That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles??

Shelley and I believe so strongly in our mantra of “no starving artists” that we take it literally when we speak publicly. We feed our audience cookies!

When we started down this path, we spoke with our good friend, Flo – an exceptional baker and home-chef.  She offered to create a prototype cookie for us that would not only taste great but could also operate as an edible business card.

After lots of experimentation, Flo shared her product with us.  We were thrilled with the taste and the look. These cookies screamed the professionalism we were after.

The next step was to figure out the cost to S2 Seminars for all this yummy goodness.  Flo agreed to let us walk her through our maker pricing process to arrive at what she should charge per cookie.

Here are the steps we used for Flo and the cookies.

Step One:  Figure out the material costs to produce a batch of cookies. 

How much were the ingredients and the packaging to produce a dozen final-product cookies?  Taking into account the cookie and icing ingredients, the plastic sleeves and the ribbon, and any spoilage, Flo used her receipts to calculate that 12 finished-product-worthy cookies could be produced for around $9.

Note 1: Flo defined spoilage as cookies where the royal icing surface was not level or flat, the edges were too brown, the bottoms too dark, the icing letters smudged, etc.  She felt roughly 9 in every 12 cookies she produced were acceptable to represent S2. This meant each batch had to contain a minimum of 16 cookies to make sure she got a full dozen of her final product.

Note 2: For those with an accounting bend reading this blog, please know we purposefully kept this story simple. If Flo were going to make and bake full time, then we would definitely need to expand our pricing process to include sunk and operating costs and possibly some amortization too.

Step Two: Figure out the cost of labour required to bake, ice and package a batch of cookies. 

Including shopping and cooking time, Flo estimated the labour was around two hours per dozen worthy cookies.  She did feel her labour estimate would become lower over time once she developed a production system  but for now, this was the number.

In Alberta where we live, minimum wage was $13.60 when she was producing the cookies.  Multiplying two hours times $13.60 gave us $27.20 for the cost of labour.

Step Three:  Figure out the price to charge per cookie.

Now we knew the ingredient and packaging costs and the labour costs.  It was time to do some more math and figure out the price per individual cookie.

Herein lay the crux of the problem.  S2 Seminars had a budget of $1.50 a cookie.  $3.02 per cookie was more than double!  To get the price per cookie to meet our budget, it meant the material costs, labour costs or both needed to shrink.

Flo looked at her material costs and decided that, with our mutual eye to a quality product, there was not much that could be done to get the cost lower.  Next, she determined that meeting the goal of $1.50 per cookie would mean she’d only be able to charge $4.50 per hour until her systems were in place.  This put a lot of pressure on those systems to become ultra efficient so her labour rate could reach the minimum wage per hour target. Her chances of success were extremely low.

We then came to the mutual conclusion.  Although we all loved the finished product, it was cost prohibitive for either of us to pursue further.  We sure had fun finishing up the prototype cookies though!

If you’re a maker and struggling with setting your price, write us and we’ll write back.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

How to Sell Your CDs Online

Music distribution has changed dramatically over the years. In the past, you’d hear a song on the radio. If you liked it you’d go to your local record store and buy the album or the single.

I got an iPod for my birthday from my daughters in 2008. What a wonderful new toy! I spent weeks and hundreds of dollars building my digital music library. I revelled in having thousands of songs at my fingertips wherever I went. Because it was so convenient I developed a relationship with many old favourites and relished the new music I sampled.

I stopped buying CDs, preferring the convenience of digital files so I completely understood when my friends asked where they could buy a digital copy of my CD, Buffalo Beans and Bluebells.

I quickly discovered that I couldn’t list directly on iTunes or many of the other music services for that matter.  These systems aren’t set up for the budding artist with only a CD or two under their belts, like me.  You see, unless you have a large repertoire of albums, they force you into using  a music distributor who will happily take a share of your royalties for their trouble.  I got busy and started researching online.

Luckily, I was able to find reviews for many. I was dismayed at what I read. The biggest complaint from artists seemed to be the inability to reliably collecting money from these distributors.

Then I found Distrokid, whose reviews were stellar. For only $19.99 per year, you can upload unlimited albums and songs. Distrokid distributes them to iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play and over 150 other stores and streaming services. You keep 100% of your royalties. You can even legally use cover songs by paying $12 per year per song. (It’s important to me that other musicians are paid for their work too.)

