If I had a dollar for every time an artist said to me “I don’t have a business mind,” I’d be posting this while lounging on my yacht off the Mediterranean Coast right now!
Anyone can develop the basics of business.
You may never become a master negotiator, but you can learn simple tricks that will allow you to run your creative empire like a business, without the struggles that many artists suffer.
Recently I consulted with an artist who complained that a client who commissioned him for a painting got the art, but never paid.
When I asked why he gave the client the painting without payment, his answer was:
“The client wanted to pay me in 30 days. I agreed. But, now it’s been almost a year…”
If you are an artist, this has happened to you at least once (and please, share your experience in the comments!)
If it has not happened to you, you might be wondering how an artist would get in this predicament. Here’s a common example:
A fan says “I love your work and want to have you paint something for me.” You are flattered, and immediately drawn into the creative excitement of the project. You spring into action, brainstorming ideas and interacting with the customer.
The next thing you know, you’re madly drawing sketches, and the energy is flowing out of you. But, you haven’t yet handled the business end of it. You didn’t give them a price quote, nor did they even agree to pay you for your work.
And this is where it can go from being a fun, exciting project to a complete bum-out.
BUT THERE’S AN EASY FIX!
I have a simple solution, and if you implement this one tiny phrase into every business interaction, your life will literally change. It’s that dramatic.
The phrase is “THIS IS HOW I WORK”
Before putting your heart and soul into a project for a client, you first must lay out the rules to them.
THE BASICS OF BEING A POWERFUL CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR – MAKE YOUR OWN RULES
YOU should be creating your business rules, not your clients. Your customers are looking to YOU for guidance on how to work with you. Tell them!
You don’t walk into a car shop and say “fix my car and if I like it, I’ll pay you.” They tell you how THEY work, and you follow their rules. This is how every business is run.
Determine your own business rules as to how you will work with customers.
How? Start with the basics. You can borrow my rules if you’d like, see them below.
THE FIVE MAGIC WORDS THAT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING FOR YOU:
When a customer shows interest in commissioning a project, always say this first:
“THIS IS HOW I WORK”
When you say the words “This is how I work” immediately the customer is given a signal that:
1 – You are an experienced professional
2 – You have policies and rules in place that all of your customers follow
3 – You have expectations of your customer
Your customers WANT to be told how things work with you; it gives them confidence in you and it lets them know what to expect.
Here’s how most of mine or Drew’s conversations go with a new client, BEFORE the work is started:
“This is how we work.
First let’s talk details so I can get an understanding of what you want.
Then I’ll provide you with a written price quote.
When you are ready for the work to get started, we will need a 50% deposit. Then the sketch process begins, and we will email them for your approval.
Once the sketch is approved, the painting gets started. We will email you progress photos.
The final balance is due at completion, and then we will release the art.”
THIS IS HOW I WORK – These 5 magic words generate:
Confidence, Positive Expectation and Professionalism.
Just this one little phrase implemented into your business conversations will transform YOU into a more powerful creative entrepreneur.
Please, share in the comments your experiences with business deals gone good or bad, and if you think these 5 magic words will help you!
PS: Watch this video I did with Ryan Rhodes of #IAmAHero where we talk about the 5 magic words and other powerful creative entrepreneur ideas! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk96N3U7Zq4