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054: Emily Laura Derr – Art, Creatives & Overcoming Resistance

Emily Laura Derr is the Founder of Grassroots Impact Creative Coach, where she helps creative people break through resistance and coaches creative businesses to craft messaging and build community.

Today, Emily joins the show to discuss the concept of resistance, where it comes from, and best practices on how to overcome it both as an artist and a businessperson. Emily touches on the proclivity artists tend to have to devalue their work and what they can do to address that. She talks about the power of process over outcome and provides advice on how artists can identify their ideal customers.


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Key Takeaways

00:56 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Emily Derr, who joins the show to discuss how early lessons about money impacted her relationships, and how she got on a path to working with Creatives

10:03 – Emily speaks to the types of Creatives she works with

12:41 – Defining ‘Resistance’ and navigating an artist’s fears

17:59 – Tips and best practices for breaking through the resistance

22:02 – Process over outcome

24:49 – Knowing your worth and pricing your rates accordingly

27:53 – The difference between ‘fine art’ and ‘art’ and finding your ideal customer as an artist

33:59 – One piece of financial advice to heed as an artist and one thing to completely ignore

36:30 – One thing Emily wishes others knew about her and one place Emily visited that had a profound impact on her

38:28 – Jonathan thanks Emily for joining the show today and lets listeners know where to connect with her

Tweetable Quotes

“Sometimes you wonder – or I wonder – what would it have been if I had pursued that? Would I have been better off financially by letting in the help and the opportunities? You never know that and you can’t look back on that.” (05:47) (Emily)

“Well, you have to find out what they really want for their business and personally in working with them, and also helping them keep focus. That’s why I became certified in ‘The Infinite Breath Method,’ started by Greg Mannion, a former street performer and a recovering alcoholic who created this. I added it to my artistic programs because it’s not just about the business and the outreach, but also real-world techniques that you can use to ground yourself in tough situations and how to deal with the resistance.” (16:31) (Emily)

“Taking care of yourself and having a ritual may sound silly, but consuming content that’s good and positive – whether that be meditation, or reading, or doing an exercise class – just having those moments on a daily basis can get your day going on the right track.” (19:59) (Emily)

“Even if it’s not a finished product, just get something down. In some situations, ‘good enough and done’ is better than waiting for that perfection. The procrastination will eat away at you and you could miss that window. Of course, it’s a learning experience. If you don’t submit something, you’re not gonna learn what you can do better because you never took the jump.” (22:50) (Emily)

“Go outside the ‘art world.’ Don’t limit yourself to the art world. The worst thing people can say is, ‘No.’ If you’re polite and direct in what you want in partnerships, the worst thing they can say is, ‘No.’ And, a lot of times that ‘No’ is maybe a ‘No, not now.’” (34:10) (Emily)

Guest Resources

Emily’s Website

Emily’s LinkedIn

Emily’s Instagram

Emily’s Facebook

Grassroots Impact Creative Coaching Facebook

Link to Beth Weinstein’s Mastermind

Link to The Abundant Artist

Books Mentioned:

Art Money Success

Real Artists Don’t Starve

The War of Art

Positive Intelligence

Mindful Money Resources

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Episode Transcription

Jonathan DeYoe: Hi there. On this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Emily Derr. Emily is the founder of Grassroots Impact creative coach. She helps creative people, breakthrough resistant, and coaches creative businesses to craft messaging and build community. I found Emily on LinkedIn, and she mentioned her money mindset work with a coach in Australia, and I wanted to bring her on to the Mindful Money podcast to talk about two things, resistance and, uh, the artist’s proclivity to devalue their work. Emily, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.

Emily Laura Derr: Thank you, Jonathan. Glad to be here.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’m excited to have you. And I know this is, uh, an important topic. So first, before we get into it, where do you call home, and where are you connecting from now?

Emily Laura Derr: So I’m connecting from Connecticut, Stanford, specifically, right outside of New York City, about 40 minutes or so.

Jonathan DeYoe: All right. And did you grow up there or did you grow up someplace else?

Emily Laura Derr: I was born in Michigan, went to the Cranbrook school in Bloomfield Hills, which is known for the arts, went to Syracuse, received my degree, visual and performing arts, fashion design, decided I didn’t want to do that, moved to Colorado because I thought I wanted to own a store out in Colorado. Realized that wasn’t the dream I lived in Bale and Breckenridge. And then I thought, I’ll move back to the New York area, which I know. And there were no jobs during 2008 except for opening stores for a retail company in Connecticut. So I made Stanford my home.

