Ask Michelle McCullough about social media and time management - free call 9/17/14


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3 ways to uplevel your art licensing business in September & October

Wowie is fall looking like fun!  I am going to be doing 3 different events in September and October that give you several ways to uplevel your art licensing business – the question is, are you ready?

September 27-28, 2014 – School House Craft – Live Conference in Seattle, WA

School House Craft fall conference for artists - Seattle WAThis is the 5th year of the School House Craft program and I’m honored and excited to be participating!  There will be two days of focused small business classes and workshops led by some of the community’s most knowledgeable and inspirational speakers along with many opportunities expand your network and connect with your peers.

The 2014 School House Craft Conference will be held at the Sunset Hill Community Club – a beautifully restored two-story Arts & Crafts style clubhouses located in the heart of the friendly Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA.

I will be teaching an intro to art licensing class on Sunday and a Goal Wheel for Artists class on Saturday.  In addition, I will be hosting one (or two?) lunch roundtables and of course hanging out and having fun.

This conference isn’t just about art licensing – I’m one little piece of the puzzle.  It is for:  Artists, Crafters and Makers, both emerging and experienced, who are looking to invest in their businesses and learn a wealth of information that will help them start, run, and grow their small creative businesses more efficiently and with greater success.

Live in the Northwest and want to learn more?  Visit


 Art Licensing Academy – next group coaching program starts October 8, 2014

Art Licensing Academy group coaching program with Tara ReedThe next Art Licensing Academy is open for registration!  We meet on Wednesday and Fridays in October (if you can’t listen live, everything is recorded so no worries!)

Succeeding in art licensing – or any business for that matter – requires more than just the core skills or talent.  In art licensing, the “core skills” would obviously be artistic talent.  If you have the talent, you then need to learn how to apply it in a way that works for products.  You need to learn to see trends and decide if they make sense for your style and focus.  I consider the core skills the art related skills.

Beyond the core skills, you need business skills -  sales & marketing, building and nurturing relationships, understanding and negotiating contracts, etc.

But don’t forget about your “personal” core.  Without understanding yourself and what motivates you and what might make you sabotage yourself, you won’t have everything you need to maximize your success.

I have designed the Art Licensing Academy to support you and help you grow in all three of these areas.

There are free bonuses for artists who sign up by September 20th.  Get all the details and save your spot at

License 2 Grow – Live Event – October 20, 2014 in Kings Beach, CA (Lake Tahoe!) with Tara Reed & agent Kimberly Montgomery

License 2 Grow - art licensing event with Tara Reed and Kimberly MontgomeryTara Reed & Agent Kimberly Montgomery of Montage Licensing have teamed up to create a day long event for artists looking to dig in and get serious about licensing their art. Their combined 30+ years of experience in the industry – Kimberly as an artist and now an agent and Tara as an artist and educator – ensures you will leave with a solid plan for what to do next and a the excitement to make it happen!

This event is for artists who are ready to step up their game. If you have an open mind, are ready to learn and then take action – we’d love to have you join us!

Artists who register for the License 2 Grow event by September 20th can also join the Art Licensing Academy – for half off!  Details are on the website at

 SO… who’s in?  I’d love to have you at one, two or even all three – the choice is up to you!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Social Media and Time Management – what questions do you have?

Michelle McCulloughOur next Ask Call expert is brand new to the Art Licensing Info team –  Michelle McCullough.  I was first introduced to Michelle at Tiffany Peterson’s Elevation event last Sept (want to come this year? More details further down…)

Michelle talked about social media and more specifically, how to manage your TIME on social media so you still get other things done.  Genius!

Later she was a guest speaker at one of the Inner Circle meetings I attended (a 6 month program I participated in – again, with the amazing Tiffany Peterson).  This time we talked about marketing AND social media.  And a little bit about Time Management.  I knew I had to share her with you!

I hired Michelle to do a marketing review of my website and was thrilled with some of the tweaks she suggested.  There were a lot of “Why didn’t I think of that?” thoughts going through my head as I furiously wrote down all the ideas she had that I later implemented.

Basically – I’m a Michelle McCullough fan.

Michelle will be joining me on the September 17, 2014 Art Licensing Info Ask Call.

