Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Everyone's In On Business Promotion

I am seeing it everywhere and it is driving me bananas.

I taught myself to make soap from books. Back then there was no such thing as online video tutorials. There were no chat groups that I could find. I wanted to know a thing so I got a book from the library and taught myself. Multiple books actually. I also bought some books. It was a solo pursuit done under my own motivation and with my own drive. I made soap on and off for seven years, for my personal use and giving as gifts. Local friends began pushing me to sell it. Then I found online chat groups and found lots of videos on YouTube from smart informed people and from ignorant stupid people. I was then bombarded with a lot of propaganda telling me I would make money at selling soap. I fell for it line and sinker. I opened a solo prop business. This meant I had to learn about small business law, sales tax, and lots of stuff legal and beaurocratic in nature. I realized selling soap needed more time promoting and marketing my soap and selling it at shows than the making or inventing of new designs or formulas. For me the fun was in the making and I wanted to be a maker. I don't enjoy selling and marketing.

Shift gears, I always thought I wanted to draw and paint. I figured this was a creative hobby. I discovered lots of videos on YouTube, everything from how to draw and how to paint to a day in the life of an artist and art history documentaries by professionals and by amateur YouTubers. Happy times, watching lot of stuff. I then noticed that some of those sharing free information were nudging us viewers to buy their stuff.  They were not just artists making art they were using YouTube to sell their product, their art supply, their classes, their online school or their in person workshops. I then began to realize that these professional artists were not making their income from their art but from related businesses getting amateur artists to think they can become a hobbyist artist or a professional artist. Here we go again. Then in my feed began appearing suggestions to watch videos about how to make money selling our art. A large number of ot hese how to videos which I then started watching was the same exact information that is general and applicable to all businesses. How to use YouTube to promote your business, how to use Instagram, Facebook, make your own website, etc.

It is everywhere. The people promoting that you can make a living wage doing a creative thing you enjoy. For most people, they will need a day job and creative pursuits will have to be a hobby done on nights or weekends.

Even if you can make a living wage off of painting or drawing, they say the same thing as the other areas, that 50% at least, will be the business side of your time. One video I saw said 80% business to 20% painting. He also said anyone who just paints and does not sell is a collector of one's own work.

One more thought: to get really good at art making it takes a lot of time doing the thing. It is hard to live a life plus put 30-ish hours into art making every week, in my opinion. This is because real life takes time and energy and making art is energy sapping. You cannot make art if your creative muse is not with you and most of us are not in that right state of mind every single day of the week. If you make art or any thing like knitting or soap making, when you are sick or feeling off, you can make mistakes. My errors have ruined batches of soap from mis-weighing ingredients due to a headache or fuzzy thinking on brain fog days (eating certain foods give me brain fog). I have had to rip back two knitted hats in the last couple of weeks which resulted in me not restarting that darned hat, I'm discouraged now.

Anyhow if you think you are going to simultaneously learn, make, and sell, it's a bad idea. A certain amount of production has to be done to learn the process. I am thinking of some new resin painting artists using a new to them material from the hardware store who do not yet know how the resin will hold up over time, if it will yellow. In soap making we need to test recipes and see how they do when used. I never sell a soap before personally testing it even when I think the batch came out perfectly.

At this point I wanted to hone my painting skills for my own self  and I don't plan to try to sell my art, because I want to make art not to work 50-80% of my time on the business side of things. Although paintings don't spoil overtime like bath and skin care products do so there is less risk if the artwork doesn't  sell immediately.

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