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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Get Control Of Your Art Business

If you have a unprofitable business that is in truth a hobby, that is one thing. But if you are trying to make a living, that is an entirely different game. The problem with art, gunsmithing, engraving, stockmaking, and other artistic endeavors, is that men love the work and thus work for much less than necessary. This must be avoided. Artists deserve a profit.
Early on in the planning of your business and developing a market for your services you need to address the duties listed in this post with vigor.
In other words, work your arses off in getting this all done or keep your art as a hobby. Don't start a business. Move to whatever State is hiring. Get a job at the plant. Save yourself a lot of grief.
Assuming that you are already developing faceboook friends by taking the advice of the previous post, be sure you are continually following up and contacting new people on a daily basis. Building relationships for your business is in the follow up.
Ask yourself the following: Where do I want to be in one year? In 5 years? In 20 years. Your answers to these questions are your short and long term goals.
Since you can't do a goal but, can do an activity; list activities for each goal. You can do an activity. Constantly refine your activities culling out the ones that are not working and expanding the ones that do work.
Buy the book How To Control Your Time And Your Life by Larkin . Measure your progress. Keep your written goals so that you can relish your successes as you follow the book's advice.
Be aware that there is a difference between estimating a final price and giving a final cost. Setting a price in stone for the customer is not a good idea. What if an unknown arises that you as the artist, has no control over? State on the bottom of your estimate or final bill that all accounts past due are charged a fee of 1.5% per month.
Opening a donut shop in midtown Manhattan is a lot different than starting an art business. Do not write a business plan in order to borrow money from a bank so you can practice your art. If your art hobby or business will not support your business expenses from the beginning, you are not ready to take on a loan.
Warning: When Small Business Administration Loans are guaranteed by the government. Banks are savvy to shut your business down if 3 loan payments are missed. There is no negotiating on this issue from what I've seen and heard. In my opinion, some banks would rather cash in on the guarantee than negotiate with an art business with poor cash flow.
You do not need to buy or rent a building with several thousand square feet of work space. Rent or borrow space from a gunsmith that you can work with. He may have a space in the back of your shop. Trade engraving work for rent. Be an asset to the gunsmith and he will treat you well. Let it be known that if a situation is unworkable that other arrangements will need to made. After all, if you are a full time engraver you will need about the same amount of food and shelter as everyone else. Just because you are an artist, you do not need to be a starving artist.
Lynt MacKenzie related that engravers for Purdey were contractors who simply rented work tables at the factory. An engraver in the United States must approach the contractor issue carefully in order to not be considered an employee of the gunsmith if you rent a room or space from him. There are very specific rules set up by the IRS, and you will need to get a CPA or attorney's advice.
Everything taken in trade, bartered for, and paid in cash MUST be recorded for the IRS. Record all of your income. Know and follow the IRS rules. Be well within the law by reading and understanding the book How To Pay Zero Taxes: Your Guide To every Tax Break The IRS Allows by Jeff Schnepper
If you are have any business involved with firearms you must have a FFL License and in some cases a license in the State you are working in. Call your regional ATF office. The ATF staff will also direct you to the proper State office if necessary. You must also check with your local zoning board.


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