This article is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. An emerging artist searching his way in the art world, he loves to share what he learns. With over 20 years of technology experience, Moshe combines his technological background and his passion for the arts with the goal of "working his dream". You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
In a recent seminar I took on entrepreneurship as part of my current personal development in between jobs, our speaker, Mark Venning of the Change Rangers introduced us with a term he coined “Wiki Working”. That immediately sparked my imagination and I started probing a bit more on what this is all about.
We are all familiar with sites such as Wikipedia, where the content is created by the users, which is really the essence of what coined “Web 2.0”. Social media sites are taking a huge role in that, by having content created by users, rather than by the owners and creators of the web site. But, the original word “wiki” is actually Hawaiian for hurry, quick or fast. And it is true that with the nature of the wiki-based websites, content can be created in collaboration in a much faster way than before. Just imagine how long would it have taken for a team of paid individuals to write all the terms on Wikipedia. It would take years and millions of dollars.
So at the root of wiki sites is the collaboration. And Venning extended that into the entrepreneurship world of starting a business by saying – we cannot do it all on our own, we need to find help and collaborate with other people, and from that he came with – Wiki Working.
What does it have to do with us, the artists? Everything.
We are the sole proprietors of our own business. We create products, which we need to sell. We have to deal with expenses, marketing, sales, financing, legal, and all other business aspects, not in this specific order necessarily, but in some way that will make our business viable, thriving and sustaining.
So how do we do that? Not alone!
There are many mechanics involved in any business, and we have to identify them all. Being an artist is NOT an exception. A short list will look something like:
- Business plan and business structure
- Marketing Plan and collaterals
- Finances – investment, banking, accounting
- Legal – copyrights, licensing
- Infrastructure – studio/office space, technology, telecom
- Expenses – travel, networking, professional development
And this is just the start. Each of these should be expanded as much as we can so we don’t have any surprises.
Next, lets identify what is it we like doing, and what not. I, for example, realized during the time I started my blog, that I enjoy writing and love developing my network as well as marketing collaterals. On the other hand, I hate – actually HATE, with capitals – dealing with the finances and legal stuff. So I know I need a good accountant, and I know I need a good system to make these areas of the business work for me. By identifying what you like and what not, you will be able to easily identify where you need help the most.
So how do we do it the Wiki way?
That is still something I am pondering, and I think this forum is a great place to put it out there and see what happens. After all, if you are in the same state of your art career as me, the expenses are way more than your income, and you do try to work with a very small budget, saving here and there by doing it yourself. How can I afford an expensive accountant or lawyer if I need one? Or if you don’t know anything about website development, should you spend the money on some of the expensive options out there, or try to learn how to do it yourself?
Or, is there a way to do it collaboratively, the wiki-way, by engaging our peers, other artists like us, who have stronger skills than us on some parts of the business, and we will help them with our strengths? What about going at it together, like a co-op of sort (not necessarily with a co-op gallery, but just a business entity that handles all the business aspects, and sells the artwork of all the individual artists)? Or maybe there is another creative way I didn’t even think about?
Let me know what you think. Use the comments area to wiki-share your ideas, experience and thoughts.