Jonathan DeYoe: Got, uh, it. So Syracuse University.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes.

Jonathan DeYoe: So my son’s top two choices are UCLA’s music school and then the Syracuse music school. And I think he just committed to UCLA, but that was his second choice.

Emily Laura Derr: Good for him, though. Both wonderful schools.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I’m pretty excited. So you were in Michigan your entire, like your childhood?

Emily Laura Derr: Yes to teens and then off to Syracuse college.

Jonathan DeYoe: Got it. So what did you learn about money or entrepreneurship growing up in Michigan?

Emily Laura Derr: So my father and know always had investment real estate and they were both surgeons, so they had their own practices since their thirty s and they were entrepreneurs, but in a different set. It was sort of laid out. You went through the school channel and you were placed in the arts. It’s very different in medicine. It’s very linear in the arts. I thought I was going to have that linear approach. And when my dad tried to advise me, although he supported me in that, he thought it was going to be linear too. You get an MBA after and really it wasn’t so linear. I jumped around and I just felt lost for a bit. And I knew I always wanted to have my own business. I just wasn’t sure what. And I was always managing other people’s dreams, like being in management, working, freelancing for other people.

Jonathan DeYoe: Was money a topic in the household growing up?

Emily Laura Derr: Yes. I mean, there’s always money for education. Uh, if I wanted to start a business, oh, no, work for someone else first. Oh, go to more school. And it was never depend on inheriting money or marrying money. It’s like you make your own, you go to school, you make your own. Your education is something that no one can take from you. And that’s what I learned, of course, giving to charitable institutions, investing in your education. And it was a pretty healthy money in mindset. But I know there were still some blocks and things that I interpreted as a young person, as a teenager and a child that I took to different levels that maybe my parents didn’t mean for me to take, to interpret it that way.

Jonathan DeYoe: So peel that back a little bit. What was all the experiences that you took the wrong way?

Emily Laura Derr: So when dating personally, for example, I’m like, no, I have to make my own money. I have to be established before I can commit to a relationship. That’s what I thought. I said, buy a home myself. Can’t, uh, be with another person because then you haven’t found yourself and you’re dependent on them. And that wasn’t really what my parents didn’t want me to take to that level. But I would block out certain relationships or when people would want to give me a chance, opportunity. I thought, oh, they’re just giving it to me. I have to earn it myself. I can’t take it. So I kind of shy away from things or almost self sabotage. I thought oh, they’re trying to help me. They’re looking down on me when really they liked what I was doing and they wanted to help me.

Jonathan DeYoe: You kind of took the self reliance to a different level, and that was.

Emily Laura Derr: Not, probably not my parents intention, and I maybe burnt some bridges in that respect, professionally and even personally.

Jonathan DeYoe: And probably at the same time, you learned how to really rely on yourself. I think there’s a value to that lesson. I’m not saying everyone should postpone marriage or postpone having relationships or anything like that, but there’s a value there.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes, there is a value, and I did learn a lot, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. But sometimes you wonder, or I wonder, what would it have been if I pursued that? Would I may have even been off better financially by letting in the help, letting in the opportunities. You never know that, and you can’t look back on that. But sometimes I do wonder, and for a while, I would beat myself up about it.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, there was a long period of time after I left. I was on Wall street firms for about six years of my early career before I started my own company. And there’s a long time after I started my own company where I wondered if that was not the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but then 20 years later, that was the right choice. You learn in hindsight, just before we look at the current work you’re doing with grassroots impact creative coach, just go through the path of getting here because I noticed you put some retail together, some arts together, some entrepreneurship together to come up with this thing called grassroots impact.

Emily Laura Derr: So originally, I was freelancing for an artist and volunteering on, um, boards, like nonprofit boards, pro bono work. And the artist, she was paying me. So I was doing social media work, public relations. I would help the artist with her shows. I would sometimes help these nonprofit events on these event committees. And there’s a museum where I became communications chair and then vice president of their board. And I said, I want to start a business based on the work that I’m doing and create a program. So the woman who helped me purchase my condo, my real estate professional, she has a franchise brokerage business. So I looked into those and I realized that’s not really the right fit for me. I spoke to a couple of franchises, and then I met a business coach through a virtual summit who worked with healers and other coaches to help them start businesses. So we talked and kind of taking what I was dabbling in, freelance and volunteering and turning it into a business. So I did her mastermind. Her name is Beth Weinstein of true path coaching during 2020. And when full time work in the jewelry industry was put on hiatus, I had time to commit to this. And I really spent 2020 doing research and finding out how I wanted to help. Ah, artists and galleries and creative businesses. And then I realized, when I created this program for artists, I really loved the institutional work. I started working with a nonprofit Gallery, 2021. We’re on our third year working together, and I realized I love the institutional work. So now I’m writing a museum program, consulting program. So I’m interviewing museums across the country about what they need right now and what their struggles and challenges. So that’s how grassroots evolved.

