Make a Living as an Artist: Strategies for Crafting Your Creative Business | Brooke Glaser | Skillshare

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Make a Living as an Artist: Strategies for Crafting Your Creative Business

teacher avatar Brooke Glaser, Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Making a Living as an Artist: Crafting a Business Fits You


    • 2.

      How to Get the Most from this Class


    • 3.

      Creating a Daydream Life


    • 4.

      The Compass: Values


    • 5.

      What Ways Can You Make a Living?


    • 6.

      Uncharted Territory: New Ways to Earn


    • 7.

      Level Up: Learn From 'Competitors'


    • 8.

      Shine Bright: Unique You


    • 9.

      Branding: Are You Goth?


    • 10.

      Make It Happen: Goals, Motivation, and Productivity


    • 11.

      Create Systems: Make It Easy


    • 12.

      Overcoming Doubts and Fears


    • 13.

      Get Support: Mentors and Accountability Partners


    • 14.

      Where to Find Clients


    • 15.

      5 Ways to Make Your Art Sell Better


    • 16.

      Marketing: Sharing with the Right People


    • 17.

      Portfolios: The Nitty Gritty


    • 18.

      Instagram: The Nitty Gritty


    • 19.

      E-mailing Art Directors: The Nitty Gritty


    • 20.

      Stay Strategic


    • 21.

      LinkedIn: The Nitty Gritty


    • 22.

      Newsletters: The Nitty Gritty


    • 23.

      Tradeshows: The Nitty Gritty


    • 24.

      Postcards: The Nitty Gritty


    • 25.

      Figuring Out Your Minimum Rates


    • 26.

      Taxes and Accounting


    • 27.

      Maximize Your Profit: Different Ways of Selling


    • 28.

      Day Jobs


    • 29.

      Working for Free


    • 30.



    • 31.

      Tips for Negotiating


    • 32.

      Not-So-Scary Contracts (and Billing)


    • 33.

      Set Yourself Up for Success


    • 34.

      What Next?


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About This Class

Hi, I’m Brooke Glaser a full time freelance illustrator. I’ve built a business that comfortably supports me and gives me freedom to work wherever and whenever I choose. But it didn’t start that way. These lessons took me years to learn, but when I finally understood them, I started seeing big growth in my business. 

This is a fun, practical and comprehensive guide to making money as an artist. You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but it really helps to understand how the different parts of your business affect each other.

First, we’ll start by getting clear on what your dream business looks like: figuring out what you want your life to be like and pairing that up to the different kinds of work artists can do. Then we dive into understanding why people buy from you and how you can use the strengths you ALREADY HAVE to stand out from the crowd. We’ll tackle goal setting, staying motivated, and creating systems to make your business run smoothly. In the second section, we’ll talk about where you can find clients and tips for sharing your work with the right people. In the third section, And we’ll dive into figuring out different ways to maximize your money and effort, how to price your work, contract details, and tips for negotiating.

If you’re starting your first art business, this is the class for you. And if you’ve already been in business for a few years, but feel like you’re not sure where your headed, my hope is this class can help you get clear on where you should be focusing your efforts.

Special thanks to Zeke's Lunchbox and Furry Little Peach for letting me use them as examples in the branding lesson. And thanks to Daniel Berg-Johnsen for his help filming the intro.

I also share my favorite art tips, tutorials, and other resources for artists via e-mail. You join in here. 

