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

Misc. Business Tips

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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, 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!)

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

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! [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

Copyright Registration Fees to change May 1, 2014

The Copyright Office, part of the Library of Congress, has announced that fees to register for copyrights will be changing as of May 1, 2014.  Since 2009 there has been a set fee of $35 whether you are registering one piece of art or a collection of 100 images.  This all changes on May 1.

The standard registration fee will change to $55 – that will include any registration of more than one image.

Single registration – meaning one piece of work by one person not made for hire – will remain at $35.

Most likely, all of our registration fees will change to $55 because I don’t know of anyone who registers art one image at a time. (You’d have to have quite a budget for copyright registrations if you do!) So I highly recommend you register what you have by April 30th to take advantage of the current $35 fee and then know it will cost a little more going forward.

Here is the official notice from the Copyright Office:

Copyright Office Announces New Fee Schedule; First Since 2009

The U.S. Copyright Office is announcing a new fee schedule covering registration, recordation, and related services; special services; Licensing Division services; and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) services. These fees will take effect on May 1, 2014. The final rule establishing the new fee schedule was published in the Federal Register today and is available at

This new fee schedule is the product of a multiyear process of studying current Copyright Office fees, evaluating the Office’s budget requirements, and considering public comments. While a number of fees, including the fee for standard registrations, have increased to permit the Office to more fully recoup its expenses, some fees have decreased and others remain the same. The Office has also instituted a separate, lower fee for single-author, single-work registration claims. For more information, go to

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed


Working out my “NO” muscle & red flags to watch out for in contracts

I’ve been practicing saying “NO” recently so I can say “YES” to what I am focused on and so I don’t over-extend myself and stress myself out.

Writing a recent email with the “no” was uncomfortable, but better than all the work, etc if I had said “yes”.

Much of the NO was based on a bad contract… words like “irrevocable” and “unconditional” are huge red flags.  You never know what direction you or another company might go moving forward and if you suddenly become very unaligned for one reason or another, there is no way to re-negotiate or change things when the contract has that sort of language.

Another piece of the contract issue was the “what happens in case of breach”… I had no rights or recourse, they would be “entitled to whatever injunctive or equitable relief they deemed appropriate” – what does THAT mean?  It could mean anything really!

So what do you do in this sort of situation?  Do you walk away, discuss, negotiate, stomp your feet at the inequality of it all?

Any of the above really – you can be presented with any kind of contract someone wants to create – it is up to YOU to decide if it is in your best interests to sign it.

In this case, I chose to walk away.  The potential up-side for me for going through with the deal wasn’t big and my schedule is tight in the next few months.  I have a vacation coming up (YEAH!) and SURTEX is less than 100 days away.  My YES’s need to be aligned with me keeping sane and getting ready for my biggest trade show of the year.  Reduce distractions.

If the deal had been for something that could have had good long-term benefits in the way of income, exposure and more – a conversation about the contract would have been merited.  I thought about it, made a decision, waited 24 hours to make sure I still liked my decision, then sent the email.  Done.  No more energy distracting me from my focus…

I know I’ve talked about saying NO to things so you can say YES to others before but thought this was a very real and concrete example of it in action!

Think before you say YES.  Be deliberate in how you spend your time and energy and you will be amazed at how much more you will accomplish and how much happier and lighter you will feel!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Here are two books that I recommend related to this conversation:

The Power of a Positive No

The Power of a Positive No by William Ury [affiliate link]

How to Understand Art Licensing ContractsHow to Understand Art Licensing Contracts
By Maria Brophy & 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


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