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The Best Time to Reboot Your Creative Business

Hey all, well we’re about six weeks into the stay-at-home order with the coronavirus, and although the state of Texas is moving to open things up a bit, there seem to be lots of reasons to give this pandemic a little more time to run its course.  So who would have thought that our small creative businesses would have been blessed with a lovely chunk of time to re-evaluate and restructure?  Ok, perhaps a bit cynical there, but we can all agree that there’s nothing any of us did wrong to be in this dire predicament.  There is also very little we can do to affect world economic events.  So, let’s make some lemonade!

Hopefully by now, you’ve shrugged off the boredom, changed out of your pajamas, and have been making some positive steps to build, or rebuild, your creative business.  Hopefully as well, you’ve continued to make your art, create your designs, and keep those creative juices flowing.  You are keeping in contact with your customers and collectors to stay “top of mind”, and make sure they’re all healthy.  You’re exercising, meditating, and visualizing your future success.  These steps will help make you more emotionally prepared for the post covid-19 world, and give you additional inventory to sell as we all emerge from this cocoon. 

The question now becomes what will the next phase in our businesses look like?  What will be left of our business model when this is over, and will the market be the same?  Now I’m not suggesting a crystal ball, because none of us knows for sure what will happen or when. But it may be time now to consider what has gone wrong, and what new opportunities seem to be arising.

Many people apparently have stopped doing all marketing during this tragic time.  On one hand, they don’t want to appear opportunistic or unaware of the sorrow of others.  One the other, people may fear that there is no way they can acquire the supplies they need to run their businesses, and precious little they can do to get things delivered to their customers.  There is an inherent problem here, because those who are still promoting their name through advertising will do better in the long run.  Marketing must be sensitive to the conditions, and you don’t want to over promise, we need to stay connected to our customers, let them know we feel their pain, and that we are preparing all sorts of exciting things for them when they return.    Messages that are empathetic are best. Those that give people a sense of hope, and are forward thinking.  A bit of escapism may be called for here.

As important as keeping up with your collectors is, we should also be pushing into new territories as well.  I am starting to see some indicators suggesting that art sales have risen during the time of the coronavirus.  I am hearing that artists are seeing an uptick in subscriptions to their websites, YouTube channels and online sales platforms.  While that sort of blows my mind, it also makes a certain amount of sense.  People are home now, and those who have jobs with enough income to purchase luxury items haven’t seen a huge hit to their pocketbooks as of yet.  There are loads of lower paid employees who are now unemployed, but I’m guessing they were never big customers of ours before the pandemic.  People are at home, they have been nesting, and want to beautify their spaces.  Those creative’s who currently have an online presence, products already available for purchase in e-commerce shops, and those who have a system for subscription and funding options, are doing better.  I know, they’ve been telling us this for years, but they were best prepared for this type of crisis.

Bogdan and I were not prepared.  We’re just now using this time to get our online presence established, so we’ve missed out on this first wave of online art sales.  That’s unfortunate, but we all must accept that we are where we are.  The vital thing for us to do now, is imagine what the next phase will look like, and be better prepared for that wave when it comes.

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