Tag Archives: working as an artist

Sales Channels for Selling Art: Pop-Ups, Art Shows, Galleries, and Online

December is here, and it is now officially crunch time to get your holiday shopping completed.  As an artist, I have mixed feelings about the holiday season.  On one side I make more money at this time of year than any other time. On the other side, I have to work almost every weekend at in-person vending events, such as pop-ups.  We sell art primarily through these channels: in person at pop-ups/craft fairs, at galleries, art shows at venues around town, and online.

Vending in person at pop-ups and craft fairs is an interesting opportunity for both the buyer and artist. I get to meet my clients, and can help them find the art they are looking for, or let them know about art pieces I may not have brought with me, but are available on my Etsy shop. In which case, they can pick up the artwork when it is ready a few days later at the studio (if you are lucky, you might get invited in for a home-brew ;). It is a lot of work setting up and taking down the booth, and has to be calculated in to our work day. Most of the time, there is no fee for us to sell at pop-up events, except credit card processing fees, and the cost of a couple beers, if the event is at a brewery. Sometimes breweries waive my tab, which always makes me very happy! Craft fairs charge a few hundred dollars for a booth. By the way, I’ll be selling my art at a pop-up at Anchorage Brewing Co. along with several other local makers on Saturday, December 3, starting at 2pm.

Selling my art at a pop-up at Anchorage Brewing Co.

Galleries are a way to work with sales people and meet a larger audience.  However, galleries take 40% – 50% commission, which makes sense, since they have brick-and-mortar overhead.  After dropping off art to a gallery, the artist doesn’t have to do any work except keep track of what the gallery has and what they will need when something sells.  Unfortunately, the gallery only has a certain amount of space, so artists are limited to sell only what the gallery is willing to put on its walls. Galleries have sales people that work to sell the art. This is a major benefit, especially since artists are not always good at selling their own art. I’m very happy to have my art at Dos Manos Gallery!

My art at Dos Manos Gallery

Art shows at venues like breweries, restaurants, and coffee shops are another way for an artist to reach an audience. This is a bit more than a pop-up, but less than complete gallery representation. It is super fun as an artist to have a reception at your art show. Everyone is there to see the artwork, and that is really rewarding. The artist often has to handle all the sales, if the venue doesn’t want to process art sales, which is a hurdle for the buyer, and leads to fewer sales.  Art shows last about a month, so you are committed to that venue for a longer bit of time than a pop-up.  Most art show venues don’t care if they sell anything, or not, so you often don’t get a sales person, like yourself at a pop-up, or an employee of a gallery. Sometimes nothing sells at all at an art show venue. Most of the time people go to the venue for the real reason it exists: food at a restaurant, or a haircut at a stylist, or beer at a brewery.  Or they go to see your artwork. Most likely, if they are already on an artist’s mailing list, they already have artwork from the artist and may be there to support the artist personally and not to purchase art.  My next art show will be at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in January.

At my art show at Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Online selling is a good way to sell art.  It is also very challenging, but if done correctly, can be quite profitable. You can sell direct from your website, this requires expensive web hosting, and secure checkout. SEO is a problem with that.  There are a few other online venues: Etsy is one of the best, but there is also Fine Art America, iCanvas, Redbubble, and Deviantart. The listings are time consuming and require a keen eye for detail.  Art purchasers don’t like to see typos in a listing — it makes them feel that the artist is careless. There is often a lot of communication before a sale is made, and if it isn’t handled correctly, the sale is lost. It is tedious to manage an online site for art sales.  Some of these websites require the artist to make and mail all the art, like Etsy.  Other sites, like RedBubble, or Fine Art America print all the merchandise, and mail it. But these sites take a much bigger cut for those services.  Buying art online is really easy, you can do it from your phone, however, it is hard to tell what you will receive. This is fine when ordering a t-shirt from Redbubble, but a bit disconcerting to the purchaser when buying expensive originals, or fragile pieces. We just sold an original painting to a client in France, and I was really proud of the Real Art Is Better team, that my artwork was being shipped all the way to the cultural center of Europe.  We’re offering a 20% discount, and free domestic shipping right now at our Etsy shop for a limited time.

