Master art business basics so you can focus on the fun of art, a conversation with Howard Mann

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Howard-Mann-headshot The business side of being an artist can absolutely kill the joy of making art if you're not careful. It doesn't have to— it can even become a creative, fun and challenging extension of your art— but to make your art business successful on your own terms, you need to understand the basics.

Howard Mann is President of Brickyard Partners Inc., the business design and development agency. He's passionate about the basics of business and knows first-hand how getting them right can make or break a business. He uses engaging story-telling skills and quick wit to enlighten and challenge what you thought you knew about business— Every time I talk with Howard, he comes up with an absolutely brilliant idea within the first five minutes. It's always something unexpected, yet it always feels immediately obvious that I should give it a try.

In the last year, Howard has helped me to do two things; the first, you would expect from a business consultant— he's helped me expand my market and grow. But more important was his focus on reconnecting with my purpose so that the business didn't kill the fun or the love I feel for art. Growing just for the sake of growth can often alienate you from the very things that inspired you in the first place.

The basics are the things you have to do—and do perfectly—to ensure your success. Artists often get lost trying to play catch up and match their competition instead of unlocking what they do better than anyone else. Getting back to the basics brings back confidence and control, regardless of competitors, trends and fads, or even a business’ speed of growth.

As discussed in his book, Your Business Brickyard, Howard has defined a dozen must-have basics of running a great business, including:

  • Reconnect with your purpose.
  • All truth is in the cash account.
  • Find your true story.
  • Your business grows from relationships, not sales.
  • Lose your nemesis.
  • Fit your business on a single page.
  • Connect with your customers face-to-face.
  • Define your business with "no."

Learn More about Howard Mann

  1. Visit Howard Mann's blog
  2. Visit Brickyard Partners blog
  3. Follow Howard on Twitter
  4. Download a free PDF copy of Howard's book, Your Business Brickyard
  5. Buy the hardcover or Kindle version of Your Business Brickyard on

Further Resources:

  1. Ask Howard to speak at your next event.
  2. Check out Howard's workshop and training services.

Show Highlights: Excerpts From the Conversation

Once the transcription is completed I'll include some of the best portions here.

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Statement + Bio | Curriculum Vitae | Bibliography

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

On the way to a successful art career I've been a poet and writer, a tech geek, a print and web designer, illustrator, industrial designer, musician, teacher, actor, set designer and even a paid guru once.

It's all the same thing in the end— I wake up most days thinking about how I want to change, fix or improve some aspect of the world. And after a couple cups of coffee I get started on it.

My specialty is impossibility remediation: if it can't be done, I'm on it.

Mobile: 231.584.2710 (9 to 5 PST only) | Email me
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