An Artist in Business

A Rant About Online Scams

Over the years, researching for actions an artist could do as a surefire system to make sales has turned up good and bad alike. It has been a very disappointing journey at times to find scams where people are solely being supported by the works of artists while keeping the artist starving.

I have a perfect example for you! Just last week, I responded to an advertisement from a company that sells artworks from mainly deceased artists.  However, the company expanded with a new section to represent present day artists.

The first email was great! The lady that wrote was very complimentary of my artworks and extended to me an invitation to participate in the new program.

All good you may think…but here’s the catch:

I needed to have a minimum of ten paintings for the company to represent, would be charged $100 upfront per painting ($1000 minimum) and when a painting sells, the company gets 65% of the sales price!

SHEESH! So, the artist creates the work, pays all the expenses and some company reaps the rewards.

Take a look at it: the artist invests expertise, time, money for the supplies and has overhead expenses.  On top of that, the artist needs to invest to expand production plus invest in himself/herself in order to reach more professional heights.  Also, reserves need to be set aside for any other hidden expenses and for a rainy day.

But if the artist is paying $100 per piece of artwork plus 65% to a ‘salesman,’ then all expenses won’t be covered – most importantly, the artist won’t get paid for his expertise and the creation itself as it all went to the ‘salesman.’

Any other business would soon collapse if the products that their company created were only sold at a price to pay for production. How would such a company have the resources to pay its employees?  Or pay for overhead expenses such as space rental, electricity, telephone, water and extra supplies to increase production?

Any other business would look at such an offer and refuse it immediately.

Lets take an absurd look at this:
Take a business like a Used Car Lot. A salesman comes in and speaks to the owner saying that he will take over the sale of ten of the vehicles, that the owner would need to pay him $100 per vehicle upfront ($1000 minimum) and when he sells the vehicles, the owner would need to pay him 65% of the sales price.  He tells the owner that he’s worth it because he has a list of past car buyers.

Some salesman! He’d be kicked right out of that Car Lot to take his offer elsewhere!!

So, why do artists have to settle for huge commissions just to make a sale?

It goes right back to being an artist in business. Know that you are the owner of your own business and that you are in charge of the person(s) doing the sales of your creations.  It’s not the other way around.  A salesperson or a representative is not the person that tells the bossman what to do.  And, a salesperson certainly is not the only one that needs to get paid!

This is a pretty good way to split up the income:  50% for production costs, overhead, business expansion and set-asides; 25% for the salesperson; 25% for the artist to pay himself.

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