Many creatives don’t see themselves as business orientated, which is why today’s book is so useful for creatives interested in promoting and selling their art.
I am an avid reader so when I heard about Jennifer Lee I watched some of her workshops during her last online summit and read her book Building Your Business the Right Brain Way.
I enjoy reading books on business from different perspectives and I can see from the start why Jennifer Lee resonates with creatives. She is a creative herself and created resources to visually express and map out our business needs as working artists. She connects the creative process for art making with the creative process of developing and refining our business strategy.
Lee’s advice comes from a place of pragmatism, with smart, actionable steps we can take to reflect on and develop our business. Her work also acknowledges the importance of our intuition and soul-connection to our art. Included are fun and playful worksheets that get down to the nitty gritty details of business while also acknowledging our creative spirit.
I enjoy the activities Lee created because they are visual and expressive. It takes the bite out of the daunting nature of creating and managing an arts based business. It also gives us practical reflections for us to consider to build the business we want to run.
I really enjoyed one of the first exercises in the book, the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s a great way to get a literal picture of your ideas/goals/practice when it comes to the business side of your creativity.
One really good tidbit that resonates with me:
“Be willing to take action and put yourself out there, even when you don’t feel ready and even if your idea is not yet perfect. You’ll actually learn more and gain more clarity the more you interact with your idea and get feedback.”
Too many artists wait until they are “good enough,” or until they know their work is “perfect” to showcase it, promote it, or consider selling it. This attitude is an obstacle to creativity. The focus of this book is about creating and maintaining a sustainable artist practice and business, something we all need to be thinking about as we pressure ourselves to create.
I appreciate the advice that we spend our time on what we are best at. Lee shares how rather than spend her time creating the lovely images for her book she knew she was better served to focus on the writing and activity development, so she hired her friend to illustrate it.
Sometimes we ask ourselves to be and do everything when there may be resources to use or people we can hire to support us doing our best work.
Lee deftly includes real life situations of creative businesswomen applying strategies offered in the book. The personal stories of real people makes you feel like you are part of a community; in fact, you feel like you could even be one of those creators mentioned by Lee. It makes all of the tasks, suggestions and information feel attainable, possible, and worthwhile.
In the end it’s clear that we need to have a specific picture of what we want for ourselves going forward to make any strides. It sounds simple, but getting through the muck of emotional and social messaging that muddy the waters of goal-setting and creative dreams can be difficult. We have to do some inner work to discover what we really want for ourselves and our art if we are to create a life we love.
“Dig deep to uncover and honor what truly fulfills and serves you…” – Jennifer Lee
If you have vast business knowledge this book would work best as a refresher text, offering new ways to look at your business strategy. It really shines for a creator seeking a map to build a sustainable business making the art they love.
In the end this book is only as good as the time you put into it because you are only as successful as the time you dedicate to yourself, your business and your art.
Build a sustainable art business you love with @artizencoaching. #bookreview on @ArtistStrong (Click to Tweet)
Get the book here: If you want to read Jennifer Lee’s Building Your Business The Right Brain Way please consider obtaining it through my affiliate link. It affords me a small portion of the proceeds, which help me run Artist Strong. Thank you for spreading good karma and being part of this amazing community!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Tell me in the comments today: what does being a successful artist look like to you?
Ordered. You had me at sustainable.
Hahaha! Love it Mandy. You always make me smile, here and on Twitter 🙂 Yes, I thought sustainable was a lovely word choice on Lee’s part. It’s something I’m striving for too.
I suppose “success” for me is being able to afford the products that allow me to continue painting as much as I want to. Selling my paintings allows me the privilege to continue. There is no way I could afford to paint if I did not sell some of my works to be able to do that. I had a friend who I never knew was a painter, had painted over 20 years but told me she had stopped painting as had run out of room to put all her paintings and she didn’t have the confidence to sell what she had due to her self critical voice. It was such a sad moment, and a wake up moment that I never want to feel I can’t afford to paint as I’m just wasting money I need to pay bills. I need to create now I’ve found my passion. Being able to continue to learn, up skill and grow is what brings me joy and is how I define “success”. Not stopping. For any reason. If the main reason for stopping creating is economic then sell as you go. That is the ticket for me to be able to continue. So having the confidence to continue to put my work out there as I learn and grow is my definition of success!
Deb I LOVE your definition of success. It makes my heart happy to hear it. Keep creating! Your art is worth it.