Episode 31: Getting Your Personal Brand Right with Joie Brown

August 4, 2016

Today on the show we have Joie Brown (pronounced Joey, not Joy as I’ve been saying for the past several years. Sorry Joie). She is an artist for books like Clucked and Heavenly Kibble Guardian Corgi, along with working as a colorist for both Lumberjanes and Adventure Time graphic novels among many more.

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Here is a bio of Joie straight from her website, www.heyjoiecomics.com:

I scribble cuteness, sketch quirks, paint attitude, and herd cats. Okay. Technically I don’t herd cats, but keeping-up with Photoshop layers is pretty much the exact same thing, right? I graduated with an MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University, and I currently do illustration full time. I live in Los Angeles with my pretends-to-be-a-dinosaur fiancé Joel and my jolly, stump-legged corgi Rylee.

Joie is an ideal person to come on the show because she makes her living as an artist AND believes in all the business principles necessary to run a successful business. She has been working on personal branding recently, and we started off our conversation talking about that.

It’s really hard to build a personal brand without enough data points, and it’s something I see people do again and again and again. They constantly try to build a brand before they even know who they are as a creator. I think that is a big mistake, which is why building a brand is the third part in my coaching.

We talked about a really great book at the beginning of the show called The Pumpkin Plan. It takes about this exact phenomenon of building and honing in what you are good at after you have enough date points to understand your business. Click here to check it out.

That was the next part of our conversation because Joie spends a lot of time working in her business and has recently worked toward strategic planning in order to cut away the far from her business. As you know I love strategic planning. I took all of December off last year minus a couple shows just to figure out how my business worked and it’s led to the most successful year in our history.

The brilliance of strategic planning is that it gives you time to see what DOESN’T work in your business. To go back to the book we talked about, if you don’t cut away the bad pumpkins you can never have the kind of garden which will lead to amazingly huge ones.

There are really two parts in strategic planning. The first is to cut out all the things you are doing that aren’t working. The second is to double down on the ones that do work. We talked about social media as an example. Social media is a low ROI proposition, which is why I automate a lot of it. I know the importance of building an audience and the importance of bringing value, but I can’t spend 20 hours a week on social media when it returns very little to my company’s bottom line. So I spend about $50/mo on all of my automation, and in return I get back hundreds if not thousands of followers to my account. If I were to place Twitter ads those would run me around $1 per followers.

If you want to know what I use: Tweetjukebox, Tweetbuzz, and Buffer. They combine to cut dozens of hours a month, maybe hundreds of hours of time spent on low initial return activities. Now, those activities will eventually pay off, but only if I focus on high margin activities like creating products. I know that the more products I can create the more revenue I will generate. So I need to focus my time on their creation. At $50/hour (which is the low end of what my time is worth) I only have to give up one hour pay in exchange for 20 hours a month of my time back to spend on high margin activities. To me, that is no brainer worth it.

Another thing we talked about for artists is making something once and repurposing. For Joie, that was videotaping her Patreon drawings so she can use them as speed draws on Youtube. This is a fantastic way to build more social buzz AND test out another stream of income without much extra investment. If people ask to buy her prints, she knows there is an industry in devoting time to unique sketches. That is a wonderful way to do something once and repurpose it multiple times.

Another one would be to write a blog post and repurpose it as a youtube video and a podcast and an e-book, and a course. These are all ways to leverage your time by doing something once and selling it (or using it for marketing) multiple times.

This episode was packed with information just like that and more. It’s hard to find a person we’ve spoken to which was so open about the business side of art. We got down and dirty for over an hour and it’s all gold.

We ended by talking about her awesome webcomic Clucked, about the last chicken in the galaxy who has to find allies to save its planet and her other great comics. What I dig about Joie the most is that she makes awesome stuff, she can sell awesome stuff, and she branded herself in a way that her brand speaks for her. It’s everything we talk about on The Business of Art, in one package.

If you want to find Joie, and I definitely recommend you do, she is most active on Twitter @JoieArtand on her website www.heyjoiecomics.com. However, she has a presence on all of the social media channels from Instagram and Facebook down on the line.

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