10 Personality Traits That Kill Entrepreneurship - Artists This Goes For You Too

Click through the link to read about these 10 traits that kill entrepreneurship and reflect on how they apply to artists and creatives too. These are my quick thoughts on how they apply to artists:

1. Self-doubt: not good for anyone, but especially artists. If you don’t believe in your own art, who will?

2. Anti-social tendencies: fairly easy to understand why this will hinder success. Like I said in my last post, you must promote and talk to others about who you are and what you do. 

3. Control issues: while you must stay in control of your art and your message, learn to trust other people who can and want to help you.  Let go a little, let others in, it will go a long way.

4. Inflexibility: the world is changing at lightning speed, make sure you can adapt to the changes and go with them because that’s where the opportunities are.

5. Power: this one is tied to control. If you work with others (like interns or even your accountant) be nice - you’ll get better results! Don’t be bossy or intimidating or hysterical or a prima donna. 

6. Lack of Focus: want to go in a million directions or don’t know where to go at all? Sound familiar? In art as in creativity, you must focus your energies - whether that’s on a style, an industry, a product, or a goal. And work towards it with everything you’ve got.

7. Competitiveness: artists are competitive with each other!  And there are probably other artists or people in your industry that you measure yourself against. This is healthy to a point, but make sure it doesn’t become a focus - you’re better off redirecting that energy into your own creativity.

8. Perfectionism: artists are the most self-critical people I know. While striving for perfection is honorable, give yourselves a break and don’t obsess if something goes wrong! Again - redirect your focus back to where it needs to be, on where it is most constructive.

9. Close-mindedness: Being open-minded and considering other people’s opinions or ideas is a sign of self-confidence, not to mention a way of infusing yourself with potentially new creative ideas. The act of simply listening and acknowledging new ideas can set off a creative spark! Be ready for that - open your mind!

10. Impatience: as with anything in life, patience will cause you less suffering. Setting goals and working towards them is rewarding, but you’ll encounter setbacks. So give yourself, your skills, your art, and your market, time to evolve, grow and become solid.

The most important trait is believing in yourselves, and having faith that if you work hard, your efforts will bear fruit.  Sometimes those efforts take a lot of time, but don’t give up! Opportunities are disguised as obstacles, delays, angering situations or even annoying people. Use those beautiful artistic brains to see the opportunities, to see the “white space”, which is a skill that is taught to students in business schools and that artists have inherently.  

In wanting to build your own careers and businesses from your art, you are taking the path of an entrepreneur, so if you have the chance, read up on business themes and entrepreneurship. I’ll share lots of articles with you too.

What are some other traits that “kill” artists & artistic entrepreneurs? Are there some that are “artist-specific” that we should all watch out for? 

Tips About Facebook For Creatives – Part II

Now that you’ve got your objectives clear and you’ve promised yourself you’ll regularly update your page, it’s time to set the page up.  I’m not an expert in Facebook, and if you want to learn all the ins and outs there are many companies and courses, and also free resources, like the Facebook Pages Resource Center.  But I do want to share some of the more vital things I consider for the fan page:

  • When opening the page try to have at least a few photos, and some information ready to fill the page a bit, even when it’s brand new. You can show images of your previous work so that anyone can immediately SEE what you do.  This also gives you a nice row of images across the top (now that Facebook has modified its look).
  • Facebook gives you all kinds of options for the kind of product, service or celebrity you are when you set up your page. Pick the one that most closely represents you. 
  • Take advantage of Facebook’s “custom url” function. This means that instead of your page being: it can be:, for example. I love this because it means that when I give this link to someone, or put it in any bio, resume, or other public or private document, the impact is totally different. You aren’t a number, you are YOU, and you are your brand. Your name, or your brand’s name, is right there. And it also helps with your search engine rankings.
  • Use an interesting and eye-catching image for your page’s profile picture.
  • The fan page is going to be one of the many online points of contact you will have. The most important of is your own site, so make sure that your site is clearly listed. We put the website url in the little note box that shows up on the Wall page, as well as listing it in the websites section.
  • List all your online sites where you have a strong presence or portfolio, ie. Deviantart, Twitter, Behance, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Fill out the information section completely, including some personal facts about yourself where possible, if you are an artist promoting yourself.  I love reading little personal and quirky tidbits; it gives you personality and it’s the only way to transmit that in the Internet medium (unless you post an intro video of yourself, which would be even more fun and impactful!).
  • Get interested! List and like pages, products and friends.  When you are on another fan page, you have the option (bottom left of the page) of adding a page to your own page.  Doing this makes the page show up in your fan page and it’s a great way to cross-promote.  When you add another page to your own page, write to them and let them know that you’ve done this! There’s no instant notification saying your page has been added to another fan page.
  • Facebook now gives you the option of creating ‘favorites’ amongst your page’s “likes”. These show up on the left of your wall, and will rotate regularly. It’s the icon that looks like a megaphone, called “Featured”. We use this feature to showcase companies, artists, sponsors or partners.

