SURTEX - the premier event for selling and licensing art and design


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Feel like it’s all the same old same old?

One reality of art licensing is that manufacturers regularly need new options for common topics.  I call it the “recreating Santa” syndrome.  Every year I ask myself, “How will I do a Santa collection this year?”  If you don’t do holiday art, you may substitute coffee, flowers, baby bears or some other theme you do repeatedly.

For artists who think doing the same topic twice sounds like torture, this industry isn’t for you!

Marie Forleo posted another great video for creatives who sometimes feel like they aren’t adding value to the mix or it’s all been done before or others are better, etc… take a few minutes to see what she has to say!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

What does health have to do with creativity?

If you’ve been following along this year, you may have noticed that I’ve been talking a bit about self care, healthy habits and some major changes I’ve been making to my life.  With my dad slowly fading before my eyes, I’ve begun looking at things a little differently.  My family never would have expected my dad to be gone in this way, at the age of 73.  He’s 75 and still alive – but he rarely knows who we are and when he talks, he doesn’t make a lot of sense.  So “here” in a physical sense, but no longer the vibrant, funny, intelligent man that raised me.

This shift has made me look at my own life.  Am I taking care of my health and body?  Putting things off and wishing for things in the future instead of embracing and enjoying the present?  Death and illness makes you get pretty philosophical – let me assure you!

Since January I have been making changes in what I eat and how I exercise.  And I’ve fallen off the healthy habit wagon and gotten back on a few times – I am human after all and a big emotional eater… and as you can imagine, there is a lot of “emotion” around a father’s journey with Alzheimer’s.

I’ve also been looking at the connections between health, creativity and business.

The success of any art business depends on the artist or artists creating the work. ART and the creative process are the foundations upon which everything is built.

Contrary to popular belief, most successful artists are NOT depressed or suffering from mental health issues. Starving should not be the benchmark by which artists measure their success. In the 21st century, let’s embrace and celebrate the value of our creativity! Abundance – whether that means money, freedom, flexibility or anything else – is out there for the taking. The key is to tap into what makes sense for you and your business.

A little over a year ago, my acupuncturist suggested I try doTerra essential oils.  She has had me use oils before but told me this brand is the best quality she has found and she now uses them exclusively in her practice.  She is one of those people I trust implicitly so I gave them a try.  Smelled good… and then other amazing things started to happen.  I was sleeping better, stress levels were down, digestive issues improving… it was exciting!

Many of the people in my group coaching program with Tiffany Peterson were involved in doTerra so I was able to learn a lot about the oils and the business and continued to try things for myself.  About 6 months ago, I decided these products were too good to keep to myself so I began sharing them with others – and they started getting some pretty cool results too.  I have a website dedicated to doTerra but wanted to tell you about it too – my goal is to help artists and creative people learn how to use these all natural, therapeutic grade oils and supplements to stay healthy, improve health and energy so they can focus on their creative genius.

drop into creativity with Tara Reed and doTerra essential oilsI have created a pdf, Strategies to Improve Your Health & Creativity to Help Grow Your Creative Business, that gives tips anyone can use – whether you have or want to try essential oils or not.  It will only cost you your name and email and you will receive three more emails with more ideas you can use.  If you decide the oils sound interesting and you want more information, please reach out! I’d love to share what I have learned and help you implement them into your life. If not, that’s fine too – there are still some good ideas here that you can use to take care of yourself and grow your business.

Want the FREE REPORT?  Click here to sign up

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…

Just create it…

Watch this…

Now tell me if any of the excuses you have in your head for why you can’t make your dreams come true feel valid… didn’t think so.

GO!  Create!  Make it happen!

– Tara Reed

Crafters, artists and money…

Last weekend I went to Seattle to teach about goal setting and art licensing at the School House Craft event.  There were about 65 creative people sharing ideas, products and lots of beliefs – whether they realized it or not.  :)

I spent my 3.5 hour drive north from Portland listening to Sean Smith’s audio series – Release the Brakes.  Which talked about recognizing and changing limiting beliefs – so beliefs were on my radar! (He has some great ideas and food for thought – you can find this series and more here > (I have no affiliation – just passing on great resources)

Over lunch a conversation went something like this…  “I do XYZ … I’m not saying I want to get rich or anything, but I’d like to make more than $2/hour for my time after all of my expenses.”

Another artist nods her head in agreement, “Me too.  I’m not greedy or anything, but it’s so hard…”

After a few more people parrot this idea, I find my mouth opening and my voice saying, “Why don’t you want to make money?  There isn’t anything wrong with it.  It isn’t like Apple is going to charge us less for our iPhones because we are so creative…”

Money can be such a sticky wicket for people.  Why do artists feel they have to starve to be valid, or reassure others that “they don’t need to be rich” or equate wanting to make a living with being greedy?  I bet you don’t hear conversations like that in silicon valley!

Money is a tool and it’s a tool everyone needs to live and make choices.  There have been many conversations about money in regards to the SURTEX show… the booths are too expensive.  The show should realize how our business has changed and give us other options… the reality is, their costs are going up too.  The Javitz Center in NYC isn’t lowering rates, or paying less for workers or electricity because the economy has gotten harder since 2008.

We, as artists, decide how much we charge, what royalties and what size jobs we are willing to accept, and how we spend the money we earn.  It is our job to pay attention and make it work.  If that means you do a show every other year, or put off exhibiting for the first time for a year, then that’s what you do. If you think being at the show every year is valuable for your business, you figure it out.

