SMU’s Cheyenne Tilford Interviews 3 Creatives

Daniel Yanez 

Daniel Yanez is the founder of The Basement Gallery located in Dallas, Texas. It is an underground gallery that features art and visual entertainment from local artists. They offer studio space for six artists who’s work is consistently displayed, but Yanez and a variety of other artists are featured periodically to add variety.

Did you create a business plan when opening The Basement Gallery?

In first opening The Basement Gallery, I started off with an extremely rough business plan. It was very simple with no major details. The plan I did have helped me, but basically, I just opened up the gallery with no formal plan. Jumping right in proved to be a struggle. The first year wasn’t easy. However, I made it a priority to do thorough research, and I studied everything I could in order to create a more in-depth and detailed business plan. This really paid off, and the business began to thrive in the second year. Organization and complete knowledge of all details of the business really helped.

Do you believe that it is necessary for every entrepreneur to have a business plan?

Yes, when you do thorough studying in order to come up with a really good, specific business plan it really does help. We just celebrated our three-year anniversary at The Basement Gallery. Anything is possible with proper knowledge.

What three pieces of advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

My first piece of advice is to not be afraid to just go out there and do what you want to do. Most people are too afraid, but you need to just go for it. Next, educate yourself as much as you possibly can. The more you know, the more money you will save, and the more money you will make. Lastly, you need to surround yourself with the right people. It is important to have a strong backing of supportive family and friends who are happy and positive. Their energy will reflect on you and your business. It is also important to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs and creatives. You can learn so much from each other. I have a lot of friends in the industry, and we are constantly gaining new insights from each other.

Jacob Breeden 

Jacob Breeden has been a painter, sculptor, and entrepreneur for over fifteen years. He is the founder of Process Art House located in Amarillo, Texas. Process Art House is a consulting firm and gallery that offers programs for choosing art pieces that fit any customers’ specific needs.

Did you create a business plan when opening Process Art House?

Yes, I mapped in a sketchbook exactly what I wanted from the company. Then, I spent two months in training at a small business development center. This is where I learned the basics about becoming an organized and structured business. Having a well-structured plan made the company look professional. This plan has changed dramatically since its first construction. Business plans are always changing. I even work with coaches at the West Texas A&M Enterprise Center that offer advice for expansion. For only $350 a month, I can receive eight hours of counseling from six specialists who aid me in the process of editing my plan whenever it is necessary.

Do you believe it is necessary for all entrepreneurs to generate business plans?

Absolutely. If you don’t have a business plan, then you have no idea what you are doing. Creating a business plan allows you to sort out all the specific details of your company that you may completely overlook without a plan.

If you could offer three pieces of advice to aspiring arts entrepreneurs what would they be?

My first piece of advice would be that the most effective way to become a fulltime artist is to think of yourself as an entrepreneur. If you think like an artist, then you will be dependent on others to market your work for you and may not even consider your work through a commercial perspective. However, if you think like an entrepreneur, then you can understand that you have a product that people want to buy, they have money to buy it, and that is how you make a business for yourself. My second piece of advice would be to have an organic, working, iterative business plan that changes as your business changes. The market is always changing, and so should your business plan if you wish to be successful. Lastly, I want all aspiring entrepreneurs to remember to hang on tightly. Being an entrepreneur is a crazy, challenging, but exciting ride. You have to keep pushing and believing through all of the insanity.

Nancy Cleary 

Nancy Cleary is a graphic designer and author-branding expert. She has opened both her own graphic design studio and her own publishing company called Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing Inc. It has been thriving for nearly eighteen years.

Did you have a formal business plan when you first opened?

When I first opened my graphic design studio I had to apply for a loan. Because of that, I had to put together my predictions for the first three to five years. I did this, but I look back on those predictions and laugh. I realize now how far off I was because my predictions weren’t really based on reality. However, when I started my publishing company, I really had no plan at all. For my publishing company, I go about planning in a non-traditional way. For me, planning is more individualized based on each book or product. I figure out about how much money I will have to spend, how long it will take, and how I will get it out in the market. Instead of planning for the business as a whole, I make specific plans for each project.

Do you think that business plans are necessary?

I think that it is important to get your ideas down and a mission statement figured out. It is most important to figure out how you will build your presence. In particular, website organization and social media image should be focused on. Social media is the most important aspect of publicity these days.

What are three pieces of advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

First, I think aspiring entrepreneurs need to start thinking about their social media accounts now. It is so important to build an online resume of everything you love and what you are interested in. Make sure that your social media accounts show the things you love. You have to be strategic. For example, if you are interested in fashion, then you should find the most interesting fashion articles and share them. You should also follow and tag the leaders of fashion to get yourself out there. Secondly, you must donate your time. Put yourself out there by doing pro bono work for people and companies in your community. Exchange your time and skills for publicity and connections. Lastly, you have to be flexible and understand that things will go completely differently than you had originally planned. It is helpful to partner with other people who are already out there. Don’t ignore opportunities that are out there. Be flexible.

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