There are also lots of great applications that you can add to your fan page. Some are free, others cost a couple of dollars. 

  • Notes: You can use this app to write a note that stays on Facebook. You may write a blog post that doubles as a journal entry on Deviantart and can double as a note on Facebook. If you do this, then the text you’ve written gets lots of mileage, and it requires a couple of minutes of time to cut and paste, then to post.  We mainly use Notes when we want to write something specific for the fans on Facebook.
  • RSS Feeds: With the RSS imports, you can have your blog post directly imported to your wall. This saves time because it is an automated process but you have no control over the formatting and often it comes up as a bland and ugly link. We don’t use this option for that reason. We prefer to either LINK from Facebook TO the blog (recommended) or cut-paste the text into a note. If you want to automate, there are apps that do this, or you can set up your feeds from the Notes app.
  • Photos: This is self explanatory but what you can do with Photos is decide which to post to Facebook, and which to post to an external photo service like Flickr. You might want to use Flickr as the ‘bucket’ where you bulk upload lots of photos, and then select only the best to post to Facebook or vice versa. You may want to have the same album on several platforms, and that’s fine too! The advantage of using the native Photos app is that those are the photos that people see immediately when they get to your page. Those photos live on Facebook, and are easier for people to share and comment on. So I recommend always posting at least some photos to the Facebook albums.  *Similar consideration for Videos & Youtube.
  • Events: We all know about events on Facebook. It’s the only way I know how to keep track of what’s going on. We use events on Facebook for everything – from art shows to conventions to signings. Even if few people sign up, you’ve still created an event that you can link to from your blog, journal notes, emails, etc. You can add photos, links and comments and send updates directly to people you’ve invited.
  • Youtube App, Flickr for Pages App, Twitter for Pages App: We installed all three of these apps on the fan page, and they show up as links on the left hand side of the wall when you first land on the fan page. These apps automatically feed IN your content from those sites and make them available to your fans. There’s also a Tumblr App that has the same functionality. Once you’ve set up these apps, you don’t need to do anything else other than update the other sites. Nice!

There we have it, Part II is all about setting up the page, and installing apps that allow you to have tons of interesting content streaming into your fan page without much extra effort on your part. It’s starting to come together now and next and final post about Facebook fan pages will be about tips on posting to the page, updating fans, and engaging your audience. Thanks for following along so far!
5 Excellent Tips For Negotiating

Super good advice for everyone!  I am often on both sides of this advice - negotiating contracts as a services supplier FOR a client and negotiating AS the client, talking to freelancers to help us with our own projects.

#5 is an especially good one for me because I’m an entrepreneur.  And this is a strong point for all artists and creatives looking to build their business and client base – don’t take things personally! Don’t be emotional.  And I know … how hard is that?! 

Tips About Facebook For Creatives – Part III

After two posts about setting up, I’m looking forward to talking about the actual “doing” on the FB page! Your page is all set-up and the first thing to do is to get some people to click that “like” button so you can start telling them about all the great stuff you do and keep in contact with them, ask for feedback, etc.

Keep reading


Last night Camilla and I went to the SFU “Flux” Grad Art Show.  Tasha, our tireless and incredibly hardworking Merchandise Coordinator, is one of the graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts students.  Her work included a successfully funded Indiegogo crowd funding campaign, an illustrated book, and some custom painted vinyl toys.  

Needless to say we are so proud of her! What I am most impressed by, is that in a day and age where the importance of art as a sustainable living is discussed and contemplated and tested by so, so many people, Tasha was the only student who actually took that into consideration in her work.  