The process for loading your music is straight forward. I had a small glitch because my producer had loaded my album for me as a favour.  Because Distrokid doesn’t allow duplicates, I was unable to get those songs listed in my name. So I asked my producer to remove my files. It took a few days but I was able to load the album without a hitch.

It was very exciting as I got notifications that my CD was up on iTunes,  Amazon and other services. I haven’t seen any money yet but to be fair, I only loaded everything last week.

If you have a CD, it’s imperative you provide your customers with choice for how they purchase that CD. Distrokid is an easy way to reach your fans and collect the royalties you deserve. One final tip: Remember to update your website with links to your digital music.

Disclaimer:  We did not receive any fees or proceeds in any form for recommending Distrokid.  They’re just a company doing it right and one we’re happy we are getting to know.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

 

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part Four: How To Implement your Marketing Plan

This is the fourth in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan for your arts business.

In our previous posts we discussed Who is Your customer? Where is Your Customer? What Matters to or Bonding with your Customer. In this post we look at some ideas for How to Implement your Marketing Plan.

Now that you know who your customer is, where they hang out and what matters to them, you are ready to start marketing.

The good news?  There’s more than way to accomplish this goal. Here are some tips that have worked for us.

  1. Get a system. Create a calendar to regularly put action into your marketing plan. We recommend a simple spreadsheet using MS Excel or Apple’s Numbers. There are apps you can download to integrate your calendar with other functions. Or use Google Plus where you can use the calendar, store and share documents and more. You can even go low-tech and use a paper calendar. It doesn’t matter. Just have a system. And. Use. It. If you schedule web site updates for 3PM Sunday, keep that promise to yourself or reschedule within 24 hours.
  2. Plot out your plan. Research how often you can message your customers without losing their trust. For some it’s daily, others, weekly. You might get away with sending a weekly blog or newsletter (with four times more info as sales copy), (which is tweeted and shared on Facebook automatically); two additional Facebook posts (which are automatically tweeted) and one presentation at a non-profit luncheon where you get to sell your books/CDs. Your research will dictate your frequency. Follow others in your industry. Are you comfortable with their frequency and messaging?
  3. Pre-fill content, wherever and whenever possible. For example, you can write ten blogs one weekend and schedule them to release once a week over the next two and a half months. Prepare content ahead even if you can’t have it generate automatically. You have a system, remember? You can write all your Facebook messages for the month. Collect your images, links, etc. in a file on your favorite device. They’re ready to copy and paste into your posts as you need them. With some preparation your Facebook chores can take only a few minutes each day. Technology can help. Often you can set it up so that when your blog goes live, it notifies your social media of choice. Linking the channels you use is easier than ever and will save time.
  4. Focus. You can’t do it all. Some say it’s better to NOT be on a social media channel if you aren’t active. Pick the top two or three media your audience uses and wow them. If you’re wildly successful and have more resources, you can expand your channels in the future.  If you’re on Facebook, be there. Answer comments. Share information interesting to your tribe. Be frequent and regular. If YouTube is your main channel, do it well.
  5. Measure and test everything. For example, install analytics in your web site so you can see who visited, how long, which pages they clicked on, how long they stayed on the page (were they reading it or just passing through?); all vital information. Test Facebook posts by posting the same message twice, each time with a different title. Which title garnered more likes/views? These are more clues to what resonates with your customer. Test email subject lines by sending the same message to two different groups using two titles. Measure which title elicited more reaction.

We’ve really only scratched the surface of Creating a Marketing Plan but if you implement a few of these tips you will enjoy exponential growth over doing almost nothing!

If you’re serious about making money from your art business, Create a Marketing Plan. If you need help, let us know.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part Two: Where is Your Customer?

This is the second in a four-part series on Creating a Marketing Plan for your arts business.  Link to Part 1, Who is Your Customer?

Part Two: Where is Your Customer?

In Part One of Creating a Marketing Plan we identified who our ideal customer is and what matters to him/her. Now that you know that information, finding your customers will be easier. Here are some tips for where to find your customers.