Jonathan DeYoe: So, actually, I sort of pictured you not working with museums necessarily, but working with not the starving artists, but the thriving artists, or taking artists from starving to thriving.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes, I did have a couple speakers. I wanted to focus on that because I read some great books. Maria Brophy, art money, success. She was a guest on one, uh, of my workshops. And Jeff goins book, real artists don’t starve. Corey Huff, the abundant artist. And then there was Tad Crawford, who did a legal series for artists. He wrote various books. And I read these books, and I said, this is so important because a lot of times, artists, uh, and even including myself, we’re afraid to negotiate our rates because you’re always taught, oh, you take the first opportunity you get, you work really hard, it’s not going to pay well. They said, well, the next opportunity will pay better. And when I move up, I’ll negotiate. And then you realize you’ve left a lot of money on the table, which I might myself have in various positions. It had nothing to do with not having the education, because I had the education, and people were always saying, oh, you have a great resume. You have this. It just. I didn’t bother to ask because I wasn’t thinking. And so I wanted to instill that in the artists I work with. That’s why I had Nancy Lippman on the show, the australian, uh, she was a dj. And then know, wonderful, know, getting artists to take care of themselves, particularly musicians, to take care of, know, mentally, emotionally, and then also really stand in their power and negotiate for what they deserve. And that was really wonderful having her on the show.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. So I’m curious, what qualifies as a creative? I mean, I’m asking that because are we talking about painters and sculptors, or is creative someone who is creative more broad than that?

Emily Laura Derr: It can be both. I mean, there are a lot of people I mainly work with visual artists, the sculptors, the painters, the writers. I mean, creativity spans a lot. I mean, there’s people in the digital fields and in engineering who are creative that especially in these architects, too. And it also is a person who is creative, who does think differently. Even things like creative problem solving. It’s such a broad definition. It isn’t just set aside for artists. It’s also for other fields as well.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I read a definition as, uh, I was preparing for this. I was like, okay, what’s a creative field? Who’s creative? And it said that the ability to produce something of value that didn’t exist before, just that simple. So you think about, uh, a painting, a script, a product like an iPhone, or a new business model, or pretty much anything. I’m wondering if it can expand to today’s influencers or the people that are creating just tons and tons and tons of content that actually, they reap a financial reward because of marketing online, but they don’t really produce anything of value. Do you know what I mean? Is that creative, or are they not quite qualified?

Emily Laura Derr: It depends. I mean, if the influencer is providing really good advice or a new way to deliver that advice. For example, there’s this woman called Danielle Collins face yoga that teaches women or know how to massage their face to, I guess, age gracefully and not use plastic surgery. So, I mean, she had a creative way to take something and deliver it to her clients. She created her own oil. So, yes, she’s an influencer. I would consider that’s creative. Sometimes. If it’s one of these influencers that gets up on their platforms and just wants to receive free things and doesn’t really create any advice or value or arts, that’s not necessarily creative. They just have something. They just have followers. Whatever reason, they lure people in, I don’t necessarily think that’s creative.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I love that. As I said, my son’s looking at colleges right now. He’s 18, my daughter’s 15. And I just see the plethora of crap that gets pushed across as this is creativity, and how do you get your likes, and how do you get people to subscribe? And it drives me a little bit nuts. So I’m happy to exclude that kind of stuff, but I like the idea of the yoga practitioner who has a process that she uses or a product that she’s created. I think that is very creative, and I like to sort of honor that. One of the things, one of the two topics of the day is this idea of resistance. And I read something that you wrote about resistance, and I don’t know if you know the war of art.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes.

Jonathan DeYoe: Stephen Pressfield. When I read that book, it just changed how I thought about writing. My art is writing and this idea of resistance. So can you define for us what is this resistance?