Granted, she works with us and so she knows first hand what it means to make a business from art, but what most people may not know is how much she had to battle the university, and how much criticism and how many obstacles were placed in her path as she persevered in her project.  I admire her for the way she forged ahead, for overcoming her fears and insecurities, for OVER FUNDING her campaign on Indiegogo and for putting together a project that both showcases her skills as an illustrator, and her savvy in commercializing art.  

She’s sweet but she’s dogged. Watch out for her, world! She’s got the d'Errico determination to defy the status quo and make a successful career out of being creative.  And for those who love her custom vinyls as much as we do, you’ll be seeing more of her work in shows in North America and Singapore very soon. Way to go Tasha!!

For those in Vancouver who want to see Tasha’s work, along with the rest of the graduating class’ exhibition, you can swing by the SFU Audain Gallery on 149 West Hastings Street. 

Setting Up Your Social Media Sites

Here we go with a series of posts about how we use the various social media sites to promote Camilla’s work. There are literally hundreds of sites out there, and everyone will have their favorites, especially because there are many niche sites for every imaginable kind of art or creative endeavor.  Surely anyone reading these posts already uses at least one social media site, has a blog, and/or a website, so you are familiar with the landscape.  

When thinking about social media, the first, and most important step is to BRAND YOUR ACCOUNTS.  This goes for both personal and brand/creative social media accounts.

Even if you are an individual artist, you may decide to have separate social media accounts. For example you can open a Facebook “Like” page for your art. We use Camilla d’Errico Art and in addition Camilla has her own personal FB page.

Usually an individual artist will only open accounts under his/her own name. But if you find yourself posting things that aren’t relevant to your art or you don’t want fans seeing what you do in your spare time, then open separate accounts.  Social media sharing doesn’t mean you have to give up your privacy. Branding and separating accounts gives you a degree of control and privacy over what you do and whom you want to share things with.

If, as an individual artist, you do open separate accounts, make sure that you are using your (artistic) name for the branded accounts, so that you create name recognition and increase your rankings on the search engines. Basically, you use your name to promote your art, and a ghost name for your truly personal accounts.

If you have your own brand (product, line, services), then you must open social media accounts in your brand’s name. While it is ok for you to personally promote what you do (and you should always promote your work on your personal accounts), it is absolutely necessary for your brand to have it’s own accounts. It may be double work, double postings, etc. but the best way around that is to make the initial post come out of your BRANDED ACCOUNT and link back to it from your personal account.  If you have people helping you, they can post to the brand accounts (and make sure they are posting to their own private accounts too – colleagues, assistants and interns who promote you give you credibility).

Another element to help differentiate accounts is to use a logo for your branded accounts and a professional headshot (photograph) for your personal accounts.

Now that you’ve got yourself sorted with branded vs. personal social media sites, it’s time to think about what sites you want to work with, and to set a strategy and goals for each site (also known as channels). Like I mentioned in my last post about setting strategies and goals for social media, it’s equally important to decide what you’re going to use each channel for.  There are some evident differences between social media sites, so using each one for its strengths will help you get the most mileage out of them.

The sites that Camilla is set up with, and that I recommend as ‘staples’ are: Facebook, Twitter, Deviantart, and Tumblr.  These are the social media, social networking sites. Then there are other sites – portfolio and artist community sites – but those fall under a different category so we’ll talk about those in later posts. There are also business-networking sites like LinkedIn (very important), and there are bookmarking sites and services, forums, etc.  There are also some fun aggregator sites where you can feed all your branded social media accounts into one main, branded page. 

Starting next week, I’ll go over how we use Facebook, which apps we have on our page, which ones you might like, and give you some tips on how to find the most effective way to engage your audience.  Then we’ll move on to the other social media/networking sites. If you have any specific questions about these – or there is something in particular you want to know – please write to me and I’ll try to include answers and information in each upcoming post.

Remember: your community has value, in the same way that a customer list has value.  And social media and social networking sites ARE your community. 

Tips About Facebook For Creatives – Part I

Facebook is the most used, the most loved, and maybe even not-so-loved, social media site on the planet.  Like it or not, half a billion people have profiles and it stands to reason that a large audience for your work can be contacted and engaged on Facebook.  *Note: this post will be split because it turned out to be a monster, so I’ll post it in parts. 

