Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leisa Collins, founder of Leisa Collins Art, located in St. Louis, MO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I specialize in architectural art and have created portraits of historic homes and buildings in every state across the country. I am passionate about saving old buildings, and my clients are homeowners and others who feel the same way and want me to capture their home or favorite building in pen and watercolor. I also love to create paintings of iconic buildings which have beauty and history and a unique story.

Tell us about yourself

As a teenager, my love for travel and adventure prompted me to abandon formal art training, instead learning my craft while traveling across my native New Zealand. I have lived in the USA for the last 35 years, and I relaunched my art career in 2009, starting with a studio in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. Since then, my husband and I have lived in all parts of the United States as we love to experience the cultural, geographical, and artistic contrasts this country has to offer.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Creating a niche market in the architectural field which has resulted in a steady income and a lifestyle that allows me to travel and continue to work wherever I go. I am proud of my Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award, which I started in 2013. I have presented this award to stellar individuals for their preservation efforts around the country, and it has helped to get this message out.

Another accomplishment is the release of my coffee table book "Hand Painted Homes — An Artist's Pen and Watercolor Journey Across America" last year. It features 650 of my paintings of homes and historic buildings, covering subjects in every state.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Constant promotion and persisting toward your artistic goals, whether or not you are getting sales or not.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Promote, promote, promote on as many channels as possible but focus your efforts on the channels that give you the best return.
  2. Always keep good records and contact data and follow up with anyone who expresses interest in your work.
  3. Always produce quality art that you are proud of and your clients love, as this will bring about valuable word-of-mouth promotion.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I believe that art is a powerful means of communication and a potent weapon to bring about change.

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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