We use all of these methods to sell art. And I find pop-ups to be the most work, but also the most profitable, especially when I am at a brewery. Not so much when I am vending at a craft fair, because there’s more competition from other vendors, and beer art is not everyone’s cup of tea. Galleries are good because they get the word out to art collectors, and help with establishing your brand, and the gallery does all the work.  Art shows are fun, especially at the reception when the artist is honored, but most often you only sell a small percentage of what has been hung, and it is a lot of work moving artwork around and taking it back down. Online is a lot of setup and a ton of work when it comes to packing and mailing, or requires faith in the offsite production of reproduced items.  We find that all these methods are working to keep our business running. All have their pros and cons. It’s a matter of getting it all out there, whatever the method.              


It Takes Two

Maria’s cousin and her two sons have been visiting from Germany, and I have been doing a lot more work by myself, since they arrived about two weeks ago, while Maria and her Mom have been focusing on hosting. They’re taking a long holiday, visiting Alaska and the Southwest U.S. for two and a half weeks. First off, I was solo in McCarthy building the roof on Maria’s mom’s new cabin. I also finished a commissioned painting while I was awaiting their arrival. The new cabin is not too big, a 16x20ft log structure with a sleeping loft for overflow guests. It sure would have been nice to have the extra space when we had everyone visiting for a couple of nights last week! Before Maria left McCarthy to meet her relatives in Anchorage, we got all the log work done and installed the sleeping loft platform on the new cabin. I was forced to take the tarp down that had been protecting the building site from rain. The house had grown too tall to work under the tarp anymore. It is now the rainy season, which was worrying me, since I didn’t want the plywood and OSB flooring to take water damage. I successfully made and installed all the trusses and most of the metal roofing before the guests arrived. Of course it was raining. Maria had her cousin’s strong young sons help her bring out the large French door. When they arrived, we carried it to the site, and it was ready to install. The next day Maria and her guests went on a glacier hike and spent the afternoon in Kennecott. I was really worried about the lack of ridge-cap and spent the day putting it, and the last sheets of metal in place. I was also able to wiggle the huge door into place, and secure it to the log walls. When the crew got back from exploring the valley they helped me put the large window in. It sure is nice to have more than two hands to lift heavy stuff!

Mama Klava approves of her new cabin so far!

We all drove to Anchorage the next day, stopping off at the Klutina River to nab two Sockeye salmon. That weekend Maria and her guests flew around Denali, and then took a glacier cruise out of Whittier. I started catching up on work in the studio, and took down my art show at Dos Manos Gallery. We had an amazing dinner at Seven Glaciers restaurant at the top of Alyeska Resort. After resting up the next day, we went shopping for souvenirs downtown, and got all the guests packed up for their flight to Las Vegas. En-route to the airport, we had an amazing sushi boat dinner. Maria flew to Vegas the next morning, and I have been holding down the fort here in Anchorage while the Benner crew sees Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, Sedona, and Mexico. They will have seen five National Parks when they are completely done!
Maria does a lot of work for the business. She makes, packages, and mails all the Etsy orders. She manages the business and home finances. She does half the house cleaning, she does a lot of the kitchen work, and makes sure I don’t mess up and miss out on stuff I should be taking care of. When Maria is gone, I have more freedom to do what I want, when I want, but the workload is probably doubled, so it really doesn’t make life any easier. In fact, life is way more difficult. My responsibilities are doubled, and my free time is cut in half. I really don’t know how single artists get everything done! I know that before Maria decided to become my business partner and manage the business end of Real Art is Better, I was decidedly less profitable. I will be fine, and she will be back after only nine days in the States. Cheers to our partnership! I can’t do it without my better half!

Running an Art Business During a Pandemic

~ by Maria Benner

In business school I was taught to react to a crisis that affects one’s business, but none of the case studies ever described a drawn-out external threat to the business that lasts nearly a year, like the current pandemic. Making and selling art for a living is already considered a risky career option, and people often remind us of that with their pessimistic and inappropriate questions about our finances when they find out we make a living from Scott’s art. So, when the pandemic hit, I felt especially vulnerable at first. We had art shows lined up at local breweries, and other than that, we were selling art online. When everything shut down at the end of March, we were pleasantly surprised as our Etsy sales more than doubled compared to the same time period last year. People were bored at home, and they were shopping. The building where we lease our studio was locked to the public, but we were still allowed to go into our studio, so we kept mailing orders, and Scott kept painting commissions, and new pieces for his upcoming art show in June at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. When everything opened back up, we swooped in and had a successful art show, despite the pandemic, before the brewery was closed again for on-site consumption for the month of August. Orders kept rolling in all summer, and we kept working.