Part I: Introduction, Strategy and Basic Set-Up

On average, people spend 45 minutes on Facebook, and what they like the most are pictures and videos.  So it makes sense to have a fan page that engages them and communicates with them.  And don’t be afraid to sell on Facebook. It’s the ideal place to give and get recommendations. Remember not to make ALL your posts about selling though, as that quickly gets boring. Mix it up with interesting comments, facts, and image/video content.

As usual, I’m going to use Camilla d’Errico as an example, and elaborate on some of the features we added to her fan page. For the record, Camilla answers all the comments and queries on the fan page. It’s always been important to her to be in direct contact with her fans and it’s so obvious that they love her too. The interaction on the page is great!  This built up over time. The fan page has been active since April or May of 2008.

As serendipity would have it, I received a great email a few days ago from the people at SMMU – Social Media Marketing University, and it contained a checklist for Facebook fan pages.  I don’t have any affiliate links with them, but we’ve taken their training course and found it very valuable and would recommend taking a look at what they offer. I’m going to borrow from that checklist for parts of my post.  To begin with, think of your fan page strategically and ask yourself, “for what purpose?”

#1 -  Identify objectives for your Facebook fan page including:

__ Drive more traffic to your website

__ Build your email list

__ Sell more products/services

__ Announce special offers and promotions

__ Announce events

__ Share news

__ Share educational content (preferably videos)

__ Get feedback from clients and prospects  (including likes)

__ Improve your relationships with your prospects and customers

__ Improve search engine rankings

__ Other

By identifying your objectives, you be able to focus on the kinds of posts you will create, choosing some kinds over others. The above list is also great because it gives you ideas for your posts, and what people have come to expect from a fan page.  You’ll never be able to say you don’t know what to post. If you’re short on ideas, look at that list and tailor something to one of those objectives!

The Facebook fan page is where you will engage your audience, where you’ll give them interesting tidbits about yourself as a professional, show them what you do, send them sneak peeks of what you’re working on, ask them to visit your website, to buy your art or products, and generally, where you’ll talk to them. It’s so important that your fan page isn’t just a sell sheet. It’s ok and encouraged to sell on Facebook, but not if that’s the only thing you’re doing.  So get ready to use your fan page!

#2 – Create (and stick to) a publishing schedule to regularly update the content on your fan page.  It can be:

__ Monthly

__ Bi-weekly

__ Weekly

__ 2 to 3 times a week (recommended)

__ Daily (not recommended unless you are super prolific and disciplined)

In the beginning you may want to start weekly, especially if you are shy and unsure about how to use the page. In time you’ll be able to update more frequently.  Some people worry that fans don’t like to receive too many updates and fear their fans will jump ship.  Here’s what I think: if I’m a true fan, I’ll be happy to receive interesting information from an artist or creative I admire or want to follow. I’ll be pumped to share their good news, excited about what they are doing, and happy to support them by buying products that they are taking the time and effort to promote.  Since you are promoting yourselves as creatives, you don’t have all the problems and stigma that the big brands have. You are in a league of your own; you’re at a huge advantage. Big brands have to deal with the “don’t sell on Facebook” backlash but you don’t! You’re showing the world what you’ve got, and there are thousands of people out there who will love to watch you grow and support you in that process.  Besides, those who unfan themselves aren’t real fans anyways and you know what? You’re better off without them. *Unfan is not a real word, but it gets the point across!

Part I ends here, and I hope that the checklists will help you get a feel for the kinds of posts and content you can create to engage an audience.  Lots of thinking goes into this, but you’ll see that once you’re clear on your intentions, goals and ideas, the actual posting will be a breeze.
Tips For Creating A Professional Online Image At Low To No Cost

Your website and/or online portfolio showcases your art and creativity and it’s equally important that you curate your personal image online.  This article describes how to do that in detail.

What this means, in a nutshell, is having a good photo of yourself (headshot) and properly written and proofread copy of a short and long bio. If you sell products or services, these also should be given the same professional treatment: good, clearly written copy, and enticing photos.

Spend a good chunk of time doing this, as it really doesn’t cost much (or anything at all), and will result in you having a strong professional image online.  Once you’ve got your headshot, bio, copy, description, you MUST use and re-use it everywhere.

This creates “brand consistency”, whether that is for your art, your products or yourself. Using the same headshot, the same bio, means that no matter where people read about you, they’ll know it is YOU, over and over again.

And though you may get bored of the same headshot or bio information, trust me, it’s necessary to build that recognition.  You create a consistent, professional image, and truly at little or no financial cost.
My WIFTV Networking Breakfast Talk!