We need you to start submitting questions about time management and social media as soon as they come to mind.  In fact, why don’t you do it right here, right now??

More about Michelle McCullough:

Michelle is the author of The Time Blueprint for Entrepreneurs (affiliate link) Michelle will share her years of experience in helping entrepreneurs make the best use of their time.

She is also a co-founder of -a website dedicated to helping women grow businesses.  (And they have helped men too – in spite of the website name!)

Other places to learn more about and connect with Michelle McCullough:

I’m looking forward to the call – mark your calendar for 9/17/14 so you don’t miss it!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Want to join me at the Elevation event in Salt Lake City, Utah – Sept 11-13, 2014?  It’s only $197 for 2 1/2 days and you will leave a changed (for the better!) person.  Learn all about it at (affiliate link) If you decide to come, let me know – I’ll be there!

Tiffany Peterson's Elevation 2014 event

Art Licensing FAQs

Did you notice that there is an FAQ tab on this blog?  This is the place to find quick answers and links to more detail about some of the most common questions artists have when they first hear about the concept of licensing their art.  I encourage you to take some time to look at that info and read the blog posts.

Here is a brief rundown of the basic WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, HOW and HOW MUCH of art licensing.


Artists who want to share in the “success or failure” of a product vs. being paid for their time for art often choose to license their art.  Traditionally they are paid a royalty based on the sale price of a product and based on the quantity sold – similar to a sales person who works on commission.


Art that works well for licensing is art that is pretty mainstream that a wide variety of people would want to have on products.  The art’s purpose is to sell product.  Extremely abstract art and portrait style art doesn’t usually work well in licensing.  Art that is more mainstream will – for example, people always want Santas or Snowmen for Christmas products and look for new options every year.


Manufacturers and retailers from around the world may choose to get their art by licensing it.  There really isn’t a geographic boundary.  A great place to connect with those manufacturers are at licensing shows where artists exhibit and manufacturers and retailers come.  Here are the main shows that I’m aware of and a few I found today while writing this post -


Manufacturers and retailers can get their art in 4 primary ways:

  • in-house artists
  • buy art outright (copyrights and all)
  • use stock art from factories who create their products
  • license art (either traditional royalty based agreement or a flat fee but still based on a contract that defines term, product and territory and the artist retains the copyrights to the art)

Manufacturers often choose licensing for the following reasons:

  • Exclusivity.  By licensing art they can usually negotiate exclusive use of an artists design for their products – ensuring their competitors won’t bring the same thing to market.  This isn’t always the case if they use stock art from factories.
  • Flexibility.  By licensing art, companies can work with artists with a wide variety of styles that they might not be able to create with a group of in-house artists.
  • Cost savings.  When a company licenses art, they pay the artist based on how well the product sells.  So while their costs can vary, they are always directly related to the income from sales.
  • Design support.  Many artists who license their work become like a part of the design team – working together to get the art just right and often setting it up to templates for production.  This saves the manufacturers labor costs of having their own graphics team or at least lightens the load on the team they have in place.


Art licensing is done through contracts.  An agreement is made between the artist and the licensee (manufacturer or retailer) about what art is being licensed, for what products, to be sold in what territory and for what time frame.  Payment amounts and time frames are also included as well as many other details – but these are the key points. (Learn all about contracts from the eBook How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts by Tara Reed & Maria Brophy)

Artists can do their own marketing and work directly with licensees or choose to use an art licensing agent for that side of the business.  (read the blog post: Agent or Not)

There is a lot to the “HOW” piece of this puzzle – how to create art for licensing, how to connect with people who license art, how to negotiate a win-win contract…  More information is available in the FAQ page links, from eBooks or the Art Licensing Academy.


The “how much can you make and how long will it take” question is pretty much impossible to answer.  There are so many factors that go into it – including but not limited to:

  • how much art an artist creates for consideration for licensing
  • the relationships an artist develops with licensees – how many eyes can you get on your art?
  • how well the art fits the market, the product, etc.
  • how well the product sells, where it sells and the price point
  • how much you make in royalties or a flat fee

I know artists who make $1,000 a year and some who make mid to high six figures.  This is both good and bad – the sky is the limit (that’s good!) but when you are beginning it is hard to get a feel for how you will personally do.