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1. Making a Living as an Artist: Crafting a Business Fits You: Hi, I'm Brooke Weiser, a full-time freelance illustrator. I've built a business that comfortably supports me and allows me to work whenever and wherever I choose. But it didn't start that way. When I learned to understand myself and what I did specifically that was worth money to other people, that's when things really started to flow. This is a fun, practical, and comprehensive guide to making money as an artist, you do not have to be an expert at everything. But it makes the big difference to understand how the different parts of your business affect each other. First, we'll start by getting clear on what you want your business to look like, and then we'll pair that against the different ways that artists make money. Then we'll dive into understanding why people buy from you, and using the strengths that you already have to stand out from the crowd. We'll talk about systems that can help you make your business run more smoothly. In the second section, we'll dive into how do you find clients and tips for sharing your work with the right people. In the third section, we'll talk about how to price your work, contract details in 12 Tips for negotiating. I have been buzzing at the scene to create this class. All I ever want to do is talk business and strategy with other artists about how to grow their creative careers. If you are starting your first creative business, this is the class for you, and if you've been in business for a few years, but you feel unclear about where you're headed, my hope is that this will help you get clear on understanding the fundamentals of your business. 2. How to Get the Most from this Class: It's one thing to breeze through this class and it's another to sit down and deeply consider how these lessons relate to you and your art. You'll get the most benefit by writing your thoughts out, and in fact, you might find that writing things down helps inspire you think of new and more creative ideas. I've created a free worksheet for students of this class, which you can unlock by going to and entering your email. There's a link in the Projects and Resources tab to that page as well. After each video, take a moment to fill out the worksheet. I've also included some other bonus resources that you might find helpful, such as pricing calculators and guides, help with contract and other resource that I found really helpful at the beginning of my career. Just a heads up, submitting your email also unlocks access to my newsletter. You can unsubscribe at anytime. There are no get rich quick schemes, and since your business is unique to you, I can't just hand you the answers. But the great news is that, you do not have to be amazing at all of these things. Some successful artists are really good at parts of their business and lousy at others. It's like one of those Rube Goldberg machines. As long as you understand the purpose of each part, you don't have to be an expert at making it work. You can hire a carpenter to help you build contraption. But understanding the function of each part will help you build a business that works to your strengths. I've tried to provide a succinct overview of all the different parts of your business since each part impacts and influences each other. Each section could be a class on its own, but I've tried to distill it down to the most essential information. The lessons are organized so that you can jump back and forth between the parts most relevant to you. Class can roughly be divided into about three sections. Getting crystal clear on what it is you're trying to achieve, promotion, and money. Some of these lessons you may find that you want to watch over and over again. They'll be there to help you, and don't forget about that little 15-second Rewind button. Some of these topics you may find that you want to dig even deeper into. I've listed some resources that I found really helpful in the Your Project tab. I don't have all the answers, but I hope that the lessons that I've learned over the last eight years can help you create a business that works for you and your life. 3. Creating a Daydream Life: The first thing that we want to do is get really clear on what it is that you actually want to be doing. Now for some of you this is going to be super obvious and seem super simple, you want to make money making art and for others of you it's going to be a lot more ambiguous, there's a lot of different paths out there and maybe you have no idea which way you want to go. We want to dig more into the specifics, we want to learn more about exactly what kind of life you want to be living. This is going to help you when you're trying to figure out what kind of work to seek out and how you want to do that work. The war we're in is daydreaming phase, you may as well shoot for the moon and don't forget to be thrilled if you land amongst the stars. Think about what you really want to do and not the things that you think are going to make other people happy. Think about what is really important to you. Life is short. You may as well spend it doing the things that you really want to. You don't have to follow somebody else's path. There is no set way that says, this is how you make it to be a successful artist. Everybody's definition of success is different anyway, the really cool thing about creative careers is that there's no one way to do them. There are so many ways to make money as an artist. There's a way that can suit everybody and if there's not a way now, you can invent that way. Artists don't all do the same thing, so I want you to spend five minutes working on a daydream career, a daydream life. You can write this in pen and pencil and a notebook, or you can create a Pinterest board of dream images, however you want to do it. In this daydream, imagine that you are wildly successful and money is no object. We want totally uninhibited, happy wild dreams for this. If you knew that you could not fail, what would you be doing? Think about where you want to be working. Do you dream of working on a remote tropical beach while you're traveling the world? Are you alone in your own private studio that is perfectly set up with all of the art supplies you could possibly want? Do you wish that you were working in an office full of creative people and working on a team to make awesome art? Or are you the soul creative at a company, advising them what to do? How are you working? Are you getting messy with paints? Are you curled up on the couch drawing on an iPad? What kind of work are you doing? Are you working on big campaigns for well-known companies that you can brag to your friends about. Ar? You drawing cute animals that are going to go perfectly in a nursery? Are you doing work that it's going to inspire people? When are you working? When are you with friends and family? Do you work all morning and then have all afternoon with your kids? What is a dream situation for you? Remember, this is about what really makes you happy. Don't try and be something that you're not. Don't worry about trying to impress people. Don't care about impressing people. If you have trouble thinking about what you want, think about your role models. Artists that you super admire. What about their life is appealing to you? 4. The Compass: Values: Next, we want to dig into your values. Values are like a compass pointing you in the right direction. They're going to determine the work that you're going to seek out. When you do work that fits your values really well, it will make you feel like you're doing meaningful work, it will inspire and excite you, and fulfill you. It will help you feel excited to get up in the morning and tackle these projects. Examples of values might be honesty or creativity or positivity. Maybe family is an important value to you, service to others. Not all of the work that you do will be perfectly suited to these values, especially at first, but ideally, as you build your creative career, you're going to be doing more and more work that really aligns with your values. Morals are really similar to values. You don't want to take on work that goes against your morals. Now you may not like a client or a job, you may not be excited about it, but that doesn't necessarily mean it goes against your values and sometimes you just need to pay rent. You might not be excited to do illustrations for say, an insurance agent, but it probably won't go against your morals. On the other hand, it might go against your morals or values if a cigarette company asks you to do illustrations for them. Values are also going to help you determine the work that you take on. For example, one of my values is independence. Taking jobs that would force me to go into an office on somebody else's schedule at a set time all the time would pretty quickly lead to me feeling burnt out and unhappy. Those are jobs that I don't seek out anymore. Again, at the beginning, you might have to do stuff that doesn't perfectly align with your values, but as you build, you want to do things that excite and inspire you, and writing down your values is going to help you clarify that so that you can look for those things. In your project tab, I've included a list of values for you to get started and naturally feel free to write your own values in. 5. What Ways Can You Make a Living?: Now that we've clarified what's important to you, we want to clarify what's important to the people who are going to pay for your art. First, let's take a look at the different kinds of people that they might be. Now there's two major split here. There are companies that you work with and there are customers that you work with. Some people would call this B to B, which is business to business, or B to C, which is business to customer. But this really boring and I promised you a fun class, not a boring class. But the reason that I want to make this distinction is that these two different groups, they're really very different in the way that you are going to be selling your work. Working with companies is a very traditional established way of making money as an artist. It can be very lucrative and it has a lot of advantages. But you are going to need to cater the artwork that you make to working with companies. Companies might want you to change some things so that it works for what they're doing. Working with customers means that you have the freedom to make whatever you want. If you make weird alien art thanks to the Internet, there is going to be a market of people who are interested in what you do. But this is a newer way of selling art and not all the ways of doing that is clearly defined. You might have to do with extra work up front to figure out how to make your business work, how to sell your artwork. But you know, you have a lot more freedom. Chances are you'll do a bit of both of these things. Most full-time artists work in multiple market. But that's enough theory. Let's look at some specific examples. One is the markets where you work with other businesses and companies. This could be editorial illustration or magazine illustration, textiles and home decor, like betting or wall art, greeting cards, stationery, fashion, apparel, video games, TV and animation, advertising, children's books, publishing and much more. Now this could also just be selling your art to these companies, or it could be working in house for those companies with a salary as a full-time job. Market 2, is where you sell to customers. Now this could be selling your products with art on them like prints or stickers or pins in your own shop and maybe that's online or in-person in markets, or maybe it's even selling it to other stores who sell it. That would be wholesale. You could be teaching your art again online or in person. You can be self-publishing graphic novels and your own books, even making animations. There's just an endless amount of ways to sell your own art out to customers. Now, that's not a comprehensive list. There's certainly more ways to make money as an artist. Most full-time artists work in multiple markets. But as you're researching these different markets, you want to think about them individually and if you're just starting out, you might find it easier to focus your energy on breaking into one market at a time before branching out into other ones. It's always a balance for me to keep the class succinct, and also make sure that I'm giving enough examples. If you want real-life examples of these markets, let me know in the community tab below which markets that you would like to see examples of. As you're trying to figure out which markets that you want to get into. You want to think about the kind of artwork that they buy. Naturally you want to be working in a market that buys art that you enjoy making. But you really want to get detailed about this. If you want to sell greeting cards, you should go into a store and you should see how many different sections of artwork that they buy. Like they do birthday cards, they do sympathy cards. What kind of colors do they use in those particular designs? Do they have a much larger birthday section than they do a wedding section. Like these are things that you want to pay attention to when you're building your portfolio. If you want to get into children's clothes, look at the brands that you'd be interested in working with. Do they only use a limited color palette? If so, you should keep that in mind while you're thinking about the art that you're making, if you want to sell your own products of artwork, think about what people would actually use your art for. Would you find what you are selling? If not, who would? Are teenagers interested in your work? Are the things that you are putting your artwork on things that teenagers could afford to buy or that they would actually use? You want to do as much research off of the internet as you can. Well, you might be able to research children's book illustration online. There's nothing like going into a bookstore and seeing how they arrange and display the books, and what makes one book pop out more than others, even if it's just sitting on the shelf. This is something that you can't figure out just by doing research online. You're also going to want to consider how the art-making process works for these different markets. Editorial illustration has very fast turnaround. If you make work very, very quickly and you work great under high pressure deadlines, maybe editorial is like the perfect market for you. But if a one-day turnaround makes you nauseous, yeah, maybe editorial is a no-no for you. If you're thinking about working with customers, do you thrive talking to people in person? Maybe markets are going to be a great fit for you, or do you abhor that idea? Maybe you should be focusing on building an online store. Now, as much as making art is fun, it is a job. What you are doing is providing a service to somebody who either cannot do what you do, or is going to save money or time or other resources to hire you to do that work. Try to understand why people buy or hire from you. Does your art make what would be a boring water bottle, something more fun, something that's going to stand out on the shelves, that's going to sell more water bottles? Furthermore, why do customers buy those things? People buy wall art because it makes their house look nice. But also because it says something about themselves. If they buy some artwork that's super trendy, it says, "Hey, I'm stylish." Or maybe it's something funny. It says, "Hey, I have a sense of humor." Understanding your chosen market is something that you're going to learn over time. It's totally fine if you don't know that much about it right now, you don't want to get stuck in the research phase. It's much more important that you are spending time making great artwork and sharing it with the right people. You're going to learn about these markets over time as you do that work. 6. Uncharted Territory: New Ways to Earn: There has never been a better time to be an artist. It used to be, if you wanted to sell paintings, if you had to get in the gallery, and they took a hefty commission, and they decided if they were going to show your artwork to their collectors or not, and now you can upload your artwork to Redbubble or Society6, and they make the art for you and ship it to customers. Or you can open a Etsy store, or heck even an Instagram, and sell your original oil paintings. But even all of that is old news. Can you believe that Etsy is over 13 years old? Things like Kickstarter and Patreon are changing the way that artists can make a living. The rules about what creative work you can monetize and how you can make a living as an artist, are completely being rewritten right now, and truly, now is a time that you can do things that no artists have done before. I'm not going to dive into these, in this class, because they're so new and revolutionary. I can't really give you much guidance on it, but I feel I would be cheating you if I didn't mention these resources. Especially Patreon, I think Patreon is revolutionary for the art world, and not enough artists are talking about it. But just to give you a brief overview of Patreon, Patreon is basically like patronage. Shakespeare had aristocrats to pay him to produce these amazing plays. Patreon is a way for artists to find people who are willing to pay them on a monthly or per creation basis, and give them much more of a consistent income. 