Q & Cake

Q & Cake #27

September 7, 2021

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In today’s Q & Cake (our own fancy version of Q & A) Elisabeth and Cami discuss several questions from listeners about creating a portfolio to share on social media, licensing artwork and marketing it to fellow stationers,  and networking locally. These are questions from fellow artists, calligraphers, designers, stationers, etc. that will hopefully help you in your own biz journey as a creativepreneur!

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Hello! My name is Shelbie and my question is regarding the early stages of establishing your creative business and creating a solid online presence. I know from previous episodes you guys recommended creating a sample invitation suite or some sample pieces of what you want to include in your services, to show to prospective clients and showcase it in a “portfolio” – aka on your Instagram feed. My questions are – 

1. How many pieces or suites do you think would be enough to invest in up front for (Instagram and website) content purposes only? 

And 2. I’m really stuck on which Instagram account to post this created content to – do I post it to my personal account which has an established base of followers already (friends and family only – not professional), or do I post it to an Instagram account I created for my new business, which doesn’t have any content or followers yet? Please help! I’ve been sitting on some of this content for so long because I just can’t figure out which is the right way to do this – any advice would be appreciated!! – @edieandivory

Cami 2:45

Okay. So the first one is how many pieces or suites. Would be enough to invest in upfront like your sample pieces and website content purposes. So I’m reading this. It’s like how many fake suites do you need for your portfolio? In my mind, I. I feel like it has to be an odd number. I feel like it has to be like three or five.

Elisabeth 3:08

Oh my gosh. I was literally going to say three or five. I was going to say exactly the same thing. Like, I feel like that’s like the base, you can kind of like get away with like that’s enough to show some variety and plant ground with different pieces. 

Cami 3:23

Like from one suite, you can get a lot of different photos of like, you know, the way you lay it out, showing the RSVP or the detail with the anvil. Like there’s so many different ways you can like showcase a suite. Um, so I feel like three is totally doable. Five is like, oh, you’re starting to get the hang of things.

Like more than that, I don’t think you really need too much more of that. I mean, if you are just in the creative zone, then by all means do more, but I feel like three to five is a good sweet spot to aim for. 

Elisabeth 8:07

So part two of this question, I’m really stuck on which Instagram account to post this created content to the personal account, which has her friends and family followers, or the Instagram account that she created for her new business, which doesn’t have content or followers yet.

Yeah. Like, I just don’t think you can go wrong either way. Um, the thing you don’t want to end up with happening is that you’re like constantly feeling obligated to post both.

So for that reason, I’m like, well, if you already started one for your business, why not continue it there? Whereas like Cammie just kinda. Started posting her stuff on her personal account. And then it like turned into her business account.

I’m a watercolor artist looking to collaborate more with stationers – to provide artwork for them. I learned a lot from Jessica’s webinar about licensing artwork during The Stationers Summit, but I’m kind of stuck on how to get started. How can I market or reach out to stationers, what types of files/artwork are they looking for, or is this even something that stationers are needing? Thank you!! – Kate of @thelighthousesketchbook

Elisabeth 11:21

I think this is something that stationers are definitely looking for. It’s just more about finding the right people, I guess.

Cami 11:20

Yeah. I feel like in all these like stationary Facebook groups, I feel like I see posts every day being like, I need someone to do this who has availability for this type of artwork. And so like commenting on those posts, like getting involved in those Facebook groups is going to be huge because that’s where roads kind of hang out.

They’re always people looking for artwork. Um, for that, or even just posting in there and be like, Hey, I do this type of artwork. Here’s the types of things. I do. Venue illustrations, pet portraits, this type of thing. Like email me. If you have someone looking for, you have to be really proactive with it is what I’m trying to say.

Like, no, one’s going to really come to you and be like, Hey, I want to use some of your artwork. Do you do that? Like you really have to be proactive and say, this is a service I offer. I know a couple of people who do this. And then also. Pages on their website with dedicated like rates for that type of thing for licensing artwork with other stationers.

But it’s definitely something I’ve really enjoyed doing. Like, I really enjoy it just doing the artwork and sending those files off for other stationers to do all the printing and working with the client, that kind of thing. I definitely liked that. So that kind of happened for me by reaching out or commenting in Facebook groups with examples of my artwork.

And then people just. Asking as well. Um, and I’m always like, yeah, I do. And so once I establish those relationships with these other stationers, they kind of come back, keep coming back to me. So we have an established working partnership. Um, so once you kind of get the ball rolling with that, and it’ll just kind of snowball.

Yes, there are actually people that I have started to provide artwork for too while they’re to, which is awesome. And so we can also talk about the kind of files and artwork they want, because it’s very dependent on the printing form. So the person that I provide artwork for like venue, sketches, line drawings, things like that are usually going to be letterpress printed.

What are your best tips for printing with colored paper? Do you ever supply your own paper to a printer or do you always use the paper provided by the printer? I have found it challenging to navigate the colors on some of the printer’s websites (and I don’t have a ton of local options) but love printing white ink on colored paper! – Kelly of @kellyryannpaperco 

Elisabeth 17:22

 I have. Printers that do a variety of different things, but the main printer that I’ve liked to work with for white ink printing, I tend to send them my own envelopes and my own paper though. I have sourced from elsewhere. That is definitely the easiest for me and has worked out the best because then I can just be like, Hey, I have this exact stock coming to you of exactly what I want.

And I address it to the person that I work with within that printing office. And I always get it back like two days later. It’s amazing. If you want to know who that is, you can join the A-Z Directory. I will shout their name to the rooftops. They are absolutely wonderful. No, they are not the most common name in the industry, the one that people probably already know, it’s a different printing company that I have worked with for multiple things. And they’ve always amazed me every single time. 

So I would not bother too much with the colors on their websites. I would just reach out and ask, Hey, if I send you paper from such and such site, or if I send you envelopes from such and such site, are you willing to print on them?Because that just gives you a little bit more control in that department, which is nice to have. 

I’m part of a local networking group of entrepreneurs from several different industries. Most of them are in “traditional” or “practical” fields (like real estate, chiropractics, bookkeeping, health and wellness, content marketing, or even photography), and many don’t seem to get what I do as a calligrapher or see the value of it. How do you communicate your value as a luxury service when talking with other small business owners? These businesses aren’t necessarily my target market, but may know people who are and we do try to support and promote each others’ businesses in the group. – Sarah of @greencountrycreative

Elisabeth 22:04

But the problem is like, I kind of ran into the exact same problem because I was in this power core networking group, which had traditional and practical fields, exactly like what you’ve listed out, like real estate chiropractors, accountants, marketing, all of the good things.

And at the end of the day, I was just, I was like, so. Far outside that realm, that it didn’t make sense for me to be there. Like I thought when I was going to join. And I know this might not be the answer that you want because you’re like, I’m trying to make the most of this. I’m trying to support the other business owners in the group.

Like, what I realized was that I needed to put my efforts towards wedding industry specific networking that I just was not in the right place when I was trying to do this. Do I have people from that group that I still talk to this day and consider good friends? Yes, I definitely do. I have some great connections from that group.

I have had things come up in my life where I’m like, oh my God, I can call so-and-so because they’ll have a referral for me. Like it has paid off like in my personal life, super, super well, because I know more people now. And like knowing people I would say is power. It’s very advantageous. Like knowledge is power.

Right. But I totally felt that chasm. When I was trying to understand or trying to explain to them why my stuff mattered and why I was charging the way I was, it, it was just too different to really overcome that barrier, unfortunately

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