Secrets of how to start your own art business
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Merge your brain’s left and right hemispheres, and you will get an ARTrepreneur, a business savvy go-getter that is dedicated to making our world a better place through creativity and heART. Recently, Business Coach, CEO of The Round Table Business, and a very pleased art student from one of my prior painting retreats in Italy, Rena DeLevie (Her clients? Think JCrew, JPMorganChase, Cole Haan, and my personal favorite, David Yurman) shot me a quick email with a list of ARTrepreneur business questions about The Art Studio NY. In a nutshell, Rena’s email asked me how important questions about how I built my art business in New York City. She was hoping to receive answers that would ultimately help her in coaching a new up-and-coming musician.
My first response (to myself, that is)? I’m not sharing nearly ten years of my own NYC art studio sweat, tears and toiling! Top secret!!!! N-O.
My next response (after she called to make sure her email hadn’t offended me, which she truly had not)? I am a blessed woman. I have been guided to successfully create art classes and art events for children, adults, toddlers, teens and senior citizens that provide immense joy, real meaning and overall transformation in the lives of thousands of New Yorkers of every age, from 2 – 102. So, late Saturday night, when I should have been beauty sleeping, I wrote a detailed email that got my creative juices excited.
Rena: What do you think made things take off for you and The Art Studio NY?
Rebecca: Firstly, the #1 way that I got started as a professional artist and Founder of The Art Studio NY was my hunger, drive and confidence. I was eager and willing to do whatever it took. At the time it was 9+ years ago. I really believed I could make this all happen, and I did. I thank God and the Universe. I feel I have support in many realms, as I feel strongly I’m really following a deep calling.
Things took off because of the authenticity I bring to the table. Being “real” is of utmost importance to me. I’m on a mission to light up people’s inner-spirit through art, authenticity and self-expression. I invite people to REALLY be themselves and to find what gives their lives meaning, purpose and connection. I ask people to be themselves and to freely express themselves. I’m inviting people to come home to themselves, a place that in my experience, all people long for. So… my invitation is hard to refuse! This has all contributed to The Art Studio NY‘s success and “take off”.
It’s like love, there’s no such thing as too much healthy love. So, perhaps that’s also a part of why my art business is a success. I and the entire team at The Art Studio NY are pouring a lot of love into a lot of lives, and the “magic wand” we use is a combination of intuition, care, brains, and a few paintbrushes!
Rena: How many years did you invest before things took off for your art business?
Rebecca: How many years did I invest before The Art Studio NY and our endless inspiring art classes and art programs in NYC took off… not quite sure I totally understand the question. I’m assuming you might mean, how many years did I not make any money? Or work like a dog? Believe it or not, I didn’t invest TONS of money to get started, on paper anyway. I invested, and still do, a TON of time. Non-entrepreneurs (sort of like being a mom and speaking to someone without kids- they really don’t understand how a mom is always so busy!) don’t really get why I’m so busy so often. So, I surely have invested money and still do in my business, but I grew up with a strong value of “if you don’t have it, you don’t spend it ” attitude. So, when I started TASNY in the bedroom of a pre-war one bedroom apartment (a shout out to all students who know the space, I love you!), I started with my available means. I also started small and grew gradually. I wanted to make sure I wanted what I thought I wanted. It’s been an organic growth. There have definitely been some bigger jumps, such as when I expanded last year into our new 2000 SF art studios in New York, and a few years prior when I had expanded into a larger previous space.I still feel like I’m investing time and money. Don’t we all invest ourselves in what matters to us? And, I know I want more. Thank goodness, I am VERY grateful with the returns (emotionally, spiritually, financially) of my art studio, and I thank God every day. And, I still want more. In a non-attached-I’m-very-happy-now-but-open-to-more-of-what-I-want-in-return sort of way, I want more.
Rena: What steps are you taking to keep the momentum going?
Rebecca: Steps to keep the momentum going for the nurturing art school that I proudly can say has been rated the #1 Art Classes in New York City… many! I constantly assess what to keep, what to change, and no matter the bumps, I always breath! The nature of life is change, so instead of fearing it, I run towards it. I’m a big dreamer, but I dream in ways that I can actualize my dreams into reality. I really suggest that everyone DREAM BIG and go for it! Many limitations are self-imposed, so take risks and if failure comes, wipe your tush off, get up and try again, because really, why not?! Other things I practice are to take great care of myself and honor my needs and need for down time, I give a ton and need to refill my own well. I analyze what is working the most vs. the least from various perspectives. I try to spend more energy in what I’m most passionate about and where my true talents lie, and I delegate to others where their strengths lie. I surround myself with smart and successful people and keep new energy and ideas flowing! Trusting the business I’ve built is key. In quieter moments, I remind myself to meditate and reaffirm why I’m doing what I’m doing in the first place.
Riding the waves is critical. Surrender is huge. Trusting myself is monumental. All of my practices equate not only to building a successful business, but they are recipes to building a successful, happy and meaningful life. What could be more important than that?