Art Licensing Info Ask Call with the Copyright Office is on November 12, 2014

The great gift of NO…

In William Ury’s book, The Power of a Positive No [affiliate link], he begins with a quote I want to share:  “A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.” – Mahatma Gandhi

How many times have you said YES because you were afraid to say NO?  Or you weren’t sure how to say no without potentially hurting a relationship or someone else’s feelings?  Does YES instinctively fly out of your mouth? Do people compliment you into a YES by saying things like “You are so good at this…” or “I know it would barely take you any time…”

Beware of the word YES!  YES to others is often the same as saying NO to yourself.  Putting your dreams, goals, plans and business behind the needs of others… did you even stop to look at it that way?

I challenge you to consciously say NO more than you say yes for at least a day.

Engage your family and friends – tell them to bombard you with questions so you can practice saying no.  “Will you do the laundry?” NO.  “Can I borrow $5?” NO.  “Can I have your house?” NO.  Have fun with it!  The more you practice, the easier it will get.

Here’s to your creative success – and your comfort with the word NO.

– Tara Reed

Gandhi quote - NO

 

This is BUSINESS – it’s ok to talk about money

I’ve had a few interesting conversations recently about money.  As a society – at least in the US – we are often brought up to not discuss money. Don’t ask your parents how much they make, don’t brag about what you make, etc.  Don’t brag, don’t pry, don’t boast… all kinds of issues come up for people when it comes to talking about money.

In business it’s important to talk about money.

If you are talking with an agent about representing you, I think it is not only OK but IMPORTANT to discuss money.  Will they be able to tell you exactly what you will make?  Of course not.  Can they help you set realistic expectations – tell you what some of their highest earners make and what an average earner makes?  I should hope so!

Same with manufacturers.  If you are trying to decide if you want to enter into an art licensing agreement you should have some idea of what it will mean to your bank account.  If it is a royalty-based agreement, there will be no guarantee, but the same kinds of questions are reasonable to ask when talking to a new company.  “What does a huge success look like, in sales, for your company?”  “If something does ‘ok’ – what does that mean?”  Then you can do the math to figure out some royalty ranges you might expect and decide if the deal is good for your business.

You need money to run your business.  You need to do your best to budget what is coming in and what is going out and make sure what you are doing makes sense.  Unless you are independently wealthy and doing this for the sheer joy of seeing your art on products, it is your DUTY as a business person to ask the money questions.

How do you handle these conversations?  Do they make you nervous?  Do you just cross your fingers and hope things will sell and the checks will come?

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Want to learn how long it can take to make money in art licensing?  Read this blog post…

A few tips on how NOT to sell…

Last night my husband and I watched the 2nd episode of The Profit – one of my favorite business shows from CNBC.  This time Marcus Lemonis went to Artistic Stitch in Queens, NY.

Quite a few jaw-dropping things happened – from an odd combination of businesses under one roof, the fudging of the books, lying and the “head of sales” who had no idea who his customers were or how to have a sales conversation.

YES – you will have to have sales conversations (emphasis on CONVERSATION) to succeed in art licensing.

I encourage you to watch this episode – some great insights about how NOT to build and run and business and some great tips on interacting with potential clients.

In addition to all the insights about what NOT to do, I think Marcus is always a great example of what TO DO.  He is always firm but fair – expects honesty but not perfection. His communication with people he works with is great – it shows that he means it when he says the three keys to success are PEOPLE, PROCESS & PRODUCT.

You can watch it online here > http://www.cnbc.com/live-tv/the-profit/full-episode/artistic-stitch/345882691507

(it isn’t loading right for me now… I believe it is onDemand through Comcast or you can watch it if you have Hulu… if it doesn’t work here, I think it’s worth the effort to watch.)

The Profit - Artistic StitchHere’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

 

Art Licensing Shopping Research – Gift Bags

I regularly recommend that artists go do some “Shopping Research” to start learning to see like an artist who creates art for licensing.  Here is a video I shot in a store recently that shows you what I mean – ready to look at gift bags through the lens of “how to figure out what art the manufacturer needs”?


Easy, right?  It’s just a new way of looking at things and a habit you can form over time if you are deliberate in the beginning.  I challenge you to go out and try it TODAY with a different product category.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Why people buy…

Halloween Witch Hat Cotton CandyA very important thing to keep in mind when creating art for art licensing is WHY PEOPLE BUY.

There are certain items people buy because they have to. Gas & insurance for their car.  Heat for their home in the winter.  Food to eat.  Basic necessities are MUST BUY items.  Most of those items do not license art because they don’t need to.  They compete with price, location, convenience and more.

Then there are the things people buy because they want them.

I recently bought this cotton candy because of the fun packaging.  Is it good cotton candy?  I have no idea!  But the packaging was perfect and the price was good so I got it because it made me happy and I knew it would make my mom smile.  (She loves cotton candy!)

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times – most people don’t need more coffee mugs.  They buy them because they want them.  That is where we come in…

Our job as artists is to create designs that compel people to want something so much that they will open their wallet and buy it.

That is why the manufacturers seek us out. That is why they pay us. To help them move product.  Period.

