By Heather Green Your Paint Pal
I have been painting for almost 20 years, and because of my love for painting and working with people I was able to build a few companies that I am truly proud of. But painting is not my first love, business is. I come from a long line of hard working entrepreneurs, and have been working since I was old enough to forge a birth certificate. I enjoy working because every job I did, I absorbed as much as I could from my bosses. Knowledge is power, and when you want to run a successful business you have to be in the BUSINESS of learning. Over the past 5 years I have shifted a lot of my energy and focus to business growth and strategy. I have attended several seminars and workshops, and find myself reading more than ever. But much of the business information and rhetoric available for entrepreneurs is very general. And to reach the artsy face and body community I felt the urge to research and develop content specifically for our right brain minds.
If I had $1 for every time I heard the line, “Im not a good business person, Im just an artist” I would be rich! And the truth is that you can be both, you can be a great business person and a great artist but you have to be JUST as willing to learn about business as you are to learn the newest tiger design.
So I reached out to a few people that personify Successful Artistic Entrepreneurs and I asked them to share a few pearls of wisdom about how they are doing it! I get asked a lot if you can make a living as a a face painter, most people are still skeptical about the possibility. Which is why I wanted to share advice from the people really doing it.
When I graduated college and wrote a business plan to buy Silly Farm, part of the deal was that I would not take a paycheck for a year and that I would live off just my face painting income to survive. I wanted to use all the potential profits I would make from Silly Farm to re invest in the company. So working primarily Saturdays and Sundays as a painter I was able to pay my student loans, my apartment, my car , insurance and live. My story isn’t the exception to the rule, you are going to read advice by 4 entrepreneurs that are supporting their families from being face and body artists and performers.
Successful Master Magician and Entertainer
Shares advice on How to get better paying gigs and more business
There are many methods that an entertainer can use to successfully generate more gigs – from direct
mail, to search engine optimization, to everyone’s favorite… the dreaded old school cold call. While I’ve
used many methods to generate leads over my eighteen year career as a comedy magician and
hypnotist, I can sum up the best way to get high end gigs in two words – GO NETWORK!
Networking events of all different sorts take place all day long, every day of the week, throughout the
entire country. If you don’t have much experience with mixing and mingling, and talking about how you
make events memorable, it can definitely be a little daunting at first. Not to worry. It’s really not as bad
as you might think. Everyone else is in the same boat. Most people, even entertainers who can be
extremely outgoing when they’re performing, can become very reserved when it comes time to selling
themselves in a social situation.
All I can say, is no matter if you’re a magician, hypnotist, comedian, face and body artist, balloonist,
cartoonist, juggler, ventriloquist, or ANY other type of variety artist… You’re likely going to be the most
intriguing person there. Trust me.
When you meet someone, share who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Also, and more
importantly, ask them about what they do and find out how you might be able to help them with their
business. Remember, everyone is there for the same reason, and the best way to get there is to work
Also, it’s very likely at most networking events within the special events industry that you’re going to be
the only variety artist there, or at least one of very few. Why is that? Because most entertainers are too
lazy to get off the couch and go try and generate some business. It’s just the way it is. What happens, though, if there is someone else there who does exactly what you do? That’s great! Make friends with them and see how you two can help each other. Many performers are so worried about their competition, and it’s simply not necessary. Some of the best jobs I’ve ever worked have been from entertainers who called me when they were booked, or needed additional performers on a larger event. So instead of looking at someone as your competition, you’re way better off viewing them as an industry peer instead.
So where should you start when it comes to networking as an entertainer? There are many options, but
a few organizations where you can start are MPI (Meeting Professionals International,
www.mpiweb.org), ISES (International Special Events Society, www.ises.com), and NACE (National
Association for Catering and Events, www.nace.net).
These associations are full of people within the special events industry who can help you generate some
very nice leads, such as event planners, caterers, and hoteliers. You don’t need to be a member to
attend many of the meetings, although you will pay a premium at the door as a non-member. Obviously,
if you want to get more involved or become a board member, you’ll need to join and become a
The only goal I have when I attend a networking event, such as a luncheon or cocktail hour, is to make
contact with one person who I can meet with at a later date. That’s it. Often times it’s much more than
one good contact that I meet, but if I only meet one, I’m satisfied.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Small hinges swing big doors.” It’s true. Go do a little networking,
and I’m sure you’ll be amazed at the big results you’ll find.
