Misc. Business Tips

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Copyright Registration: a note about “claimants”

So last week I got a few emails from the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office.  (They are very nice is helping you sort things out if you check the wrong box or something looks weird on their end.)

If you recall from the call with the Copyright Office (if you don’t, click here to get your free replay) I talked with them about WHO should be the claimant – myself personally as the artist or my business, since I am incorporated. (I’m not 100% sure if the rules are the same for an LLC but I expect they would be.)  He said that if the art was created and necessary for the business to do business, the business should be the claimant and own the copyright.

In a recent filing, I put myself as the author and my business as the claimant and I checked off that there was a transfer statement.  I thought that was the correct way to do it – apparently not.

Here is what they told me:

If an employee of the company made the work then the company should be the author and copyright claimant with no transfer statement.

So I guess as Tara Reed, an employee of Tara Reed Designs, Inc, I’m doing ‘work for hire’ so there doesn’t need to be a transfer statement.

Thought I’d pass on the info in case anyone else has been confused about that part of the registration process!

Here’s to your creative – and protected – success!

– Tara Reed

Laverne & Shirley – Perfect Entrepreneurial Attitude!

Ah… memories!  I remember when Happy Days, followed by Laverne & Shirley were a much anticipated event at my house!  I also remember how the 3 kids (I’m the middle) had staggered bed times – my brother had to go to bed after Happy Days (8:30), my sister got to go to bed after Laverne & Shirley (9:00) and me?  I had to go to bed SMACK DAB in the middle of the show! (8:45)  (Yes Mom & Dad, I still harbor some resentment about that!)

Well I got to thinking about the show a few weeks ago and realized the theme song is the perfect example of an entrepreneurial attitude.  “Gonna Do it our way, yes our way, make all our dreams come true…”

So are you a Laverne or Shirley?

Laverne is the entrepreneur who gets an idea and dives right in.  I imagine she’d be the person who takes risks, goes with her gut and is ok to learn from her mistakes.

Shirley on the other hand, would be the more cautious business person.  She might get inspired but then she’d get analytical.  Crunch numbers. Study the situation from every angle before proceeding.  (Shirley risks getting stuck in “analysis paralysis” – don’t be THAT Shirley!)

Whether you are a Laverne or Shirley artist – the key is to knowing which you are and embrace it.  When ever Shirley tried to act like Laverne, things did not go well!

The show “worked” because Laverne was the “yang” to Shirley’s “yin”.

It would be an equally good combination in business.  So if you are Shirley to the nth degree, be sure to have a Laverne in your life to keep you moving and if you are a Laverne, find a Shirley to make sure you don’t go off in so many directions that you get nothing done.

Here’s to your creative and entrepreneurial success!

– Tara Reed

P.S. Here are the lyrics:

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
Sclemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated.
We’re gonna do it!

Give us any chance, we’ll take it.
Give us any rule, we’ll break it.
We’re gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin’ it our way.

Nothin’s gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We’re gonna make our dreams come true,
Doin’ it our way.

There is nothing we won’t try,
Never heard the word impossible.
This time there’s no stopping us.
We’re gonna do it.

On your mark, get set, and go now,
Got a dream and we just know now,
We’re gonna make our dream come true.
And we’ll do it our way, yes our way.
Make all our dreams come true,
And do it our way, yes our way,
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you.

How to Price Usage for a Piece of Art in 5-10 Minutes

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about how to price art for projects that aren’t being paid based on a royalty structure traditionally found in art licensing.  I decided not to re-create the wheel (especially since I don’t have experience pricing art!).  Here is some excellent advice shared a few years ago that I think still applies…

In response to the post on March 29, 2011 – There is power (and money) in your system – Pilar Erika Johnson, aka PUFFY P, added some amazing information in the comments. I took one look at that and emailed to ask if I could make a separate blog post from her comment so it would be seen by all. (Really – how many of you read the comments for the nuggets of gold within them?)

Puffy P agreed to let me share her advice for all the artists who have wondered how on earth to price their art…

I personally find the Graphic Artists Guide to not be the best source for real life usage rates. A better option for advertising type projects (such as corporate tee shirts, logos, or other business usage) is to look at a stock photography site like http://www.gettyimages.com/. I have done a ton of work as a designer (over 15 years), often needing to purchase rights for photos and illustrations for various design jobs.

    1. When talking to the potential client, ask them for the usage terms they need, including how many impressions (how many times the image would be actually printed or used on the website, – or how many items would be printed). Also ask how long the client wants to use the image, and what territory. With website usage, you can price based on the length of the term, since it is hard to estimate the number of hits. With something like a logo, you would want to know what they would be using it on, because there is additional value if they are going to put it on products too like tees, etc, rather than just on a business card.