Emily Laura Derr: Uh, sometimes artists have a tendency, or creative people either do not want to be seen. They’re afraid of being seen, and they just don’t want to do their work. There’s so much anxiety, or they have other commitments that they procrastinate. I’ve had the resistance too. Like, procrastinate. I’m like, oh, my God, what if my full time boss at my day job sees this? Or what if I offend the artists? What if they think that I’m taking advantage of them? So I would just stay off social media, I would hide. So that was my resistance, or I’d procrastinate, or when I was time to write my program that I’d be presenting to artists, uh, I had to interview different artists and find out what their challenges were during the pandemic and create a program around the challenges. So during the research thing, I had no problem listening to them. But when it came down to put down the program and write it, I was so resistant, I’d either procrastinate or I’d just rush through it to get it done. But resisting the really sitting down there with that and thinking about what I wanted to do as a program and what would be most valuable for them. So that was, to me, my form of resistance.

Jonathan DeYoe: I guess there’s an obvious answer, but we can peel it back a little bit. How do you think this resistance affects a creative person’s life income?

Emily Laura Derr: Well, if they’re turning away opportunities or not making deadlines or procrastinating and hiding, they’re not going to get their work out there, so they’re not going to get paid, and they’ll miss out. And then maybe feelings of inadequacy, or sometimes the resistance is because they have feelings of impostor syndrome, like, oh, I don’t deserve to be here. There’s so and so who’s already doing this, or so and so has so many. And I was looking at some of the great art authors that I was reading, and I’m like, they offer this really amazing mastermind for x amount of dollars per month. How do I compete with that? Or, wow. So I felt the same way other creative people that I wanted to hide, and I didn’t say, what could I offer? And that can get people to stop creating and it just kind of eats away at you. And then you’re not doing what you love, and you’re probably not making any money or not making as much as you could be.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right again, in preparing. Do you know the quote, Marianne Williamson’s quote, you know, our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes.

Jonathan DeYoe: How often or how much do you think this idea of we are awesome, but we aren’t living up to our potential and we know that, and we’re terrified of that potential and that gap. How much do you think that plays into the hiding?

Emily Laura Derr: Oh, I think it totally plays into that. You’re terrified to try something new. You’re terrified to leave your day job or jump off the ledge and be more visible, because it could be, gee, what if I’m not successful? What if I’m either a fraud or made fun of? Or what if I am successful? What if I do? What will that change me? Will that change this? So and so ended up getting a lot of success, and look what happened to him or he or she is. There’s all those thoughts, that inner dialogue racing through one’s head.

Jonathan DeYoe: I don’t think we stated it this way, but it’s sort of like there’s this fear of failure and then there’s this fear of success.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes.

Jonathan DeYoe: So how do you win? I mean, when you’re working with an artist, how do you sort of navigate those twin fears?

Emily Laura Derr: Well, you have to find out what they really want for their business and personally and working with them, um, and also helping them keep focused. And that’s know. I became certified in the infinite breath method, started by Greg Mannion, a former street performer and a recovered alcoholic, who created this. And I said, that’s what I’m going to add to my artistic programs, because not just the business and the outreach, but also real world techniques that you can use to ground yourself in tough situations and how to deal with the resistance and just talking people through, because a lot of people have a lot of resistance and fear being seen writing their first email or going on social media, or even they’re ashamed that they want to be an artist and make money because there’s still that starving artist alone in the studio thing. The whole collaborative artists working in collaboration has been around for a while, but there’s still that I have to shield myself. Other artists, or other creative people or competition, and still the whole, oh, artists don’t make any money. There’s still that I don’t know, or they’re taken advantage of. There’s still that sort of. I don’t really know how to describe that sort of attitude.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Uh, it’s sort of an in place dynamic. And every artist that wants to make something of themselves has to kind of push back against that dynamic. And maybe that’s sort of a market resistance. It’s sort of something on the outside pushing on the artist’s success as well. So in addition to the breath work, what are some of the other things you might recommend for somebody that’s in the moment know, having resistance or facing resistance? How do they break through that?

Emily Laura Derr: So there’s a wonderful person, author Sherzad Shamin, author of positive intelligence, and I did one of his programs. And also where you identify your saboteurs, like, uh, things that you have a tendency. He has this little test. It’s not really a personality test, but some people are more restless, some people are more controlling, and they give you percentages of control or judge so that you can recognize them and helping, knowing yourself and recognizing your inner saboteurs in the moment when you’re judging someone, when you’re judging yourself, if you tend to be a people pleaser and playing with that, recognizing that, not necessarily condemning it, but recognizing it when it comes in the moment, and either take a breath, feel the rising and falling of your chest or stomach, rub your fingers together just to get yourself centered. Just real world quick things. You don’t have to go into a meditative state because I know a lot of my clients are busy and can’t be doing that when they’re at an exhibit, talking to visitors, but just things that you can do just to put you back in that center and recognize when those situations, when you may be ultra critical of yourself, when you may be trying to control everything, or you’re super restless and can’t focus on a task, and you’re jumping here, and I know that’s me, I get pretty restless.

