Creatives Preparing for Court: Being Ready When You’re Facing the Judge

Be prepared! I cannot stress this enough.

creatives preparing for court

  • Save every correspondence, whether via email or regular mail.
  • Build a timeline of the project or issue from the 1st email or correspondence to the last.
  • Make sure that you have all originally designed or photographed documents saved and printed out or original pieces, so you’ll be able to bring along, and always make sure to save files on two drives, not just one computer.
  • Keep all receipts of expenses.
  • You will go to mediation first and this is where documents get revealed. Both sides if not able to settle, will wait to present to the judge, but beware, the other side now has time to think and prepare their “changed” strategy?
  • Be sure that your estimate or contract was clearly written, outlines what work was to be done, the timeline for production and is signed by the client.
  • If you need to consult with a lawyer to know your rights and for advice, it’s worth the expense. If you cannot afford to consult with a lawyer, the court can provide one, or there are lots of organizations that provide counsel for creatives. *(links at bottom)

The judge may not understand your exact industry, but he/she does understand documentation, your work timeline, signed contracts and should be fair if you have the information to support and back up your claim.

They have also entered the 21st century, and won’t let you use your cell phone or computer in the courtroom while you’re waiting, but if you need it to help your case, bring it!  Video cameras, laptops, and emails or images on your smart phone are all accepted as evidence.

The judge is interested in you answering his or her questions easily, so don’t over talk and start explaining this and that. They have so many cases to hear and won’t care about your storytelling. If they ask a question, answer yes or no, not blah blah blah. However, be genuinely yourself. If the judge does asks you to explain, tell your side but state the facts.

You also have the right to cross examine the witnesses of the opposing side, so think of questions that may support your case. Also be prepared that the witness may say something totally unfounded and you may need to think quickly of how you can ask the right questions or show proof that proves that not to be so. Remember they also have this right and bring questions to you.

And of course, You’re are sworn in, so please tell the truth!

Legal Counsel resources for creatives:

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Citizen Media Law Project

National Directory – Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

 

 

Pollination Consistently Between Your Website and Social Media Really Works

I’m going to start with the data, because that will show you what can happen in just one month of continuous activity.

Before we began, there were only 235 visitors to the website in the past month, and minimal social activity. This was due to the client focusing on running and managing the brick and mortar business, but ignoring the online factor. When you think only locally instead of globally, you are missing a huge opportunity.

One month later: 1,987 visits, unique visitors 1,659, pageviews 16,366, average time on site 3:24 and bounce rate 29%.

As for social media we just added the follow icons so the likes and followers are growing, but we still need to add the share buttons for the social activity to explode.

So, how did I get 8.5 x the visits and grow this small business shop in one month?

bee hovers over flower to show pollinationI did a variety of things consistently almost everyday. Added new photos to the website galleries or video to YouTube. Of course I titled and tagged the photos and video properly. Once I uploaded the video, I’d post the video to Facebook. When I added new gallery images, I’d share those on Facebook and Pinterest also. I added the app Pinvolve to the Facebook page to make it easier to pin images, posts and more.

The consistent action and cross pollination is what is bringing expanded and new traffic to the website. In addition, because of this sales are up as well.

Plans for the future include developing new Tweets for types of products, as well as holidays, continuing to expand Facebook with revolving cover images and custom pages and implementing a better, more consistent email marketing plan.

Once all of this is in action and we maintain a timely schedule, you know the traffic, social interaction and business will be booming!

It Takes A Community to Build A Broadcast Platform

It’s just a few days before Broadcast Louder is at full speed ahead; (our first FREE webinar on Facebook Timeline Design – Branding & Marketing Must Haves is 3/14 at 2pm est) and I wanted to talk a little about how I’m building this community learning experience of creatives and professionals.

Broadcast Louder Guests Spring 2012There are so many ways to reach those targeted entrepreneurs and small business owners. First of course was to write and map out what the classes would be on and hand pick those amazing guests. Then I wrote to each expert and told them of my plan and recruited them. This platform gives them a chance to teach some of their proven strategies while at the same time promote themselves and their businesses.

Then I designed and built the graphics and website, carefully building the functionality. I had already secured the domain name and once having that, I grabbed that name everywhere… Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare, etc.

Then of course it was time to start promoting the program through social media and by blogging to keeping the site fresh. Little by little the interest and following started to grow and I held contests to offer FREE classes. Each expert guest provided great content as did Broadcast Louder which made for a rich power packed 60 minutes each week.

Wanting each classmate to benefit from learning and connecting with other likewise individuals, in addition to the contests, if they listened to the first free class which featured Debbie Ingle, and answered 4 questions, they were featured on the site with their links. (This is still open to anyone who wishes to be featured – Listen here >>)

Broadcast Louder’s platform is not just to hold new classes on new and important topics, but to build a community so that all are gaining visibility and reach.