Melissa Munn- Face Art by Melissa NYC
Sharing advice on growing your business
The big question: how do you get more gigs? Do you pay for marketing? Personally, I never have. Every face I paint and every client I work with, does my marketing for me. I could tell you: email all the schools in your area, email all the day cares, make flyers, post them around town and at the grocery store, make sure you have a decent website with search engine optimization…this is all the regular stuff.. But when you are working on your business, you are really working on yourself. You are working on all the different skill sets you need for success.
When you are growing your business, the 3 most important things are patience, persistence and yes, practice. Have patience. It takes time to build a business. Just keep going!
Practicing your designs is vital but practicing your business skills is equally important. When I started my business, I had 2 kids under five, and it was very hard to find time to do everything I needed to do for my business to be successful. I also had to deal with the feeling that I um, did not really know what I was doing as an artist or a business woman, and though I loved face painting with a passion, what came from my brush when I did get an actual gig, was NOT what my mind envisioned!
At the same time, I was supposed to be promoting myself as a professional artist who commanded a certain wage? It was a daunting experience!
What I learned through this process:
Work on your weakest skills. Don’t avoid the stuff that is hardest for you. When you are just starting out and it feels like you are climbing uphill to build your business, keep a journal and do three things for your business a day (email a new venue in town, thank a client, practice a design) and make note of each thing! Each day! When you get discouraged that you are not working as much as you want to be, read through your book of all the things you have done every day. That will fortify your weary soul!! Be patient, believe in yourself, and keep doing the work.
If you want more clients, start with the ones you already have and be sure to do these things:
noun: rapport; plural noun: rapports
- a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.
How to create rapport with your clients over email/phone:
SMILE when you; answer your phone; leave a message for a client, especially when you are saying your name and your business name. Don’t rush when you say your name and your business name!
People hear your attitude in your voice and you will shape the word differently when your mouth is smiling…you will sound happier , and people are hiring us for happy occasions. So be happy! You are calling or being called, about a FUN thing! Don’t be nervous, take a breath and jump in and connect with the person at the other end!
Always start each response to an inquiry email with
Thank you so much for your email!
Always end with:
After the gig, always send a follow up email, including some nice little detail about how special/fun/ the party was. Or how you loved the theme, or how well the kids got along…if they didn’t get along that well, just find something nice to say to sum up your gratitude at being there. That should be the easy part! If you are anything like me, you are still pinching yourself at the fact that this is a real thing! Getting paid to paint sweet little somethings on cute little faces for an exorbitant rate!! This is amazing!!
Who has more time to go back and forth with each client after the party? After I’ve been paid, after the event is over? Not me. I really don’t. We do over 20 events a week and I already spend too much time on the computer- but I do it anyways—this one thing has created such a base of clientele for me, it makes people feel familiar and comfortable with me and then they keep hiring me.
In person, over the phone and via email: I am always friendly and try to exude positive energy
One additional thing– decide what makes your brand special and promote that. For my business, I dress up to go to my gigs. I would never wear sneakers to paint at a birthday party (we wear sneakers only if we are painting at a stadium for a sports event) and I specify to all the artists that I send out, please wear all black and any fun and sparkly accessories you may have,, please paint on an eye design and no sneakers, please. I have a fancy clientele and I want my company to be viewed in a certain way. I don’t want to blend in with the party guests and I don’t want to look like I’m heading to the gym in my sweats. That’s just my thing. Decide what your thing is, decide how you want to be perceived and then follow through every time.
Successful Entrepreneur, Author, instructor, Yogi and Motivator
Shares her Margi-isms for success
What is it that makes me successful?
Let me start by saying that I came from a very determined place. This is a great space to start. Not everyone has to believe in your dreams. And you must not only believe, but be ready to do the work to make them come true as well. Start small and work to bring each level of success to fruition. Don’t think about being the best face painter in the world. Instead try being the happiest face painter in the world! Keep in mind that everyone around you has something to teach you, both good and bad. The nay sayers will always be nay sayers. They thrive on failure. So …learn to respond instead of reacting to their words. You are in charge of your individual journey. Study those who are successful. Listen carefully to what they are sharing. Surround yourself with who you want to be.
