help you get going. If you’re already going at a good clip, what are some of the resources that have helped you along?