Tim Holtz – business genius

Me and the amazing Tim Holtz

Guess who got to do a class with Tim Holtz?  That would be me!

The class was amazing, of course.  But, you know my business brain kicked in too.  I was fascinated with how the class was set up, how Tim did his teaching, his branding and styling for the class and listening in to what other people were saying about Tim and his products.  I did an art class and business research all at the same time.  Nothing like a bit of multi tasking, hey?

When he was talking about his products, he mentioned that it took 2 years to develop the Distress Markers!  Another product took a year and a half.  I suddenly didn’t feel so bad about having to start over with my designer after 6 months.  It was an inspiration to hear the thoughts behind the products, how he makes them co-ordinate with other products in the range and how detailed the development phase of the products is.  So interesting to see the master in action and to get a peek behind the scenes with the business side of what he does.

Some of my favourite business ideas I learned from Tim Holtz…

The more you give, the more you get back.  Tim encouraged people to share and teach what they were learning in the class.  He told us we could take lots of photos and  share them on Twitter and Facebook.  He gave away very generous prizes at the end of the class and everyone received a limited edition tote bag that he only gives away at classes.   He doesn’t feel like he has to protect his work.  He comes from the side of generosity, not from scarcity or lack.  This is a big mindset thing.   People like Danielle LaPorte encourage this too.  To give without expecting anything in return.  And the more I am on this creative business adventure, the more I see this is how I want to run my business too.  I see what a gift it can be for others and how that kindness comes back to you in many different, unexpected and humbling ways.  How kindness given is kindness returned.

Branding doesn’t have to be icky.  Despite designing for a few different companies and across a wide range of products, everything feels very Tim.  But it feels natural, not forced or manipulative. His class notes had the Tim font, all his projects and products have a consistent style.   People can’t put their finger on what it is, they just say the look and feel is very Tim.  He has an amazing personal brand.

Even the masters have to work their butt off.  Tim makes it sound like so much fun and makes it look so easy.  But he is a duck on the pond like everyone else.  Cruising on the surface but with his feet going like crazy under the water.  He is constantly traveling to teach, blogging, developing new products, writing books and making videos.  But when you see him in action he is cool as a cucumber.  It just flows.  Nothing seems to faze him.  But when he talks about all the things he does, you realize just how busy he is, how hard he is working and how detailed it is behind the scenes.

I was so grateful to get to do another class with him – both from an art perspective and this time from a business perspective as well.

I remember when Tim launched his first product.

Just two inkpads and they were both black.

To see where he is now is a huge inspiration to me.  I often remind myself where Tim started to give myself a courage boost.  To remind myself that Tim started from small and humble beginnings.  That I don’t have to start with an empire.  That just having the courage to start can build momentum.  That your business can grow and transform beyond what you could have imagined when you started.  I often think of this when things get tough or don’t go to plan.

I would love to know who your art business inspirations are…

♥ Coral.

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