Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sharone Halevy, owner of Art By Sharone, located in New York City, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am an abstract expressionist painter. I primarily create commissions for people and their spaces inspired by their memories, inspirations, and music. My customers are usually first-time art buyers who are excited to invest in personal art.
Tell us about yourself
I first started painting when I was twenty-five. I found I needed a way to just express what I was going through. What started as a form of personal need turned into a service I found others were craving as well. It became important to me to break down some of the barriers around the fear of buying art.
I am a storyteller by nature. I worked in theater as a director for many years. I love reading novels and wanted to bring that same energy and feeling into abstract art. So when I meet with my clients, we have in-depth conversations about what they hope this painting can evoke, be inspired by, or remind them of. I also paint to sound, so my clients get to provide me with what I listen to as I work. I love it. The trust people have in me, and my work is unlike anything I can explain. I have heard stories of joy, heartbreak, survival, etc.
I love my job. It is emotionally and physically demanding and a lot of pressure but also peaceful. Plus, I get to be surrounded by color and new music every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, the fact that I HAVE a business as an artist. I never expected to be in this line of work. Now, I get to create for people all over the world, and once in a while, I am able to travel to paint as well, be it for a residency or to create murals.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I have a boring answer at first, but then a bit more of an emotional one.
- Keeping track of finances. This is so much harder than I ever expected. Especially being the person who runs every aspect of Art By Sharone. I am still working on how to keep track of payments, taxes, sales taxes, and expenses.
- Trusting that the work you have done serves you. I can spiral sometimes and think everything I have built up will fall apart in a moment, as some would say, "waiting for the other shoe to drop," and it hasn't yet. Sure, there are slower months, but that doesn't mean anything about my business. I used to run away a lot from pursuing artistic dreams because I would rather choose to fail on my own terms than try a little harder. To take that next risk. With painting, I decided to keep trying, and honestly, it has served me well and made me realize I am a good business person as well. But I do have to constantly keep reminding myself that I know what I am doing, and in moments I am unsure it will be figured out.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First and foremost, dedicate your time consistently. I do not mean work all day and night. I mean, work around the same time every day. This may seem strange, but the largest part of building a business is getting in the habit of working and working for yourself. I suggest mornings- when your day has yet to fill your head.
Second, don't be afraid to talk about what you do. I think there is a large part of our culture that is anti-bragging. But Talking about something you're good at, a service you want to provide, is not bragging. It is just being who you are. Plus, you never know who may want or need the things you are looking to do.
My third piece of advice when you are starting is the price for your starter clientele. Think about who you are being exposed to first, friends and family. That is great! But think about what they could afford for what you are building. They are your best supporters and forms of advertising. Word of mouth is such a powerful thing. I am not saying to be cheap. Just be smart about how you approach those who may want to use what you are selling (service, products, etc.).
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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