7. Level Up: Learn From 'Competitors': It's really valuable for you to know what other successful artists in your market are doing. One, is so that you can get better at what you do and even more importantly, number 2, so that you can figure out how you can stand out from the crowd and let your own uniqueness shine. It's hard to do that if you don't know what other people are doing because you don't know what makes you different or special. Homework time, so I want you to find three role models that are working successfully in the market that you want to break into. Maybe they're working with clients that you want to work with, maybe they've won awards. Look at both the art that they make and how they're presenting it to the world. The goal is to get inspiration and tailor that to the way that you do business. For example, if you want to sell your art at markets, go to some markets and see how the busy booths set up their booth. What draws you in? How did they set their booth up? Do they put their table right on the row where people are walking by? Can you walk into the booth and look around? Do they use colors for their decor that matches the artwork that they're selling? How do they light their booth? What can you take and adapt to the way that you would set up your booth? The goal here is not to copy what they're doing. That's not cool and it wouldn't get you very far anyway, because if you are presenting the same thing to the same clients, why would the clients be interested in something that they can get elsewhere from somebody who's more experienced? You need to be doing your own thing here. Researching your competition is important, but you do not want to get caught in the comparison trap. Remember what people put out there is their highlight reel. You don't see the deals that fell through and you don't know which of those clients were a nightmare to work for. Jealousy is also a thing, jealousy can sometimes be a spotlight to show you the things that you secretly really do want. When you feel jealous, ask yourself, what is it that they have that I really want? Are they getting work with clients that you've been afraid to reach out to? Have they mastered social media and you just haven't taken the time to learn how to make it work for you? Remember you want to be strategic, don't just do something because it works for somebody else.They may be 10 years into their career and you've just started or they may have different goals than you and they might be trained to achieve something different than what you are trying to achieve. 8. Shine Bright: Unique You: You are unique already, even without you trying to be and you can't help it. The hard part is figuring out what makes you unique. Because if you're anything like me, we are often blind to our own strengths. But these strengths are what you are going to want to lean into. If you have trouble figuring out what your strengths are or what makes you unique, ask people who are familiar with your work; your peers, your friends and your family. Sometimes this can be as simple as the style of your artwork. Maybe it's the colors you use. Maybe it's your bold sense of humor. Maybe you really take center stage in a crowd. In that case, you might want to do as many in-person events as possible. Are there things that you can do that your fellow artists might not be able to? Use those strengths to your advantage. I want you to make a list. What are your strengths? What are you really good at? Do you have strong lettering skills? Make sure that you're sharing those pieces often so that people are aware that you can do that kind of work. Are you great at graphic design or photography? Then take photos of your art to help you stand out from the crowd. Use graphic design to make your marketing materials really shine, and better than the next artists. What else are you good at?, and what else? Is there something your market is missing that you can provide? Or is there something that you can learn to do? Video is a big part of marketing and a lot of companies are really interested in video content. I've seen a lot of illustrators learn how to make animated gifs of their work. Not only do these animated gifs catch more people's attention, it's also a skill that they can sell to their clients. A few years ago, I was told people in my market wanted to see more illustrators doing lettering. So I started learning as much as I could, and I landed some of my best clients. Thanks to my lettering skills. 9. Branding: Are You Goth?: Do you remember trying out different looks when you were in high school? Did you ever try to be a golf or maybe a skater or that theater geek or even a star athlete? You probably did your hair in a certain way, you listened to certain music, you probably even acted a certain way. That was your personal brand. As an art business, you want to do the same thing. You want people to be able to look at what you put out there and get a vibe for who you are and what you're about just with a glance. You don't have to have a perfect logo, especially when you're just starting out but a strong brand can help you stand out and get noticed. It can also make you more memorable. As an added perk, when you have a strong branding in place, you don't have to think so hard about the way you do things. You have a look already designated for the way that you're going to share things, so you can just do that over and over again. When you start thinking about your brand, what I want you to do is start by thinking about how you want people to feel or what you want people to think when they see your work. Do you want to come across as playful or serious? Do you want people to think it's cute or fashionable or something else? I want you to choose three things that you want a potential client to think or feel when they see your work. Then I want you to think about how you can visually show that feeling or vibe. What colors say, I'm a serious artist? What fonts? How can you present your work so that it gives that vibe? Let's go over some examples. First I want to talk about Shaun of furry little peach. She's got a really well branded YouTube channel. I'm showing you her videos right here. You'll notice that she uses the color yellow as a brand element to convey really happy, colorful stuff. She uses yellow for her title. She uses the same fonts for her titles on her cover photos for her videos and you'll even notice sometimes she even wears yellow clothing. Her Instagram also makes use of that mustardy, yellow color.She doesn't exclusively use yellow, even her artwork here. This is her Inktober, it's not all colorful art. Looking at her Instagram feed, you can really see the same style repeated. Again, her artwork is not using yellow necessarily, but she's using that yellow background to emphasize it. If you look at her store, it's the same thing. Even though she has all kind of beautiful colored artwork, she puts it on a yellow background to help it pop out and look like all of these pieces belong together. She even shares that process in a YouTube video of her photographing some of her artwork.This is something that you can easily do even if you don't have fancy lights. You can do this in front of a window and get a really great shot of your artwork on a colored background. She did the same for her children's book, and she put some fun, colorful confetti in there as well. You'll also notice that her profile picture uses that same color of yellow, and she uses the same profile picture over all of her social media channels. Next, let's take a look at Julia of Zeke's Lunchbox, and she also uses color really strongly as part of her branding elements. She uses a lot of pink, different shades of pink. She does use similar color palettes in a lot of her artwork, even if she didn't, the way that she photographs her work in her shop with these different little fun, kitschy, little knick-knacks around her artwork, helps create a cohesive look. She creates that same cohesiveness on her Instagram. Let's look at her profile page here. She's got all of her Instagram stories, the little highlights on her profile page. They all have a pink or purple cover to tie that whole look together. Again, she doesn't use a pink background for everything, but a lot of it will have an element of pink in it. If we look at her YouTube page, she does a really great job of branding her cover photos. Let's take a look at her titles here. They aren't always the same colors. They're not always pink, but they do use a font that is psychedelic and that matches her artwork, which is super psychedelic. That's a really great example of projecting that psychedelic vibe out there so that people can instantly get a feel for what she's about, even if that her art isn't in the thumbnail. Now it's your turn. I want you to share three things that you want people to feel and think when they see your work. Go to your project tab, click on create a project and share with us those three things. There is no point in stressing about having the perfect brand, especially when you're first starting, these things are going to change and evolve. In fact, you will probably want to update the way that you do things every few years just to keep it fresh, and on trend, and making sure that it's still reflecting things that are important to you. The most important thing that you can be doing is making more work and getting it out in front of the right people. 10. Make It Happen: Goals, Motivation, and Productivity: One of the big things I struggled with when I started my first creative business was that I didn't know what to do on a day-to-day basis. I wasted hours researching a new art piece or refreshing my e-mail, or checking my social media stats 20 times a day. I did a lot of things that made me feel like I was being productive, but they didn't really help me accomplish the big things that I wanted. Goal-setting changed all of that for me. At first, I would just write down my one goal first thing in the morning, and that would give me enough motivation to remember to at least make one step towards that goal every single day. As I started getting more specific with my goals, it became much more clear like really what I needed to be doing to achieve them on a day-to-day basis. For me, the best scores were something very specific that were achievable but pushed me outside of my comfort zone and had a deadline. Backwards planning is where you take your goal and then you figure out all of the steps that you need to achieve it and how long those steps will take, and then you will schedule each of those steps in backwards, starting from the point where your deadline is. Let's say for example, you want to launch a new collection of five prints by December. You need to paint each of those five pieces, get them printed, take photos to share on social media and your store, and get them up on your store. You need to schedule time in your week to do each of these tasks going backwards from your deadline of December. You need to have all of the descriptions and photos loaded up on your store by November 30th, wouldn't you take let's say 30 minutes. In order to do that, you must have already taken your photos the day before. We'll say that'll take an hour. You have to work or take care of your kid or other obligations on November the 29th. You know that you aren't going to be able to do it that day so you need to schedule it in the day before on the 28th. In order to take the photos, you need to have your artwork printed already. Let's say that your local printer usually takes a few days to turn around the prints once you bring them in, so you need to budget in those couple of days. You probably want to get the finished files to them around November 26th, and you need to finish the pieces before you can send them to the printer. Assuming that it takes you one day to make each of those pieces, you'll need to start working on those five days earlier. You won't be working on the weekend, so you need to budget that time in as well. Let's say you are going to start drawing somewhere around the 19th. I often underestimate how long it will actually take to get something done, I usually like to give myself a little extra time. I'm not a fan of all nighters, so I always try and get my work done early. Some goals take time like baking, somethings need to sit in the oven but you can tell something's happening or not for a certain amount of time before anything actually happens, before it gets baked correctly. When you're doing something new, you might not see results for a while. How do you stay motivated when you don't see any results happening? I have three things that really helped keep me going for those really big goals, really big rewards. I'm not talking a slice of chocolate cake at the end of the night or a glass of red wine and those things are great, small motivators, I'm talking about big rewards. Things you really want, like an expensive new iPad Pro or a trip to Disney World. These were words need to be so exciting, something that you would