The Conversation: Make a Profit as a Creative

ha1As a creative, selling online can be intimidating.  Where do I start? How much should I price my goods? How do I reach my audience? These are all questions you may be asking. On Nov 17, at the next Swerve meetup, Heather Allen, author of, Let Your Creativity Work for you: How to Turn Artwork Into Opportunity, will share how to harness this powerful tool for your business.  “The internet is a vast world of options. but also a powerful and affordable tool that can help reach your targeted audience. If you have a product or service to sell, the web should be part of your delivery matrix,” according to Allen.  If you’re a creative in need of guidance on how to use the web to sell your products and services, don’t miss the Swerve meetup on Thursday, November 17 with speaker, Heather Allen. The program is from 11:30 a.m – 1 p.m. at Flywheel, located at 525 Vine Street in Winston-Salem.  This program is free for Swerve members and $20 for non-members. Lunch is served and registration is required.

So you want to sell online. Where should you begin? “You should focus on identifying and understanding a specific target audience. From there, it’s important you curate your website experience and social media brand story-telling as if you’re welcoming new friends (and existing fans) into your creative world.

When you treat your website and social media as an extension of your artwork and your style, it’s easier to cozy up to technology and see results,” said Heather.

ha4Are you afraid you’ll get bogged down having to post to several social media sites? No need to fret, according to Heather, you just need to select the top one or two sites that reach the majority of your audience. “I recommend sticking to the minimalist mantra, less is more. The combination of harnessing the power of your website plus one or two social media sites can take your creative business very far,” said Heather. In fact, news outlets like NPR, New York Magazine, and Forbes recently featured success stories of artists and creative entrepreneurs who found a niche selling through Instagram. “These stories are inspiring but they aren’t out of reach. You can grow a fan-base on Instagram with as much as one daily photo post,” shared Heather.

Having a web and social media presence isn’t enough.  You need to be able to accept sales online if you want to impact your bottom line. “Depending on the type of website platform you’re working with, there are several affordable options that make selling products and services online, easy. PayPal is a great starter platform. You can add PayPal buttons to your website and set up an account within an hour. The downside of using PayPal is that it may detract from your brand. And your customer may not receive the added communications they need during and after the payment process. For example, your customer will not receive notification of when the item ships — you’ll have to manage that communication manually. For WordPress users, I recommend (and use) a plugin called “Woo Commerce” which is free at the basic level, and provides you with online selling features that let you upload multiple photos of a product for sale, manage your inventory, add sales tax based on a buyer’s zip code, and factors shipping costs into the customer’s checkout experience automatically. For Squarespace users, I recommend upgrading to a Squarespace Business account in order to leverage the built-in online sales options there. Squarespace is seamless and creates a beautiful browsing and buying experience for customers,” said Heather.

To learn more about using the web and social media to increase your bottom line, don’t miss the Swerve meetup on Thursday, November 17 with speaker Heather Allen. To register and to learn more about the Center for Creative Economy’s Swerve program, visit To learn more about Heather Allen and her award-winning book, visit

2 comments on “The Conversation: Make a Profit as a Creative

  1. Ramsey Belanoff on

    I hope Heather Allen ends up moving closer to the area, so we can have her on hand! This particular SWERVE meet-up resonated with me from topic to discussion to [easily] purchasing Allen’s book. I am a creative who believes that any artist should be their own business person. Allen is a designer herself and has combined her work and passion for helping artists/creatives, with research and teaching tools to succeed. Nicely done, Margaret and Magalie. More, please.


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