Jonathan DeYoe: It sounds like those, like breath work and slowing down and being in the moment works when you’re in the thick of it, when the resistance is hitting you right now, what can you do to kind of prepare? Like, what are the things you can do before the resistance comes so that the resistance is easier to kind of push through. I hear people talk about putting in the reps, like practice or et cetera.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes. So Shirazatamin has this whole PQ gym sort of thing. You practice these things before it hits. I’d say taking care of yourself, having a ritual like it may sound really silly, but whether it’s reading something consuming content that’s really good and positive, whether that be meditation or that reading or doing an exercise class. Just having those moments on a daily basis doesn’t have to be a long time to prepare yourself and to, uh, get your day going on the right track. So you already have some wins and you can face those challenges a lot easier. Let that resistance because you already have some wins under your belt. You’re healthy. Hopefully, if you’re exercised, the endorphins are flowing and you can handle those situations and challenges.

Jonathan DeYoe: I love that. Uh, this is probably 18 years ago, I had a coach and my coach said, jonathan, here’s your list of 15 things. And you get four points for this one and six points for this one and five points for this one. And we sort of gamified my day. And there was like many weeks in a row where the only points I got were my morning workout and my morning meditation. I was too afraid. I didn’t make the calls to clients, I didn’t make the calls to potential prospects. I didn’t put in the effort on the business side, but I put in the effort on the personal side and doing my morning routine and it kind of all fed into it. Like, get those points in there and getting those things done enabled the rest of the stuff. So it’s like, uh, having that routine. I don’t think that’silly at all. I think that’s critical. I think that’s a really important part of being successful.

Emily Laura Derr: And I love the gamifying thing because some people, if you don’t make it fun, they’re not going to do it. If you make it like, you have to do this, you have to do that. Or they have that inner voice that says to themselves, you have to do this or else you’re a failure. Oh, you only did ten minutes of meditation and not 20. Me, oh, you failed. They’re not going to want to do it. So it’s recognizing that inner voice. And I used to think that it would be sort of, uh, if I don’t have time to work out lengthy, how can 20 minutes help me? But now I embrace that. If I only have 20 minutes or I only have ten minutes, it’s better than none. I have my express morning routine and it’s still a win. I still feel great.

Jonathan DeYoe: That’s great. That’s awesome. I did want to put this piece in there. A lot of people talk about, we get stuck on what the outcomes might be, we get stuck on what I want to have happen. And really sometimes it’s important just to put your head down and focus on the inputs. Do your workout routine, even if it’s 2030 minutes, meditate, have your breakfast, sit down at the keyboard and just start typing and see what comes out. That’s just do the inputs and let the outcomes take care of themselves.

Emily Laura Derr: I agree. You just have to start. And sometimes when I’m writing emails, I was so resistant to start my email list. Now if I have an idea, I put it in the draft because now I have templates. I walk away from it for a while, especially before I’m going on a trip or I’m doing something else. And then I go back and look at it with fresh eyes and you at least written something there, even if it’s not the finished product. Just get something down. Sometimes it’s just in other situations, good enough and done is better than just waiting for that perfection because the procrastination will just eat away at you and you could miss that window if you don’t. And of course it’s a learning experience. If you don’t submit something, you’re not going to learn what you can do better because you never took the jump.

Jonathan DeYoe: I think it’s Seth Godin, actually, that talks a lot about just ship. Yeah, just get it out there. Get it out there. Get some feedback. People will tell you, hey, this is great, or, this is terrible. Then you know what to do next. Like, you can improve, you iterate that way.

Emily Laura Derr: No, totally. I agree. It was Seth Gordon.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Was it? I thought it was Seth Gordon. So how does resistance show up? Or does it show up in your work with boards?