just love to have. These are things that are going to motivate you on the days when you are procrastinating. When you're feeling intimidated or afraid to take action towards your goals, or when you just plain don't feel like doing the work. Nothing will motivate you to get work done like something you really, really want. Another really big thing that helped me with my goals was checking in with myself at the end of every day. I wrote down what I had gotten done, what I hadn't, and why. It really opened up my eyes to some roadblocks that I didn't even realize I had. For me, that was stuff like not preparing meals ahead of time, I was working until I was hungry or then I was spending too much time trying to figure out what I wanted to eat. I also realized that I was much more productive in the mornings and if I had my to-do list done at night, I wouldn't waste all of this great energy that I had in the mornings. Just trying to figure out what I should be doing, this daily reflection of not only wasn't working for me, but what was helping me be productive, that put me on a whole new level of productivity. Celebrate even your little wins. Feeling like you are progressing is naturally motivating and that motivation will lead to faster momentum. The really cool thing is that even those little wins, they have the same effect on your brain as these big wins do. Whenever you have the chance, make sure that you're acknowledging and celebrating any wins that you can. Another third thing that helps me stay motivated is timers. Sometimes I have this really strong resistance to just starting a project, and if I put the timer on for like five, 10, 15 minutes and I just say, you only have to work on this for this long. That usually helps me to at least get started and then I'll end up spending much longer than that. Alternatively, setting time limits really helps me a lot too. If I know that I have forever to work on a piece of artwork, I will work on it for a very long time. But if I know that I only have an hour to do a task, I will be so motivated to stay on task and get as much of it done as I can. The same is even worse with e-mails like I would spend a half an hour or an hour writing one e-mail. If I set a timer and I say you have five minutes to write this e-mail, I will get it done so much faster and I will just be clear on what I need to do. Sometimes I think that these time restraints actually make me more creative because I'm thinking like, how can I do this as fast and as efficiently as possible? What are the most important things that I need to do? I end up with a better result just because I was forced to really consider what was most important. 11. Create Systems: Make It Easy: Make your life easy. Don't reinvent the wheel every time that you need to do something. For anything that you do more than twice, and especially for those things that you only do once or twice a year, create a system, write down the things that you need to do for these things so you don't have to remember all the little tiny details that go into it. You have enough going around in your head. There's a lot of things in your life that you need to be paying attention to. It's too much to ask you to remember all of the details of the little tiny things, especially the more complicated that they get. This might be annoying to set up, but it's going to help you so much, especially for those things that you don't like to do. I'm going to go over some examples of systems that I use in my business. This is not to say that this is the best way or the only way to do things, but I just wanted to give you a peek into the way that I run things so you can get a good example of how, what I mean by systems. This right here is a little text document that I keep on my desktop and it is a checklist of what I need to do when I create artwork and when I sell artwork and a couple of other things. I always have this so that I can just check really fast. The first thing that I do is I come into Airtable, which is sort of Excel, but it's a website. It feel a little bit easier for me to use than Excel, so that's what I use. I create a number for the artwork and I name it. These are really important because it's much more easy for me to search for a number than it is for a name. I still use the names because it's easier for me to remember a name, but I want to have a number associated with it as well. After I've named it, I sort it into one of these categories. I have my artwork sorted into abstract, or animals, or birds or birthdays. Inside of those, I have each of these files with the number and the name on it inside of that is the artwork. That's a bad example. Let's find an example that's a little bit more finished up. This is probably finished. This is several different working files, and then I have a repeat file, everything's in repeat and some mark-ups. After I sort it into the right folder, I also put my name and my copyright on the image, because what I do next is create a submissions image. This is the image that I send to our directors in my newsletter. Let's take a look at that really fast. I use InDesign and I have each of my images on a template here. I put the image in here. I have my logo, I have my contact information and my website, and the number of the artwork. A client can refer to that number. Then I save that as a JPEG, I add it into my Mailchimp newsletter template so that it's just ready to go right away. I also create an image for Instagram. Then upload that Instagram image into my social media scheduler, which I use later, usually. That is all done at the same time. When I create new artwork and it's finished and ready to go all of this happens at once, I don't have to think like, what is it next that I need to do? I have this checklist right here, I know exactly what I need to be working on. I want to briefly go over how I keep track of artwork that has sold. Some of these details might not make sense right now. I'm going to go over a lot of this information later in the course, but I think it's important to see how I organize this because you really need to be keeping track of the rights and some of the details of the artwork that you sell in the future when you might be reselling the same artwork in a different category. What I do is I have it all organized so that I have the artwork number and the descriptive name of the artwork, and then I write down with who the client is and what purchase they did. If they bought all of the artwork, they bought all the rates to the artwork or if they licensed the artwork. Again, we'll go over what those different things mean later and then I get very specific about the details of that. If it is like they bought just the rights to paper goods but not greeting cards. If there is an expiration to that license, I make a note of that as well. I do write down the prices in this sheet, but I also keep track of that in my accounting software as well. That's much more important place to keep track of the price. But because I refer back to this sold artwork document quite a lot, I just find it helpful to just have this other quick sheet to also refer to that. I also keep track of the royalty rate, I don't come back in here and add how much I make on a royalty every quarter, but I just want to have this as reference of oh, yeah, I got, I get this royalty rate from this person. I also put the sale date in here. If there are any special notes, I put them in here as well. I have a template for common e-mail inquiries that I get so I don't have to rethink the answers. I just take the template and modify it as I need to. Systems have saved my butt on multiple occasions. Clear systems can make a task go faster and make it easier. As an added bonus, if you don't like doing the task, it makes it much easier to pass it onto somebody else. For example, if you hate packaging Etsy orders, once you know all the steps that go into that, it's easy to hire somebody else and show them exactly what they need to do, to do the packaging. 12. Overcoming Doubts and Fears: One of the hardest things about starting a creative career is overcoming your own fears and doubts. Our brains are literally hardwired to discourage risk. Anytime that I step outside of my comfort zone, I know that I'm going to be hearing that inner critic saying, "No, I'm not good enough, I'm not talented, or clever enough, I'm a fraud, I'll never be able to do it, I'm never going to be as good as so and so artist." Regardless of whether those things are true or not, in order to be successful, I have to move forward even when that inner critic is yelling loudly. How do I deal with it? The first thing that I do is acknowledge that my inner critic is just trying to protect me. Second, I do my best to focus on what I have to gain rather than what I have to lose. It helps to write down the awful things that my inner critic is saying and then try writing the opposite of that. For example, if my inner critic says, you will never be as good at so and so artists, I'll try writing, I can create a thriving career that fits my goals and dreams. Sometimes I just have to acknowledge that I'm going to have these fears and anxieties and I just need to move forward anyway. My brain is super clever and even if I come up with all these counter-arguments to disagree with what it saying, it's always going to come up with a new reason to tell me that it's not okay to try whatever. It doesn't help that there are some awful pervasive myths about artists, namely the starving artist myth and that artists must suffer. I don't know about you, but I am least productive when I am suffering. No one says that you can't create something beautiful out of tragedy, but it's nonsense to think that you must suffer to create good art. I would argue that the opposite is true. Your self-esteem and mental health are critical to your success as a creative. Working as an artist requires you to face failure and rejection on a regular basis and to continue moving forward. It's essential that you invest in yourself and your mental well-being. Whether that means working out, eating healthy, or meditation or therapy, or spending time with your friends and family, it's super important that you stay creatively inspired. That might mean spending time at the local art museum or going on walks in nature, or cooking fancy meals. A starving artist myth, it's not hard to look around and find some famous artists who are doing quite well for themselves. The truth is there's lots of not famous artists who don't have all this fame, but are still making a living doing art that they love. AIGA, does a survey every year about creatives salaries. The results don't look too glam to me, making money as an artist has no limit. You can make $0 or you can make a $ million. There's a very interesting theory called a 1000 true fans. The idea is if you can get 1,000 people who are so interested in what you're doing that they buy a $100 worth of whatever from you every year, you can make a 100 K a year, which is a pretty good living, in my opinion. But maybe you'd be happy with $50,000 a year. You'd only need 10 clients buying $5,000 worth of art from you every year to make $50,000. 13. Get Support: Mentors and Accountability Partners: Several years ago, I started an art collective with three other artists friends who are trying to break into the illustration world. We met on video once a month and we had a Facebook group where we talked throughout the month. We worked together to find clients. We split the cost and the time that it took to do the marketing. An accountability buddy is an amazing thing to have. If you don't have one now, get one. In fact, I'll give you a link that you can share with them for a two month free trial to skill share, so that you guys can work on the strategies in this class together. You can find the code in the Your Projects tab. I can't tell you what a difference it made to my productivity and motivation and how much it helped push me along my career. It was amazing to be able to have people who could hold me accountable to the goals I had set, who had great ideas for things that I should try, and just people that I could bring concerns about potential clients or contracts to. Throughout the years I've also met with many other creative people in person. I've joined Facebook groups of other artists who are trying to do the same things that I am and I've also had lots of creative mentors. I cannot stress enough the importance of creative community. Find people who are going to understand the artistic struggles that you are going through, and who can cheer you on through it. Whether you get that creative support by hiring a coach or asking a creative in your town to meet up for coffee or joining online courses, so that you can meet other creators who are at the same level as you are. These connections will help you and your career in ways that you will never even be able to predict. 14. Where to Find Clients: Where you find clients is going to vary from market to market, but what you want to think about is, where do the kinds of people that work in your market hang out? What kind of creative events, or trade shows, or conferences do they attend? Do they read certain books, or magazines, or blogs? If you want to do editorial magazines, there is a page in every magazine that lists the people who work on that magazine. You want to be looking for who the art director is. If you see an illustrated game in a store, pick up the box, turn it around, and see who the publisher is. The same is going to be with clothes, or home decor, whatever, look at the tags, see who the manufacturer or publisher is. Now, you can just take a snapshot of that with your phone and when you go home, look on their website and see if they have an art submissions guideline. If they don't, google who the art director is for that company. Books will have the publisher listed in the first few pages of the book. You can look on the publisher's website. They almost always will have submission guidelines. There's a big book called the Artist's and Graphic Designers Market, and it comes out every year. Inside, they list a ton of different companies, and in theory, they list the contact information for those companies. I found that the info can be a little bit outdated, but it's a great place to start your research and find companies that would be a good fit for the art that you make. Of course, it's always really smart to reach out to your friends or family and see if anybody knows anyone who works in a field. Here's one of my favorites. Now, many companies will exhibit at trade shows. This can be a goldmine for finding clients that you had no idea existed. For example, the ABC Kids Expo is a trade show where companies who make kids products go to show and sell what they make to retailers who buy them and sell them in their stores. The cool thing is on the website for the expo, for the trade show, I can see a list of exhibitors or the floor plan. I can even sort through different kinds of companies, like let's say apparel. Then when I click on the company name, I can get to their website or their Instagram really easily. From there, I can research the owner or the art director. Of course, you can also attend one of these trade shows instead of doing all of this research and you can hand out your business card to these kinds of companies. What are the ways have you guys found clients? If you can think of other ways that artists can find clients, I want you to share them in the discussion below. I'm always so impressed with the things that you guys come up with. You have such clever ideas and strategies. Make sure that you're reading what other people are saying in the Community tab below. 