  1. Create a list of possible media. Your list might include your web site, your blog and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat; traditional media like print (including books/magazines), radio, TV; and newer media like podcasts, YouTube and webinars. Business cards, postcards, brochures, and promotional gifts (pens, water bottles, bags) are all part of your marketing, as are how you dress, how you speak; even the cleanliness of your car sends a message to clients.
  2. Now that you have your list, it’s time to analyze each medium’s effectiveness in reaching your ideal customer. For example, if your ideal customer is a soccer mom, you will likely find her on Facebook. If your client is the CEO of a small company, good luck reaching him on Facebook! Odds are LinkedIn will be his social media of choice. This might require you spending time on the various media to find out who’s there and what they’re saying.
  3. If you don’t know where your customer hangs out, do some research. Ask past customers how they like to communicate with you. They might like frequent short messages on Twitter rather than reading a long technical blog article. They might prefer podcasts because they spend long hours in a car. They might like to post pictures on Instagram. 

Once you’ve determined where your customers are, the next step is to join them there. Set up your Facebook account, start writing your blog or the script for your video, decide if you’ll find your following on Pinterest or Instagram or neither! (Where NOT to be is as important as where TO be!)

Finding your tribe is a process. Very few get it on the first try.

Most artists, authors, speakers and other influencers are not using the same media nor speaking to the same audience with the same message in the same way they were two decades ago!

So be kind to yourself as you build your business. Baby steps!

If you need help setting up your systems, call us.

Once you find your following, what are you going to say?

In Part Three of Creating a Marketing Plan, we cover “Bonding with your Customer” or Matching your Message to your Customer.

 

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

Link to Part 1, Who is Your Customer?

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part One: Who Is Your Customer?

In our past blog, I Have My CD, Now What? we discussed why you need a marketing plan.

And we promised to show you how.

In this four-part series, we’ll look at various steps that are integral to planning, building, and executing a marketing plan for your business.

A few decades ago I participated in a community theatre production. Once we had our parts, our first exercise was to “get to know” our characters. We did that by creating a back story for them. In the script we found clues to why the characters were the way they were and we made up back stories to explain their current state.

At the time I wondered why we were bothering. What we wrote would never be performed or revealed in any way.

Then I realized that none of us could “be” our characters if we didn’t really know them. “Being” a character is far different from “doing” a character, as anyone who has sat through a badly performed play can attest.

It’s the same with customers. We can’t serve them, meet their needs or sell to them if we don’t really know them.

The first step to creating a marketing plan is to get to know your ideal customer.

Who is your ideal customer?

The answer is NOT “everyone”, despite being the most common answer!

In our world of infinite choices and combinations you and your product will never appeal to “everyone” so get over it!

Here are some tips for discovering your customer.

  1. Think about one person who was most excited about you or your product. What does he/she look like? What does she want, need, have, etc.? What does he drive? What makes her heart sing? How many children does she have or does she even have children? Does he cook? Does she travel? Does he play an instrument? What does she read?
  2. Think about what you can do for her. Don’t even think about what she can do for you (buy your product) before you know why she wants/needs your product. You waste your resources and risk alienating a potential future customer when you’re not sure. How will your product improve her life/health/happiness?
  3. Think about why. Why does your ideal customer care about you or your product? (Or, what would it take to get her to care about you and your product?) What values do you share with your customer?

This is not a comprehensive list of questions because all our customers are different. The important part is to ask questions. Make no assumptions.

You might find it helps you to draw a picture of your ideal customer or create a collage of everything your ideal customer cherishes.

Caution: if you do not complete this painting-the-picture-of-your-ideal-customer step all future steps are at your peril! It is imperative that you know the wherefores and the whys of your customers’ buying decisions if you ever hope to sell them anything. You can only accomplish this if you know them intimately.

Once you’ve arrived at honest accurate answers to this question, “Who is your ideal customer?” you’re ready for Part Two of Creating a Marketing Plan, Finding Your Ideal Customer.

Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Grow Exponentially – use both sides of your brain!, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, contact us today.

 

 

Do I Need a Facebook Page?

Social media has revolutionized the business world.

Having a Facebook page can be an integral part of your marketing plan. Here are four reasons to have a Facebook Page for your business:

1. Conversations:

Companies can now speak directly to their customers and receive feedback, in essence having conversations.

The value of a conversation is immeasurable.

Think back to a recent conversation you had. The sharing of ideas may have changed your perspective on an issue. Perhaps your understanding of the opposite view has grown. You may have changed your actions as a result of that conversation.

By having conversations with your customers through a Facebook page you can learn what your customers want or need. You can tailor your product or service to meet their expectations.

2. Being Human:

When companies advertise, they tend to use “Adspeak”. We’ve all heard Adspeak, it’s what makes ads sound like advertisements.

And most of us have learned to tune out that kind of talk.

