Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Janessa Bookout, a professional artist, gallery manager, and independent entrepreneur based in Huntington Beach, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am always an artist first. I was trained in traditional fine art and offer my collectors original paintings, sculptures, and limited edition prints. I have also evolved over the years into a professional fine art gallery manager, website designer and developer, 3D illustrator, and project manager. I help my clients and business partners with all things creative, productive, and business related. I also just wrote an ebook for artists and have taken on my first few clients as their artist coach, helping in business matters and teaching technical art skills.
Tell us about yourself
I graduated from art school (MICA in Baltimore) in 2004 and quickly realized I had no idea how to make real money as an artist. I have spent the last 20 years learning the business of art and continuing to create my own fine art in my studio. After years of thinking I would be "discovered" as an artist, I realized that working for myself and creating unique opportunities for myself would be the only fulfilling life path for me. Even when things are difficult, I remain grateful for the freedom, lifestyle, and business model I have created for myself.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Selling art was my first big accomplishment after college, but I soon realized I didn't care to focus only on selling my own art. I began to realize how much I could help others develop their own brands of creativity, much like I had done for myself, so after many years of all kinds of accomplishments, I'd have to say helping others succeed is always the most rewarding in the big picture of life. And yes, continuing to sell my art is still a really nice thing to do too.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Handling the day-to-day responsibilities like sales and marketing and typical business duties like bookkeeping and taxes is never fun. Most people envision being an artist as a full-time studio career, but most artists have to handle their own business matters as well.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Always keep learning about business, technology, and self-improvement.
- Keep practicing your art skills and exploring ways to improve your craftsmanship or material knowledge.
- Be authentic and find your own unique voice in your art.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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