Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Websites and Resources Creative Entrepreneurs Shouldn't Miss!

Starting a business or staying up-to-date on the latest trends of a creative career can be challenging. On the internet there are hundreds of resources that you could spend hours researching through. In this post I have complied a list of some of the most useful and inspiring online resources and websites to help anyone pursing a creative career path. Whether your ambition is to sell art, blog about it, or work in a nine to five job within an art field, this is a broad list of individuals and organizations that can make your creative  aspirations a little easier to achieve. If there are any you feel I left out, please, send me an email or post a comment. I love getting feedback from readers! 

Rena Tom
Former gallery owner of Rare Device and a creative marketing strategist, Rena shares her insight on a variety of topics directed at artists and business owners through her blog. Her website also offers handy free worksheets and downloads that can be used to make goal setting and planning your creative business easier. What I really like about about her blog is that it focuses on a variety of issues with running a creative business that an individual with no prior business experience might not think of such as branding, marketing, and establishing an online presence in addition to a physical shop.

Big Cartel
Big Cartel is an online shop front that combines Etsy and Wix. You can custom make your own website with a shop interface built in. This website I would strongly recommend  to anyone selling high price items like large scale paintings or jewelry because Big Cartel charges only a flat fee for the use of their web services. They earn no percentage off individual items you sell. It saves money on both web-hosting and online shop fees. Prices for hosting range from $9.99 and $29.99.

I know I mentioned Gwarlingo on the blog a few weeks, but I couldn't leave it off the list. Gwarlingo is an expansive art blog which covers several contemporary artists you never heard about in your art history classes. In addition to the visual arts, Gwarlingo also covers film, prose, poetry, and the creative process. It is a must see for artists because it is a place where ideas can be discussed and inspiration can be generated. Check out the Process section where blog author Michelle Aldredge takes an intimate look at struggles artists face while creating and how they get past them. 

Creative Thursday
I can honestly say that this blog by the wonderful Marisa Haedike is what has inspired me to push forward with my own blog and creative endeavors. The story behind the name is that while working in a full-time job Marisa set aside one day out of the week (Thursdays) to focus on being creative. What resulted from this one creative day was Marisa's own business, Creative Thursday. Since, she has produced her own line of fabric and authored a book. Marisa's writing and insightful podcasts document her journey from the ground up to becoming a "thriving" artist.

Altitude Design Summit
Alt is an online community for bloggers to build relationships beyond the internet. Blogging can be a major part of a creative business or it can be a creative business in itself. A blog can give people who buy your art or products an honest look at the person and processes behind the creation. Alt is basically a live conference which takes place every year. Coincidentally, this year's Alt Summit is taking place right now in New York. If you're like me and can't make it to the physical Alt Summit, you can also tune into online sessions for $15 each. Classes and conferences like Alt are a wonderful way to connect with other creatives and make working on your own pursuits less of a solo process.  

Aubrey Levinthal Blogs
Aubrey is a Philadelphia based artist who graduated from The Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art. This is an example of what a good artist's blog should be. She features beautiful posts with high-quality photographs of her own work and the work of various artists, most of which are Philly based. Aubrey features a Sunday Pick every week where a new artists' work is showcased. Her blog is a complement to her website where she hosts her work. It is well designed and gives the reader a personal link to Aubrey's work, making it more enticing check out or buy.

Painters' Table
If you are a painter and maintain a blog, the Painter's Table website can be a good way to increase your readership. It is an online hub that connects hundreds of blogs focusing on varying painting styles as well as blogs on art criticism and online magazines. According to the Google Analytics information posted to the site's about  page, Painter's Table has been responsible for a staggering 238,278 hits on bloggers' pages. You can actually submit your own blog to be part of the Painters' Table blogroll.

Design*Sponge's Biz Ladies Column
Biz Ladies is regular column on the popular design blog Design*Sponge. It connects women running their own design-based businesses and offers advice on PR, social media, branding, and time management. The Biz Ladies who contribute to the column are up and coming professionals and seasoned creative business owners, including Mod Cloth's  creator Susan Gregg Koger. While this is a column directed towards women, it has great advice which can be used by male creatives as well.

After the Jump Podcast
This is another product of Design*Sponge's creator Grace Bonney. The podcast is produced by Heritage Radio Network, a nonprofit online radio station that discusses food, art, and culture. Bonney's guests featured on the podcast are established entrepreneurs and artists who give a look inside their daily lives as independent creatives. They talk about how they started out and the challenges they had to overcome to be where they are at the present. This is a free podcast that can be downloaded in Ttunes that you can listen to when ever you need to get back your creative spark or just add to it.

Etsy Online Labs
While Etsy is already a well known artist resource, its online labs are hidden gems on the popular online storefront's site. Every month, videos and seminars can be streamed live to help Etsy members utilize their online stores to fit their personal business and profit goals. Topics covered include: Building Your Business by Networking, Doing Taxes When You Own Your Won Business, Online Etiquette, Pricing Basics, and Tips on Photographing Products.  The Online Labs are basically an e-business course at your fingertips. You do not need to be a member of Etsy or even have an online shop with them to benefit from the Online Labs. The best part of all, is that it's all free.

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