Emily Laura Derr: Oh, gosh. The failure to action, especially if a board is approaching. A lot of boards are experiencing this. How to recruit younger people the later twenty s to mid 40s, because these people have careers and families. And I’m a bit of anomaly because my children are parakeets and so I have time for this. But most of the people, they have families and children. So the resistance is going out there and recruiting, changing the way things are done and the different kinds of activities. I noticed a lot of these boards, it’s not their, oh, we don’t want to change. They’d love to have younger people take over. They’d love to step down. They’re kind of upset that more people aren’t stepping up. It’s just a different way of stepping up because the commitments are different. Like with that late twenty s to mid forty s group. So there’s the resistance there. It’s the old guard versus the new guard.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. And times have changed. I think you mentioned that. Did you say you got out of college? 2008. That time frame.

Emily Laura Derr: 2006.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, that time frame is a rough time to get started. And so those are the people who want to have join boards, and they’ve been battling so long, it’s tough to get them to do that. I think maybe that’s part of it. Hey, let’s kind of change gears to pricing. Like, I’ve worked with so many people over the years, there must be eight different. Someone that wanted to do some consulting around social media, someone that wanted to do some design work, and every single one of them underprice what they’re doing for me. And I know what the market is, and I’m more than happy to pay them that the less amount. But I keep telling them, hey, raise your rates. And why is that such a, it’s such a strange thing. So why do people go in thinking that they’re not worth much?

Emily Laura Derr: Sometimes people don’t know. They haven’t done the research or like, when I started, I was afraid, oh, my God, what if they don’t like my work and they come after me and blah, blah. I had all these fears. Sometimes it’s just the fear for that, or the fear of not delivering, or the impostor syndrome. Um, and that’s why people undercharge. Or they say, oh, that’s going to be easy. Like, I’ve done this for a client before. I say, oh, that’s easy. I just have to set this up this way. It’ll be smooth sailing. And I miscalculate because there are hiccups that along the way that you take more time to do it.

Jonathan DeYoe: That’s a really important one. Not just because there’s hiccups, but there’s often scope creep. Like, you’ll price something out and you’ll price it for this thing, and then the customer will say, or the client will say, well, can we add this and this and this on it? And you should go back to them and say, well, yeah, we can, but that’s doubling the time spend, so that’s going to double the cost. And sometimes you go, yeah, sure, we can do that to make sure that they like us, whereas it is a financial thing and we should probably keep that in our minds.

Emily Laura Derr: Or you could say, I can include this, but if you want to stay at this price, uh, this has to be this or that. We could trade this for that. It’s also a lot of artists like to, going back to the pricing, a lot of people say, oh, let’s barter. And then there’s that element, and then.

Jonathan DeYoe: There’S, yeah, I’m not sure how to ask this question, but I’m going to struggle through it here for a second. How much does the ability to sell, or I’m assuming a lack of sales training come into this when we’re talking about literally artists, painters, sculptors, writers?

Emily Laura Derr: Yeah. A lot of fine art schools don’t teach selling. They’re starting to do that now. And there’s a lot more online resources and a lot of these art authors that offer courses and books on teaching art. In the traditional academics, you were taught to have a portfolio, you present it to a gallery and you do exhibits, and someone discovers you, you kind of put it in the power of someone else instead of you having different channels to sell your artwork. But of course, online channels are fairly recent for artists, and especially with the pandemic that really was put in a new spotlight because exhibit spaces were closed or limited hours, and it’s.

Jonathan DeYoe: What are they called? Nfts. I guess there’s a whole art, uh, thing that came out through nfts, and the entire landscape of what is art is kind of changing before our eyes, so that digital sales venues are huge, maybe more so even compared to the gallery, I guess. Is there a difference between fine art that you’ll see in a gallery and then art that you can buy online, or is there no difference?

Emily Laura Derr: There is. I mean, there’s definitely a. It’s. There’s the art you can buy online, there’s the artists that have licensed their work to be sold online, and that you can make some money if you license things properly. And Maria Brophy, in her book art money success because she licensed her husband’s surfboard artwork and she showed how to do it successfully. And even mistakes that she and her husband made when doing that was so eye opening, because that’s another challenge. And then there’s the fine art, where people are selling pieces for high price tags, the individual pieces in a gallery set. So it’s just a different channel. And also it depends on the market, too. There’s so many different markets out there for the various types of art.

Jonathan DeYoe: What do you mean by market?

Emily Laura Derr: Well, just different people, different types of art in different spaces. There’s corporate art that art consultants do. There’s also things that people put in their homes, and there’s just a lot of different avenues.

