“A SMaC recipe is s set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula”
from Jim Collins’ book Great By Choice
The following is a list of steps on how I plan to create and run a successful erotic art business for Nakedcomix. They are based upon personal experience, books I’ve read and practices from others that I have observed that worked (or didn’t). The goal of writing these steps down is to (a) create a specific operating standard for Nakedcomix to follow, (b) allow other to benefit from my successes and failures by explaining why I do the things I do for the business, (c) to clarify these things in my own mind by writing them down for others.
Despite being a visual artist, it seems that only by writing do I actually filter all the stuff that bounces around in my head into something that makes sense. While I am very confident in my abilities as an artist, my skills as a businessman leave me in doubt more often than not. I hope by writing these things down I can improve on my business practices and thus the bottom line.
Spell out specific expectations, boundaries, goals in detail whenever possible with employees, vendors, clients and customers from the start.
I always start my photo shoots with a little speech telling the model that Rule#1 is that the photographer will not touch her. This is because every model I have worked with has had a photographer horror story to tell and one of my professional goals is not to be one of them. But it goes beyond that, what I want is for them to understand the boundaries and limits of our business relationship from the start. While I have expectations for them, I also understand that they have expectations for me. Chief among these is that I will conduct myself in a professional manner at all times.
I have since learned that I need to expand this to many of my other dealings as well, not just naked fetish models. That I need to make sure that I have thoroughly explained what I expect from people who work for me, and what they can expect from me. A marketing couch once said, “Casual relationships are the most dangerous in business.” Because the temptation is to not spell everything out. Instead you just expect them to either understand it already or just go along. Then you run a dangerous risk of crossing the line from hiring someone to work for you to just flat out are exploiting him or her.
Your job is to build a following.
One of the popular lines of thought for artists trying to make a living from their work is to get “1000 loyal fans”. A “loyal fan” is someone who will consistently spend 100 bucks on whatever you put out each year. The usual breakdown between buyers and people who just will just follow your work on the web is roughly 1 in ten. I assume that the breakdown between regular buyers and fans that will buy every time you put out something may be about the same. So to get “1000 loyal fans”, assume that you need a following of about 100,000 or more.
A follower is just someone that is consistently interested in your work. Your goal with them is two fold; (A) continue to hold their attention and (B) remind them to buy stuff. Your job is to entertain. So they will keep seeking you out. You don’t want to go after them as much as keep them around when they finally come to you. It’s like dating a hot chick. You want to validate her choice of being with you rather than wondering why she isn’t dating the football team captain.
The trick is to be fresh in your content but consistent in your delivery.
The challenging part in building a following is holding people’s attention from week to week. You need to be consistent in your efforts while still not compromising quality or repeating yourself too much. If you put up stuff irregularly or change things around too much, then it becomes too much effort to follow you. People will get bored or frustrated and move on to other sites and artists. On the other hand, if you just put up the same old shit every week, then they will get bored and lose interest and move on too.
The trick is to be fresh in your content but consistent in your delivery. It is sort of like TV shows. Each week they have a new episode but the time, length, format and channel stays the same. Plotlines may change, grow and evolve. Characters may be killed off or not. But the opening theme song remains the same and no one complains. People want to know they will get what they are looking for when they expect it.