Poking Some Fun at Both Sides of the Brain
Conway Daily Sun
Wed. April 21, 2010
By Michael Kline
We’re lucky to live in a beautiful place full of painters, potters, photographers and craftspeople of all kinds. I’ve been lucky enough to counseled many of them on the business aspects of their lives and found that most fit into one of three categories – Rock, Paper or Scissors.
The rock is committed, strong-willed, won’t change for any reason, lives for their art, works nights to pay only some of their bills so they can paint during the light of day, probably a vegan, communist, tree-hugging, hiker who detests all commercial progress and technology, but can’t be a minute away from Facebooking on their I-Phone - the easiest way to be with a crowd and not have to see a lot of people. They amaze everyone with their talent and wit, but they can barely count, much less understand their costs, pricing structures and gallery consignment contracts. They would be rich and famous if only someone would discover them, but they would never lower themselves to put their work on display at an art show, or local retailer to test the market.
Paper – You got it, paper trumps rock, at least in business terms, because this artist vacillates between talented artist and skilled salesperson. They use both sides of their brain to understand the marketplace and bend their skills to provide subject matter for which there is a market. This doesn’t mean they have to paint children’s portraits or local mountain scenes for tourists; they also can work to find a market for their subject matter. The biggest difference is they understand that selling their work is not “selling out”. Those who cannot sell enough of their original work for large sums, learn that selling reproductions is also not “selling-out” and it expands their market and pays the bills so they can pursue their craft.
Scissors – Annihilates paper when it comes to business – This artist cuts through the heart of a “real” artist by selling everything. Licensing is big these days – getting your art printed on everything from t-shirts to coasters to cutting boards can be the road to riches. These capitalists love structure and rules – maybe they went to catholic school and probably learned their skills in art school rather than experimenting with hallucinogens. They may or may not be expressing their deepest emotions in every work, but they work hard to produce a quality product and spend much of their time marketing themselves and their work to corporations. Their real artist friends (in the unlikely event they have any) will call them greedy sell-out hacks and break the scissors with their “rock”.
Now that we’ve had some fun picking on artists, the truth is there are no categories that sum up actual real people. Everyone, especially an artist, is an individual capable of choosing any path they like. However, most artists tend to put themselves into some limiting stereotype. Most of us have a tendency to prefer using one side of our brain over another, but we can all learn to use both sides to strike a little more balance in our lives. Rather than making disempowering statements like “I’m no good at math”, or “I’m no good at systems”, try “I have to learn some math skills” or “I’m working on getting better systems” or ask the empowering question “How can I get better at____” and prepare for powerful answers to come your way.
To prepare for those answers, I encourage all my artist friends (if I still have any) to consider business seminars you might think don’t apply to you. Truthfully, the skills are very similar for any profession – the chef, the hairdresser, the lawyer, the dentist and the artist all needs to learn business skills to run the business that supports their work. They get their power by understanding the need for systems for planning, financing, managing people or subcontractors, making sales, quoting prices, client fulfillment, meeting deadlines, record keeping, and so one.
Most people who don’t like this part of business could discipline themselves to learn it, if they just stop saying they can’t do it. They can and it doesn’t have to hurt – that’s why I became an Entreprenologist. To support my mission to help local businesses be more successful, I’m offering a series of small business seminars this summer. Don’t be left out. If you’re an artists, chef, dentist, surgeon, logger, blogger or programmer, visit www.klineseminars.com for a complete catalog and reserve a seat.
Michael Kline is a local retailer and Business Success Coach. He may be reached through his website www.klineseminars.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org