This article is written based on the Tips for Artists to Start their Creative Business by Mona Lerch.
Mona Lerch is a self-taught contemporary visual artist, artist coach and founder of Art Mums United currently residing in Brno, Czech Republic. After having graduated from London Metropolitan University with a BSc in Criminology and Psychology and MSc in Criminology, she returned to the Czech Republic to pursue her career as an internal security specialist. Mona concentrates on abstract oil painting, watercolor illustration and she has also started experimenting with collages. She uses both life and work experiences to give shape to unique pieces of artwork that are characterised by elaborate structure and layers.
In September 2020, Mona created a global collective of inspiring and powerful women artists of all kinds to celebrate creativity and motherhood. Mona believes that art has healing powers as it helped her to overcome postpartum trauma and anxiety. She believes that artists, and art mums in particular, are extraordinary human beings who deserve to be celebrated. Art Mums United is an inclusive platform dedicated to all beautiful art mums looking for support, inspiration and greater visibility online.
A little background to get you started!
Having a full-time job as an Internal Security Specialist and Teaching and choreographing didn’t give me many options for other hobbies or activities. I always wanted to get into the arts but had my hands tied. So I took the leap of faith and just went for it. I made the decision that I wanted to become a full-time artist, but I knew nothing about the art world. There I was, painting healing, nurturing my social media for the first time, meeting like-minded artists and learning a lot.
And the universe gave me a sign. I came across Ekaterina Popova of Create! Magazine who changed my life. I was one of her first coaching clients and the most important thing she taught me about the importance of a community. She herself created a wonderful and powerful community called the Art Queens Society. And she helped me build mine. Now, let me introduce Art Mums United. When I thought about creating a commuity, I knew that I wasn’t alone in my experiences as a mom, mom artist, and self-taught artist. What have you? I knew that my feeling of isolation way back when I suffered from postpartum, wasn’t rare and that it was something that actually came up so many times during the interviews I do with other artists.
How I started Art Mums United!
I honestly wanted to normalize those topics just because society still puts so much pressure on moms and specifically new moms and first-time moms. We’re supposed to be happy and excited about our new role and we are, but we’re also worried and lost, depressed, anxious, our self-esteem is very low. We don’t trust our intuition and we feel horrible and exhausted. Of course, that’s not the case for everyone, but it’s still okay.
All our feelings matter and they’re fine. So I wanted to create a safe space, a judgment free zone and supportive environment. No matter what age your kids are – and, don’t get me wrong. I believe that all women are just incredible and deserve to be celebrated. That’s why I’ve created various opportunities that are for all women artists, but I just wanted to be there for our moms in particular.
I wanted them to know that they’re not alone and that they have their tribe, their community. Women United ART PRIZE, on the other hand was a completely different story. I couldn‘t fall asleep one night in April and I kept thinking, what can I do to support more women artists and celebrate them? And the answer came to me out of nowhere as always – art prize.
I am extremely grateful for having so many incredible women in my life. So I immediately reached out to several of them with a proposal of being judges, as well as partners for the art prize. This particular project makes me so, so, so happy. I feel like standing on top of the world, I’ve been looking for a project that will allow me to serve my community even more and give back.
So this was my story and here are 3 tips to get you started with your creative business!
TIP #1: You are Unique!
Think about your story, write it down, journal about it, or record it on your phone. Every single one of us has experienced something that changed our lives or influenced the way we are today. Not only do you start your healing process when you start doing, but you can also influence others who are going through similar experiences.
You might be a few steps ahead of them. You might not even realize that, but you already inspiring them. So when you look back and realize how lonely you might have felt and how grateful you would have been for a tribe or a community, you know, immediately that there are people who are looking just for that. We are so lucky that we have social media, especially those that allow us to share the visual content.
TIP #2: Streamline your ideas and make it one
Pick one channel. That will be your main one. You can add to it later as you scale, but first focus on one. That will be your main communication channel with your audience. Your audience is something that you need to pay attention to . Remember that you’re creating a platform based on what your story is and what your needs are.Your ideal audience will always mirror you. You want to grow organically and you want to make sure to interact with others, make connections so they can relate to your mission and they can support your cause.
It’s like an energy exchange so set your goals. What do you want to achieve by creating a community or a platform. You can divide your goals into let’s say three categories: your personal goals, the platform goals, and the goals for the art community.
In general, let’s say your personal goals are to meet other like-minded artists, create opportunities for them and therefore create other income streams for you. Your platform goal, maybe for example, establishing a world known support network that gathers women who want to transition into a full-time art career. And the goal for the art community in general might be an increased visibility for women artists. These goals are pretty much the why behind your actions.
TIP #3: Find your Community & go wild!
Don’t be afraid to change your plans as you go. It’s your business! You will learn, what’s working and what’s not working. Don’t be afraid or shamed to let go of things that are just not serving you. Be wild, try new things and be excited about them because you are the most important part of your business. So don’t let the opinions of others ruin it for you. Take one step at a time. Even if you have an extensive list of things or opportunities you’d like to do and create, just take it easy, otherwise it can get overwhelming.
So with Art Mums United, I started a directory then added online exhibits first for art moms only, but then extended to all women artists. I added coaching programs, then membership community, private coaching sessions and the latest project is Women United Art Prize. And there’s much more to come, but I’m taking my time with that and protecting my energy just because we cannot pour from an empty cup, listen to your community and their needs because they may change over time.
Same as ours. So my needs definitely changed since I launched Art Mums as my son’s growing. He’s not a little baby anymore. And so I don’t feel as overwhelmed with motherhood as in the past. So he’s now more capable of being on his own. And that allows me to work on different things than before.
When it comes to technical stuff for your art platform, do some research. There are many different platforms and communities out there. And each one of them uses different things, apps, software, hardware, and so on. And that also depends on what you want to create. When reaching out to people, please remember that they worked really hard for their communities and platforms and so don’t just blindly ask them for a complete recipe. It wouldn’t work for you that way anyway.
You are unique, so get some ideas and see what works for you. My last tip is always step outside of your comfort zone. Believe me, I’m an introvert. Speaking in front of people has always scared me, but I did it anyway. I showed up, showed my face, hosted webinars, did many live interviews, and now it doesn’t scare me any longer. In fact, a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to record this episode. Facing challenges makes you stronger and bolder and even more inspired. With that being said, I would like to end this episode by saying you have to be your biggest fan.