So think about that as you create… is what you are creating going to open wallets?  If so, it will fill yours in return.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

We have a TIME for the Ask Call with the Library of Congress Copyright Office!

Ask Call with the Library of Congress Copyright OfficeYeah!  You have no idea how many emails, phone calls and conversations are going into making this Ask Call a reality.  Let’s just say… a lot.  I’m really excited about the call and how open and responsive the copyright office has been during this process.

We have set a time so open your calendars and block off the time to join us live… drumroll please….

11 am Pacific / 2 pm Eastern

Use WorldTimeBuddy.com to calculate the time at your place if you aren’t in one of those two locations.

If you can’t join us live, the replay will be free as well.  This is going to be a wonderful and informative call.

Please help me spread the word and tell any group of artists you know – or any individual artists you know – to take advantage of this unique and FREE opportunity.

Send everyone to AskAboutArtLicensing.com to register.  Thanks for your help and I hope you can join us!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

 

 

Can you step back and unemotionally evaluate your experience?

An important skill to learn – which I’ve heard artists get really good at during critiques at art school – is to be able to step back and evaluate your work AND your results without letting emotion get in the way.

Sure – emotions sometimes pop up when we don’t get that deal we wanted or our dream company says “no thank you”.  Everything from mild disappointment to tears welling up in your eyes – emotion happens.

But when the emotion subsides, can you step back and take an unemotional look at what happened?

WHY didn’t your art get chosen?  Did you get any feedback and if so – do you agree?  Sometimes we choose to make changes based on feedback, other times we don’t.  Feedback is just that – one or a few people’s opinion.  WE DECIDE what to do with it.  Change, tweak, do nothing. Our choice.

When you get a lot of the same feedback and you aren’t getting licensing deals, it’s time to look closer at whether art licensing is for you if you don’t want to change.  Again – your choice and either option is ok.  Stay and keep trying.  Look for other ways to make a living with your art.

Over the weekend I saw a link from Kate Mason (Messy Miss Kate) on Facebook. She was a finalist in Lilla Rogers’ Great Talent Search but wasn’t the ultimate winner.  I haven’t been following it closely but was intrigued and decided to go read the post. (Truth be told I was also avoiding what I needed to get done but it ended up being a blessing in disguise that I was wandering through FB!)

Kate does a great job talking about the emotion of it and then steps back and really analyzes why she didn’t think she was chosen, what she did, what she might have done differently and where she goes from here.  Click here to read her blog post

Every artist that wants to succeed at making a living from their art and not just doing art as a hobby needs to learn this skill.

Thank you Kate for a great example and good luck with your book and future aspirations!

Here’s to everyone’s creative success!

– Tara Reed

What I’m working on: Updating Trade Show support options

Art Licensing Trade Show support being updated and improved...

All good things must come to an end… and be improved!

I’ve decided I can do better now.  Since I wrote my first ebook about getting ready for Art Licensing Trade Shows, I’ve exhibited at 6 more.  Things have changed.  I have a lot more ideas to help you make the most of your investment…

I’m completely re-writing my eBook about exhibiting at trade shows and creating a few other levels and options for getting ready and getting prepared.  My goal is to have everything done and my ducks in a row by November…

If you want to be the first to know when they are ready – and get a special incentive for signing up for the list – register below and watch your email.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

What’s your FUTURE story going to be…

No matter what has happened or come before this moment… you have the chance and the choice to become whatever you set your mind to.  As Natasha Bedingfield says – it’s UNWRITTEN.  It may take courage, conviction and focus.  It might take learning new things, trying new things, putting yourself out there… it could take being uncomfortable…

What do you want your next chapter to be?


Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

If you liked this post, read what I had to say about comfort and courage a few posts ago…

It’s not just our industry…

I’m sure if you really stopped to think about it, you already know this.  But sometimes we get so caught up in OUR business and OUR industry that we forget to stop and see what is and isn’t going on elsewhere…

The other night I was watching Nashville (ABC – season 3 / epsisode 2) and was struck by how much the dialogue mimicked discussions on social media among artists about art licensing…

Nashville on ABC

Rayna is unhappy that it takes more than great music to make it these days… she longs for the time when you didn’t have to be on social media, share  your personal life and have a reality show to have a #1 hit for more than a day. She is told that “it’s a brand new world and if you want to stay in the game, you have to play the game” (something like that – that isn’t verbatim)

The show really highlights how a singers brand needs to match their reality if they want to stay scandal free… the gay singer who was built up as a ladies man and recently married is in for a bumpy ride… sort of reminds me of the Tiger Woods scandal and how Thomas Kinkade’s brand and personal life became mis-aligned…

Anyway – it’s not just us facing these changing times and having to decide if we choose to play the game or get out of the business.

Many of the rules have changed in art licensing over the years and especially since 2008 – but we always have a choice:  stay and play or find a new way to make a living with our creativity.

You can watch the episode online here > http://abc.go.com/shows/nashville/episode-guide/season-03/302-how-far-down-can-i-go

Here’s to your creative – and social media – success!

– Tara Reed

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