    1. Go to gettyimages.com and search for an image similar in subject matter to yours, ie: do a search for “dog with flowerpot”, (or whatever subject your image may be of). Be sure to only search for RIGHTS MANAGED images. (this means that the user needs to pay you for use of the image in relation to how much they will use the image, vs a one time fee which is called ROYALTY FREE. In general ROYALTY FREE rights cannot be used for products for sale.


    1. Once you select and image, click “View Pricing” in the upper right. You can choose a number of different options, and see how much a typical stock photo site would charge for image use. You may have to guess for some of these options, but that’s OK. It’s best to try a few different images from different image suppliers to get an idea of the cost range. You can see the image suppliers name below the image.


  1. You will probably find that these numbers are much higher than what you would expect, (i.e. thousands of dollars) but it is good to have a gauge of what your art is worth for this kind of corporate usage. You may opt to just say they can use an image for $300 or whatever for a one time print run of 300 tshirts, which is fine too, but it is at least useful to get an idea of what an ad agency or designer would pay for the rights to use a piece of art.

If you are finding there is enough interest, you may then want to take a few hours to draw up a boilerplate contract for this kind of usage. You can also consider working with a stock art company to manage your sales and marketing (Getty, Corbis, and Veer all do this, as well as smaller agencies. Some artists have even set up their own stock art portion of their site. But stay away from istockphoto.com, because you will earn literally pennies per use. (Disclaimer: I can’t vouch for how much Getty , Corbis or Veer pays, but their end user price is much higher than istockphoto.)

Most importantly, don’t undersell your work! Be aware that ad agencies and even small design firms can easily charge $5,000- $50,000 for logos and brand identity. And photographers can receive thousands for usage of an existing photo for sales materials.

If the usage is for a logo, think twice before taking a few hundred dollars, since logos are worth much more to a company than just a various image in their sales materials or on their website. The logo is the whole image for the company, and a client needs to pay for that value. (This is where the Graphic Artists Guide can come in handy, with pricing logos based on the sales of the company).

And please keep in mind that clients need to understand that just because a piece of art is already made, it still has value.

Author’s background:

In addition to working for 6 years as an Art Licensor under the name PUFFY P, I have 15 years of experience in corporate and small business design and branding. My design clients include Best Buy, Charles Schwab, Levis and Comcast (all who have paid a fair price for stock art and logos).

Learn more at Pilar Erika Johnson creative – www.pilaromatic.com
and PUFFY P – www.PUFFYP.com

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and insights!

– Tara Reed

How to find copyright infringements and help deciding how to handle it…

Eep! Someone's Stolen my ContentIn a perfect world, you wouldn’t need any advice, counseling or guidance about what to do if you find someone using your art for profit without your permission… Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world.

We live in a world where you can be happily scrolling through Instagram one minute and the next minute you see your art on a product that you didn’t license… or someone sends you a photo from a store or a link to a website and says, “Wow!  I didn’t know you did this deal!  Congrats!”  But you didn’t do the deal and it’s your art and your heart is now in your stomach…

So what do you do?  What recourse do you have legally and how do you decide when and how to set the legal system in motion?

Attorney Kiffanie Stahle of TheArtistsJD.com* has written a great guide for creatives – Eep!  Someone’s Stolen My Content!* (I believe she uses the term “content” instead of “art” because this all applies to writers as well as artists.)

The book is divided into 4 sections:

  1. Finding your Content
  2. Copyright Law Crash Course
  3. Create an Action Plan
  4. Templates

There is a lot of practical, how-to information in these pages.  Links to sites if you want to search for your designs that may be being used without your knowledge (sometimes you won’t stumble across it on Instagram or Facebook!)  She also includes a great and understandable introduction to why copyright laws exist and what they do and don’t protect, some basics about registration, publication, fair use and all the other things that have us often scratching our heads.

The third part is my personal favorite – how to decide what to do when you “have arrived” and your art is used without your permission.  When calm heads don’t prevail (or is that just me?) this is the guide to turn to for advice. (And then you might want to call her or another attorney – I’m by no means saying this guide will turn you into a lawyer who doesn’t need help resolving this stuff!)

Finally, there are templates.

I had the chance to be a Beta reader of this content and offer feedback before it was finished. I like that it is practical and easy to understand – something that often evades things that relate to the law.  Kiffanie breaks it down so you can easily go back and review specific topics quickly.

To me, this is a must-have for any artist or writer who is serious about understanding the legal side of their business and what they can do when they find others trying to use their content without permission.