I’m excited to tell you about a little event going next Tuesday, April 17th, where I’ll be a guest presenter.  Yes, yes, I am getting over my shyness and actually beginning to enjoy public speaking!  Karen and I will be talking about “creating marketable content” and how we’ve applied various principles in this increasingly complex environment, to come up with a business plan that capitalizes on these changes, on social everything, and on the very apparent needs of a content hungry audience. 

I’m looking forward to this talk, as the last 9 months have been spent understanding not only a new industry - film/tv - but also applying what I know and what I’ve been observing to what we experience across the pop culture industries.  I hope that my insights will be valuable to anyone (not just filmmakers) who want to understand the importance of content – and the kind of content that needs to be created in order for it to have a chance at a success.  Details below, Full Information here and hope to see many there!

Title: “Creating Marketable Content”

Presenters: Karen Lam & AdaPia d’Errico, Curio Media

Date: Apr 17, 2012

Time: 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM

Place: 4124 Main Street at 25th Avenue, Vancouver BC

Getting your foot in the film industry door is increasingly hard, and succeeding is even harder. While the barriers to entry have come down with advances in technology, competition has increased exponentially; creating a mass effect of more (and often mediocre) content while, inversely, there is less money in the system. Yet, there is still an insatiable appetite for content and the audience wants to discover new talent. Curio Media co-founders Karen Lam and AdaPia d’Errico will talk about their business model, how they identified a niche in the market for female-created genre projects, and what they do to discover and develop new talent to present to the world. Some questions they will address, in an informal and open dialogue, are: what kind of content gets noticed in the crowded marketplace; how do you create content that really sells and gets the attention of producers, distributors and investors; what are the steps you can take and how to create opportunities for yourself; what are the myths and facts about getting your works seen?

New Series of Posts About Artist Branding & Self Promotion

I’m working on a series of posts about promotion for artists - how to take matters into your own hands, why you should, and some of our best practices for doing it successfully.  

As I write these posts I keep coming up with lots of side posts, parenthesis posts as I will call them.  I hope that you’ll find them interesting, and most importantly, I hope you’ll comment on them and give  me suggestions for more topics you’d like me to cover.

This feels a bit like my presentation at the Vancouver Film School last summer with Camilla. We were presenting on how to put together a merchandise and artist branding program.  I had all my slides ready, 10 pages of notes (not kidding) and I completely clammed up in the first 10 seconds … Camilla is a pro, she’s been doing presentations for years, but I found myself wading in the middle of nervousness … until the questions came.

So what’s the point of my story? Am I a bad public speaker? lol, no, not that bad, but I do really well with feedback and with specific questions. So throw some at me and it’ll help me come up with posts and information to share, which will help you with your own personal branding, promotion, and success in your chosen creative field.


Video interview of Camilla and I for Canada Business Plans.  Shot this while I was in Vancouver in December at Ayden Gallery.  The gallery was all set up after the big release party/even but even though most of the stuff sold out there was a bit left for the videographer to shoot ;)


Here’s a video of the Q&A Session I did with Crystal Dynamics at New York City Comic Con last weekend. I ‘stood in’ for Camilla, since unfortunately she was unable to make it.

So I talked about her style, her inspiration, then I talked to the artists in the crowd about promoting themselves, using social media, and getting ahead.

Although I was nervous (I’m never the one in the spotlight) I enjoyed this a lot and was grateful so many people showed up for the Q&A.

Thanks to Imani for the video!

TombRaidr 15 x Camilla d'Errico (by StoopidMunkiTV)

The Art of Speaking in Parentheses

No one does it better than Italians - starting a conversation, opening a parenthesis within the discussion, then another, and another, and finally circling back to bring it all together. They also do this when writing.  When I first worked in claims accounting for hospital liability there was one particular doctor who would write out his medical analysis and at time his parentheses would be half a page long!  

Since moving here over 8 years ago, I’ve learned and even begun to master the art of speaking in parentheses.  So fair warning to everyone, when I start to write my posts, I’ll be opening many parenthesis in my posts, which I will break out into other posts, but you’ll just have to trust that everything has it’s place in my mind - my mind web - and that each is a piece of the puzzle that I’ve been building with Camilla, her career and her brands.

I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy the forthcoming posts, and will go back to review some of the posts I’ve written over the past couple of months.