When I started face painting there was no FABAtv or Youtube. There were a couple of forums and The Face and Body art Convention. This was the first convention all about face and body painting and I attended each year no matter what. I knew that the teachers there were the best in the industry and had so much to share. Each time I came home I was not only a better painter, but a smarter marketer and a happier person.
A happier person? What does that have to do with face painting success? EVERYTHING!
Being happier helps you to be more approachable to both corporate and private clients. I believe that my success starts with a smile.
What is my secret? I take care of me from the inside out. This includes the obvious eating right and exercise, but let’s take this a step further.
I work on truth daily. I sometimes I get myself into trouble for being too honest. I do not candy coat problems. I instead find solutions. I realize that not everyone thinks this way. This is where yoga comes in. When I feel that there is a major movie production of drama surrounding me I take a mental break. I attend a yoga class and breathe. Slow and controlled. I focus on that moment and recognize that nothing else exists beyond the present. When I leave class I feel rejuvenated and am able to focus my energy to the things that matter. I become instantly driven to succeed. I like to think of obstacles as “Adventures”. As silly as that sounds, I can get on the phone and sell like nobody’s business. I feel a confidence about what I do and what my team of performers has to share. Remember what I said in the first paragraph, “surround yourself with who you want to be”.
When I show up to an event I am always a half hour or more early I can ease into my space and introduce myself to the client. I present myself always as a professional and work to make their event extra special.. I am an artist, entertainer, and most of all…. a happy person.
” My life has not been perfect, in fact some major curve balls have been thrown in my direction. This does not stop me from hitting a home run. I just need to step outside of the box to hit the ball.”
Sonny Banks (My dad)
Owner of All Star Events South Florida’s Largest Event Entertainment Company
Shares his insight on how to commit to your vision
I was a chef by trade, owned several restaurants and one day I woke up and realized I that the restaurant business was going to be the death of me. Long hours, long days, and very little reward. At that time my wife Claudia was booking entertainers with her sister Mama Clown. They had just purchased a bounce house and neither of them knew what to do with it. Immediately I had a vision. Entrepreneurs need to be visionaries, you need to think big and want to see big results.
I brought the idea of buying a slide to Claudia and she thought I was nuts, but I knew that in order to grow we had to move beyond the norm. I didn’t always have the answers and at that time I wasn’t even sure how we would transport a 500 pound slide but I knew that we were on to something great. Fast forward 25 years and we are now South Florida’s largest entertainment company and own over 100 rides and inflatables, All Star Events.
One major component of success is having a vision and your willingness to commit to the vision. Some people wake up and see a great image of their favorite model in a magazine and think I want to get in shape, but they continue to eat cake and cookies and refuse to exercise. You cant have a million dollar dream with a $5 dollar work ethic. Every morning I commit to making the day successful, profitable and GREAT! I remind my staff that, that’s our ONLY option.
Once someone asked me how did I land the Miami Heat account, and I explained that I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I knew I wanted that account, so I started off by calling the events department, then the sales department, I even bought season tickets to be able to network with the inside men, I never gave up and now I book 30 events a year with them. My favorite quote that I share with Heather is “Success if for rent and the rent is due daily”
If you want to own a successful business that helps you provide a great life for you and your family you have to act as if success is the ONLY option. I stopped stressing over hearing no, for every no I force myself to find a few more yes’s. Rejection and down days are inevitable in business, the difference between succeeding and failing is the ones that didn’t give up.
I am old school, I dont know how to use Photoshop and I still have an AOL account. I believe in good old fashion people networking and delivering on your word. If you do a good job at an event and show you care, they will recommend you a friend. If you make good on your word and deliver excellent results you will see a return on that effort. If I waited until I had all the tools, skills and money to make moves I would be out of business.. point blank if you want to grow your business stop thinking about why you cant and tell yourself my only choice is to make it happen!
Being a entrepreneur means you are the boss, but at the end of the day your clients rule your paycheck. As an entrepreneur you are in the business of people, which is why its so important to learn and accept advice from people like yourself. We are all a work in progress, and every day that you invest in yourself you are investing in building a more successful and profitable business.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, and I hope one of the entrepreneurs I shared inspired you. They aren’t just average joes, they beat all the stereotypes and operate successful businesses. You can get there, you just need a little help, we all do- and that’s why this blog and site is for you.
Happy Painting friends make today a success