Meet Your Coach

Photo of Elaine Grogan Luttrull

Elaine Grogan Luttrull knows the business of art. She's an experienced leader and teacher who empowers creative people to make business decisions that connect with their overall artistic goals.  

Elaine comes to us from Columbus, Ohio, where she runs the Business and Entrepreneurship department at the Columbus College of Art and Design. She's also co-founder of Minerva Financial Arts, where she provides business coaching to artists and arts organizations. She's trained creative people all across the country. 

Do you really still need convincing? Elaine is also a CPA and prolific writer. She is regularly featured in Professional Artist magazine. Her latest published book is Arts and Numbers. 

Let's Get Down to Business...

The On-Ramp Creative Entrepreneur Course is an overview of business basics for those building creative careers. It draws heavily from entrepreneurial topics in marketing, finance, and business law. Additionally, this program highlights social impact, public benefit and community engagement. This course is offered in person over a three-day period and will include follow-up coaching from the instructor to the participants.  

Course Outline (content is subject to change)

I. What do you do well? 

You know what you do. You make great work. You change the world. But translating those creative concepts into a business plan often poses a challenge to creative individuals. As part of this module, we’ll support your efforts to gain clarity around your business purpose. And that, of course, will support your business growth and creative growth as well. 

  • Translate your artist statement into business language 

  • Write your unique value proposition 

  • Organize your creative opportunities into a portfolio career 

  • Identify the best entity type (business vehicle) for your work 

  • Define “success” for you

II. Whom do you serve? 

We know it isn’t everyone (even if it should be). What are some tools and best practices for serving your clients, customers, and audience members in an effective, authentic way? This module is built around customer analysis, competitive landscape analysis, and marketing tools to simplify the “sales and marketing” process in the context of a creative career. 

  • Customer market analysis of your “ideal customer” 

  • Articulate how your strengths connect with the needs of a market 

  • Building connections in your community and listening to their needs 

  • Set goals for the customer acquisition cycle 

  • Competitive analysis 

  • Build a marketing plan and CRM system 

III. What do you need? 

When we ask the question, “What do you need?” we almost always hear two answers: More time and more money. We can’t magically create either, but we can introduce some tools to help you identify the processes, property, and people you’ll need to create a successful career in the arts. And hopefully that will lead to more time and money for you (or at least for your art). 

  • Identify your business and creative needs in three categories: Process, Property and People 

  • Time management strategy 

  • Protecting your intellectual property 

IV. What does it cost? 

Too often in the arts we build budgets based around how much funding we *think* we’ll be able to get, rather than building budgets that accurately reflect our (real) creative goals. This module flips the script on budgeting… And gets you closer to accomplishing your creative goals as well. 

  • Identify what it costs to do what you want to do by listening to your community partners 

  • Build a budget and create a strategy to update it regularly 

  • Articulate contingency plans for good and bad financial events 

  • Connect time management to financial resource management

V. How do you monetize it? 

“Show me the money!” makes a great sound bite, but in the arts, “showing money” gets complicated quickly. Without a solid plan to monetize your creativity, your career will lurch randomly from project to project or languish in unfunded frustration. This module connects the revenue process to your own creativity, ensuring that creativity drives the revenue conversation. Not the other way around. 

  • Create your funding plan with multiple sources of revenue 

  • Identify who is willing to pay for what you propose 

  • Confirm the entity type you’ve chosen is right for you based on revenue projections 

VI. Talking the talk 

You made it! You know what you do, you’ve identified who you serve, you know what you need, what it costs, and how to fund it. Now it’s time to pull the pieces together into a coherent business strategy. This module will focus on adapting that strategy to different audiences (funders, for-profit investors, collaborators, and customers) and help you determine your own next steps. 

  • Build a business plan, proposal or strategy document from your research, exercises and findings from previous lessons 

  • Tell the story of how your work makes your community stronger 

  • Enhance your business communications with graphs, illustrations or visual representations 

  • Modify business communication for your audience 

  • Top mistakes in a grant proposal 

  • Next steps for you