Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Dr. Funk Meet Mr. Wall

Green Puffer Fish Ornimal, Amy A Crawley, 2011, Sold

Ever since the Artspace show wrapped up, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. The show was a huge success; best show I’ve done in a couple of years. Attendance appeared to be up. The Ornimals sold well. The functional art sold well. I added new people to my customer contact list. I came home tired from a job well done.

Riding the High

I was excited when I came home. The doom and gloom of the past year, in terms of the economy, seemed to be a distant memory. I even received a few last minute orders for more Ornimals. And then I sat.

I know from past experience that it can take me a couple of days to get back into the swing of things. It’s that time when you’re coming down from one event and preparing for the next event. Dr. Anne Paris, author of Standing at Water’s Edge refers to this period as “moving out of immersion.” Moving in and out of immersive states is a normal part of creation.

Yet that didn’t help me from feeling overwhelmed with filling the last few orders before the holidays. And then there were the other things on my to-do list that also needed to be addressed. Those things that I’d put off while getting ready for the ArtSpace show. And there were appointments that I’d made too.

I’d look at my to-do list, look at the clock, try to get myself out of my chair, and succumb to the computer instead. Funk had met the wall.

Resolution

Now this time wasn’t completely unproductive. Because of the success of the Ornimals, I started investigating new display options. I made notes about target markets & how to better market the Ornimals in 2012. And I did catch up on a couple things that I put on the back-burner in the run-up to the show.

But in my head, especially at night, I’d berate myself for not putting my hands back into the clay. The negative voice loomed large in my head. I questioned everything I was doing whether it was related to art, business or not. I felt like I’d run smack into a wall. Everything on my list seemed “too big” to accomplish and I was only destined to fail.

On Monday I decided to take a walk. It wasn’t exceptionally long (that is becoming a little less desirable as the temperature gets colder.) But it was enough to clear my head and improve my attitude.

It only took me a week to get there.

I spent this entire week working on the special orders. Two were shipped out today. I hope to have the last piece in a final order completed next week. I need to keep riding this wave of momentum and do the work. Resistance is futile.

Then it will be Christmas and New Years. Time for a welcome break…before it all starts up again.


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To Market, To Market

Continuing my periodic posts on my progress in the Right Brain Business Plan e-course, the next topic is determining your target market and finances.

Up to this point, we’ve discussed values and our business vision, the business self-portrait and the business landscape. However, now that you’ve got this great product or business idea, you have to think about who you’re selling to; your target market.

Target Markets

Unless your product or service is geared to a specific customer base, determining your target market requires a bit of educated guessing. Historically, I’ve known that women are my primary market. But which demographic of women?

Some areas to consider when determining your target market include the potential customer’s age, education, financial background, career, and location (urban/suburban/rural.) Those are the fairly straight-forward, easy to answer questions.

Then there are the demographics that might not be as easy to answer, such as shopping preferences, forms of entertainment, and likes and dislikes. We refer to those as the “I’m making up these answers” type of demographic questions.

As I started to write down the details about my ideal customer, I realized the description seemed to fit me. I guess it is good to know I might actually buy my own artwork. However, it is also important to stretch beyond the familiar.

To that end, I came up with two groups women for my target market:

The mid 20’s to 40 year old group

Customer Collage 20's-40 y.o group

I’ve defined the 20-40 year old market as those entering their professional or career world, D.I.Y, Etsy or handmade nation supporters/creatives; supporters of the green movement, including recycling/up-cycling. They shop online and are technology savvy. They have an interest in art/craft and learning something new and would like to earn some money using their craft skills.

These women are making a name for themselves and are entrepreneurial. They enjoy social networking, social media and have an interest in self-care and holistic areas. They are primarily college educated. May be dealing with debt issues, especially student loans. This may effect what they buy and spend money on.

The 40’s to 70’s group

Customer Collage 40's-70's group

This target group is comprised, primarily, of college educated, professional women who are questioning the “next step” in their lives. They want to express themselves creatively but may not know how to access and express their creative muse. Therefore they are seeking guidance on creativity; how to be creative, how to make art/craft.

Within this group are those who will be or are empty-nesters, including active retirees. All of these women want balance and fulfillment and seek how to make meaning in their lives. For the most part, these women are comfortable in their own skin.

I put the two collages shown above in my Vision Book in an envelope titled “Target Market.” On the back of each collage I wrote down some of the demographics as listed above.

Playing With Numbers

After we determined our target market, it was time to look at the finances. (Or, as Jen puts it “Making the Moola.” Doesn’t that sound more fun?) Not always a pleasant task and probably the one area that many creatives hate to deal with. We like to bring in the money; it is the money going out that pains us.

Way back, I used to keep track of my finances with an Excel spreadsheet. As my business grew, I switched to Quickbooks. QB is great because you can generate a variety of reports, depending on your needs. This year I was better about setting a budget for those costs which are fairly static and for some expenses I knew were coming up this year.

However, setting financial goals and writing them down has never been my strong suit. We all have our issues with money; voices and impressions from childhood that stick with us. Another reason this has been difficult is the feeling (an excuse???) that I can’t make someone buy my artwork. So how could I possibly set a revenue goal?

However, with encouragement through the RBBP process, I set a financial goal for the year. Then I looked at all the areas where the business generates revenue, including 3 new areas that I’m pursuing this year, and determined the percentage of income each area needs to produce. In July, I will review these goals, see how I’m doing and determine the appropriate follow-up action.

How about you? Who is your target market? Have you set any financial goals for the year? How do the money ‘voices’ impact your progress?

Next: Creative cohorts and goal setting