As an artist and business owner, I often have to retrain my mind to not completely separate the two. Out of pure experience, I subconsciously relate my art with the creative, wacky, staying up all night type of fun. Business, on the other hand, gets a harsher critique. When I think about the “business things” on my to-do list, I automatically become too tired to type another email. Fun time is over children, it’s business time (cue Flight of the Conchords).

That’s why before I attended my first Creatives Meet Business Experience (CMBXP) last year, it felt a little daunting. Though I was promised 3 full days of a networking, skill-building experience, I had my doubts. What if they quizzed me in the classes? Do I have to talk to people? Can I endure an hour long workshop about Public Relations? More than that, I questioned how it would play into my role as an artist. Do I really want to bring business into the mix?

Hey Artist! You’re a Business Owner Too

I had interviewed Ashland Viscosi, the Founder of Creatives Meet Business, a few weeks before and she had ensured me of the communal experience I was about to partake in. She mentioned one thing that stuck with me: “You have to reorient your mind about the ideas that are presented.” She described the goal of CMBXP to “equip creatives and artists with the tools they need to truly see themselves as business owners.” My mind had been so focused on my unfounded opinions towards the term “business,” that I completely dismissed the idea that business skills could relate to my work as an artist.

So, I attended the experience with an open mind, chose classes I normally would avoid and even spent time at the happy hours instead of heading home early (which were totally worth it btw, I pet a baby kangaroo.) I embraced the fact that as an artist, I am also a business owner. For the first time I saw the creative elements in both realms.

Photo Credit: Manny Pandya

I was enamored with the guides that led classes with full transparency about the challenges they faced in their own ventures. At every workshop, I filled my CMBXP notebook up as fast as I could before the next Powerpoint slide appeared. (Pro-tip: Most of the time guides make their presentations available after, so don’t injure yourself). I sought out advice from the mentor sessions at a time when I really needed it. And I left feeling confident in my title as artist and business owner.

Art & Business Don’t Have to Fight

After attending the experience last year (and now on my way to this year’s, yay!), I feel silly to think that I ever doubted the connection between art and business. But I do understand it. It’s hard to let go of the notion that art is pure creation. To accept that art can be bought, sold, marketed and turned into a business kind of washes away the romance of being an artist. But it doesn’t have to. Maybe there is room in that notion for an artist that is successful, creative, business-minded and still romantic. You just have to reorient your mind a little.

Join us at this year’s CMBXP on Sept 19-21! Buy your badge and start signing up for workshops


Written by: Natalie Earhart

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