REDIMAT RESOLUTIONS: THE 4
THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TODAY
What’s a New Year without a few New Year’s resolutions? Don’t worry—we
won’t ask you to give up your favorite food...what we will do is
offer four tips on things that you can do today that will have a
positive impact on your art business this year.
-->Say Thank You
Set aside some time today to think of the people who’ve helped you
over the past few months. Then get out a piece of custom-branded
letterhead (or better yet, a postcard with one of your images on
it) and write those people a quick thank you note, letting them
know how much you appreciate their support. At a loss as to who
would make a good ‘thank you’ note candidate? How about:
--The owner and staff in the gallery that exhibits your work.
Make sure to make everyone at the gallery feel special—send the
part-time worker a thank you note just as you would the owner.
When that part-time worker is assisting buyers on a lazy Sunday
afternoon, chances are he/she’ll remember the effort you made
in including them, and might make more effort to include your
work in their sale.
--Buyers and potential buyers. Keep a running list of people who
are interested in your work. For buyers, drop a note thanking
them for their continued support— for potential buyers, thank
them for their interest. Either way, use the note as a way to
remind these buyers of any upcoming shows where they might be
able to see your work again.
--Reporters and journalists. A nice note to a newspaper reporter
who did a feature story, a weekly editor who’s consistently put
your shows on the community calendar, or a TV reporter who covered
your work at a local art fair is not only polite—it’s also very
good business, and good PR karma. Reporters remember which stories
were fun and easy to do, and which people were the most pleasant
to work with. And guess what? The next time that reporter is working
on deadline, trying to figure out an artist to feature in an upcoming
article, you’re top of mind.
-->Expand Your Circle
After you’ve written those thank you notes, it’s time to pick up
the telephone and make a quick call.
Showing works in progress to friends and family members is one thing...showing
those same works to professional artists can be scary, but will
ultimately be rewarding. Invite fellow artists to your studio to
see what you’re working on. They’ll bring with them their own insights
and experiences, and also a different perspective on the art scene
as a whole. Their constructive criticism will help you grow professionally,
and will be more instructive than the feedback Aunt Phyllis could
-->Keep Your Receipts
You’ve invited a fellow professional artist to come over and critique
your work. Wouldn’t it be a nice touch to offer her some finger
food while she’s at your studio? Head over to the grocery store
and grab a loaf of French bread, some brie, a handful of grapes
and a bottle of sparkling water. But instead of crumpling your receipt
while putting it in your pocket, or tossing it in the nearest trashcan,
take it home. Why? Because you’ve just incurred a business-related
expense! From the money you just spent, you’ll be able to deduct
a percentage on your taxes at the end of the year.
Of course, you’ll want to consult a CPA or other tax professional
for specific limitations, deductions and advice—but keeping your
receipts for the entire year will give your tax pro more to work
with...and may just give you a bit of a tax break.
-->Do It Yourself...When It Makes Sense
It makes sense for you to write ‘business receipts’ on the manila
folder you’ll be using to hold all of your receipts. In fact, hiring
someone to write it for you, or finding and buying a folder pre-labeled
‘business receipts’ would both be more time consuming and costly.
This is an extreme, but illustrative example of something that is
a perfect task.
But let’s move to something more involved—like cutting your own
mats. Sure, you can do it. You can purchase the raw materials and
the tools. You can spend time online reading tips about getting
the perfect cut or perfecting your cutting angle. You can practice
on scrap pieces of mat board before taking on the real thing. But
does it make sense to cut your own mats? Maybe...maybe not, but
it’s certainly not as crystal clear as our example above.
>If you’re confused as to when to do it yourself and when to buy
it (or hire someone else to do it) consider this: The IRS lets you
deduct business expenses (the manila folder, the pen you write with,
a pre-cut mat board you use in an artwork you’re selling, or a mat
board that you will cut yourself.) but they don’t allow you to deduct
the cost of your time. In other words, if you spend an hour of your
time cutting a mat board, you can deduct the cost of the mat board
but you can’t deduct what you would have made had you been working
that hour. And, if you have your mats cut for you, the complete
project can be used as a business expense deduction--just remember
to keep the receipts. Do the math, and determine whether a particular
task justifies your time or your money...or both.
-->Price the originals high enough to support the LE prints:
If you offer limited edition prints in addition to original artwork,
make sure to set the pricing ‘tone’ for LE prints appropriately.
People who want to own an original are more willing to pay a premium
for a one-of-a-kind piece. And people who prefer to own a print
will often judge the value of the print based on how much the original
costs. For example, if you want to sell prints at $150 each, pricing
your original at $500 doesn’t make the prints seem a very good value.
Pricing the original higher (in the case of the example we mentioned,
perhaps $1500) makes limited edition prints available to a wider
range of art buyers, which we’ll discuss more in depth below.
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