Click here to learn more and get your copy…*

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Check out Kiffanie’s Office Hours* – for a minimal fee you can be one of 9 people who meet for an hour to get your questions answered about the legal issues affecting your business.  Click here to learn how it works and sign up if it sounds interesting…*

* I am an affiliate and will earn a commission if you click these links and make a purchase.  I don’t promote things I don’t believe in and wouldn’t use myself.

IRS mileage rate for 2015

If you are making money from your art, you are running a business.  As such, you should behave like a business.

  • Have a separate banking account and credit card
  • Look into forming an LLC or incorporating – talk to a business advisor or attorney to decide what makes the most sense financially and to protect your personal assets
  • Keep track of income and expenses

These are only a few basic suggestions of course.  When it comes to keeping track of expenses, you can deduct miles that you drive for your business.  Miles to and from the airport for a business trip.  To and from your favorite art store for supplies, etc.

Here is the new deduction rate for mileage for 2015 for those of us in the US

The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2015 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas and oil. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil. The charitable rate is set by law.

Taxpayers always have the option of claiming deductions based on the actual costs of using a vehicle rather than the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after claiming accelerated depreciation, including the Section 179 expense deduction, on that vehicle. Likewise, the standard rate is not available to fleet owners (more than four vehicles used simultaneously). Details on these and other special rules are in Revenue Procedure 2010-51, the instructions to Form 1040 and various online IRS publications including Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

Besides the standard mileage rates, Notice 2014-79, posted today on IRS.gov, also includes the basis reduction amounts for those choosing the business standard mileage rate, as well as the maximum standard automobile cost that may be used in computing an allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Feel like you are on a roller coaster with your dreams and aspirations?

I know I do – OFTEN!

You get excited, fired up, you make a plan… then you start to work and it feels daunting.  Then you talk to someone who questions your ability to make it happen… or you read a negative thread on social media, or something else happens that leaves you disheartened.

But you aren’t a quitter!  You pick yourself back up, change your attitude and start over… let’s just say this, “Art licensing isn’t for sissies!”

Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCESS magazine has just released a new book that speaks to this very issue.  I ordered a copy and can’t wait for it to arrive!  His work is always positive, uplifting and HELPFUL.  It’s not fluff – he always presents concepts and strategies that work, both in the magazine and other books I’ve read.  (The Compound Effect [affiliate link] being one of my other favorites.)

Here is a video from his newest release, I will be surprised if this doesn’t have you nodding your head in agreement with a “been there, done that!” feeling!

And here’s a link to learn more about the book (and this isn’t an affiliate link – it isn’t available on Amazon just yet!) https://rollercoasterbook.success.com/

Here’s to YOUR creative success!

– Tara Reed

FAQ: the difference between trademarks, copyrights & patents

There have been a lot of questions and confusion lately about copyrights vs. trademarks.  Domain names, business names and more.  I found this video from the US Trademark & Patent Office that provides a quick and easy breakdown of the three main types of intellectual property: trademarks, patents, and copyrights. You’ll learn how trademarks differ from domain names and business names. By the end of the video, you’ll understand how to use each type of intellectual property to protect a different aspect of your business.

Hopefully listening to this 8 1/2 minute video will clear up some of the confusion for you!

Don’t forget to join me on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 for an hour long Ask Call with an attorney from the Copyright Office.  They will be talking about registration procedures, infringement protection and more.  If you aren’t on the Ask Call list, be sure to register at AskAboutArtLicensing.com/ask-copyright-office/

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Introducing my Success & Sales Coach – Tiffany Peterson

I’ve decided not to be greedy… it was, after all, through artist Jennifer Pugh that I got the nudge to go to Tiffany’s event last September and get to know the woman who would have a huge impact on both my life and business.

I can’t begin to tell you how much of an impact she has had on my life and business.  I’m excited that she has agreed to spend some time on the phone with me talking about personal development, blocks to success and more.  This is a little different than our usual calls – we don’t need questions because I know what I want you to hear!  The question is – are you prepared to listen?

– Tara Reed

It was an amazing call… if you missed it, sign up here to get access to the free replay.

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Tiffany Peterson - bonus call

Want to join me in Salt Lake City in September at Elevation?

I have my ticket and room booked and I’m counting down the days.  I LOVE this event – if after listening to Tiffany and what she’s about, you think you might too – JOIN US!

Elevation2014.com [affiliate link]

About Tiffany Peterson:

Tiffany Walke Peterson has an impressive and detailed repertoire of experience in the personal and professional development industry. Tiffany is a seasoned success trainer, speaker, coach, and facilitator helping individuals and organizations alike  in creating stellar results and lasting change in their professional, financial, and personal lives.

