Here`s what I put in the other thread on questioning business ideas:
Hello Everyone!! I am new here and I am really excited to hear from all of
you. To put it in simple terms: My husband and I are both artists . He with
photography and art,Myself with music. I would like to combine both our
talents so that we can run a business together. Unfortunately the category
that his photography falls in is very competitive so there has to be
something that we could do to make him stand out. He currently works a
day job and does the photography on the side. I feel that with the right
funding we could invest more into his side business and make it more
lucrative. Any suggestions? I am tired of us being the starving artists we
have talent and its time to make money off of it! Cheers!
Hi there, TheLou :-)
As you cruise through Startup Nation`s forums and community, you`ll
find that lots of people somehow believe that only with outside funding
can someone start a business. We`ve had a lot of discussion about the
difference between "bootstrapping" and startup capital.
In a simplistic summarization, "bootstrapping" is where you start a
business with very little money, sometimes less than $500. All proceeds
from the initial actions serve to re-invest money into the ongoing
development of the business. Lots of people do that.
The other way, having some sort of outside funding---investment
capital---gives you a significant amount of cash for the purpose of
doing specific things. It might be that you can`t start a car-repair
business without first having a garage. Or it could be that you require
a nuclear reactor in order to develop a business selling fusion-powered
The point is that having external funding isn`t always required.
So here you are, a musician and a photographer. Both music and
photography are highly competitive for two reasons. The first is that
there are a lot of very talented musicians and photographers in the
world. The second is that most people "feel" they can play music and
take pictures. The market, in other words, is quite jaded toward the
art of music and photography.
As such, the problem isn`t what business to start---you`ve already got
that; the music and the photography business. Instead, the problem is
how to differentiate yourselves. How can you be different and memorable?
More often than not, people believe that the product itself is the
differentiating factor. Ansel Adams, for example, wasn`t a stagecoach
driver or a bank robber; he was a photographer. His product was
photographs, therefore he was different. Is that true?
Why do people remember Mr. Adams? Do they say, "Oh...sure! He was a guy who took pictures!"
Now consider Liberace: He was a helluva piano player, but is that what people remember?
There are countless musicians, and perhaps even more photographers,
when you factor in the people with a $199 digital camera they just
bought yesterday at Wal-mart. Only a small percentage of those decide
to make a living from music or photography.
But that`s still a lot of people. What really differentiates the pros
is that they have a business sense. If they don`t, they have a manager
who comes along and applies business principles to selling the product.
That product can be the person, the art, or the presenation---the show.
One way to look at this is to come up with a type of photography or
music, or a combination of the two that would make an unusual product.
But another way is to do what you`re doing; figure out how to take the
art---whatever it is---and market it differently.
How come VHS won over the Beta format? Marketing. Why did people spend
a lot of money on pet rocks, the hoolah-hoop, and Cabbage Patch dolls?
That`s not to say that a new invention that does something very
different from previous things only makes it due to marketing. It`s to
say that "the show" is one thing, and "the music" is another.