I took advantage of having extra time to learn HTML and CSS, and built a new website for Real Art Is Better. I also combed through all the Etsy listings, making sure photos looked good, descriptions were correct, and keywords were optimized. There were a couple requests for proposals announced for public art in Alaska. I applied for two, and we were granted one, and Scott is a finalist for another one. He’s working on his final proposal right now.

We spent most of the summer in McCarthy, where the majority of businesses were open, including the gift shops in McCarthy and Kennecott. We sold art there all summer, and sales were only a couple hundred dollars lower than during normal summers. We also fulfilled a wholesale order for a book shop in Haines, and I now plan to build a wholesale program for the business.

We maintained our social media presence, posting updates every weekday, and sending e-newsletters every other Friday. Since we can’t travel, Scott has had extra time to work on oil paintings. He decided to paint a few pieces on canvas for a change (he normally paints on wood panel) and completed a large painting that sold right after the election. Having more time to try new techniques has been valuable to him. He also kept teaching painting lessons at the studio.

Then the Mayor of Anchorage announced a third hunker down order for the month of December, which is when we usually do in-person sales events like craft fairs. This year the craft fairs were cancelled, so I set up live painting/pop-up events at two local breweries. When I heard about the shutdown, we contacted Anchorage Brewing Co. and were able to reschedule one of the events for the Sunday before the emergency order went into effect. We also were able to go ahead with another event as planned at Odd Man Rush Brewing. Since the shutdown does not apply outside Anchorage, we scheduled a live painting/pop-up event at Bleeding Heart Brewing in Palmer for December 19.

Tonight we are hanging oil paintings at Turnagain Brewing, eventhough the taproom is closed for onsite consumption, but is open for to-go orders. The art show is scaled down to just one wall, but we’re still doing it.

There are several lessons I learned during the pandemic about running an art business.

  1. Keep working; making new paintings, posting on social media, sending e-newsletters, blogging, applying for public art projects, doing art shows, going to the studio every day. We didn’t cancel anything, were pro-active about contacting venues, and were available when people asked us to work on projects.
  2. Have a strong online presence and SEO.
  3. Be safe, but also show up whenever you can.
  4. Offer excellent customer service, including curbside pick-up, and free shipping.
  5. Be flexible enough to re-schedule events, or adjust how they happen so everyone stays safe.
  6. Just keep going…
Alaskan Artist Scott Clendaniel and his oil painting called Stairway to Sunrise
Staying safe while delivering and hanging a new painting during a pandemic.
Alaskan artist Scott Clendaniel sold his octopus goalie painting at Odd Man Rush Brewing
Selling art at Odd Man Rush Brewing.
Alaskan artist Scott Clendaniel with his painting of three barleywines at Glacier Brewhouse
Worked on this project for Glacier Brewhouse for their 12 Days of Barleywine artwork.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Studio

Well, we got back from our cabin in McCarthy yesterday, and we don’t have any trips planned for the foreseeable future, so it’s time to get back to regular life and knuckle down in the studio.  Today I signed the contract for a big 1% for Art project at Gladys Wood Elementary in Anchorage, so now I can start working on the design.  I gathered some good reference material in McCarthy, where Fall arrived a couple weeks earlier than here in Anchorage.  We also picked about 13 pounds of lingonberries, and I’ll be making many jars of jam this week.  I’m looking forward to being grounded here in Anchorage for the winter, and working in the studio.  We’ll be hosting a First Friday in October for the first time since last April!  I hope you’ll stop by.  I’ll be baking my famous chocolate chip cookies for the event.

Here are photos from my proposal for the Gladys Wood Elementary 1% for Art project.  The requested theme was Southcentral Alaskan natural scenery.  The final paintings will be different, but this is the overall concept based on my existing oil paintings.  I’ll be creating four large elliptical paintings for the walls, and six circular ones for the ceiling.  They will be displayed in two different hallways.  One hallway is themed Spring, and the other Fall.  I have until October 2019 to complete this project.  I’ll post updates on Facebook and Instagram along the way.