15. 5 Ways to Make Your Art Sell Better: You need to make art that people want to buy. Whether you sell to companies or to consumers. If what you make doesn't add to their lives, you won't be able to make money from it. If you can understand, why people buy your work, you can use that to sell even more of it. Josh Kaufman in The Personal MBA, his business book, wrote about what he calls five core common drives that motivate people to buy. People like to acquire things. An example of, this is creating a series or a collection of work. There's a reason artists have been doing this for ages. People like to collect things. Remember how popular Pokemon cards were? It also captures people's attention more. If you're doing a series of realistically painted Disney princesses, I'll be intrigued to see the next one and is going to help me remember you from the last time I saw your art. A series of realistic Disney Princesses is much more memorable than a single realistic Disney Princess. Learning, teach people something. People are curious and they loved learn new things. If you draw animals, create a series educating people about the differences between chimps and gorillas. Bonding, this is a huge one. This is why the greeting card industry is so huge. People buy cards to bond with the people that they are sending cards to. Feeling, people love to be entertained and this is why the movie industry is so big. People want to feel deeply. Sometimes people buy art from you because they care about you and it makes them feel good about themselves to support you. There is nothing wrong with that. You might even do that for big, well-known artists that you want to see succeed. In the same way that you might do the same for your friends or family. Defend, people will pay to defend their belongings or their beliefs. That can manifest itself in things like political art or sports teams. People will buy all gear that has their sports team branding on it. The cool thing is you do not need to appeal to everyone. In fact, you might find more success by targeting a niche group of people who are interested in the things that you're doing. Netflix became successful because they made niche shows that were targeted towards specific groups of people. That's one of the amazing things about the internet. If you make weird alien art, there's a good chance that you can find some people out there who are into weird alien art. Artists objective and just because your friends and family don't get what you do, doesn't mean that there aren't people out there who do like what you do. 16. Marketing: Sharing with the Right People: Now that you've got an idea of who you want to work with and what your goals are, it's time to start promoting your work to the people who are going to buy it. If you're just starting out, you're essentially a blank slate. Nobody knows who you are or what you can do. In real life, people can observe all of the subtleties that make us who we are, but that doesn't happen online. The only thing that people are going to know about you is what you put online. Everything that you put online is a representation of you, so consider what it is that you want to project. You don't want your marketing to be stiff, it should be a natural extension of you and the way that you talk and behave. Promoting your work or marketing is also creative work and you should have fun with it. Your marketing can be simple or elaborate, but make sure that you're enjoying this work too. Sometimes artists feel bad about sharing their work, like they're bothering people, but think about the last time that you were sitting next to an artist, wouldn't you have enjoyed going through their sketchbook? Art is fun to look at. In addition, you are providing a service. You are there to help people. You're not trying to sell artwork to people who do not want or do not buy artwork, you are trying to sell to people who want to buy artwork, and you're just sharing your own. Most people don't like to see art as being like, buy my stuff, but they do like to see the progress of how you're doing your projects and what you're doing, and maybe a note telling people where they can buy your stuff. Pay attention to the artists that you like to follow online, and see the way that they are promoting their work. Always remember, when you are sharing things online, you are talking to the people who are going to be buying your art; not your friends and family and fellow artists, unless those are the people who are going to be buying your art. 17. Portfolios: The Nitty Gritty: We're going to get into the nitty gritty now. Let's talk about portfolios. It really is to your advantage to have an actual portfolio. If you direct an art director to your Instagram, you've all been there. You go on Instagram to look at something and then you end up scrolling for 20 minutes, and 20 minutes goes by and you don't even remember why you were there in the first place. So it's really valuable to send somebody to your portfolio. The goal of the portfolio is that you have a strong selection of artwork that is going to convince people, "Hey, you should hire me, I'm really good." Then get them to get in touch with you to work with you. Your portfolio needs three things. You have the portfolio itself to show people your work. The About page, which convinces people of any other reason that they should be working with you, and a way to contact you. Your portfolio should be 12-15 or more pieces of artwork that is really strong and really shows the work you want to do. Quality over quantity. Don't put work out that you're not proud of or that's not good work on your portfolio. I was once told that people will judge you by the worst piece in your portfolio, so it's better to have really good work and a lot less work than it is to have lots of okay work. Now, if you have sketches or work in progress, it's totally great to share them with your peers or in critique groups, but it's not something that you want to put on your portfolio. Then you also want to have an About section. You should say who you are, what you do in the first place. If you just put art on your portfolio and you don't have like an About people might not know if this is just your hobby or if they can hire you to do custom work or what, you want to save that on your About page. If you have a particularly good education, big name clients, super relevant previous experience or any press mentions, this is the place to include it. That About section should probably have a picture of you. This photo is really important. It helps people recognize you when they see you on social media elsewhere. Then you also want to have a way for them to get in touch with you. It doesn't really matter if you have a contact form or not. The most important part is that it's just absurdly easy to figure out how to get in touch with you. On my website, I have get in touch buttons which link to people to e-mailing me on almost every page on my website and I have my email address in the footer of my website. You should have your contact information in the footer of your website, which is the very bottom of it, and that's going to be on every single page. Now, you should still probably in the footer, have a way for them to see your Instagram, your LinkedIn, whatever social media. But you don't want to necessarily push them to those unless you have a really big social media following. Then that's something that's going to make you more desirable as an artist. Then you do want to be like, "Hey, look at my really big social media following." Having a portfolio site is still really important. You don't have to pay for one at first if you really don't have the funds or you don't want to. I think Wix does a free one, Cargo, Behance. These are other great places to have a portfolio site. I use Squarespace, I love it. It's really simple. It makes things look good. 18. Instagram: The Nitty Gritty: Instagram is a combo of your portfolio, a business card, and an elevator pitch, all rolled into one. Most people have the app on their phones and it's a lot faster to load than a website. When you meet a fellow artist, chances are you asked to see their Instagram to see what work they do. This is just a really easy way for them to pull it up fast on their phone and get a sense of what you do. The same is true of clients, they are almost certainly going to look at your social media. Instagram is a portfolio. As a visual artist, you really should have an Instagram account. For those of you that hate social media and really don't want to have an Instagram account, that's fine, just put up whatever you would put on your portfolio site. Just put those pieces up on your Instagram account. Just have one Instagram is a place that you can share as much as you want. If you were to e-mail an art director every day with new artwork, they would probably get super annoyed. But if you have new artwork every day, you can post it to Instagram. Nobody's going to care that's the place where you can do that. It's awesome for testing out new pieces of art, seeing if people like it, or just showing the behind the scenes. Instagram should reflect the work that you do in a appealing way. The next time that you go on somebody's Instagram account, I want you to think about how long you look at their work. Chances are you probably look at the first nine images, maybe up to the first 18 before you decide if you want to follow them or if you want to look at something else that's the same as people are going to be paying attention to you. So that grid of, especially the last nine posts that you made, should look nice together. Many artists will pre-plan out their social media posts instead of spending time every single day trying to figure out what exactly they should be posting. There are some really great free tools out there to help you plan, schedule, and even automatically posting to Instagram. I think of Later, and there's another one called Planoly. Remember, getting a lot of likes and a lot of followers on Instagram is nice. But you really want to care about the people who are going to buy your art work. The people who are going to buy your artwork may look at your Instagram, but they may not be following it super closely. It depends on your dream clients and who you're trying to sell to you. Some of them might be on there and some of them might not really be on there, especially when they're working. Good work that clients are going to want to buy is going to be a lot more important than if you have tons of followers. Now if you have tons of followers, that's going to make you a more desirable artist because people are going to think that you will be able to sell more artwork, but you don't have to have a huge following to be a successful artist. 19. E-mailing Art Directors: The Nitty Gritty: Okay, now we're going to talk about a big one. Direct e-mailing potential clients. When you are first studying out this is the most important thing that you can do to get work. Is directly e-mail people that you want to work with, and show them examples of your work that would work very well for their company, and let them know that you would like to work with them. This is the most direct way to get work. I know that it might be a little bit scary, but it's really important. Now, how do you find these e-mail address? How do you know who to send this to? So many companies are going to have art submission guidelines on their websites, and they will tell you what they're looking for, when they're looking for it, how they want you to send it to them. But some companies won't. In those cases, you want to research who the Art Director or the Art Buyer is. You can do that by googling Art Director, and the name of the company. A lot of times that's going to pull up a LinkedIn profile page of the person who is the Art Director or the person who's in charge of buying art. You can also search on LinkedIn to find these people, but you're limited to the amount of searches that you can do on LinkedIn within a month. I like to try and use Google, and then just confirm that on LinkedIn. Now, if you can find a contact e-mail on the company's website, it's going to make it easier for you to guess what the Art Director's e-mail is going to be. If the company uses a first name dot last name at company domain dot com, it's going to be pretty easy for you to guess that the Art Director is going to be first name dot last name at the company domain dot com. Now, you don't have to write really long e-mails. All you need to do is say, I love the work that you guys are doing. Here is some of my work that I think works perfectly for you. I'd love to work with you. If you have examples of companies that are really impressive or that are similar to the company that you've worked with you can say that in e-mail. If you have any really strong reasons why you are a perfect candidate to work with this company or you have a short engaging story about why you're a perfect fit, you can include that. If you don't have either of those things, don't worry, just keep it short, keep it simple, keep it friendly. I love your work. I love what you guys do. This is what I do. I'd love to work with you. You do want to make sure that the work that you're sending is a good fit for that company. So make sure that you've researched the company well, and that you know that the art that you're producing is something that they could immediately apply. Don't expect a reply back. Art Directors are really busy. Writing a considerate, thoughtful e-mail back to all the people who write them with new work would be a full-time job, and they already have a full-time job, being an Art Director. No reply doesn't mean that they hate you or they hate your work. It could also just mean that they just bought artwork and they don't need anything more right now. Follow up. This is what's going to make you stand out from the crowd. So many people neglect to send new work. For six months I wrote a client sharing new work that was a perfect fit for what they did, six months before they expressed any interest in buying anything. Now, they're one of my biggest clients. Even if you don't get a reply, send new relevant work every month. People are insanely busy. Reaching out once every six months probably isn't going to make you stand out in their minds unless what you present is like really insanely good. In which case they're probably going to have written you the first time that you e-mailed. When I was first studying, I was so scared to write e-mails to people. But the worst that could have happened was they would have said, no thanks, we're not interested and I would have been left in the exact same situation that I was to start with. It only takes a few seconds of bravery to hit send on an e-mail. Another thing that I worried about, and a lot of artists that I talk to worry about, is that they're concerned that they're going to be bothering Art Directors by e-mailing them. You're not bothering them when you send them relevant work. It's their job to find good work that's going to sell the products that they make, whether that's a magazine or clothes or whatever. Here's when you would be bothering them. If what you're sending them would never work for them. If they make beautiful hand-painted floral dresses, and you are sending them greeting card art, or if you are sending them something that just doesn't fit the vibe of what they make. They're never going to use that. You're wasting their time by sending them something that they're never going to use and you're wasting your own time because they're never going to use that. Or you might be bothering them if you are bombarding them with e-mails. Sending direct e-mails once a month with new work is probably enough. You shouldn't be sending them new e-mails every week or certainly not every day. If they ask you to stop sending them, you can stop. 20. Stay Strategic: Remember, you don't have to be a master at all of these marketing channels. What I've noticed is that most people really excel at one of these channels, and less so at some of the other ones. I've also noticed that success in one area often leads to success in another area, but the biggest thing is you don't want to get sucked up into marketing for marketing sake. Your marketing is supposed to help you achieve your goals. What you're doing needs to have a strategy behind it. Otherwise, you're just going to get mixed up in doing something for its own sake and wasting a whole lot of time. Like you don't want to just be like,well I need to post Instagram every single day, so I'm just posting instead of like thinking about why you're doing that, what you're trying to get out of posting to Instagram. 