Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Business Landscape--Identifying my "Target Market"

I've never been able to figure out my target market, not really. How do I know who will like my work? It's not like a service with a specific clientel, a specific problem to solve--unless I kind of make one up.

Well, I showed Jane Valencia my ring binder all set up for my Right Brain Business Plan. She inspired me to start each section with a prayer, a prayer of thanks. So when I started the section of my business plan Jennifer Lee calls "Business Landscape" (aka "Competition"), I listed all the things I am thankful for, things like my education, travel, friends and family, home, interesting people, sailing.

And I realized that all these things, which are resources I draw from to create, are connection points, ways I can connect with people who might buy my work. In art, particularly, people buy from people they feel a connection with. Knowing the connection points helps me to figure out what they might like, as well as how to reach them!

Reading Jessica Brogan's blog post reminded me to be thankful for the not so fun things as well--the years of being a single mom, getting busted for my life partner's marijuana,  seeing my beloved die of lung cancer. All these experiences have made me wiser, less judgemental,  and given me more places of connection with people.

Connecting with people not only fuels my creativity and feeds my business; it makes me happy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Right Brain Business Plan: The Heart

Value, Vision, and Mission are the Heart of my business--the heart of my life! I did the work to unearth and craft these things in Kelly Rae's Hello Soul Hello Business class. So this thing, this Business plan thing, is very much aligned with my purpose for living.

Um, I think I need to be a little careful about that. My business can't be my whole purpose for living; if  anything bad happens to my business--I'll be in pretty bad shape. I guess it's like any intimate relationship; one needs to keep a part of oneself separate and free.

So now that I've made these beautiful pages for my business plan, perhaps I need to look at what part of me stays separate, what part of me will be there to fall back on no matter what happens with my business.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Right Brain Business Plan

I don't think this would have meant much without spending the past two years trying to figure it all out. I enrolled in WACASH to learn a very left brained traditional model. Kelly Rae's Flying Lessons and Soul Business gave me lots and lots of good information on creating a business that flows from my heart and soul. Mark Silver gave me tools to keep spiritually focused in my business and life. The Edge program gave me a whole new perspective on being an artist, and lots of people and tools for another approach to art as a business.

Now I'm ready to put it all together.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rebuilding the Stairs to Heaven

Watch that first step!

Rethinking my art business and rebuilding my stairs somehow go together. OK, so that's a stretch. Just bear with me for a bit.

 I'm alternating working on my business plan, painting wood for the new stairs, writing a grant proposal, painting wood for the new stairs, putting together my portfolio, and painting wood for the new stairs. I'm nearly done painting wood for the stairs.

I'm not even close to done with my business plan.

I'm working with Right Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee. Yeah, yeah, I had a business plan I did with WACASH. It was on a spread sheet and I hated even looking at it. So I didn't. Look at it, I mean.

It didn't seem to relate to art, to one of a kind beautifully hand made things. Or to my purpose in making art. And all those corporate sounding labels, just meant nothing.

Even working with Flying Lessons and Soul Business didn't give me all the answers, though they gave me lots and lots of understanding.  The Edge Program gave me more answers, but still only glimpses of a structure to fit them into. It was like all these programs gave me the wood to build with, and some description of a plan,  but I still couldn't figure out the blueprint.

Then I found Right Brain Business Plan. I think this will do it.  By renaming all the pieces of a business plan, Jennifer has finally given me a way to think about business nitty gritty in terms I can relate to. For example, "Competitive Analysis" becomes knowing the "Business Landscape", and "Marketing Plan" becomes "Getting the Word out".

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Over the Edge and into........

Relaxing during a class break (Virginia Wilcox in the background)

I saw 6 deer from my window!
I'm back from the Edge Program and deep into follow-ups. Already I have some work lined up to show at the Seattle Design Center, and I'm working on my portfolio to send to the Seattle Art Museum Rental Gallery--and today I was invited to show some miniatures at the Blue Heron Gallery in December!

Yes to life! Yes! Yes! Yes!

 My class mates were amazing! Every time I started to doubt myself, I looked around at all these wonderful artists and thought, "Hey, if Artist Trust thinks I belong with these artists, I must be OK!"

Do you remember seeing or hearing about the tree socks at Occidental Square or at Madison Park in Seattle? Their creator, Suzanne Tidwell was one of my classmates!

Do you remember seeing articles in the NY Times and in Time Magazine about Jennifer Loomis's photographs of the pregnant female body? Jenni was in my class!

And what about beautiful Vogue fashions made from....trash!? Their creator, Rebbecca Maxim, was in my class too!

And Philip Donahue, who did light shows for Jefferson Airplane in the late 60's is doing paintings inspired by that!

And that's just the beginning!