On a Facebook page you can have fun, be real, and show your vulnerability, all human characteristics not usually found in adspeak.

3. Building a Community:

The most successful businesses build communities they can go back to again and again with new products and services. These communities often consist of raving fans, the ultimate customer. Build community by:

  • Posting useful, relevant and interesting links
  • Asking fans to contribute with comments
  • Organizing contests and promotions
  • Providing a place to leave reviews and other feedback
  • Offering incentives for activity on your page

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Having a Facebook page for your small business can be an effective way to direct traffic to your business website and blog. Activities on your public Facebook page can also give you an SEO boost when they are indexed by search engines.

Building and using a Facebook page is one of the tools covered in our workshop 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoestring Budget.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills, is a partnership between Shelley Goldbeck and Susan Cramer. To learn more about running your small business, attend our workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget.

What is My Art Worth, Anyway?

That’s the million dollar question!

Plato was right: beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

There are Picassos, that in certain parts of the world, wouldn’t fetch five bucks, yet the experts agree they’re worth millions.

Because somebody, somewhere, is willing to pay that. They want it badly enough.

THAT is the worth of art.

And that’s what makes it so darn hard to price.

At S2 Seminars, we’ve noticed artists either charge nothing or next to nothing. Or they think too much of their own work, price it in the Picasso-range and wonder why they starve!

Finding the sweet spot is the trick.

Here are five basic art pricing tips:

1: Determine your art. What is your art? Define it. How do you categorize it? Is it similar to other art?  (Of course, you’re unique, but find some similarities.) Does it have a genre?

2: Find and follow your peers. Who makes similar art? Who is in their market? Is that your market? Where do they sell their art? Do they sell locally, regionally, nationally or internationally?

3: What do they charge? These similar artists’ prices will be good launching pads for calculating what you should charge for your art. Do you have similar education, years of experience, style, customer, etc? Examine each similarity and difference to find your price.

4: Pick a Price. How much do you need? Let’s say you want to make $40,000 per year to cover your costs, expenses and have a meal out once a month (slightly over the poverty line!) You determine you can charge $2000 for each piece of your art. Therefore, you need to sell 20 pieces per year. That’s just over 1.5 per month. Now you need a plan. How will you sell two pieces per month?

5. Test. Test. Test.  Once you’ve found a price that feels right, test it with your customers. If nothing sells, it’s too high. Think of it like putting your house on the market. The real value of an agent is in pricing your house so you get the most money in as little time possible.

Whether you’re a painter, sculptor, writer, musician or singer, knowing the value of your art is key to making a living from your art business.

Pricing your product is just one of the business skills you’ll learn from S2 Seminars. To check out our latest workshop visit our Events page.

Shelley Goldbeck, 
www.S2Seminars.ca

 

Shelley Goldbeck, DTM is a partner with Susan Cramer in S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills. 

Does Sending Christmas Cards to Customers Really Work?

Yes, it does… but the rewards (aka bookings and sales!) only come when you do it right.

Why bother?

Repeat business comes faster when you have relationships with your customers. One of the easiest ways to reinforce or renew relationships is by doing something personal that shows you care about them. Sending a personalized seasonal greeting can do just that. My husband has sent an annual holiday card to his 360+ customers for more than 10 years now. We track how much business results from that effort. Because he’s a renovator and his projects differ in size, the numbers vary but it’s usually 10-20 customers in the $10,000-$60,000 range. Not a bad return for a day of effort and a few hundred dollars.

Who do you send them to?

Ideally, send them to everyone who has ever been a customer. When your customer list is too large and this is unrealistic, then subset your list to just those you feel have the potential to do business with you again or can refer you to a new customer.

Electronic, hand deliver, or traditional mail?

Hand delivery can be very effective. It allows you to guarantee your message is received (you’re face to face with your customer after all!) The size of your customer list, the type of business you are in, and how much time you have will dictate if this option is feasible for you or not. My personal favourite is traditional mail. It’s so rare these days to receive a piece of mail that isn’t a bill to pay or advertising to recycle. Sending a card this way is sure to make you stand out when it’s done right.  Electronic is definitely quick and fast but chances are it’s also the easiest to overlook, delete or ignore.  It can also lack that personal touch that shows you spent time thinking  about this person – especially when it’s a mass email, post, tweet, or other message that the receiver knows went to a pile of people at the same time.

What do you say?