You have to take a long-term mindset if you jump into licensing your art. While I can’t guess what you will make, I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be fast money.  It can take 2-5 years to get enough in the pipeline to start earning any kind of consistent income, so have a way to pay your bills in the meantime.

SO… where do you go from here?  If you are interested in seeing what you can do with your art in the art licensing industry, I recommend you do the following:

  • Read through the FAQ page and associated blog posts on this blog. (just click the tab at the top of the blog!)
  • Subscribe to my bi-monthly eNewsletter – you will get a free audio about the industry when you sign up and each newsletter has links to blog posts here as well as links to other articles and posts I think are of interest to artists learning about art licensing.
  • Participate in the bi-monthly Ask Calls.  Every other month I host an expert in the industry for an hour-long teleseminar (a seminar conducted by phone) where we answer questions submitted by artists like you.  Send us your questions.  Listen to the calls.  Check out the replays.  There is SO MUCH knowledge to be had through this program!  Learn more and bookmark
  • Consider the eBooks and audios available on specific art licensing topics.  Learn more at
  • Really ready to dig in?  The 4 week group coaching program – the Art Licensing Academy  - might be a great next step.  Visit the website to see when the next session will start.
  • Take action every day!  Create art. Build collections.  Build your portfolio. Get it in front of decision makers. Repeat.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Usage considerations when having professional photos taken

Since I’m pretty sure everyone is picking out outfits and researching photographers in their area to get new photos done, I thought I’d bring up on point to consider when making your choice.

Ask the photographer about usage rights.

photographerJust like we own the copyrights to our art, photographers own the copyrights to photos – even if your smiling face is in it and you paid them to take it.  I have met different photographers who all have different theories about usage and fees so you want to know them up front.

In my opinion, if you are getting photos taken for business, you need to have some serious flexibility.  I need to be able to use them on my website, on social media, marketing materials, for magazine articles that need headshots and more.  I also wanted to be allowed to print one and give it to my dad without paying extra. :)

Ask around.  Some photographers will include the right to do all those things in their price.  Others might want a higher fee than if you are getting photos done and buying prints from them.  Some might want a copyright notice on every usage, others might just appreciate being tagged if you show off your new pics on Facebook… Remember that they get to make the rules for their business and you get to decide who you want to do business with!

It is in your best interest (and good karma) to respect the copyright usage boundaries you agree to.  We make a living in art licensing by expecting others to respect our copyrights and pay us for usage so we should do the same.

Here’s to your creative success – can’t wait to see your new headshots!

– Tara Reed

Why you should get professional photographs taken…

The short answer:  because you are a professional and need to present yourself as such.

But if you are at all like me, it isn’t quite that simple.  :)

I have been using the same headshot since February of 2011.  I’m sure you know the one – black top, leaning on my elbow and holding my paintbrushes under my chin.  It was a great representation of what I do at a glance (no one was going to think I was an accountant) and I liked the picture.  I was lucky that that one turned out as well as it did considering it was taken by my then 17 year old son.

A few months ago I was asked to give some opinions for the SURTEX On the Surface eNewsletter with a gentle nudge to “please give us a new photo”.  It could be in my studio, whatever… they were just tired of my favorite headshot.

I didn’t have a lot of time and I REALLY didn’t want to invest in professional photos (more on that in a minute) so I had a friend who has a pretty good eye come over one day and we did some new pics.  My studio doesn’t have the best light and is a weird shape so getting good “at work” photos didn’t really happen.  Did a few shots and then we decided to do something fun outside.  To pull the “northwest” feel I played around behind a cedar tree in my backyard – with my paintbrushes – and we captured an expression I was happy with.  That was used in the eNewsletter and a magazine.

Lots of people said how great the photos were on Facebook and I was just happy they were done.  Let’s just say I haven’t been feeling like the best version of myself lately… the stress of juggling work, life, my dad’s illness, etc. caused me to gain a bit of weight.  Well… to be honest, THAT didn’t, it was the fact that I dealt with all of that by eating that did it.

