Learn everything of your focus field (industry)
By sitting the International Leadership Management classes in Aalto University, in Helsinki a few years back, I had the privilege to listen Rabbe Grönblom's, a leading and very successful entrepreneur from Finland, lecture on entrepreneurship. I still remember him saying that it is crucial to learn everything of your target industry. A concept easilly applied to the creative space, Basically, you create value by first understanding the industry problems and then solving them. You can not solve anything, if you do not understand the key problems. Thus, to fit this in your case, think what is your industry and then take a deep dive in to it.
Learn what your customer wants and SELL
Yep. It's not a bad word. The more you sell, the more time you have for creating your work. Despite this can be regarded obvious, in art scene it is too often neglected. As it is known, the best money comes from the customer. And, you do not need to wait for this. A clever entrepreneurial artist will contact the customer with a pilot value-proposal, and tests if this is what is really wanted. Then a quick adaption on the basis of the feedback, perhaps adding or strippingitems , and the offering is ready for cash making. This simply means that you ask a deposit, say 50% of the end value, and then get this money and use it to develop the first product/service. Then, get the rest on a successful delivery. By this you engage the customer and build stronger relationships. However, essentially in the center of all this is that YOU GET THE MONEY before you deliver. A good venue for this is Kickstarter.
Create and test your business models
As an artist you have your limited resources, namely time and money. So, when you play with big stakes, you want to be sure you will succeed. Therefore, do not fly blind. With today's web tools it is rather inexpensive to test different value proposals cheaply and quickly. You can build very small and simple websites, use web surveys, create blogs, tweet, create emailing lists, or Facebook groups, etc. Rather, it comes down to the idea, and then thinking what would work best for you to learn more. For example, if you want to test the market for a book title, just go ahead and use GoogleAdwords to try which titles get the most hits. Thus, you'll know what title will get you those sales.
What are you waiting? Today is as good day as it is tomorrow. Too often, I hear people saying this and that and making plans of doing something in the future. Honestly, I think this is just bollocks. The sooner you start the better. In fact, from the perspective of money's time value, it always is better to begin sooner than later, because the value you create will itself grow interest. And, when building sales, it all starts small, and takes time to grow. This year amount of x in sales, next year 2x, third 3x, and so on. It is very hard to jump to 3x in the first year. Dream big, but be a realist, it all takes time. Therefore, begin today. You owe that to the fan that you don't know you already have! =)
The World of art is changing with a pace faster than ever before. We are increasingly getting more tools and means of creating value and otriginal works. To be on top of all this progress and be able to take the full benefit, one needs a network of friends and colleagues. They will together act as a premium source of tips and insights. With this network in place one can surf this new wave of development, and do it well. This is my way of contribution, I thought I would start today.
Keep the surf up!