In the off season before classes begin again, I took the website to a new level. Building in an Affiliate section, now everyone can earn and grow as we all learn. I have also added a products (shopping cart) which has both audio downloads and the new class course.

Online and social media is important, but I wanted to also bring to light what I have done within my own community.

I printed up a small flyer and have posted so far in a few key places, and will tackle two more locations within the next few days. The Hoboken Business Center which has a table to lay postcards and business cards, The Monroe Center for the Arts, which has bulletin board areas in the lobby, and this week, Hoboken City Hall.

I have also emailed the flyer to a few key people, who I have asked to post so others in the local community will see it and act.

Here are a few stats to show you how it’s all working when you stay on target and  consistent.

1- The website visitor growth has quintupled in a few short months.
2- The time visitors spend on the site has tripled.
3- Alexa (as of this post) has ranked the website: Broadcastlouder.com has a three-month global Alexa traffic rank of 470,523. The site’s visitors view 13.0 unique pages each day on average. It has attained a traffic rank of 75,241 among users in the US, where we estimate that 90% of its audience is located. The time spent in a typical visit to Broadcastlouder.com is about eighteen minutes, with 88 seconds spent on each pageview. This site has a relatively good traffic rank in the city of New York (#12,937).

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The Bottom Line

It’s gaining speed, interest, and it’s my plan that everyone will benefit (and earn) based on where it’s headed.

If you have any suggestions for webinar/topics that you feel are needed, please email me! I’m always interested in new ideas and helping everyone be more successful!

Tips on Pricing Your Creative Work & Knowing Your Self-Worth

As a creative business owner we’re faced with a dilemma. Do we create what we want,  when we want to, or do we run our creative business based upon our brand image and mission? Most creatives will say they are only interested in the creative aspect and don’t focus on how they’re going to make a living. You may have a vision in the back of your mind of finding part or full time work outside of your studio which can pay the bills and allow you to continue to make your art when you have the time!

Andrea and I are here to tell you that this thinking is harmful and isn’t necessary! The fact that you have decided to make a living as an artist or creative doesn’t mean you cannot make money in that industry!

There are important steps you have to take and things you must realize about yourself and your work to be successful in business. There are ways to Broadcast Louder and wiser! It’s time to stand up and say, my creativity deserves to be noticed by the RIGHT buyers and purchased.

Broadcast Louder will teach you how to get the perfect client to take notice, be inspired by your art and purchase it! The beauty of being YOU and owning your own business is that you get to set your own rules. You can create what you want, choose your clientele and charge what you are worth, and the only person who determines your worth is YOU.

Artwork by Andrea Rosenfeld - Chrysocolla wood green amethyst pendant

Artwork by Andrea Rosenfeld - Chrysocolla wood green amethyst pendant

Pricing Your Creative Work & Knowing Your Self Worth

The way you feel about yourself, your self esteem and self-worth is tied to your valuation of your art and in today’s society, it’s difficult for a creative with a small business to feel as if they are worth MORE then the large companies mass producing overseas. Let’s take Pandora as an example. They have a HUGE following, their name is well known and they sell. Are they innovative?  Are they pushing the creative envelope? Not really. They are a mass market company selling charms and simple jewelry and they have found their niche customer. Their pieces can’t compare to a master goldsmith who painstakingly hand crafts one-of-a-kind jewelry into works of art. It’s two different worlds. But our mass market society who are into sound bites and apps, who are more consumed with following celebrity style and what’s given to them in magazines, are a large consumer and they are primarily looking for deals and sales.  Why do you think that Lanvin is in H&M and Fendi sells through Target?  Because the slow paced customer with disposable income, who is searching for quality, is dwindling.

Tips to Pricing Your Creative Work

1- How many years have you been creating your art or products and what is your skill set?  Are you constantly learning and increasing your technique or are you staying stagnant?  If you’ve been working with your materials for a long time and increasing your techniques then your prices will be higher than someone who has just started out, regardless if it were the same type of item, because your creation would be higher in quality and you’re worth more as an artist.

2- Based upon your answer to the first point, determine your manufacturing costs, which are your WORTH as a creative, times the hours and minutes you took to make and finish the particular piece. THIS is the important part – remember what we have told you about your self-worth and selling/pricing.

3- The cost of materials and packaging materials, including the costs associated with shipping them to your workshop. Some people add a certain percentage or amount to cover their studio costs or incidentals.  If you do, we’ve seen people multiply by four but you can play with that number.  Another standard method is to multiply that total by ten percent for overhead costs.  After you add all of these numbers up, you’ll have your cost, or the amount you PAID to create this piece.  This is your reimbursement number.

Something we’ve learned from Julie Steelman

When pricing assignments or products, don’t just think about how much you want to make, but how much you want to keep. Don’t price down your products to make the “sale” because then you’re just covering your costs, if that. If you’re in business to make money, then you must make a profit on each product or service you sell.