Lee Harris, the charming photographer husband of artist Karen Harris, sent me a kind email saying that he agreed that I looked good but that the photos themselves were not where he thought they should be for me or my business.  I admitted that I didn’t want to invest money having photographs taken of me in my current shape and here is his response…

“As a friend and photographer (amateur SHRINK) I’m telling you that YOU ARE worth the investment. I shoot models and model portfolios and none of them think they ever look as good, are as slim, etc as the could be. Women from 9 to 99 are taught that they are too short or tall or could lose a few pounds – if I had to wait on every women to get to where she feels 100% about herself I would be out of business. You would be surprised at the number of women who I have photographed who have cried when they say the finished images. A professional is worth the investment if you simply are not felling as good about yourself as you should (because you are AWESOME) and can brighten you day with quality images. BUT for you as a creative and a BRAND you MUST have quality professional images done. A good photographer can control a little extra weight with poses and lighting and post editing.

You design beautiful things – your brand is about style and your personal style should come through in any photos that are represented of you anywhere. You don’t post designs that did not quite make the cut? It’s not going to cost a ton of money for some professional photos. But it is well worth the investment and YOU MY FRIEND are well worth the investment.

Did you forget how big I am?? don’t make me come out there ;o)”

I will admit tears were shed during this whole exchange.  And he is big… he used to play basketball so at the time I was really glad he lives in Ohio!

This reminder that we need to embrace who we are in the moment and put our best image forward – especially when it is for our business, was the catalyst for me getting professional headshots taken.

Value of Professional Photos

I will also admit that there was a lot of internal stress and worry and self-judgement that almost caused me to cancel my appointment on more than one occasion.  But I went and the photos turned out great!  Lee is right – a good photographer can find a great angle to bring out your personality and make you feel good about yourself.  (And, added bonus, no red-eye!)  They also do a little photoshop to make it even better.

I am so glad I fought my fear and did it anyway.  I really debated sharing this whole story but decided that I would because maybe it would help others change their perspective about investing in who they are and having the best version of themselves online.

Thank you Lee Harris!  (If you live in Akron, Ohio and need headshots – check him out.  You can find him on Facebook

Thank you as well to Colleen Cahill Studios in Troutdale, Oregon (close to Portland and Vancouver, WA) – if you are in my area, I highly recommend her – great to work with! You can find her on Facebook at

So I encourage you to rethink your feelings about pictures and make sure your image represents the professional that you are!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


Thriving Artist Summit free replays end this Friday, 1/31/14!

Thriving Artist Series

Tick-tock! Tick-tock!  If you haven’t registered for and listened to the amazing interviews with artists of all kinds, your time is running out! You have through this Friday – January 31, 2014 to join in the learn.

Bonnie Glendinning is the Founder of and The Thriving Artist Summit. She is on a mission to help artists be successful and thrive, not, just survive. Bonnie has brought together 20+ highly successful artists, experts, and mentors to share their key insights for real success.

You will probably not be surprised to know that I shared about art licensing…

>> Don’t miss out on this great opportunity (I told you it’s FREE, right?)  Click here to register <<

The interviews cover the following topics and more:

  • Make Your Creative Biz a Real Success
  • Build Your Brand for Your Ideal Buyers
  • Price for Real Profit and Growth
  • Increase Your Sales with Marketing, PR, and Social Media
  • Diversify into Licensing, Wholesale, and Direct-to-Consumer
  • Get Into Galleries, Shows, and Raise Project Funds

So if you haven’t done it yet, what are you waiting for?  Go.  Now. :)  >>Click here to register

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


A Special Invitation to Be A Thriving Artist

Thriving Artist SeriesAre you ready to create a real business with your art? Are you wondering how to create your art full time or on the side? Are you looking for inspiration to stay focused and motivated?

I know you are. That’s why I’m excited to share this excellent opportunity coming up December 02-13, 2013. My friend Bonnie Glendinning is hosting The Thriving Artist Summit to help you discover how to get your creative business to the next level!

Bonnie Glendinning is the Founder of and The Thriving Artist Summit. She is on a mission to help artists be successful and thrive, not, just survive. Bonnie has brought together 20+ highly successful artists, experts, and mentors to share their key insights for real success.

You will probably not be surprised to know that I shared about art licensing… I can’t wait to hear all of the other amazing artists that Bonnie has gathered as well!