Jonathan DeYoe: Do you recommend an artist who is receiving, what’s it called when somebody says, hey, can you build this thing for me? Or make this thing for me. That’s what kind of art? Well, it’s not. Remember the word. But if you hire an artist to do a thing, that’s a commission. Yeah, you said that commission, right? Commissioned art. So do you recommend that an artist that’s working in that method has a contract?

Emily Laura Derr: Oh, yes. Ah, totally. Yes, absolutely.

Jonathan DeYoe: And what’s in that contract? To avoid creep, to set pricing. To avoid. How do you make sure that the artist is taken care of in that space?

Emily Laura Derr: So your rate, your installment. But some places, if you say deposit, that means it’s refundable. Also, what you’re giving to the person, like, if there’s preliminary sketches, you give x amount of dollars by this date. I do the preliminary sketches. Any terms? Uh, this artwork is only if you don’t want them going off and doing something. You have to lay that out in the contract as well. And there are books like, Tad Crawford is a lawyer that specializes in arts, and he writes amazing books about law for artists, and they have sample contracts. However, you still should see a attorney specializing arts. There is volunteer lawyers for the arts, which is a great organization. But if you do a contract through that, you find in one of these books, that can save you the time with the lawyer. So the lawyer can look over your contract that you’ve already started and let you know what things that you might want to add or omit. And also, it all depends on what state or country you’re in. But an artist should for sure have a contract. I mean, I had a commission done for my boyfriend through one of the artists I knew. She had a contract. It was very simple, plain English, and, uh, it was just very easy to work with her. It was very clear.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I just want to reiterate, it’s really important if you get something out of a book, that you take it to a local artist in your state, because rules are different state to state. One of the things that I think it’s. And anyone that’s creative or anyone in business kind of sometimes does this, where we have a potential client, we have a prospective client or prospective customer, and we just want to bend over backwards because we want the business so bad. And what do you tell people that have that tendency, and how do you get them to just say, you know what? Sometimes it’s not a fit, and you just go on to the next person.

Emily Laura Derr: You can say, this is how you work, and this is what I charge. You don’t waiver on your rates. You said, if they want a smaller budget. Well, this is what I can do for that budget. But if you can’t, you can’t. If you know another artist that may be better suited for them, you can make the recommendation, like say you might be better working with this person, or you’re saying, well, thank you for thinking of me, but, uh, you can say it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a great fit. You can nicely say that because, uh, I’ve done that before where I’ve done freelance drawings for people or even taking on clients, and you design a special program for them or something and you’re like, this really isn’t worth it. This is a headache. And ah, you regret that.

Jonathan DeYoe: Do you get into the psychology behind that at all when you’re working with a client? Like if you say, this is the way I do it, it may not be a fit that kind of puts a shit into the universe, and the universe always provides. And so you’ve said no, you’ve helped them make a good decision. You’ve made a good decision, they’re going to be happy, you’re going to be happy. And so the next person that comes in might be a perfect one.

Emily Laura Derr: You use that, you know and of know if you take on these people, I think the money. Author Barbara Stanley Houston says, if you think it was her that said, if you let go of some of these other opportunities that are weighing you down or underearning opportunities, more will come in because you’re making space for these more abundant opportunities. She didn’t say it in those words, but she said it. And I thought that was very smart.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, making space. Don’t do this little thing. Leave the space for the big thing. That makes a lot of sense. So that actually begs the question, how do you know, as the artist speaking to a potential customer, that this will be too small or too big? Do you have to go in knowing what your overhead is, what your numbers are? You have to know all those things.

Emily Laura Derr: Yeah, I mean, you have to know the cost of your materials, how long it takes you to make a piece. There’s different cost methods. And again, in art, money, success by Maria Brophy. She has them all highlighted, so I still have to look back to them. There’s the cost price of how much your materials are. There’s the pricing by size, bare ass minimum, what you need to cover. So just knowing that, keeping track of your expenses and pricing things that way before you dive in, because oftentimes if you’re not covering your costs, and also your labor is a cost too, you’re investing your time. So you have to be mindful of that and realistic.

Jonathan DeYoe: And let’s hope that not all artists work for the bare ass minimum. I think we got to shoot a little higher than the bare ass minimum. So we’ve covered a ton of ground. Every guest that I have on, I want to ask them to simplify things for us. So what is one thing that an artist or a creative person can focus on that will lead them to more personal and financial success?

Emily Laura Derr: So going outside the art world, not limiting yourself to the art world, and the worst thing people can say is no. If you’re polite and direct in what you want, in partnerships, the worst thing I can say is no. Um, and a lot of times that no is maybe, uh, a no, not now. And if there’s free or low cost events you’re interested in kind of using to network go, the worst thing that can happen is it wasn’t a good fit and you don’t have to go.

