Elizabeth Radshaw visited the IMA building last Thursday. PHOTO: ALEXA HUFFMAN

Financing creativity 101

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By Alexa Huffman

Image arts students got a dose of practicality last Thursday as Elizabeth Radshaw shared advice on how to run a business.

The Ryerson Dean’s Lecture Series hosted the Hot Docs forum and market director in the Image Arts Building. Radshaw spoke about how artists can become successful entrepreneurs.

“I think as individuals we are sort of anxious about getting out into the art world,” said Radshaw. “It’s surprising how easy it is to start a business.”

She started the evening with a laugh, telling the audience, which ranged from visual artists to designers and writers, not to end up like Morgan Spurlock, the creator of the popular film, Super Size Me. She suggested they look up to leaders like Louis C.K., who leads a different type of consumer movement.

“Both entrepreneurs and artists are the same thing. They are making and selling work that is personally and emotionally important to them,” Radshaw said.

In order to give tools to inspire students, Radshaw outlined 10 steps to starting your own business as well as apps and websites that can help artists flourish as entrepreneurs in the industry.

One of these included Doc Ignite, a crowd-funding website in which Canadian documentarians can get their pitches featured on the site and users can pledge money to support the filmmakers. Another tool mentioned by Radshaw is the Government of Ontario site, which offers all the steps to setting up a small business.

Radshaw says it is as simple as opening a business account, getting a business number, getting a domain name and lastly getting some business cards printed out.

“The minute you do it, it’s an incredible, liberating feeling,” said Radshaw.

After that, it’s all about marketing your product’s uniqueness.

Radshaw ended the night with what she thinks are the most important words to remember when trying to finance in a creative world.

“I really believe that you can find something you love doing,” she said, “so why not do it for a living?”

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