by guest blogger Deb Minnard
Christian artist Deb Minnard is a relative newcomer, just starting out as an entrepreneur – but she has a powerful story about taking the initiative with marketing and getting results.
At 61, I’m starting over with a new business that fulfills a lifelong dream of making my living with my artwork. I was raised in a home business environment, so I’ve always been aware of the possibilities of business, emulating my father’s creative vision for making a business out of what no one else values.
A handicap that partially disabled my right hand turned out to be a blessing as I started to look for another way to paint. I now paint digitally. This allows me to simply undo any ruined strokes and just keep going. After developing my skill with this technique and building a body of work, I started hunting for a market.
I attended a workshop with The Arts Business Institute which gave me a starting place and encouragement. I learned long ago to open my mouth and ask, then be quiet and listen. Every conversation that I could steer might provide some amount of insight.
I heard about a local gallery that had just opened. Going right over to the gallery, I showed the owner my work and was accepted. I now have an entire wall of my work in his shop.
It took a while to shop for the right website but I found a really good fit in Art Storefronts. The site comes with a “success plan” that provides guidance and assistance. My site is now successful.
Arts and craft shows, local businesses and local libraries are great places to get exposure. Getting my work out in front of people is key to driving traffic to my site and getting sales. My Facebook business page is hopping and doing email blasts with MailChimp has been effective.
Through a series of contacts, I was invited to be part of a gallery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee called “Art for God.” What a great fit!
Probably my most successful attempt at exposure so far was responding to a news report. You may have heard in the news that a gorilla was killed when a child fell into his enclosure. I soon realized that this was the gorilla I had photographed and painted the year before. I had a painting of Harambe!
Taking a few minutes to think it through, I decided to contact the local paper and tell them about this painting and that I planned to donate a 16” x 20” print to the zoo. The article was posted online that night. In the morning, I was contacted by a reporter for the local TV station. They wanted an interview, so I met them at the local gallery that shows my work, “McPhee’s Arts and Gifts” in Hebron, Kentucky.
My work, embedded in this emotional story has been all over the news, in print, on TV and online. My website stats have leaped, and I’ve been contacted by internet and phone. My father would be happy.
I have a long way to go and can’t wait to see the next challenge. My advice to a new person in business would be to keep your eyes open to the resources around you, think creatively and work hard. Also, listen to people. You can get some great leads that way!
Visit Deb Minnard’s website here.