Before founding her own company, Tiffany worked with and for many popular authors and groups, both selling and teaching the content for Franklin Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Jack Canfield, The Success Principles, and The Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and Robert Kiyosaki, of the world famous Rich Dad, Poor Dad series. The opportunity to be mentored and trained by some of the world’s best authors, teachers, and content has significantly influenced her own successful results and the results she helps others to achieve today.

Tiffany’s career began and successfully grew in the sales and marketing side of the professional and personal development industry. Tiffany serviced many Fortune 500 accounts in her career, including FedEx, Delta Airlines, and Siemens while working closely with C level executives. Tiffany received many promotions in her corporate life experience, managing multiple sales teams and projects, with a responsibility for sales budgets that ranged from $7.5 million to $40 million in annual sales revenue. Due to her record breaking sales achievements, she was sought after to train and mentor her proven sales style, process, and techniques to other sales associates, of which ultimately led her career and her passion for training, speaking, and coaching to evolve into what is now her own business. Tiffany has successfully trained and coached hundreds of sales people, with an average of 30% increase in sales revenue due to her proven methods.

Tiffany is the Founder and President of The Lighthouse Principles, Inc, a training and development firm offering proven methods and strategies to align individuals and organizations in creating success with their own goals, results, and purpose.

Tiffany is a radiant, dynamic, and captivating influence for positive change. Affectionately named, “The Hope Giver”, Tiffany is highly sought after to speak and train to groups and causes of all sizes and influence. She is well known for her passion of success principles and personal growth. She is vibrantly on purpose when she is speaking, coaching, and inspiring others to discover and achieve their own personal and professional potential.


How your body language shapes who you are and the perception of others

With SURTEX looming large, it’s that time of year where I start planning the more personal details of exhibiting at a show. What shoes to wear so my feet aren’t killing me by noon, what outfits will be cute but not distract from my art… things like that. :)

I also work on my elevator speech – what I will say to people who I have never met before.  What sets me apart from every other amazingly talented artist in the room???

Finally, I give myself a little body language pep-talk.

My body and I have these every morning before the show and during the show if I find myself crossing my arms… sometimes my sister gets involved if she doesn’t see that my inner dialogue is working.

Rachel Place, an artist in the March/April Art Licensing Academy Class shared this TED talk with us in our private Facebook group – Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are.  They studied the chemical effects of body posture and body language on the body (fascinating!) as well as the perceptions of others to different ways people present themselves physically.

This is not only a great reminder to artists who will be exhibiting at SURTEX or the Licensing Expo but great food for thought for everyday life.  Take the 20 minutes out of your busy schedule and see what you think. Would love to hear your impressions.

Here’s to your creative – and well postured – success!

– Tara Reed

Go to BED! It is the best thing you can do for your life, your health and yes… your business

With show season quickly approaching, I see more and more artists talking about pulling all-nighters, getting 3 hours of sleep and how the nights are getting shorter and shorter.  I’m sure I will ruffle some feathers when I say this but here goes….

GO TO BED and let’s stop glorifying lack of sleep or life in exchange for work.

The other day I started feeling downright guilty that I was rested and had a good night’s sleep.  What was wrong with me? Don’t I care enough? Don’t I “want it” bad enough?  Why wasn’t I planning to burn the candle at both ends for the next month and roll myself onto the plane looking so tired they might charge extra for the bags under my eyes?

“There is plenty of time to sleep when you are dead.”  Right?  That’s how really committed people feel… right?

I would like to say this:  “Been there, had that melt down.”  

Yes, I had my days, weeks, maybe years where I thought working later than everyone else meant I was more committed and would get to where I wanted to go faster.  Days (weeks, years) where I felt guilty if I wasn’t working… if I was “being lazy” enjoying a walk or taking a nap.

You know what happened?  I got really tired.  I gained a lot of weight.  I considered quitting this whole thing on multiple occasions.  I was out of alignment and it was showing in every area of my life.

Taking care of yourself is SO IMPORTANT.  While every stereotype comes about for a reason, I don’t believe that the majority of artists do their best work when they are in pain or mentally ill.  I believe we can do our best work AND be happy, healthy and able to enjoy both work and non-work related things.

Look at the long game – don’t sacrifice your health and relationships so you, too, can brag about how many all-nighters you will pull before SURTEX…

Now this brings me to Work-Life Balance… that concept has always made me feel a little guilty because I never felt like I could achieve or maintain true balance.  Different times had life or work tipping the scales and then self-criticism steps in and starts telling me I’m not good enough because I’m out of balance.

Well… Tony Robbins changed all of that for me.  He introduced me to the concept of Work-Life INTEGRATION and I LOVE IT!  Watch this video to learn more…

What do you think?  Will you think about how all of your priorities can be integrated in a healthy and sustainable way?  Will you go to bed at a reasonable hour?  I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

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