Business Goals for 2018

~ by Maria Benner

As the Business & Marketing Manager, I’m the one responsible for keeping our art business alive, and an important part of that is setting goals.  I recently reviewed our goals for 2017, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that we accomplished all of them.  I also made a mental note to check in on our goals more often.  So, for the new year we have new goals.

  1. Create a new website to sell art directly to customers.  Currently all of our online sales are through our Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.  Etsy has great SEO, and brings customers to us from all over the world, however, we have to pay a percentage fee for each sale, and potential customers can easily be distracted by other Etsy sellers while shopping for similar items.  Selling from our own website will hopefully generate more brand awareness, and we’ll pay a lower monthly flat fee.  We’ll also keep selling art through Etsy, just to keep reaching a broader audience.
  2. Design an autonomous order fulfillment system.  Right now we are fulfilling all orders.  We make prints on demand, and package all prints and originals ourselves, print the shipping labels, and drop everything off at the post office.  The drawback is that while we’re traveling, or spending time at our cabin in McCarthy, our business is on hold, because we’re not around to mail orders.  The goal is to find a company online that will print and mail our prints for us.  We will still have to mail originals ourselves, but prints make up the majority of our sales.
  3. Publish our first book How to Draw Alaska Baby Animals.  We have been working on this project for a couple years, but it always seems to take a back seat to more pressing tasks.  Scott designed how-to-draw pages for 49 different Alaska baby animals, and is in the finishing stages of designing the book cover.  He also painted several colorful oil paintings to include in the book.  I drew every single one to make sure there were no errors.  Now we just need a table of contents, a foreward, and to finish the final layout.  Then we’ll have to figure out how to publish a book, and to find buyers for it.  This task seems a bit challenging, but people publish books all the time, so I know it’s doable.

Those are our main three goals, and they will be enough for this year.  Most of the work gets accomplished in the winter time, which is already half way over!  In the summer we’re fishing, traveling, and just generally flying by the seat of our pants.  So wish us luck!

Another year at the studio space.

~by Maria Benner

Scott's painting area all cleaned up after the Christmas painting rush.

Scott’s painting area all cleaned up after the Christmas painting rush.

We’ve been leasing our studio space in the 4th Avenue Market Place for a little over a year now, and last week we signed another year-long lease.  When we signed the first lease, the property manager told us that our rent would increase at the end of our year, because we’d be charged for utilities, which were free for the first year as an introductory offer.  So at the end of the year we sent the property manager an e-mail stating that we’d like to renew our lease for another year, or even two, and listed several reasons why we shouldn’t have to pay a higher rate.  Negotiating is always tough, and at first we were told that if we sign a lease, our rate would increase despite our request.  There was a caveat, however.  If we lease month-to-month, our rate will stay the same.  So we figured, why wouldn’t we do that?  I suppose if someone came along with a better offer, we would be asked to leave.  Then after about two months, out of the blue, the property manager agreed to our offer to keep the rent the same as the introductory rate, if we sign a lease.  So we went ahead and did it.  We don’t know how long we’ll be renting that space, and whether rent will go up next year, but for now we’ll be there for another year at least.  A big challenge of running an art business is keeping overhead as low as possible, so we’re glad we got a break on our lease.  I mean, the view alone is a major reason we love the studio!

A big reason we love our studio is the view!

A big reason we love our studio is the view!

What Does an Artist’s Business Manager Do?

~ by Maria Benner (Scott Clendaniel’s wife and Business & Marketing Manager)

Last week I ran into two acquaintances who I haven’t seen in a couple years, and both of them asked me what I’m doing for a living these days.  So I told them that I’ve been working full time as Scott’s Business & Marketing Manager for the last four years.  Then I realized that some people don’t really know what I do.  I have an MBA, so Scott and I make a great team for operating an art business.  Here’s a sample of my task list:

Follow up with potential clients (or make sure that Scott does)

Reply to inquiries about Scott’s art, sometimes about licensing or merchandising

Manage the Etsy shop that accounts for 50% of our sales

Create and send out invoices, and keep track of unpaid ones

Photograph all paintings and edit the photos so we can make limited-edition fine art prints

Package and mail orders (Scott helps with this)

Handle custom stickers sales (Scott and I are distributors for a custom stickers manufacturer)

Order supplies

Negotiate contracts

Edit/write blog entries

Manage social media platforms

Compose and send e-mail blasts (click here to sign up 🙂

Seek out new opportunities for sales, a.k.a. business development

Maintain the website

Apply for grants and public art projects

Organize art shows and open studio events

Manage business finances

Learn about running an art business through blogs, podcasts, books, etc.

