20 Rules for Starting Your Art Licensing Business

Written by Art Licensing Coach J’net Smith

Prepare to be an entrepreneur.

Start your art licensing business by reading about and talking to successful entrepreneurs in all kinds of businesses. Most successful entrepreneurs are happy to share what they’ve learned—the good and the bad. Ask yourself if you are ready to be an entrepreneur with all the ‘hats’ you need to wear on a daily basis.

Creating and growing residual income requires a balancing act. You’ll be continually creating art to keep your portfolio fresh, maintaining a large library of art to hold manufacturers’ interest, and thinking of new ideas for your art, whether on the cutting edge of trends or on-trend. And art development is just one end of the spectrum.

On the other end of the spectrum, your responsibilities as a business owner also demand time. Time is spent to manage finances, schedules, deadlines, contracts, clients, approvals, annual plans, marketing, budgets and staying informed on industry news.

So, the entrepreneurial business model means you’re constantly marketing your art and product design, creating new art, running your business, and staying motivated. All of those things require a balancing act of skills, time and attention.

I want to clarify that even if you having an agent, you are still an entrepreneur and will have to manage a juggling act. Think about it, you don’t just hand over your business to an agent. There’s a distinctive hat you wear when you search, hire and work with your agent. And if you don’t take the time to ‘manage’ your agent, things can go awry.

Be honest with yourself about areas where your skills excel and where they are lacking.  All types of entrepreneurial skills are a must for the success of your art licensing business. Try reading some business blogs as a part of your ongoing training, such as Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Blog. I’d like to hear what other business blogs you find helpful, so I can share them with everyone.

About Jeanette Smith

Jeanette Smith is the consummate art licensing coach. In just six short years, J’net turned Dilbert™ from a relatively unknown syndication-based comic strip into a 200 million dollar a year global brand. Then in 2000, J’net translated and expanded on her extensive experience to train, advise and license all types of creators. She has helped hundreds of artists, graphic designers, painters, photographers, authors, illustrators, design firms, fine artists, creative companies, non-profits and agents to maximize the power of their brands and talents.

From her early days in New York building new divisions for such corporate giants as Official Airline Guides, MacMillan Publishing, Paramount Communications, and VIACOM International, to her six years of work at United Media spearheading the astronomical growth of Dilbert, Jeanette has compiled a long list of satisfied clients and has gained an enormous amount of respect and experience in marketing, licensing, advertising, PR, agenting, negotiating, and much more.

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20 Rules for Starting Your Art Licensing Business

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