My reading of Greg Spalenka’s Artist As Brand continues with section IV. Plan the Brand.
I found the book for a great deal on the Nook.
Or you can buy it via my Amazon referral link
and give me a little kickback!
You can also buy direct from the author!
A lot of this section talked about the concept of job security being an illusion. This comes up a lot in books I’ve read about creative professionals because so much of our downfall is that constant fear of where money for bills is going to come from.
We struggle, we burn out, and then we get sucked back into the trap of ‘security’ and all the people in our lives (our ‘tribe’, as Spalenka calls it) help reinforce this illusion of safety because it is what they believe to be the most prudent way to go about one’s life. We want to please these people we care about, so we define our success by their values.
Unlike a more stable “real” job, there is no veil of safety convincing us that because we’ve worked 30 years at Such-and-Such Incorporated that we’ll always have that income and nice, cushy benefits. Freelancers have no such safety net. We must accept the truth of the world as it is. (Though that doesn’t mean we can’t be smart about it by planning ahead, either.)
If this were a live reading, I would’ve stood up and cheered at the end of this section. My whole thesis was based around the fact that audiences are evolving and finding new ways to connect with artists and that the old traditional methods of connecting via institutions were becoming obsolete. I believe this to be true. Our modern age has allowed artists so many diverse ways to profit that aren’t constrained to one institution or the other. We are more in control in our destinies than ever we have been!
The rest of this section covered the familiar territory of describing the cost effectiveness and thought process behind planning products and ideas for varied income. It’s a good rundown if you’re brand new to thinking about what goes into making products or considering less common income streams for artists, such as art licensing. With several working examples provided.
Random Note – I learned from this section that the founder of Etsy is a young wood worker who was going to start a furniture company. That company became Etsy, which is what he would’ve named his furniture company. Cool!
The homework from this section was to start building a Business Plan starting with several prompts about products, including projecting how complex they will be, how long they will take, etc.
Including all of that would make this entry super long, so I’ll just list off some of the products this book has me considering for my business:
- Stock reference photos for artists. I’ve been doing this in a small capacity, but now I feel like it’s something I should be spending more time doing.
- Educational resources for artists (ie. book reviews, product reviews, etc.). I’ve been doing this via my blog, but have never considered making it a commodity for my business.
- Yearly sketchbooks based on themes. Having themes and a yearly time table would help focus my very flighty muse! Inspired by Cory Godbey’s interview over at One Fantastic Week.
I’ve really been supercharged by this book! It has encouraged me to zero in on where my passions really are and to step back from other projects that were less appealing to my core interests.As always, there’s SO much I’m leaving vague. Be sure to pick up the book from the links at the top if you’ve found any of this useful!