Defying the Flaky Artist Stereotype

Creative Business

Oh, you know the ones.

Super creative, but man is she ever hard to pin down.

Constantly sells her art but is in a panic every tax season.

Never runs out of art supplies but might forget to pay the light bill.

And so on and so forth.

We’ve all either heard about or known someone like this–after all, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. But it doesn’t have to be this way and I, for one, would like to see more of my fellow artists and creatives defying this conception and showing just how good at business they can be!

All they need are the right tools.

Three years I was introduced to the concept of a Right-Brain Business Plan and Jennifer Lee’s book of the same name by another creative business maven and I fell instantly in love. Even though I’d been keeping the books for a small corporation for over a decade by that point and was very good at numbers, lists, and the other linear, left-brain functions, I was (and am) still a creative being at heart, and even though I could write a standard business plan for myself, MBA-style, why would I want to when there’s another viable option.

Thus began my devotion to Jennifer Lee’s book and the annual Right Brainers in Business Video Summit (which happens to be going on right now, by the way). Now she’s come out with a sequel to the Right Brain Business Plan: Building Your Business the Right Brain Way. I’m still working my way through the new one (ordered it on Kindle so I wouldn’t even have to wait for Prime delivery) but so far it’s as fabulous as expected.

My first two Right Brain Business Plans are still works in progress—basically they’re ever-evolving as the business grows and changes. One is scrapbook-style and the one for my cookbook is actually in the form of a DM screen.

The cover and first 3 pages of my Right Brain Business Plan for the Character Cocktail. Lots of pink, lots of collage elements, and lots of fun!

The cover and first 3 pages of my Right Brain Business Plan for the Character Cocktail. Lots of pink, lots of collage elements, and lots of fun!

The DM-screen Business Plan for What to Feed Your Raiding Party. I still have 4 panels to fill in as I expand what I'm doing with the book and it's sequels.

The DM-screen Business Plan for What to Feed Your Raiding Party. I still have 4 panels to fill in as I expand what I’m doing with the book and it’s sequels.

Back to the Summit, though, it’s 2 weeks of creative entrepreneurs offering their advice for approaching your own business pursuits and every year I get so much out of it, a renewed sense of purpose, and I’ve met some great people through it as well (not to mention a client and accountability partner). It doesn’t hurt that it’s entirely free, too, and even if you can’t make the live sessions, the replays are available for 48 hours after each session.

My favorite speaker from last year’s Summit has to be Dan Pink–his talk about extroverts and introverts and applying improv skills to selling is really an inspired concept! This year we started with Michael Port who gave a great talk about thinking big and going after your goals. Among the many pieces of wisdom he dropped on us was this gem:

Our job is to get people to consume, not just buy, what we create.

Think about that for a minute. I run into this with my cookbook all the time: I really do care that people use the book and cook from it, not just buy it as a novelty piece, that’s why I added some of the gaming elements that I did and maintain a website where people can log in and log what they’ve cooked. I want to build a community, and not just to keep people informed of when the next book comes out (though that doesn’t hurt), but to get people cooking and making those better choices, you know?

Tuesday featured art licensing agent Lilla Rogers. First, it was great to have a working artist (she started out doing that and then transitioned into licensing and representing other artists–I’d much rather be represented by folks who’ve created art before, not just the buyers, you know?) as part of the Summit–the first year or so was very coach and writer heavy, which was still awesome but doesn’t always directly translate to product-based or art-based businesses as the way and the why tend to be a bit different. My favorite part of Lilla’s talk?

She offered a “Left Brain Chill Pill” by sharing how she realized that when she was feeling anxious, that adrenaline rush was the same sort of rush you get when you’re excited. Two sides of the same coin and it’s possible to reframe that anxiety by asking  yourself ‘what am I excited for?’

Of course, she had loads of good points to share, plus she runs classes and bootcamps to help artists prepare for licensing their work. I love that the Summit introduced me to her and now I’m on the mailing list to find out when her next class opens up and licensing artwork has been something on the horizon for a while for me.

And yesterday we heard from Alicia Forest who, after 8 years of building her business, she’s finally passed the million dollar mark and takes summers off. How does she take the entire summer off?

You take your calendar and you x-out those months you don’t want to work. Then you plan around them.

It’s those simple, duh-like things that we tend to over-think on our own that sometimes we just need someone else to point out. Again, there were other nuggets of awesome that she dished out to us, but that was one of the highlights.

What if you come in late or want more than 48 hours to replay and absorb the Summit sessions? Jennifer Lee’s got you covered with Booster and Premium upgrades. The first two years I didn’t use either of them, just took notes and read the book a few times to really grok what as going on. Last year, though, I applied for and won one of the Premium Upgrade scholarships (which includes the extended–1 year–access to the recordings and chat logs you get in the Booster and adds 3 group coaching calls plus a private Facebook Group faciliated by Jennifer herself) and it was amazing! So much so that I ordered the Premium Upgrade on the first day of this year’s Summit.

Now, the info only works if you put it to good use, but last year gave me such a boost that I got brave enough to start offering myself as a guest as the conventions I sell my book at. And I’ve yet to be turned down (and let me tell you, that’s a continual boost not just to sales but to my ego as well!). There are playsheets (worksheets but more fun) in the book and available for download that help you plan out your actions and put the excellent advice in the books and Summit videos to use.

Have I piqued your curiosity?


To sign up for the rest of this year’s Right Brainers in Business Video Summit or the see more information about it click here:

If you want to catch up on the days you’ve missed and sign up for the Booster or Premium Upgrades, click here*.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post or even asked to write it, I just love the Right Brain Business Plan and all it’s led to, and wanted to share.  I do receive a small affiliate payment if you choose to buy using the Amazon links above, and I am a registered affiliate for the Right Brainers in Business Video Summit, so if you use the asterisked upgrade link, I’ll get a bit of that and I thank you. If you’d rather not use affiliate links, I get it, the links without asterisks will take you where you need to go and I will never know!