I like my friends.
I like them a lot. I like it when we share a cheap bottle of wine and ridiculous stories; when they geek out with me over Battlestar Galactica; when they indulge my affection for nerdy history; and when we run off on exciting adventures together.
But mostly I like it when my friends eat.
And by “eat,” I mean, “get paid fairly for what they create.”
A lot of the people I know and love create fantastic things for a living: comics, stories, characters, furniture, paintings, clothes.
The problem is that the living they make is often thinner than it should be. And while, granted, “artist” isn’t on the list of Most Lucrative Occupations, it is often less productive than it can be because artists just don’t know how to juggle the business side of creating art.
And that’s not because artists are ignorant people. Most folks don’t know how to negotiate, read contracts, assert themselves with clients or ask questions to get the information they need. Those aren’t skills we teach people in school.
I certainly didn’t learn those skills in law school. Well, the reading contracts bit, sure, but the other stuff has come through on-the-job education. By which of course I mean, screwing up and trying again.
I am a contract negotiator. I negotiate contracts for a living. I negotiate deals to buy things, to hire contractors, to foster business relationships and sometimes just to save money. I occasionally wear suits to work and use words like “leverage” and “synergy” inappropriately.
I want to use what I know about negotiating, what I do every day, to help my friends, and people like my friends, feel more comfortable with the business of art. Thus, the blog. It seemed easier than sending out long form emails every week.
I can’t, and won’t, give legal advice, but I will talk about negotiating with clients, about having difficult conversations about money, and about what you should do to impress people like me who are trying to hire you.
I have a couple of ideas to get this kick started, but questions are encouraged. Questions involving French Bulldogs will be moved to the top of the queue.