Start by hand signing the card. Having your printer do it takes away from the personal touch we’re after here. (It’s okay to use your computer to help print the envelope labels though.) Add a one-page letter describing something of interest to your customer. For example:

  • Major accomplishments over the last year (wrote  book, cut a new CD, created 3 new works of art – make sure you include a description of where they can buy this new item)
  • New things you tried last year that worked well (changed mediums from canvas to clay, adapted my novel to a screenplay)
  • Trend’s your seeing in your field – especially ones that will result in revenue for you (decreased size of for-business books to 3-4 hour reads, more artists moving to self-sale of their products and services via the Internet)
  • Introduce new people to your team or give a quick update on those already supporting you (“I hired a bookkeeper this past year so I can focus more on my craft.  His name is John Smith and I’m so glad he’s now part of my team.”)
  • What you have planned for the coming year – try to tie it back into the trends you said were coming in the New Year (“I am embracing the trend to sell more of my own art.  Watch for the next release of my website in March-April where you’ll be able to buy my art online at your convenience 24×7, 365 days a year.”)
  • End your letter with an ask to help you find more customers – the worst they can do is ignore your ask!  Let them know you’ve included a business card for them to share with people they know who might be interested in you.  Also include a link for where you want people to contact you online.

Before you seal the envelope, don’t forget to include the business card to go along with your ask!

When do you send them?

Right now!  We’re just a week and a bit away from Christmas.  If you want the card in the hand of your customer before the big day, you’re almost out of time.  For next year, we recommend sending the cards in the first week of December close to the 1st of the month.  This will give your customer time to not only recommend you but also buy something as a gift for someone else they know.

Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your opinion, especially if this has worked for you in past too.


Susan Cramer is a partner in S2 Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills. To learn more about running your small business, attend our next workshop, 3 Must-Have Tools to Market Yourself on a Shoe-String Budget

Blogging for Business

Businesses that blog get 70% more leads than businesses that don’t.

I read this in a marketing newsletter a few years ago. It surprised me and maybe that’s why it stuck in my head.

Since then I’ve learned that consistent blogging is useful for building your brand. It makes sense that the more you contact your customers, the more they trust you. Ideally they think of you when they need your product or service.

I put this to the test last spring when I teamed up with two expert gardeners to create a series of workshops on growing food. We were on a shoestring budget so we blogged every other day to start. Then we went to twice a week, then weekly.  It wasn’t too difficult with three of us contributing. (See www.GrowFoodCalgary.com.)

The results were amazing! Within days of launching our blog we shot up to the top of search engine rankings on many important keywords.

Of course blogging wasn’t the only tactic in our strategy but I became a believer in blogging. Now I counsel all entrepreneurs to blog.

5 Reasons to blog:
  1. Blogging is an inexpensive way to have conversations with your customers and potential customers.
  2. Blogging is a personal touchpoint. To build a brand (bond) with your customers, you need many touchpoints. Personal touchpoints like blogs outperform ads.
  3. Blogging helps you position yourself as an expert. Increased credibility leads to trust, which leads to sales.
  4. Blogging boosts Search Engine Optimization (which means people looking for you or what you have to offer can find you by inputting certain words into a search engine.) SEO almost takes care of itself when you blog. Save money on SEO by simply writing good content that is relevant to your audience.
  5. Blogging leads to more income. Better relationships with your customers translates into increased revenue.

Are you convinced to blog yet?

You’ve decided to start blogging, but how?

10 Tips on Blogging Successfully
  1. Brainstorm topics. Create a list on paper or your favourite device of all topics, catchy titles, questions, anything related to you, your art, and the people you’d like to buy your art.
  2. Select a blog provider. There are many. This blog is on WordPress. Choose from dozens of free templates and start almost immediately.
  3. Begin writing your first blog. Choose a topic that you know well from your list. Create an outline: Here’s one way: Grab your audience with a good title, hook them with a great opening, tell them an engaging story, make a  compelling  point, and finish by helping your audience apply it to their lives.
  4. Keep it short. 350 to 500 words is enough. The thought of writing a huge article can be daunting and cause procrastination and paralysis!
  5. Read it out loud. It’s amazing how stilted our written work can become. You’re having a conversation so keep it real.
  6. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit mercilessly, removing any words that don’t need to be there. Check spelling. Improve grammar. Choose stronger verbs.
  7. Enlist an editor/proofreader. A fresh set of eyes make a difference. (Your spouse or co-worker will do!)  We tend to get wrapped up in our work and we miss errors.
  8. Include a good quality image. Ideally you have your own pictures but accessing free and low cost images is easy. Readers are more likely to read blogs with images.
  9. Do not neglect the details. In WordPress, they provide a TAGS section where you can input keywords. This step is vital for Search Engine Optimization.  A well-written blog will include words and phrases that your audience will use in their searches. (See the tags for this blog below).
  10. Add blogging to your calendar. For example: make an appointment to write your blog outline on Thursday. Flesh it out Friday. Edit Saturday. Share with your editor/proofreader  Sunday. Post Monday. The most effective blogs are consistent. Adding blogging to your calendar helps you be consistent.
Blogging Bonus