21. LinkedIn: The Nitty Gritty: Okay, LinkedIn. Not only is it a great place to share your work, it's a great place to learn about potential clients. I think you might be surprised to learn how many art directors are actually using LinkedIn. They might be using it to share about awards that they've been nominated for or trade shows that they're exhibiting at. This is a great way to learn about industry events that you might not otherwise have known about. At the very least, it's a great way to learn who works for these companies, and who you should be sending artwork to if you want to work with them without direct marketing. In addition, many companies use LinkedIn to find artists. That's how my friend Betsy Siber got her job, designing for Crate & Barrel. Betsy connected with a whole bunch of Art Directors on LinkedIn and she would occasionally share her work or clients that she was working with. The Art Director from Crate & Barrel saw that she was a Chicago local and asked her if she would be interested in applying for a full time Surface Design position with the company. 22. Newsletters: The Nitty Gritty: Email newsletters are a fantastic way to share your work. Online social media, you don't have to worry if people have seen your posts or pay for ads to make sure that people are seeing them. You can share what you're working on in a simple newsletter once a month. I use the free version of Mailchimp and it's pretty easy to make a good-looking newsletter. With Mailchimp, you can see stats of who opened your newsletters, and what links they clicked on. If you can really rocket with the newsletters, sending one out once a week is stellar, but sending out one once a month is probably just great, and sending one out every three or four months is better than nothing at all. Mailchimp has a lot of great classes on Skillshare, which you can use to learn how to use Mailchimp. Think about the emails that you look forward to getting or the emails that you always read when you get them. What about those emails makes you look forward to getting them? How can you mimic what those newsletters are doing and use it for your business? 23. Tradeshows: The Nitty Gritty: Depending on your market, exhibiting at a trade show can be a great way to meet buyers and exactly the people who are interested in your artwork specifically. There is nothing like meeting people in person. It is a significantly faster way to build a good relationship than trying to do that online. If you do a trade show, remember, you are meeting these buyers but you are going to have to continue to follow up with them after the show. Make sure that you do your research on the trade shows that you are interested in exhibiting at. That said, trade shows are very expensive, and you are in no way guarantee to recoup your costs at one. To help with costs, I shared a booth with my art collective, Pencil Parade, for the first two years that I did a show. A really great way to research a show is to volunteer to help another artist with their booth. I learned so much from doing these shows. I would consider it the very expensive fast track to learning about the industry. I learned so much. I learned much more about my competition, much more about how to present my work, much more about the buyers themselves and really specifically what they were looking for. I learned tons of stuff that would have taken me a long time to learn online. 24. Postcards: The Nitty Gritty: Promotional materials like postcards. This was the traditional way to reach art directors in the past, and I don't think that this route is dead by any means. Think about the last time that you got something special in the mail. Now think about the last time that you got an email. How excited were you for something in the mail versus something in your email? The added bonus of sending a postcard with your art is that somebody can keep it, tack it up on the wall, and keep it around for a lot longer than they would an email. Of course, it is more expensive to send than an email. 25. Figuring Out Your Minimum Rates: In order to figure out what your minimum rates are going to be, you need to figure out how much money you need to make to live. Here are some sample expenses for both your personal life and your art business. You're going to want to take these monthly expenses, multiply them by 12, for 12 months, and figure out how much you need to make annually every year. I've included a link in the Your Project tab to a budget calculator. You want to do your best to make sure that you're saving money for your business because sooner or later, you're going to have to buy a new computer, or a new printer, or whatever, and you don't want to not be able to work by not having those things. Do your best to save money for your business now before you need it. Now, with this information, we can figure out your minimum hourly and daily rates, and we can also figure out how much you should be making every single month. I've included a link to a rate calculator for those of you that find the math really confusing. But do note that the calculator that's included doubles your rate for savings and tax purposes. But for those of you that want to more fully understand how this works, there are 52 weeks in a year, but you're not a robot, so you're not going to be working all of those. There are about 10 big national holidays in the US, minus 14 days for vacation, minus seven sick days every year. That equals 47.5 work weeks. To make the math easier, we're just going to round down to 47 work weeks a year. Of course, you can add as many vacation days as you like, this is your business. Not every single hour of your week is going to be something that you are going to be able to charge a client for. For example, when you do your marketing, you can't charge a client for the hours that it took you to do that. You want to make a guesstimate of how many hours you'll be able to bill each week. For this equation, let's say 28 billable hours. So 47 working weeks times 28 hours a week equals 1,316 working hours a year. Now we can take your annual expenses, and divide them by your working hours to figure out your minimum hourly rate. This minimum hourly rate is not what I charge clients. This is the bare minimum that I need to make before I will walk away from a project because it will be not worth it for me to do it. Now, depending on your business, it's important to note that you might not have even 28 hours of billable work every week, which is why it's really important that you are charging an appropriate and good rate for the work that you do. It's very common for artists to have a lot of work in one part of the year and then not as much work in another part of the year. I find it much more useful to focus on my monthly financial goals than I do on hourly rates. In fact, I rarely, rarely charge an hourly rate at all. We're going to dive deeper into this in the profit and pricing sections. 26. Taxes and Accounting: Taxes naturally vary from country to country. But if you live in the US, you should be anticipating setting one-third of your income aside for taxes. It might be more, it might be less, depending on how much money you make, and which state you live in. When you have a full-time job, your employer takes taxes out of your paycheck, and, you probably don't know this, but they also pay a portion of the taxes for you. When you are self-employed, you are responsible for the entire bill. You might be getting a bigger surprise at the end of the year, a much bigger tax bill than you're used to getting. A good CPA can help you make your tax bill smaller. I would highly recommend meeting with a CPA. Some CPAs offer a first-time consultation for free. You should at least meet with one once so that you know what you need to be tracking in order to lessen your tax bill. A big way to save money come tax time is to keep track of the expenses that you spend on your business. In fact, you're going to want to get bookkeeping software as soon as you can, to keep track of your income and expenses. There's a lot of options out there, and if you're really good at it, you can just make an Excel sheet. There's also QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Wave, which I believe has a free option. The cool thing is that most of these softwares will be able to automatically import the transactions from your bank account, or your credit card, so you don't have to manually put it in. You can just go through every month and say it was this kind of business expense, which is super helpful. Every month, I go through my accounting and make sure that my expenses are properly labeled so that I don't have to do that come tax time. That means that I spend about 20 minutes every month just sorting through all of my expenses and my income, and that's a lot less stressful and a lot less time than trying to go through all of my receipts at the end of the year. Also, it's very normal for new businesses not to make a big profit or not to make a profit at all their first few years. It takes some time to build up your income sources, and you shouldn't feel bad if you're not swimming in cash right away. You should feel normal. 27. Maximize Your Profit: Different Ways of Selling: As you're thinking about the different ways to make money, consider the way that you can leverage your income. Let's say that you teach art classes. You are capped at the amount of time that it takes you to teach those classes. Let's say you charge a $150 to do a one-on-one session with a student. Now, let's say instead that you have 30 students and you charge them each $50. Now you've made $1,500 by spending the same amount of time. If you record that class and put it online for students to take on their own time while you work on other things, now you have the chance to make significantly more with less time commitment. Now none of these are easy money solutions. It's a lot easier to get one student than it is to get 30 students, and producing and marketing an online course, is a lot of work and effort, trust me. But the idea of leveraging your income is still important and it applies to a lot of different situations. Like let's say you make greeting cards. If you just sell one greeting card, you could also do a bundle, a pack of five greeting cards in one go. Or alternatively, you could license your art to a company that makes greeting cards, and can sell way more greeting cards and you could on your own. So whatever you are able to, consider how you can leverage your income. Now when you're working with companies, there's a handful of standard ways that companies buy art. Category buyouts and full buyouts. These sometimes go by different names. The idea is that someone will buy the rights to use your artwork for a specific category. Sometimes this is art that you have in your portfolio already, and sometimes it's a commission. For example, I sold a piece of artwork to a company to use on paper products, excluding greeting cards, because that company didn't make greeting cards. Then a greeting card company came to me and wanted to use that same artwork. I was able to sell the same piece of artwork to two different companies. That didn't take me any longer to do that piece of artwork. Sometimes, companies want to purchase all of the rights so that no one else can use it. Oftentimes this is because they are making a whole range of products. Now, in these cases, you should be substantially compensated because you will no longer be able to profit off of that same piece of artwork. You might not even be able to put it in your portfolio or put it on your social media or say that you've had anything to do with the project. That company is likely going to be using it for so many things that they are going to be making a big profit off of using your art. So again, you should be fairly compensated for that. A lot of artists don't do full buyouts, but that is totally up to you and how you run business. Then there's licensing and royalties. This is when a company pays you a percentage of every item that they sell which uses your art. Sometimes this comes with an advance. You get paid a set amount upfront, and then as soon as all of the royalties start coming in, as soon as it matches what you made in the advance, then you'll start receiving more money. Keep in mind that licensing can either bring in a lot of money or no money at all. I've had friends make upwards of $4,000 on one piece of artwork, but I've also had friends make $5 on a piece. I would not recommend doing a licensing agreement with a company that's brand new and doesn't have a set distribution set up. The risk of not making any money is just so high if they're brand new, they don't. In those cases, you might want to insist on a large advance or you might end up making pennies. Royalty rates can vary a whole lot depending on the industry and the product that's being sold. But a smaller royalty rate doesn't always mean a bad thing. For example, you are going to make a lot more money with a four percent royalty rate if they're selling in target, than if you had a six or eight percent royalty rate in a small boutique store. That's simply because target is going to sell a lot more items than they would in a small boutique store. You are running a business and the rights that you give away matter. You should not be shy to ask