There is nothing like being in a group of like minded people, everyone encouraging each others’ creativity. I go to a quilt guild meeting and I am surrounded by people who get it. They understand how complicated some techniques are, and why I do what I do. It is an amazing feeling. But as wonderful as that is, spending all my time with those type of people is bad for my business.
Sometimes it is better to be around people who don’t get it and who care about making money, not following your bliss.
Getting outside the creative box can bring surprising insights. Here are a few of the people I go to for advice that would never come from an artist.
The Engineer. This person is all about logic and precision, and they love solving problems. Are your methods and processes efficient? Do you need help figuring out the best way to lay out trade or craft show booth? This person can give you so much help.
The Businessperson. This is the person you go to when you need advice from the other side about scaling, selling, and monetizing. It can be useful to hear from someone who doesn’t make it personal, and is focused on the bottom line and not the journey.
The Cheapskate. This is the cheapest person you know. She is the one who says stuff like, “I would never pay more than $20 for this!” It is a harsh dash of reality to hear, but a blunt cheapskate forces you to evaluate how much value you are offering and whether you really can sell a product or service at a profit.
The Fan. This is the person who loves everything you do, even if they really don’t get how or why you do it. Sometimes you need to be told you are an artist and are fabulous and wonderful, but it is also useful to see how an everyman type of buyer looks at your offerings. What do they really gravitate toward?
You might be saying right now that you don’t have these kind of people available. Look again at your circle of friends; you probably know people like this who would love to help you out.
Who do you have in your Brains Trust? Let me know any characters I have missed!