This is not a complete list, but should be enough to give people an idea of what I do.  There is no way one person can make art, and tackle the business end, which explains the “starving artist” myth.  Most creative souls just want to create, but not all are lucky to have business-minded individuals taking care of the business end.  I love my job, and am glad I finally let Scott talk me into being his Business Manager!

10 Things We Learned about Being Self-Employed

~ by Maria Benner

Scott and I have both been working full-time on our art business, Real Art Is Better, for about four years now, and we’ve learned a few things about being self-employed.  So here are the top ten.

  1. Most people were not supportive when we started working for ourselves.  They told us we were being too risky, that we would become a burden on our society’s safety net, and that we were slacking on building a retirement.  This reaction was a big surprise to me, because I was always under the impression that self-starters and entrepreneurs are respected role models in America.  I learned that first we had to prove ourselves to these people, before they would start taking our business seriously.  After four years, some people still ask me what I’m doing now, as if being a Business Manager is not enough.
  2. There is no regular paycheck.  People expect us to pay our bills on time, but when we send out invoices, we have to wait for weeks to get paid.  Most times I have to send reminders.  We have to keep a very close eye on cash flow, and keep a list of IOUs.
  3. Hiring a tax accountant was one of the best things we did for our business.  We were using TurboTax, and I wasn’t doing our taxes correctly.  Also, it’s nice to know that if we need advice about a business decision that could affect our taxes, we can ask our tax accountant.
  4. Speaking of taxes, there are a lot of extra taxes for the self-employed.  We have to pay a self-employment tax, and contribute more to Social Security.  We also found out about the Business Property tax.  Turns out the Municipality of Anchorage collects a tax on business assets if they total over $20,000.  Luckily, we don’t fall into that category, but we were really confused when we received that notice.
  5. We spend a lot of time dealing with administrative tasks like book keeping, setting up our annual health insurance plans, reading and negotiating contracts, collections, etc.  Sure was nice to just focus on my job, knowing that my employer had a team of people working on such tasks, but I guess I’m learning more about the real world this way.
  6. We work almost every day.  In the last two months, we’ve taken five days off.  Sometimes if we decide to take a day off mid-week, we’ll make that happen, but we have to plan ahead.  We had more time off when we worked for someone else.  However, we can work while we’re traveling, so our jobs don’t hold us in place, and we can take more trips.  We just can’t be gone for more than two weeks before the business starts to suffer.  Luckily, we like our jobs, so we don’t need a lot of time off from them.
  7. When it comes to planning our day, we have a lot more flexibility.  We go running in the morning when the air quality is better, then sit down to a nice breakfast, and then get to work.  We end up working until 6 or 7 PM, as a result, but we don’t mind.  During the working part of our day, we are very productive, working straight for several hours, with a short break for lunch.  One of the best things about being self-employed is not having to wake up to an alarm, and not having set hours.
  8. There are days when things are going really well, and we think our business is unstoppable, and there are days when we experience a set-back and have doubts about the future of our business.  Those days are actually beneficial, because they motivate us to think outside the box to generate more income, but I still don’t like them.
  9. Working for yourself means there are fewer filters for your ideas.  Sometimes it’s nice not having to gain someone else’s approval before acting on a great idea.  Other times, it would be nice to have a second or third opinion, so we end up Googling, or crowd sourcing, or talking to friends and family instead of coworkers.
  10. Setting and following standard operating procedures is important.  That’s a given at a company, but when we started our business, we were just flying by the seats of our pants.  We’ve spent a lot of time figuring out and honing procedures.  The learning curve has been huge!

In conclusion, we both agree that we prefer working for ourselves, and our goal is not to have to work for someone else in the future.  However, we constantly have to be on our toes to keep the business rolling.  No slacking allowed.  One of my favorite quotes is, “If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

A Day in the Life of an Artist

Artist Scott Clendaniel working in his studio

People often ask my wife and me what we do all day, because we both work at home on our art business.  I work as an artist full time, and my wife, Maria, is the business and marketing manager.  She also spends about an hour every morning trading stocks.