>> Find out more right here: <<

During this special community summit you will discover how to:

  • Make Your Creative Biz a Real Success
  • Build Your Brand for Your Ideal Buyers
  • Price for Real Profit and Growth
  • Increase Your Sales with Marketing, PR, and Social Media
  • Diversify into Licensing, Wholesale, and Direct-to-Consumer
  • Get Into Galleries, Shows, and Raise Project Funds

I’d love for you to experience this yourself and JOIN US FOR THIS FREE summit.

WHAT: The Thriving Artist Summit

WHEN: December 02 through December 13, 2013

HOW LONG: Approximately 1 hour, replay available to registrants

>> Secure your spot: <<

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

p.s. A replay will be available, but you still have to register to receive access!


Do you want to take a BIG LEAP? What is holding you back?

You might be surprised…

Since I seem to be telling everyone who will listen that they should read The Big Leap, I thought I’d blog about why I am so head-over-heels with this book.

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

(All of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you click them and buy the book, I think I will make 40¢.  If you aren’t ok with that, don’t click them, k?  Now, back to my thoughts… the FTC should be happy with my transparency :) )

Have you ever heard writers or motivational speakers talk about our “inner thermostat”?  That we all have a set point that we are comfortable with – when it comes to the temperature of our bodies to the amount of money we are comfortable having.  When things get too far from our set point, we do things – both consciously and subconciously – to get back to our comfort zone.

Temperature is a great place to start.  I like to be cooler than my husband.  He LOVES summer – sitting out in the sun and sweating in 90+ degree weather is his idea of paradise.  It’s my idea of Chinese torture.  I like the upper 60s and low 70s – where it is nice but I don’t work up a sweat walking across the street to the mailbox.  I HATE to sweat and will do all kinds of things to avoid it.

Some people are like that with money.  If they hang out with people who think anyone with more than enough to barely pay their bills are bad people, then you will do your best to stay at the “just scraping by” level yourself to fit in.  There are story after story of lottery winners who couldn’t handle the sudden and drastic change in wealth and what it did to their relationships and life that they lost it quickly.

These things aren’t always as dramatic as that… but I bet you anything you have certain beliefs or fears about SUCCESS AS AN ARTIST that you don’t even realize.  And if you don’t realize the beliefs, you are even less likely to see the things you do to sabotage yourself.  I mean really, there is some serious group-think about what it means to be an artist – does it mean you aren’t “real” if you make money?  Are you “selling out” if you can pay your bills?  Does almost everyone you meet assume you don’t make money when you say you are an artist?  Society and artists have a lot of predisposed ideas of what being an artist means… read this book and get out of your own way.

As part of the business program I am in, we had to read The Big Leap before we got started.  At our first in person even we spent a bit of time talking about what we discovered about ourselves.  As the two days went on, we discovered even more as we talked, were heard and really thought harder about how we were holding ourselves back and why.

This isn’t easy work… there were lots of tissues and tears but with them came some major breakthroughs in understanding.

The Big Leap by Gay HendricksIf you are willing to do the personal work to better understand yourself and the things that make you tick, you can really shift the results you get in other areas of your life – from relationships to yes, business.

I have found the information in this book to be invaluable and I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface of how I am holding myself back.  I’m trying to get a lot of my friends and those in my support system to read it too so we can discuss it and help point out places where we are “upper limiting”.  Those who have have joined me in a new way of looking at things, supporting each other and even talking.  (Have you ever had anyone say “you are upper limiting yourself?” before and do you know what it means?  You will if you read the book!)

SO… if you want to better understand how and why you might be holding yourself back from what you say you want – go get AND READ this book!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Artsy Shark is looking for artists to feature on their blog…


Call for Artists – Submit your work for consideration to become a featured artist on Artsy Shark may apply between November 6 –14, 2013. This is a juried submission process. Each selected artist is featured in an individual article on Artsy Shark, sharing their story in their own words, and presenting their portfolio. Articles also include a prominent link to the artist’s own website.

Each featured artist article is emailed to thousands of subscribers, promoted extensively on social media, and seen by many of the 30,000 unique visitors to each month.

Interested? Learn More and Apply here

Artsy Shark

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  don’t leave a comment and expect to be considered – follow the link above and apply directly to Artsy Shark

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