Word from founder24/07/2022 5 min. read
Anyway, let’s get back to your art business’s Signature Story. So many people struggle with the question of how to make money with your art. If you already have an art business or are thinking of starting an art business, and you want it to become a successful six figure venture, you must know your Signature Story.
Your Signature Story is at the core of your business and it is one of the most important components of our Profit Canvas Program in our Artists In Business (AIB) online courses.
When artists enroll in this particular art business course program, we do a deep dive and take you step-by-step through the 4 crucial parts of creating your Signature Story: NARRATIVE, VISION, MISSION and SIGNATURE STORY STATEMENT, but more on that later. For now, are you ready to learn new skills? Yes? Great! Let’s start by answering the question…
We’re so excited you asked, now we’re connecting! Your Signature Story is the foundation for your growth and direction as a business owner, and it’s something you’ll refer back to throughout your entire journey as an artist in business.
It’s the core of your business.
When you can explain to people WHO you are and WHAT makes your story unique, your art will impact your clients on a whole new level. It will not only resonate with them, it will stay with them long after you’ve parted ways, put your headphones back in, and resumed listening to ABBA… What? Don’t tell us we’re the only Dancing Queens!
Your Signature Story is the anchor and compass of your business and will act as your North Star when making crucial decisions that align directly with your core theme. (Anchors, compasses, we enjoy a good nautical theme, after all, you are the captain of your art business! Full steam ahead!). Every company needs a clear purpose in order to thrive, and unfortunately, that’s something many creative businesses lack.
We don’t want you to just “throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks,” we want you to know exactly what spaghetti you’re cooking with, exactly how long you want to cook it and exactly how you’re going to make it into a fabulous pasta that’ll have people coming back for more. Also, let’s be real, who wants spaghetti splattered all over the walls of their home?? (Oh and just so we’re clear, we don’t ACTUALLY cook spaghetti during our art business courses, though that would be delicious… art business courses AND gourmet cooking! Yum!).
Always remember, talent is only a part of the battle, learning how to package that talent is just as important.
Sometimes you’ll pause and wonder whether you’re making the right decision for your business. Sometimes you’ll worry you’re wasting valuable time. The good news is, whenever you’re confronted with doubt, you can always turn to your Signature Story for the ultimate guidance. It is pure, true and will always move you in the right direction.
Again, great question! Your signature story is made up of 4 main parts that we alluded to earlier in this article (btw can you tell we love talking about this stuff?) The parts include your NARRATIVE, VISION, MISSION and SIGNATURE STORY STATEMENT.
This article will give you an overview of these 4 main parts, but if you’d like a more in-depth experience in crafting a powerful Signature Story for your business, just take a quick look at our Profit Canvas Program art business courses.
We love this one, and you will too. Your narrative is your personal story— the “why” behind what drives you to create your art. This story is completely unique to you, and lets your fans and customers get a deeper understanding into you, the artist.
There’s nobody that’s ever lived that has had your particularly incredible life experiences so don’t be shy to share them and let the people understand what makes you, YOU. They want to get to know you, so let them in!
Sharing your narrative with your clients is essential because it gives them deeper context. Not only do they understand your work better, they understand WHY it speaks to them. Relatability is not to be underestimated!
Most people don’t think consciously about WHY they’re drawn to a particular piece of art or creative offering. But when you share your personal narrative, when you can show the client the context for your art, suddenly they consciously understand why it speaks to them. This creates a much deeper connection.
Ask yourself, what’s more compelling to the buyer? Purchasing a beautiful piece of art from “some artist,” or buying a beautiful piece of art from Dana who grew up dirt-poor, in a tough neighborhood, taught herself to read, wrote a best-selling memoir at age sixteen, got a scholarship to Princeton, then dropped out to start her own successful business while living out of a Dodge Durango with her corgi and traveling the country to sell her artwork out of the trunk? Dana is a boss.
It’s an issue that most artists face: they don’t go deep enough in their narratives. They don’t reveal anything to the client that reinforces their shared connection.
For the past six years, we at AIB have been offering art business courses online and have worked with hundreds of artists, doing deep dives into their narratives and helping them distill them down into perfectly crafted pieces. So if you just need a little help getting your feet off the ground, we’re GREAT when it comes to lifting up those feet. Just take a peek at our Profit Canvas Program art business courses to see if they’re right for you.
Anyway! Onward we go! One way to help you get to the heart of your narrative is to take a moment to answer these three questions (it’s fun! Trust me, you’ll like it.!):
What was the first time you realized you wanted to create the art you do?
What is the most profound moment you’ve had so far as an artist?
How are these two moments connected? Don’t think too hard about these questions— follow your intuition and answer with the first response that comes naturally to you.