I suggest we all DECIDE that making money is a GOOD THING.

While I’m not saying our business is a piece of cake and you can make a ton of money in your sleep, if you look at other businesses, it might not seem so bad.  In the 6 month coaching program I recently completed (that I invested $9,000 to participate in – my choice and in my opinion, worth every penny) there was  a man who was a builder.  His specialty was remodeling – kitchens in particular.  He shared with us that his business had to do $70,000 in sales EVERY MONTH – to break even.  TO BREAK EVEN.  I don’t know of any artist that has to have that level of income to break even… at least not any solo artist.  Studios with a large staff might but not the average artist in licensing.

Many large companies are happy if their profit margin is 10% of what they bring in.  I can assure you that I also don’t know of any artist spending 90% of what they bring in on their business.

Everything is about perspective, attitude and your belief system.  If you believe it will be hard or that we have it good – you are right.

I encourage you to notice the things you and those around you say about money and business.  Are they fear based statements or optimistic.  Your attitude about money feeds your attitude and action in your business… luckily, you can control and change your attitude – if you choose to.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Comfort or Courage?

Quote - Comfort or Courage

Without being courageous, not a lot will change.  You will lead a comfortable life – safely in your comfort zone – doing what you like to do.  That’s fine – if that’s what you choose.  When I asked a few members of my family if they were comfortable being uncomfortable they got a look of horror on their faces and said absolutely not!  My sister followed up with “That’s your M.O. – not mine.  I am perfectly happy being comfortable and supporting you in your discomfort.”

Take a moment to get really honest with yourself – are you willing to be UNCOMFORTABLE to get what you want?  Most of the things you dream of, that you don’t already have, are just outside that comfort zone.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

How BADLY do you want it?

From Sept 11-13, 2014, I spent my days in a room of 265+ people who were willing to “go there”… we were attending Tiffany Peterson‘s annual event – Elevation.  It’s a combination of personal development and sales & marketing training.

Tiffany did a call with me back in July and I invited everyone to join us in Salt Lake City, just as I had been invited by Jennifer Pugh last year.  Two (brave!) artists decided it felt right and came.  Debbie McCulley flew in from Spokane, Washington and Cathy Nolan took the trek west from New York City.  It was fun to get to know them both better – laugh together, cry together, open up and swap stories.  I was thrilled that they both found the event to be a mind and perspective changer as well… maybe next year you will come too!

Artists of Elevation 2014

One of Tiffany’s big themes is this:  How uncomfortable are you willing to be to get the results you want?

Some will say not at all and others will do ANY-THING to make their dreams come true.  What matters is what is true for you.  How uncomfortable are you willing to be to make it in art licensing?

Here’s a little video (that was uncomfortable for me to make – but I decided that was half the point) about my thoughts on the matter.

Some food for thought… here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Are you a starter, a finisher or both?

A few years ago I was at a live event and we were asked this question – are you a starter or a finisher?

The presenter then explained that STARTERS were people who often had great ideas and amazing enthusiasm at the beginning, but then fizzled out, got distracted or started something new before ever finishing the project.

FINISHERS on the other hand, keep going till the job is done and can get upset with people who, in their eyes, “flake out” before completing the mission.

There are also a rare breed of people who are naturally both STARTERS and FINISHERS.  They come up with great ideas, get inspired AND get it done!

As we sat thinking about ourselves and our way of doing things, he then asked all the STARTERS to stand up.  If memory served, it was about 75% of the room.

They then sat down and the FINISHERS stood up.

He then told the STARTERS to take a good look around – if you are a STARTER it’s important to partner with a FINISHER so you get things done.

Another way to look at this is through the lens of Follow-Through.  Follow-through is basically finishing.  I love some of the tips Marie Forleo gives in this video but I also love the idea of finding a finisher to partner with if you really like to keep starting new things.

There is no rule that says the same person has to take a job from start to finish – but you won’t find much success if no one ever finishes what you start. – Tara Reed

On Facebook there have been quite a few discussions lately in the art licensing circles about whether you HAVE TO learn to use Photoshop or Illustrator to succeed.  Do you HAVE TO learn to put your art in repeat?  Can the client do this stuff or can you outsource it?

As you can imagine, there were almost as many opinions as there were responses.  My personal feeling:  the more you know and the value you can provide your clients, the more repeat business you will get.  (For that reason I have FINALLY committed to really learning Illustrator… and it’s going better than expected after only a few days.)

At the same time, I can provide the value to my client by hiring someone to do the work that needs to be in Illustrator if I so choose as well.  or Photoshop… whatever the case may be.  The key is to get the job done.

SO… food for thought today:  do you like to finish what you start or will you find another way?

Watch this video – Marie has some great ideas for people who want to better manage themselves so they don’t get distracted before the finish line if they choose to do it themselves.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Jim Carrey’s Secret of Life

This has been going around Facebook and Jennifer Pugh brought it to my attention – on the absolute perfect day for me!  I SO NEEDED this reminder – it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drama, decisions, fear of the present and future, questioning the past… our brains really are  amazing and can work for us or against us if we let them run wild.

So today – take a few minutes and watch this video… stop everything else you are doing.  Listen, watch and breathe.  Nothing else.  It’s only 3 minutes – you can do it and I promise – it’s worth it.

Here’s to your creative success.

– Tara Reed

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