how much money that you can expect to make with a licensing agreement, or how much on average they sell, or how much on average they pay their artists, or how many products they are planning to make. Dolly Parton, Country Music Singer wrote fantastic song that Elvis was really interested in covering. But when Dolly found out that Elvis would require half of all of the publishing rights to be sold to him, she just couldn't do it. She didn't want to give up the rights to her song. She says that she was really devastated and she was super upset, but she just knew that it wasn't a smart idea for her to give up her publishing rights. You've probably heard the song, It's called, I will always love you. Whitney Houston did a famous version of this song. Dolly Parton famously said that when Whitney Houston's version of the song came out, she made enough money to buy Graceland. We never really know what pieces of art are going to be a hit or not. You should be thoughtful about whether or not you want to sell the copyright. Sometimes you just need to pay rent, and you can still make a lot of money by selling the copyright to your artwork. But it's really important that you understand the differences between the rights that you're selling, and are thoughtful about what you do and don't want to give away. It's your business, it's your art. 28. Day Jobs: Day jobs are awesome. They help you pay the rent while you build a business. Part-time jobs are even better because they give you the time and the money so that you can work on your business on the side. Some people get day jobs that are creative because it helps them build the skills that they need to build their creative business. Personally, I found that having a non-creative day job was best for me because it didn't drain my creative energy. When I worked a full-time creative job, I just didn't have the energy to continue working when I got home. If you're in your early twenties, you might have more energy than I do. I also knew that I didn't want to stay at those non-creative jobs. It also gave me the motivation to continue striving for what I really wanted. You should never be ashamed about having a day job, it makes you a smart, responsible person. If you're embarrassed when people ask you what you do, you don't have to talk about your day job you can talk about your art. Your work is not your worth. No job makes you more valuable or more important than any other person. Never forget that when you are happily doing the work of your dreams. Building a creative business can take a bit of time. You might find that you do a little bit of back and forth, you are able to finally launch your career but then you find that maybe you'll need to have a part-time job again. This is totally fine and totally normal and you should do what you need to do to pay your bills and continue giving yourself the money and the energy that you need to build your creative career. 29. Working for Free: Often, people who are just starting out feel like they are not good enough that they shouldn't charge for their work. Not only is this bad for that individual, it's bad for the whole industry. For example, if somehow you got connected with the New York Times and you said, "Oh my gosh, I'm so excited, but I don't deserve to get paid for my work yet, I am not that good, I will do it for $50." You are undermining all of the other illustrators that work for The New York Times. If The New York Times is interested in your work, you should be getting paid for it, because they think it's quality enough to use. Now there are a few times when working for free is not the end of the world and is probably a good idea. For example, your parents, they brought you into this world. I think it is probably quite alright if you do some free work for them. Now, charities can get into murky water here. If it is a place you would volunteer for, then great, go for it. But otherwise, even non-profits have budgets, they have money that they can spend on things. Now, if you are a complete novice and you have no experience whatsoever, you might want to do some free jobs just to get your hands dirty to get like any portfolio experience, any experience at all working with clients. But in that case, you should be approaching a company that you want to do work for. If it is a charity, all the better. You definitely want to be conscious that doing this free work is going to benefit you as well. The difference is when a company comes to you and asks you for free work, that is rarely going to be a good situation. Companies that try to get free work out of artists are often a nightmare. They often don't respect the time that it takes to make something, and they don't respect the artists, hence them asking for free work in the first place. There is even a chance that they won't use your work if they don't like it, leaving you with a complete waste of time. Companies who promise you lots of future work if the first job goes well, great, that is more poorly paid or totally free work. Do you really want that? Anyone who offers you lots of exposure to their massive audience is full of it. They are not benefiting you, they are taking your work and saying, "Look at us, look at our company." Unless they are saying, "Look at this artist, aren't they fantastic? You should go and hire them. Seriously, look how great this person is." Exposure isn't worth anything. Spec work is very similar. Spec work is when a company wants you to produce the work and show them what you can do, while they shop around with other designers, and see what other designers can do, and then choose who they want to work with then. It is not hard to see how this is to their advantage and to your great disadvantage. I don't want to be naive and tell you that, "Oh, this is a terrible thing and it never happens." It happens a lot actually. The thing is, there are these big ad agencies, and they have the budget to throw a lot of resources and money at trying to win over these really big clients. Ad agencies make so much money that they can afford to lose out on these jobs, and they can pay their employees for that work. It is a lot more different when you are just a single person trying to make a living wage. All the time that you spend pitching to a client that may or may not take your work is time that you could have spent finding paid work. Another thing about spec work is that it's difficult to nail, because you need a little bit of back and forth with the client to get them what they need. Typically, the way a project works is they will ask you, "Hey, can I see a sketch for teddy bears?" You draw some teddy bears and they say, "Oh, well, I love this teddy bear, but can we make the eyes a little bit less scary-looking, or we need it to be wearing a red bow, or not a purple bow." You have this little back and forth, and you need that to get them exactly what they need. But what you are doing spec work, there is not a lot of time that you can dedicate to working through all the little details to make sure that you are giving them something that they really need. 30. Pricing: So if you're like me, you probably just want a simple price list. Give me the cold hard numbers. Well, unfortunately, every single job is different and the prices vary a lot. In most markets, there is an average range of what people will pay. All companies are different. Some will pay more than others, and not always the ones that you will expect to either. But even those average prices can vary quite a lot. I'm going over what can affect that in just a second. I don't work in all markets, so I can't give you those average prices. But lucky for you, there are some great resources that can help you figure out the price ranges for the market that you work in. In the UK, there is the AOI, which is the association of illustrators and they offer pricing and business help to artists. In the US, there's the graphic artist guild guide to pricing, an ethical guidelines which gives a range of prices for 8 plan markets. I believe they also have it broken app into three e-books, which you can buy online. It's a little bit cheaper than the whole book. I've also included a list of organizations in different countries that offer help with pricing or other business concerns for artists. Whenever you can, you're going to want to ask other artists what they charge. This is another reason that artist friends are so important. They may not have worked with a particular client, but they might know somebody who has that they can put you in touch with. You might find that artists are more willing to divulge how much they charge in a private conversation than they are on like a message board or somewhere publicly. Many artists don't want to publicly talk about pricing because if a client finds that online, then they are going to have a harder time negotiating. But also because nobody wants to be shamed publicly for charging too little or too much. Everybody has an opinion on what is too little and too much. Sometimes a company has a set budget and they'll just tell you that upfront. Then sometimes they'll come to you and they'll say, "Oh, we have this project for this amount of money", and they're expecting you to negotiate a little bit higher. If you're not sure, you can always ask, "Hey, is there wiggle room in the budget?" You should especially do that if you think the price is a little too low. Charging more isn't always bad. It can bring up the appearance value of your work. If you go to the dollar store, you are expecting to get something crappy. Like you're not expecting a really quality product. In the same way, we expect designer clothes or shoes to be really high-quality because we are paying a lot of money for those. When you charge too little for your work, you are also giving the impression that your work is not that great. Sometimes just asking for a little bit more, it can bring up the appearance value of your work. You also don't want to sell your services to cheaply. That's a losing game. There is always going to be somebody who will be able to afford to charge less than you. You will drive your own business into the ground. You're going to hurt the rest of the industry while you're at it. Like I mentioned, in most markets, there is an average range of what people will pay. But even those average prices can vary quite a lot. Let's go over what can affect some of those prices. Pricing is complex, but it'll get easier and make a lot more sense than more jobs that you do. The things that go into pricing a project are the usage and the rights, duration, the territory, the size of the client, the complexity of the work, your level of experience, or how well you are known as an artist. The turnaround time, the cost of living where you live, and the amount of revisions. In addition, how badly you need the work and how badly you want to do the work are also going to affect your personal pricing. The usage is what they're going to be using it for. So if it's like just for one product versus if it's for like a whole marketing campaign and like a TV commercial and a catalog and all of that, those are going to be drastically different prices. What rights they need, if they need all of the rights to the work or just a portion of the rights. How long they're going to get the rights for if it's going to be in perpetuity, which means forever, or if it's just going to be a year or two. The territory, if it's just going to be, in the US or if it's going to be worldwide or if it's just going to be in your city. The size of the client makes a big difference. You're going to charge your next door neighbor who owns a bakery a lot less than if Coca-Cola came to you wanting to do some work. How complex the work is, if it requires a lot of paint or expensive materials to make the work, or if it's a really complex project and it takes a lot of time to make the work. If you have a lot of experience, you're a well-known artist or you have a large active following on social media, you may be able to ask for even more money. A proven track record of your work doing very well for other companies, is worth a lot to clients. A large active following also makes you more appealing because you might be able to bring more attention to the project. However, just because you are a new or unknown artist, does not mean that companies should pay you less. It only means that if you are well-known or have a large following, that you should be able to ask for more. If you live in an expensive city, you are going to have to charge more in order for you to be able to dedicate the time to working on a project than if you lived in a less expensive place. There's also an emotional side to pricing. How badly that you want to do the work and how badly you need the money is going to affect how much you decide that you want to charge. You might want to do a job because it's a client that you've always wanted to work with. Or the theme is something that you're just super passionate about. In those cases, you might want to do the work so badly that you're willing to do it for less than you would normally charge. If you're desperate for money, you're not going to want to risk quoting a really high number and risk losing the job. On the other hand, if you are super busy and a client who is a real pain to work with wants something from you, then you might want to charge even more than you would normally charge. Anytime that you are super busy is a great time to raise your rates. The best pricing advice I ever got was a Will Terry video, and I've linked to his video and the project resources. It's long, but very good. 31. Tips for Negotiating: I haven't always been the best negotiator, but I figured it might be helpful to share a few things that I've learned over the years. Sometimes the company has a set budget and I'll just tell you that upfront. Then sometimes they'll come to you and they'll say, we have this project for this amount of money and they're kind of expecting you to negotiate a little bit higher and if you're not sure, you can always ask, is there wiggle room in the budget? You should especially do that if you think the price is a little too low. The goal of negotiating is to get both what you want and what the client wants, a win for everybody. As we went over in pricing, it's not all about the money, it's also about the usage, the rights, deadlines, or other things that are important to you. You want the client to feel like you are doing their best to help them. What you want and what the client wants is going to be different, and so there's almost always a happy middle ground. Keep it friendly, don't be hostile, even if it doesn't work out this time, there might be future jobs where it does and if it does work out and you were hostile, that's going to make for an awkward working relationship. Get as clear as you can on what's involved in the project. You want to know the dimensions, the deadline, what the deliverables are, what the usage that they want is. The better that you can understand what is important to the client and what they want, the easier it's going to be for you to figure out what you're willing to flex on in order to get what's most valuable to you. When a client asks you how much you charge, you might find it helpful