The Business of Art

2011 | May 24 in Entrepreneurship , Podcast , Home Page News , Leadership

By Karin Iwata, E-Myth Expert


Can an artist, one who thrives on creative and technical work, create a successful business doing that art? What’s the secret of the lucky few who’ve managed to turn their artistic passions into a profitable business?

Sometimes it’s better to let the artist speak for themselves; and that’s what we’re doing in this week’s E-Myth Your Business Podcast with Group Mastery client and artist Tara Reed.

Tara has made a business out of licensing her art and teaching other artists how to do the same. In this podcast she offers tips to help artists grow their businesses without breaking the bank. 

Among the topics discussed in this podcast...

  • Letting go of your fear
  • Check your belief system
  • Ask for help
  • Be flexible with how and what you create
  • Understand who your market is and how to market what you do
  • Tell your story to sell your art

Podcast: The Business of Art

(Download MP3)

Tara Reed is the artist, author and creative mind behind everything that goes on in the studio of Tara Reed Designs, Inc. – the art licensing company founded in 2004. Reed’s art can be found worldwide on a variety of products (from dishes to kitchen textiles, quilting fabrics, rubber stamps, garden flags and more) both in retail stores and online. You’ll also find Tara at ArtLicensingInfo.com, the place for artists to learn how to earn an income licensing their art.

Further Reading

Entrepreneurial Artist to Business Owner


  1. .Ann R. says:

    Licensing is one path but it is not appropriate for all fine artists. 


    Founder | Artists Who THRIVE


    Submitted May 25, 2011 9:38 AM

  2. .joseph k. says:

    I agree with the idea that licensing is not appropriate for many artists.  The first we at Acquisitionart.com believe is how many are actually seeing your work?  The second is can you actually talk directly with a buyer who may become a collector? Who is in control of the sale?  What are you doing and at what cost and efficiency to get people to see your work, enter into a dialogue and expand your collector base.  

    A single sale is a rifle shot but discussion may lead to a collector and by definition this means they have more than one piece.  When you list on the internet what is being done to get people to see that work?  Many "free" places just use artist's work to sell ads.

    To many artist's think the world will just arrive at their door.  Not so you have to work at it!

    Good luck!

    Submitted May 25, 2011 10:33 AM

  3. .Stephanie B. says:

    This is excellent.

    I'm ending one career (QA Manager) and starting a new one (Parlor and Party Magician) and it's encouraging to hear that an artist survives and even thrives.

    I'm going to see if this type of strategy can apply to "Magic".

    I like the 'top tips'. Good food for thought.

    • Work through the fear
    • Check your belief system. This is what Eugene Burger who works with Jeff McBride says. Right on!
    • Invest in your art
    • How to really market your art
    • Changing technology

    These are all (and more) interesting topics to keep looking at.

    As you said "It's all about Marketing"...just like Magic.


    Stephanie Beach of www.MooreOarlessMagic.com

    Submitted May 25, 2011 11:10 AM

  4. .Shaun L. says:

    The financially successful artist understands the commercial value of their art. Picasso for example gave away many unsigned paintings. 

    Submitted May 25, 2011 11:21 AM

  5. .Johannes D. says:

    Throughout history some of the greatest names in art have always delegated part of their production process. Michaelangelo had assistants. Peter Paul Rubens did the composition, faces and hands on his large paintings while assistants filled in most of the rest. Contemporary artists such as Jef Koons work with a team of assistants. So the 'delegation"part should not argue against art as industry profiting from the E-Myth model. When we cast our net a little bit wider to creative projects such as video production, it is impossible to do without delegation. You might conceptualise and direct, but you need camera people and editors, lighting specialists and sound specialist. The trick is to get them to collaborate, contribute and keep the core vision intact.  Sculptors understand this: Mostly sculptors go to foundries to have their work cast.  But we are still talking about art in a very narrowly defined way. Art can be business in ways that are disguised to the uninitiated, yet convert the intellectual tools of art into business processes.

    Submitted May 25, 2011 11:43 PM

  6. .Sharon F. says:

    I have been working on re-inventing my business with E-myth systems, and am coincidentally in a similar business to Tara. Also a self-taught artist, an MBA in marketing. I was working IN my business as 100% technician and could not move forward . I was stuck in production and had to find my way out. Having no systems for growth in place, the best solution for me was to license my product line – which was not only my art but my entire business – to a company that will handle production, sales, marketing, shipping, the whole thing. Now, I am restarting with the core goal of me being able to work ON my business, not IN it. It is not easy to make this change, but once my systems are in place, maybe I’ll be in the position to “take back” my product and carry on all the functions associated with it, or maybe I will move on with new products and business ideas and just enjoy receiving my monthly royalty checks.

    Submitted May 29, 2011 5:49 AM

  7. .Tara R. says:

    Great comments and I hope I didn't come across as saying licensing is perfect for everyone because it most certainly isn't!  Fine artists who have collectors of originals have to be careful if they enter into licensing or they could alienate their collectors and shoot themselves in the foot. 

    Licensing is one of many, many ways to make money with art - the key is to find the way that fits best with the artist, the way they want to work and do business. The control you want over quality, sales, distribution, etc. need to be considered before plunging head-first into it.

    E-Myth has been great for me to look at how I do things, how much time I spend IN or ON my business and streamlining work-flow.

    Submitted Jun 4, 2011 1:01 PM

  8. .Maria B. says:

    In representing my husband, a lifestyle artist, we have had great success with both licensing his art and maintaining a strong collector base who purchase his original paintings.

    Our program works like this:  All of his artwork begins as a large painting, then we digitize and license the images.  The originals are sold to collectors.  It's a great program; we earn from the paintings over and over again, and when we are long gone, our son will inherit the copyrights and earn from the art as well.

    I agree, though, it's not for every artist.  Licensing is a commitment and just one possible business model, and not all artwork is going to work well in licensing.  

    Submitted Jun 20, 2011 8:27 AM

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