Besides creating a stronger bond with your customers, positioning yourself as an expert,  and attracting new customers, here is another bonus to blogging:

If you were to blog weekly, (with two weeks vacation!) in one year, you have 50 chapters in your book!

Some of the best-selling books were born from the author’s weekly blog or email newsletter.

Writing a book is a great way to position yourself as an expert. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, blogging could be the push you need to get going.

Blogging is good business. Are you convinced yet?

 

Shelley Goldbeck is a partner in S2Seminars, Eradicating Poverty in Artists by Teaching Business Skills. 

 

 

 

Why Don’t Artists Make Money?

Vice News produced Why Artists Don’t Make Money in May 2015 as part of their “The Business of Life” series. The panelists in this show share a ton of statistics about the value of creativity to society.  They also explore why we’re in this position today, how we need to rethink monetization of art  and suggest the average artist (not the top 1%) needs to take control of marketing and selling their own art.  Originally published for a US-based audience, it transcends our borders and applies equally as well here in Canada.  It’s also still relevant today.

You can check it out in our For Artists playlist on our BRAND NEW  You Tube channel.  (Yes, we’re pretty excited about having a You Tube channel.  We’ll be publishing more content there over the next few weeks and months.)

At S2 Seminars, we believe choosing a career in art does not require a vow of poverty. Yet we notice our artist friends chronically struggling financially.

The solution seems simple to us because we both have business experience.

But right-brained artists may have had little interest in or opportunity to learn business skills. Sadly, they pay (literally and figuratively) for that inexperience.

If you’d like to make money from your art ask us about  Three Must-Have Tools To Market Yourself on a Shoestring Budget.

In this five-hour workshop we lead artists who are neophytes at business through three basic steps so they can begin valuing themselves and their art, and making money immediately. We feed them too!

I Have My CD, Now What?

Remember the day you picked up that box full of new CD’s containing your music? If you’re like me, you were probably ready to  jump right out of your skin! I bet you were optimistic about selling them, too.

But, seriously, how ARE you planning to sell them?

They won’t sell themselves.

You likely don’t know 500 people, never mind 500 people who are willing to buy your CD. (And selling only 500 isn’t enough to live on!)

Hint: Don’t count on your friends, especially if you haven’t supported them by buying their books and CDs!

In our modern world, there are many ways to promote your work, be it CDs, books, art, or music.  It can seem overwhelming, poking through the options, making a plan and finding time to execute the plan.

I recently produced a CD of poetry and music, dedicated to my parents for their 60th wedding anniversary. It was a surprise.

Although I had my CDs six days before the party, I couldn’t say anything online because my mom follows me and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. So I’ve kept quiet.

But the cone of silence is lifted. The party is over. Mom and Dad are happy.

Now it’s time to get selling. What will I do?  I’m going to follow these three simple steps is what.

1. Set a Goal

I like to go big or go home so I’ve set myself a goal to sell 5000 CDs in 2018. It seems ambitious but if I pull it off, I stand to make a decent living and I’ll have a lot of fun doing it (which is truly my ultimate goal)!

2. Create a Plan

I’m becoming my own marketing case study.

My business partner, Susan and I are teaching artists business skills through S2 Seminars. We agreed that I would serve as a marketing case study for the company. Our thinking is, “If we can’t sell my CDs, how can we possibly tell our clients what to do?”

So I’m making a plan and sharing it with you in installments through this blog.

The plan includes Facebook posts, Tweets, email messages, sending CDs to people who can promote me, booking live events, building pages on my website to promote my CD, ensuring it’s available online and much more.

3. Work the Plan

As the plan solidifies and I implement it, I will blog about my experiences. We will all learn more about selling our works of art together.

Don’t miss it. Sign up to follow our blog.