to return the question of how much is your budget? You never know if their budget is more than what you have in mind and you don't want to lose out on money if they have more money to spend on this project, it's nearly impossible to negotiate a higher rate after you've named your price. Knowing that there's often a little bit of negotiation room, it's better that you ask a little bit more than what you want or maybe that you're comfortable with asking for and then be willing to come down on the price if they come back to you immediately and say, yes, great, let's get started right away, you will probably know that you charge too little for the project. Quoting a range can be really helpful, it gives you wiggle room and the client wiggle room. For example, you could say, I charge $1400 for all the rights exclusive to you or I charge $800 just for the rights to use it in children's apparel. For those times when you're afraid that you've quoted the job too high, you can always ask, how does that sound to you? Or does that work for you? That shows that you're flexible and open to negotiating the price. Money means different things to different people and you should never assume that what is too much money for you is too much money for somebody else. In addition, when you're working with bigger clients, the person that you're talking about money with, its probably not their money, they are not going to care as much about it. It's a case of they need to get this artwork and a little bit more, a little bit bless is probably not going to make any difference to them, but it might make a world of difference to you. You want to go into a negotiating already knowing what is important to you and whether that relates to time or money or credit for your work, you really need to know what your bottom line is, the point at which you would walk away from doing this project and not regret it. This is probably going to change from time to time, there have been times when I just really needed work and I would have done something for like way little money, and then there have been months where I was so busy that it just wasn't worth it to me to take on an extra project for just a little bit of money. Repeat back the same words that they use. I know this sounds super dumb, but it is really effective. So if the client says, we need a dynamic impactful package design, when you are responding back and clarifying exactly what you guys are going to do, say, so we are going to create a packet design as both dynamic and impactful. It makes people feel like you're really listening to them and that gives them a lot more confidence and it gives them more trust in you to get the job done. Don't undercut yourself. If they say $2,000 is too much for us, we can't afford that, can you do it for less? Don't want chime in and say, yes I can do it for $1000. You want them to name a lower price, so what you can say instead is, what did you have in mind? What is your budget? Then they might come back and say, we were thinking 1500, and then you can decide if you're going to be, yeah, I can do it for 1500 or you can say, well, could you do 1700? But anytime that you name a price, you just can't go higher from that point. Alternatively, you can offer less work for the price that they want to pay. So if they had wanted to get three full-page color illustrations where you could offer for that same price that they want to pay is instead one full-color illustration piece into smaller half size illustrations. You want to be really clear with your boundaries, don't say, I'm not sure about this or I don't usually do that because then people are going to push you for this time to be the exception to that, instead what you want to say is, I don't do XYZ, but I can do ABC, how does that sound to you? You are a partner in this interaction, it is okay for you to ask for changes or revisions. You don't have to agree with everything that the client wants, sometimes clients ask for more rights than what they mean just because traditionally, they've always asked for all rights, or sometimes they just don't understand what they're asking for. It is a good thing to ask for clarification on anything that you don't understand. People will appreciate that you took the time to fully understand the project and that will reflect well on you. You do not need to rush to have an answer, you can take your time to make sure that you have the right info. Let me get back to you with a quote later this afternoon is a perfectly acceptable response, rushes are rarely as important as people make them out to be. On that note, answer promptly, don't wait two days to respond to a request. Negotiating gets easier with practice, so anytime that you have a chance to negotiate, use it to practice, and that includes if you're buying a car or you're buying something off of Craigslist, it even applies to if you're moving into a new apartment, you can negotiate for lower rent. 32. Not-So-Scary Contracts (and Billing): At first contracts might seem really intimidating and you might be tempted to be like, this is just a small job. I don't need a contract for that, but you really should have a contract for all of the jobs that you do, especially those small ones. Contracts are just there to help out with misunderstandings and headaches. Alternatively, it is super duper important that you understand and any contracts that you are asked to sign, please do not sign a contract without reading it and understanding it. Better that you hire someone to look over the contract than you accidentally sign away all the rights to your portfolio. I didn't understand what I was signing, won't get you out of a bad contract. There's a lot of important details that go into licensing agreements that can mean the difference between you making a lot of money or no money at all. There are unfortunately a lot of unscrupulous companies out there who do try to take advantage of artists. Just because somebody is nice or the company is well-known, doesn't mean that you don't need to pay attention to those contracts. The gag book has great examples of contracts in the back of the book and you can take what you want from those and use them. If you're uncomfortable with really lengthy contracts or legally sounding words, then it's better that you write your own than not use them at all unless you're working with a really big client or when there's a lot of money at stake. Then you can hire a lawyer to go over your contracts and I've listed some people that might be able to help you with that in the resource section. I have not used them all and I cannot vouch for them, so you'll still want to do your own research. I'm not an expert, but I'm going to go over a few examples of different things that you generally do want in your contracts and what kind of problems that they can prevent. You need to define usage and that is what they can use the art for. Your friend, Suzy makes her own T-shirts and sells them at local markets in town and she wants to use your art on one of her shirts and you feel like it would be a nuisance to insist on a contract so you go without. Suzy loves your art and it's a hit and she can't keep up with demand and a few months later you find out that Suzy has begun to use your art as her logo and of course, you would have charged more if she wanted to use it as a logo, but it wasn't clearly written out that she only had the rights to use it on T-shirts. Territory, Suzy only sells in the United States and she doesn't sell anything online and a European company who is selling T-shirts and wants to use your art. If you had a contract with Suzy that said she could only sell in the US, you could have easily sold the art to the European company. Duration and time limits. Suzy stops making shirts at the end of the year and a big company is interested in buying your art to sell on target. If you had a contract with a time limit, you could resell that artwork. Alternatively, Suzy uses your design for the next 20 years. If you had limited the duration, you could've been compensated fairly for providing Suzy with such a best seller copyright, or who owns the artwork. To prevent any misunderstandings, you really need to specify that you own the copyright to the art. Otherwise, Suzy might think that she owns the artwork and she might get mad when she sees you selling it to somebody that makes teapots even though Suzy doesn't make teapots. If Suzy wants to own all the rights, she needs to pay more so that you're compensated for not being able to profit off of your work. Work for hire is a way for companies to say that they own all the rights of the artwork, which would mean for you to lose the copyright. In some cases, someone needs the rights, like in the case of the logo, that company needs to own the rights for their logo and you probably shouldn't be selling the logo art to anybody else. You are going to want to put a limit on the sketches and revisions. Three rounds of changes to your artwork or revisions, it's pretty standard. If you don't limit revisions, you can end up with the never ending project with revisions that you have to make like tons and tons of revisions. You don't want to end up in that situation, trust me. The Deadline. Even if a client doesn't have a deadline, you're going to want one because you need to reserve the time in your schedule to work on these projects. Also, you need to have a deadline to keep payment on schedule. If the project never ends, you might never get your full payment. A no on deadlines or rush deadline is not your responsibility. If a client needs a turnaround so fast that they need you to work late nights or over the weekend, you should charge for that. You want to make sure that you list out all the details of the project and that's like exact sizing of things that they need, what exact file format they're going to need, whether that's a JPEG or a PDF or a PSD. The last thing you want to do is create artwork that is horizontal when they needed it to be portrait. You don't want to assume anything. When you're working for new clients and especially small clients, you should charge a 50 percent installment before you begin any work. This should be a down payment and not a deposit because a deposit, is something that you have to refund people and you just want to be clear on that so there's no confusion. This is non-refundable. This is going to weed out the people who are not that serious or just want to see how things go and then decide if they're going to stick around or not. A client who is not willing to pay you is not a client that you want to work for. If things go poorly and they decide that they don't want to use the work after all, that 50 percent is going to be your kill fee because you still need to get paid for the time that you spent working on their project rather than finding new work. I like to call it a creation fee instead of kill fee mostly because it sounds more friendly and it makes sense to people. We talked about having accounting software before. In a lot of times that will come attached to a billing software and that's really awesome for late payments. With that software, there's usually a way to send an automatic reminder to your client being like, hey, this payment is due, where's my money? In general, you want to work with clients again, it's much easier to keep the same clients that you have than get new clients. If there is a late payment, I always want to be polite. Sometimes things slip through the cracks and nothing devious is going on, so I'll just write my client and be like, hey, I just wanted to check in on that invoice that I sent you. I haven't received any payment yet, when can I expect to. When you do receive payments, make sure that you say thank you. Let people know that you enjoyed working with them and that you would love to work with them again, these little things go a long way and it makes people feel good to know that you appreciate the money that they're paying you. In the end, Neil Gaiman said it best in his commencement speech on making good art, you just need to be good, be on time and be nice and you don't have to be all three. If you're always on time and it's always a pleasure to hear from you, people will excuse if the work isn't that great. If you're incredibly good and you're always on time, people will be okay with you beat approach. If you're really good and you're really pleasant to work with, people might excuse if you're late. 33. Set Yourself Up for Success: Before we go over your class project, I just want to say a big thank you guys for watching this class. If you enjoyed it, please, do me a favor, leave me review. Even a simple thanks for this class, will help raise this in the Skillshare ranking so that other people can find the class as well. I want you to set yourself up for success. It's not enough to watch these lessons, you need to take action on them as well. For your project, I want you to share about you and your art. Share with us what you want to achieve in your creative career, or even just share images of the art that you make. I cannot wait to see what you create. 34. What Next?: Hello from Future Brooke, or I suppose if you're watching this now this is passed Brooke. But anyway, hello. Now that you have the tools of how to build your business in a way that works for you. You may find that you're still struggling with life, getting in the way of you getting that work done. I just want to say that that's not unusual. I wasn't born knowing how to be a super productive person. These are skills that I have learned. There are many times in my life where I go through slumps, especially after coming off of the extreme highs of finishing up a big project and feeling lost on what do I do next? Where do I go next? If you're struggling to get things done, I have a class sharing methods that I've used myself along my journey. This class as a practical and comprehensive guide to all the skills and techniques I've learned over the different stages of my career. Whether you're trying to squeeze in a side hustle after your day job, or you're struggling to juggle an overload of freelance projects. This class will teach you the skills that you need. You'll learn a system to get you organized and stay organized. We'll talk about time management tips and building habits that stick. We'll go over curating a physical environment to help you be productive. I'll share productivity hacks to help you get further with less effort and bust some common workaholic myths. You'll learn techniques for discovering motivation and inspiration when you don't have any and you'll learn to deal with distractions, procrastination, fear of failure, and frustration. By the end of this class, you'll have tricks up your sleeves to conquer whatever productivity challenges pop up your way. Just like running your business, you don't need to be an expert in everything. If you're not ready to dive into a full class right now, I get it. You can always check out my YouTube. There you can find advice for artists and some fun short drawing lessons. Or go to my website where you can find lots of helpful tips under the artists resource page. Thank you for spending this time with me and I wish you all the best success in chasing your dreams.