Transform Your Creative Ideas into Multiple Income Streams: Helen Hiebert (Podcast)

Helen Hiebert artist book

My first contact with artist Helen Hiebert was back in 2010 when she took one of my classes after she heard about my book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio. It’s been fun to watch her grow into a successful artist-entrepreneur.

On the heels of my interview with Dianna Fritzler about transitioning to a full-time artist, I thought it was perfect for you to hear about Helen’s journey.

Ten years ago, Helen didn’t think of her art as a business. Her shift of mindset changed everything and she now makes her living as a working artist. Rather than feeling icky about having a “business,” she embraced it and learned to channel some of her creativity into making money from her talents.

She says:

Probably the biggest lesson for me has been learning how to keep myself entertained (I think any creative loves to do new things all the time) but to create a framework that allows for that. I’m thinking of my blog specifically. I now have a rotation of things I do throughout the month that is fun for me to generate and (hopefully) my readers to discover!

See? You can have fun and run a successful art business at the same time. You only need a structure to contain that fun.

In this interview, Helen and I focus on her multiple income streams, which include (rough estimates):

  • Art installations (10%)
  • Artist books (30-35%)
  • Teaching for hire, in her studio and online (30%)
  • Twelve Months of Paper calendar, how-to books and class kits (20%)
  • Sponsorships (5%)

Much of what she has tried and implemented has been learned from watching what other artists and non-artists are doing, and tweaking it to fit her approach.

We also discuss Helen’s process for creating online content, which has its roots in the analog world she started in. Her success comes from networking, interviewing experts, and collaborating. From that evolved both her blog and podcast.

Helen’s blog is The Sunday Paper – a weekly roundup of news from the world of paper, including news from her own studio. Her monthly podcast, Paper Talk, is the happy result of an unsuccessful grant application to document artists working in the field of hand papermaking.

Please enjoy this conversation with Helen Hiebert.

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Transitioning to a Full-Time Artist: Dianna Fritzler (Podcast)

Over the past ten years I’ve watched Dianna Fritzler go from full-time artist to full-time marketing employee and back again. I had the pleasure of helping her a little along the way.

I wanted to share Dianna’s path so you can hear how she set a target and took deliberate and consistent steps to reach that target in a very short timespan.

During her first year back as a full-time artist, Dianna tested a lot of options for income and gained clarity on what she wants moving forward. And she missed her ambitious income goal by just 10%.

In this interview, you’ll hear Dianna reveal:

  • The moment when she decided that her art could no longer play a secondary role in her life.
  • The steps she took immediately that set her on the path to making her dream come true.
  • The income streams she tested and what has worked (and not worked) for her.
  • The vision she and her husband have for his future full-time role in her business.
  • The amount of time she spends on business v. in the studio.
  • How she structures her day to be most productive.

She also confesses just how worthless she is before her morning java and why she unapologetically embraces freeform Internet exploration in the mornings.

As you will learn, Dianna works her ass off. But her work brings her joy and she’s determined to succeed.

Please enjoy this conversation with Dianna Fritzler about transitioning to a full-time artist.

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A Realist’s Strategy for Increasing Your Income

It’s unnatural for many artists to talk about money – especially when the money seems like barely enough to bother counting. And, yet, you can imagine how important it is to have a cozy relationship with money when you need it in your life.

What I share here is one of my favorite things to teach because I know that if you go through this process earnestly, your art business will be transformed.

The transformation occurs because you commit to a new relationship with money – one that puts you in charge of your destiny.

Let the Transformation Begin

One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of success in any area is to create a plan. If you’d like to make more money, that means you need an income-boosting plan.

Before you object, I know what you’re going to say because I have heard it many times before: How can I plan for money when I don’t know when my art will sell or who will buy it?

You make a plan because you’re the CEO of your art business and that’s what CEOs do. They make business projections. They have to in order to attract buy-in to their products and services.

But first things first – in order to boost your income, you have to know what it is currently and where it came from.

For the purposes of this exercise, you’re going to focus on your gross sales. Ready to get real?

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The Problem With Lower Price Points For Your Art

Have you ever created a body of work just so you could sell at lower prices? If so, you might have created a problem for yourself.

Do any of the following ring true for you?

– You are afraid that people won’t buy your art if you charge what it’s worth.

– You believe that the people in your geographical region buy only cheaper art.

– You’ve started making smaller pieces because they’re less expensive.

– You have signed up for a service like Fine Art America to begin offering multiples of your art, even though the originals aren’t selling.

If you have created lower-priced work for any of these reasons, you might be lowering the bar along with your prices.

Let’s face it: selling lower-priced art is safer. There are many more people in your pool of prospective buyers at the low end.

But I can’t believe that your goal is to appeal to the masses. You, like my clients, surely have big dreams, and that means selling big art at fair prices.

So I have to ask … Are you running to this safer place of inexpensive art because you’ve been inconsistent with your studio practice, marketing, exhibitions, and networking? In other words, are you producing “more affordable” art because you don’t want to do the work required to sell your best work?

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Juggling Multiple Income Streams from Your Art

juggling-income-streams

I probably don’t have to tell you that selling only original works of art doesn’t always pay the bills. Sales can be seasonal, galleries can shut their doors, or the economy might tank.

This is why I am all for artists having multiple streams of income – when it makes sense.

Multiple Income Streams for Artists

An income stream is a source of money.

Your income streams might include employment outside of your art business, but I’m going to focus on diversifying how you make money from your art.

Selling original works of art is probably the most appealing way for you to make money from your art. Other avenues include, but aren’t limited to, teaching, licensing, and selling reproductions.

Sometimes multiple income streams go together.

For example, if you teach art, there might be money from both online and in-person classes. Additional funds might come from how-to books and information products.

They’re all information based and marketed to the same audience.

Likewise, you could probably market products with your art on them

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Five Realities of Art Licensing

Tara Reed Products

So you have heard about this thing called “art licensing” and it sounds pretty good! You can earn income by licensing the same art to multiple manufacturers to use on different products. “Sounds great!” you think. “Where do I sign up!” you ask. “Hold onto your paintbrushes!” I say. Before you start putting a lot of time and energy thinking about the dream that is art licensing, you need to understand the reality of how to succeed in the industry.

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