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1. File for a DBA, Fictitious Business Name

  • This automatically makes clients and audiences see beyond you. It costs $26 in Los Angeles County to file 1 piece of paper to claim your business name.
  • Simply google your county clerk's website and search their online database with your business name. Once you find one that is not taken print out the 1 sheet of paper, get it notarized, mail it with the necessary funds and then publish your name. Congratulations! 

2. Create a business bank account

  • Creating a separate business bank really streamlines your money and is a huge help in saving money and asking people for money. You can then write checks from under your business name. You can also track your income simpler if you split funds with other artists. EXAMPLE: You wrote a song with someone and you now need to make sure they get 50% of the profits. Some artists or manager will ask for bank statements. Instead of showing them your entire list of chipotle and Target purchases you can simply show your business profits. 
  • MAJOR TRICK: Simply open a paypal or venmo under your business name to create invoices and track who still owes you money.

3. Create a website and/or portfolio 

  • There are so many ways to do this and I would say it's better to try then to not have any online presence at all. Some recommended sites would be Square Space, Wix, or Wordpress. 
  • ONE MAJOR SHORT CUT: Simply create a facebook, etsy, flickr, or instagram page for artwork. This can be a huge cost and time savings while still getting your artwork out there. Put your best foot forward!

4. Having meetings in a consistent place

  • Find a local coffee shop that has wifi, outlet plugs, and grab a coffee. Establish the space so that guests feel welcome and safe. Even if you work from home it's great to meet with colleagues or clients outside the home to LEVEL UP their thinking.
  • Another note I would add is considering opening a physical PO BOX. Imagine your home address on all the W-9s you will be receiving. You can eliminate that opening the smallest PO BOX at your local USPS. 

5. Use a professional email address and professional language

  • This is FREE so simply head over to gmail or yahoo and create a professional email address. EXAMPLE: if you currently use something with your birthday, social security, or phone number you need to get a new email. DOLPHINLOVER85@YAHOO could easily be ANGIESART@YAHOO by day. 
  • For professional language, I PROMISE, you will get taken more serious by friends, family, clients, agents if you keep your emails, texts, and phone calls business professional. AT THE VERY LEAST business casual (simply using complete sentences and replying in a timely manner can do wonders). I understand adapting to your industry but since all these tools are used differently keeping a professional tone is helpful to all people. 




For SARAH to get to her audition she has to put gas in her car, eat and drink something, pay for parking (if you live in LA) and take two hour off her nanny job. This audition will cost Sarah about $100. Is it worth it?
Now take STEVEN. Steven was asked by a good friend to create a piece of art for his friend's start-up company. It was asked casually over drinks and Steven felt more flattered than anything. When the friend follows up with Steven about the project, he discovers this will cost him over $300 for supplies and time. 


For both of these people they could have thought, "I am doing this for free". They might reconcile it as ok to lose some money because the audition is "once in a life time" or the place of this piece could be "life changing". I want to dig deeper. I think the real question is at what COST are you willing to be "FREE". Everyone needs a boundary when it comes to favors and building portfolios. How many auditions can you really afford to take? How many pieces can you afford to give away? 

The answer here might be 3 or 10. But I promise there is an answer!

The first step to getting people to value your work is YOU valuing your time.

I challenge you to spend 3 hours on your art work. After 3 hours ask yourself what is this worth? How much would I pay for this? Can I streamline my time? Can I get this piece actually done in 1 hour or does it actually need 1 full day?

And above all ASK others. Take people you admire to lunch or coffee and be frank and ask them how much they charge. How and when do they discuss expenses? 

All this time you might have been sitting on a GOLDMINE.

I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom - how great is that?
— Soledad O'Brien