Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Elli Milan, Owner of Milan Art, located in Statham, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a family of artists who has used our success in the art world to help other artists. Milan Art is a revolutionary platform that empowers artists to turn their passion for art into a profession. We are an online art school, Milan Art Institute, and also a social media called Art Social. We help artists succeed and connect them with each and art lovers all over the world. We are passionate about our mission to help artists become professionals through our Mastery Program course. This course teaches artists how to draw and oil paints classically, contemporary mixed media techniques, and how to find their voice and develop their own unique style. Then we teach artists how to build a personal brand, develop professional habits, and market and promote their artwork. Hundreds of our graduates have ditched their day job and are now full-time artists. Our Social Media has been built from scratch by our full-time developers. So that means whatever we can dream of artists, we can include them on our social media platform. We have a lot of innovative plans in the process where Art Social will be the leading platform for artists to connect, grow and have a marketplace with live auctions, online events, and art collecting and investing.
Tell us about yourself
I have been a professional artist since 1996. Together with my husband John, who is also an artist, we sold our work all over the world and raised our four children. In 2010 we opened Milan Art Institute and taught classes in person. We helped artists grow their skills and sell artwork. All of our children have become professional artists and also help in school. In 2018 we took the school online, and it grew quickly. In the early years, I had really wanted a mentor and looked everywhere for a working artist who would help me. I wanted to learn from someone who was actually doing what they taught. I could not find any successful artist who was willing to help me or share their knowledge. I wanted to change that and be in a position to help artists make it. I see that artists are influencers and are the ones who shape and shift culture. If we want to change the world, it is the artists who will do it. This is what motivates me every day. We believe we are leading a movement that is an art movement that is empowering and equipping artists to change the world. Change the world into what? We are done with dark, esoteric art and elitism in the art world. Art is for everyone. We are creating art that prophesies a future we want to live in. A future of hope, beauty, life, and truth. A future where exceptionalism and excellence are celebrated. A future where people are inspired to run hard after their dreams and aspirations and achieve them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
An accomplishment that I feel accomplished is building a business around a purpose that all who work for us or are in our community can align with and understand and fight for. We have held our ground and stayed true to our convictions and vision. We have inspired and rallied a community of artists who all have stepped into their destiny as an artist and felt a part of the cause. When you can get a group of people all rowing in the same direction, you are unstoppable.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Something I find difficult as a business owner is not taking on too much at one time. Having discipline and patience to walk a long road. To always see the long game. Even if we can have it now, it's not always the best. I have definitely failed in this department and have been seduced by great ideas or too much ambition too soon. Growth is best when it is planned and predictable, and steady. Holding on to your stated strategies is not easy.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Thoroughly write down your vision and the steps you see to get there.
- Read as many books on business and leadership as you can.
- Don't abdicate a task, job, or role to someone else until you have done it yourself. If you want to own a successful restaurant, you have first to sweep the floor, set the tables, serve the customer and cook the food all yourself before you can find the right people to do it.
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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