We wake up around 6 AM, excited to start the day.  First thing every morning is Coffee Time, during which we spend an hour reading the news, checking e-mail and social media, and perusing Craigslist ads while we drink espresso and smoothies.

After Coffee Time I take care of any graphic design work on the iMac, while Maria manages her stock portfolio on the PC laptop.  One of the facets of our art business is being distributors for a custom stickers manufacturer, so some days I prepare bid requests for stickers at this time.  When I am done with graphics/stickers work, I change into my painting clothes and head into my studio.  I check my paint palette to see if the paint is too old, and if it is, I mix a new palette.  While I’m working in the studio I listen to the radio, music, books on tape, or Russian language learning CD’s.  I work for about 90-minute stretches, and take 15-30 minute breaks in between.  Around 9:30 AM, when the sun finally rises, both of us stop working to take time for our health.  We stretch, do push-ups and go jogging.  This takes about an hour and a half.

After lunch, I return to the studio and work for a couple 90-minute sessions.  I try not to rush, so usually I only complete part of a painting, but on days when I’m on fire, I can start and finish a couple small paintings.  While I’m painting in the studio, Maria works on the computer in the living room.  She searches for companies that license art and contacts them if she thinks my art is a good fit.  She also manages my Etsy shop, and my website, contacts bloggers asking them to feature my art, and follows up about potential art sales.  

During my 15-30 minute breaks from painting in the studio I make phone calls to patrons, and reply to e-mails.  Other tasks include photographing my work, checking on my paintings and prints at galleries and shops, packaging and shipping art work, and shopping for supplies.

We stop working around 5 PM, unless I have an art opening, in which case, our work day is much longer because we usually have to hang the art in the evenings, and art openings the next day last until about 9 PM.  We rarely take a whole day off, and try to keep our schedule flexible so we can take advantage of fun opportunities.  Everyday I go to bed feeling satisfied about my work.

5 Things People Ask Me When I Tell Them I Work as an Artist

Oil paint palette

My palette with freshly-mixed oil paint.

When I meet people for the first time, they normally ask what I do for a living.  Here are the top five questions I get when I tell them I’m an artist.

1. But what do you really do?
I’m tempted to say that I sell drugs on the side, but that wouldn’t go over well.  Despite the starving artist myth, it is possible for an artist to make a living.  Being an artist is a real job.  I sell paintings and prints online, in galleries, at gift shops.  I am also a distributor for a custom stickers manufacturer, and occasionally I do graphic design.

2. What kind of art do you do… what do you paint?
I’m an oil painter, because I like the bright vivid colors of this medium and it’s most durable.  As for subject matter, I sell a lot of still-life paintings of beer, but I also paint trees, landscapes, bicycles, antique autos, but the sky is the limit and sometimes I paint that too.

3. How much money do you make?
I can’t believe people ask me this, but they do… a lot.  I would never ask anyone that.  I make enough to pay the bills, but when I’m dead, I’ll make a lot more.  But seriously, I understand why people are curious.  Everyone wishes s/he could be an artist (because people don’t know how much work it takes).

4. Where do you sell your art?
I sell paintings and prints at art shows, in galleries, brew pubs, coffee shops, cafés, gift shops, and from my online shop on Etsy.com.  My wife works as my business/marketing manager, and helps me with networking online and in person.  I have upcoming shows at The Maury Pottery Sale in December, two shows at the Loft at Midnight Sun Brewing Company in January and in June, a show at Tap Root Public House in August, and a show at Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge in October 2014.

5. Do you make ends meet?
From what I’ve heard, many Americans can’t make ends meet (yet they still drive fancy cars, and live in huge houses).  We used to substitute teach to make ends meet, but realized that that was counter-productive to our long-term art business vision.  So we quit subbing last January and have been working on the art business full time, and yes, we have been able to pay the bills.  My wife also trades stocks and gets a couple tour guiding gigs each summer, but most of our revenue comes from selling my art.  We wake up and get to work early each day and sometimes we work on weekends as well.  Being your own boss takes a lot of discipline, but if we want to make money we have to do the work.  A major key is to keep overhead low.  My wife and I live in a small condo, drive an old truck, rarely go out to eat, and tend to spend money on quality experiences rather than material possessions.

Phew, that was a mouthful, and that’s why I get a little tongue tied when people fire all these questions at me one after the other.