What does the pinnacle of success look like to you? Not just reaching for the stars, but reaching beyond the universe. (Bet you didn’t know you could reach beyond the universe did you? You can!) Your vision is about thinking as big as possible for your art. It’s the grandiose dream you have for your work as an artist.
Just think, if you had ZERO limitations to what you could do, what would it be? Really think about it. And please don’t undervalue yourself. Too many artists fall victim to this. YOU ARE VALUABLE! I know it and deep down you know it. If you didn’t believe in yourself, you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing in the first place. Right?
Your vision should feel WAY outside your comfort zone—in fact, it might make you feel uncomfortable or fearful just to think about it. But you’re going to be okay. Being in uncomfortable or scary places can be one of the greatest ways to grow as an artist and businessperson.
Sara Blakely, the inventor of Spanx and one of the most successful business entrepreneurs in the world, said, “Most of the reason we don’t do things is because we’re afraid to fail. I just made a decision one day that I was not going to do things in my life because of fear.” You can do this!
When you acknowledge your vision and stop limiting yourself, your subconscious mind will automatically start working on ways to make your vision a reality. There are so many ways we unconsciously limit ourselves on a daily basis, so let’s get that unconscious working in our favor! Your brain has the capacity to make incredible connections and inspiring thoughts even when you’re not actively thinking about your vision.
So to NOT have a vision marinating in that sweet big brain of yours is already putting you at a disadvantage to all the other brains that have a vision already brewing in there. Okay, enough brain talk for now.
Your vision will keep you engaged and excited— you’re looking at the core of your artistic motivation, as opposed to a sales target or a figure on a spreadsheet. (You essence can’t be put in a spreadsheet!)
And in reality, so much more is achievable than we usually let ourselves believe. Think about Bill Gates. When he first started Microsoft in 1975, his vision was to have a computer in every home in the world.
While that sounded completely out of reach at the time, you can see how far he’s come to realizing that vision!
So, we want you to think big. What would you do if there were no limitations on your art?
Nothing is truly out of your reach. As a business owner, you need to set your bar high in order to have a clear path to follow. No bar is too high, you got this!
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it… is to take your art business from good, to great, to this is my primary source of six-figure income baby! This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.” (Don’t worry your computer won’t self-destruct, we’re just suckers for good movie lines. Name that one if you can, it’s a classic!)
If you were wondering how we’re going to begin tackling the biggest goal you could imagine for yourself, that’s where the mission comes in.
If your vision is your grandiose dream, your mission is the practical steps you’ll take to begin to fulfill it. Every small step is a small victory, bringing you closer and closer as you march toward your singular goal of running a successful art business.
Your vision is essentially your business’s manifesto— the concrete steps you aim to take to achieve your vision. It incorporates both your Core Values and your Core Focus… and no we’re not talking about your abs here, we’re talking about your goals.
Now we’re getting somewhere. When you have your Narrative, Vision and Mission established, (exciting!!) we can bring it all together in your Signature Story Statement.
Finally we come to your Signature Story Statement, which, as we said above, is a combination of your Narrative, Vision and Mission.
Defining your Signature Story shows you what you can give to your ideal buyers and where your offers are the most powerful.
When you share your story with your audience, you’re establishing your unique identity and deepening that initial connection with them.
Your signature story is also something that’s going to guide you personally in your business journey. It’s your North Star and will always ground you and keep perfectly aligned on the right course.
In the future, when you’re faced with decisions about the direction of your business, you’ll refer back to your Signature Story. You want every action you take in your business to be in alignment with your narrative and to serve your vision and your mission.
So, all this culminates in a simple statement. The statement goes like this:
I help __(blank)__ to _____(blank)______ by selling ______(blank)______
Take a moment to fill these blanks in with your ideal clients, your vision, and whichever of your creative offerings serves your mission.
Let me share an example with you to put this entire process into focus. We’re going to look at Angela Maritz’s Signature Story statement.
Angela is an oil painter who creates incredibly beautiful still lifes. She paints these bright, vibrant paintings that invigorate and inspire. Her signature story is that she wants to bring joy into the hearts and homes of her ideal clients.
She took our art business courses online and together we crafted her statement:
“I help to bring joy to the hearts and homes of my ideal clients through my original paintings and commissions.
So, now it’s your turn to define your signature story statement. Look back at your narrative, your vision, and your mission. It’s all about going deep and listening to your intuition, so take your time with this.
Once you’ve identified these 4 key parts of your signature story, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve just taken a giant step for your business, and a giant step for all of artist kind!
So what are you waiting for? Start, build and grow your art into a successful, full-time business! Today!