The business of being creative
Creative people often find themselves relying on others to actually market and sell their work. Creativity is a sensitive place to view the world from, allowing ourselves to be totally open to inspiration and the breath of new life. We welcome different ways of seeing, making, hearing, doing things in our own unique and individual way. This can be a very fragile state to be in, and the work we produce is precious and personal. Even our more commercial efforts tend to be special to us, and we can be over sensitive to criticism about them.
It’s not common for a creative person to excel at business and marketing. One skill usually outweighs the other. Marketing the Arts is best done by those who are not directly involved in creating it. You can’t be over sensitive if you are good in business, and you can’t be insensitive if you are going to create meaningful pieces of art. Business people know how their world works; it is built on things that have worked in the past, proven methods and safe approaches. A good business model is a sound, logical left-brained piece of thinking, with steps to take to reach the goal.
Business says – it works like this; you do a, b, c, and reach x
Creativity says – I wonder what would happen if I did z, R, h……… ?
The two don’t work together easily.
Creativity and the arts depend on right brained innovation, running on completely different tracks. Inspiration strikes and the ideas come like an avalanche; we may or may not be thinking of the end result, just the interesting way the whole thing is happening as it does. One of the last things we may think of is a happy customer. Putting that into the mix often stifles the flow. That’s not good business, but it’s certainly good for us. We are feeding our own soul, helping it to grow and express itself in its own unique way.
There are many innovative ways of running businesses now, of course, with the internet so easy to access and use. Creative people, like me, can really enjoy making websites and skimming through hundreds of inspirational images online. I like playing around with the way the pages on my website look, and editing my own paintings. But I know that I fall down when it comes to the promotional and marketing side of it all. I start and then retreat. It doesn’t feel right to put ‘BUY ME NOW!’ buttons under my pictures. Feeling isn’t part of most ordinary business models though, is it?