One of the things they don’t teach you in art school is just how many business skills are required to run a successful illustration studio. Talent is not enough. You also need to get a firm grasp on some basic business principles. With no formal business training I’ve had to learn an awful lot of things the hard way, picking up as many tricks as I can “on the street”. I’ve also read more than a few business books and every year I attend the Creative Freelancer Conference.
Those things have all helped, but recently I’ve found myself in need for something more. My business has plateaued, even stagnated a little. I’ve been landing some big clients, which is great, but I’ve found myself asking “Now what?” Conventional wisdom is that to charge higher rates you should specialize—pick one industry to focus on (i.e. toy design, animation, etc.) But which one? And what about the future — do I still want to be working alone doing illustration twenty years from now? Is that even possible, or will younger, less expensive up-and-comers edge me out? Should I look at ways to grow and maybe even take on employees? How would I go about that? Is it possible to run a creative business and still have time to be creative? On top of it all, my studio was in desperate need of a re-brand (new website, logo, etc.) so it was a good time to really step back and examine things.
With all these questions swirling in my mind, I decided to take things up a notch and hire a business coach.Read More