Jonathan DeYoe: Again, you’re talking mainly about building your network. And don’t just build your network with other people doing what you do, but look around. Yes, great. And then what’s one thing that maybe the creative person or the entrepreneur or the artist is doing, because maybe someone sold them on this program that they should just stop doing doesn’t work.

Emily Laura Derr: You know, trying to beat the algorithms of these social media things simplified them to things. I meant platforms, these tactics, and it’s not really a strategy, they’re just tools. And to think, oh, my God, this person’s using TikTok to blow up. I should do it, too. You have to test what works for you and fail fast and fail cheap. Just because a marketing guru says that this is the way to get doesn’t mean that it’s okay for you. And sometimes you’ll take courses and it’s just not the right method.

Jonathan DeYoe: And if you rely upon any one or two of the social media algorithms, they’ll change it. So you could be very successful, and then the next day you can be out of business.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes, and that’s why it’s important to have an email list. Build one, load your list, load a backup, because you never know when those mailchimp or constant contact, something will happen with your account or they’ll change something. So definitely keep your email list up to date, make sure you have a backup file, and email is not dead. So, like you said, you never know when they’re going to change the algorithms or give more priority to people that are paying for advertising. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that someone should jump in and start doing paid ads because sometimes it’s like a shot in the dark and lost money.

Jonathan DeYoe: So I have my to do, like make sure my email list is on one of those platforms. I have to go back it up off the platform. That’s a good idea. I can’t believe I didn’t think about that. So just before you wrap up, just a couple of personal things. We started personal. I like to finish it personal. Is there anything that people don’t know about you that you really want them to know?

Emily Laura Derr: Let’s see. If I weren’t doing this, I would probably be. This is kind of funny. An exercise instructor. I said, I guess I could do that too, but I love taking exercise classes and, yeah, that’s always something I’d like to just dabble. I don’t know. I always see all these people. I do these online classes, and I was like, I want to do that once in a while, like a guest.

Jonathan DeYoe: Would you be the compassionate instructor or would you be yelling at everyone in the class? Just curiosity.

Emily Laura Derr: I would be more compassionate. I would kind of be the one work out in the space that you have, because I have a one bedroom condo. You hear background noise. I have the birds flying around in the background. So it would be kind of a chaotic workout class. There’d be birds, like, flying around your head and just kind of work. It’s kind of like when people have children and they’re trying to get a workout in. That’s the kind of instructor I’d be. I’d just say, this is reality. We’re going to do a class today, and that’s how I do meetings with clients. And yes, the birds will be in the background. So I had to go to another area of the condo that they weren’t.

Jonathan DeYoe: At so I could do this, accept and allow. This is what’s happening now.

Emily Laura Derr: Yes.

Jonathan DeYoe: Can you name a place that you have visited that just had an incredible impact on you? And what was that impact?

Emily Laura Derr: Going to Spain like as a host student, having a host family in high school? It was really fun. I got to know the family. I lived with a lawyer and economist and their two kids, and it was really fun. You lived in the center of Madrid and we did so many fun things. And I just love their philosophy over there, the meals, too. And, uh, I just like the european philosophy of.

Jonathan DeYoe: I don’t think Spain is like every other country in Europe. I think the two hour siesta in the afternoon, we went to Madrid and we were like, yeah, everything shuts down. At 02:00 what’s up with this? But it’s nice.

Emily Laura Derr: It’s nice.

Jonathan DeYoe: Tell us how people can connect with you, how they find you online.

Emily Laura Derr: So you can visit my website, which is grassrootsimpactcreativecoach.com. You can find me on Instagram at Emily Laura Durr my last name is D-E-R-R. It’s Emily and then Laura. My last name Dur and then Emily Laura Durr on Facebook. I also have my business page. The Facebook handle for that is grassroots impact creative coaching. So there’s a variety of ways to reach me and you can contact me via the website.

Jonathan DeYoe: Great. We’ll put all that in the show notes.

Emily Laura Derr: Great.

Jonathan DeYoe: I just want to say thanks for coming on and I’m going to try to pick out all those books that you named. You named just a whole bunch of books, which I think is fantastic. I’ll try to pick them all out. If I miss one, I apologize to the author. Thanks for coming on. I’d love to have you.

Emily Laura Derr: Thank you, Jonathan.

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