April 25, 2022

Ep50 - Ann Tracy Talks About The Business Of Art

Ep50 - Ann Tracy Talks About The Business Of Art

In this episode Ann shares:
That she got in to radio news because of the numerous injuries that she had suffered as a modern dancer.
How she had to have a very regimented morning routine due to how early she got up in the morning to go to work.
She l...

In this episode Ann shares:

That she got in to radio news because of the numerous injuries that she had suffered as a modern dancer.


How she had to have a very regimented morning routine due to how early she got up in the morning to go to work.


She left working in the radio industry to become a PR consultant.


She started her own theatre company in Sacramento that focused on either world or Sacramento premieres.


That she had to augment her ticket sales with additional funding such as donations and foundation grants.


That working as a radio announcer helped her to be able to write good press releases and make editorial decisions in her business.


Theatre also taught her how to plan for future events by working backwards from the events deadline and setting up interim goals.


She is donating the proceeds from the sale of prints from "Flowers of Ukraine" to United Help Ukraine.


She advises not to quit your day job when pursuing your artistic endeavors as there is a very small percentage of artists that are financially successful from sales of their art alone.


Ann recommends reading Business and Marketing books with regards to being able to make sales in your craft.


That the Imposter syndrome seems to occur more in artists than in other professions.


That Bob the Cat is 21 years old!



Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss it or any other episodes.


Greg Mills: Our guest today is an artist who works in a variety of media, including digital art, photography, painting in caustics video and theater. She's a native new England or a grew up in the main towns of Freiburg in Cape kinetic before her family moved south to Massachusetts and then west Colorado in 1969.

Greg Mills: After decades of living in Colorado, Wisconsin, and California, she's now calling Rockport, Maine home with her husband and Bob, the cat. Her fine art has been exhibited from Japan to Mallory, to New York city, to Spain and Budapest without further ado and Tracy,

Greg Mills: and could you take a few moments and fill in the gaps from that intro and bring us up to speed with what's going on in your world today.

Ann Tracy: sure, Greg, it's a pleasure being here. I'd like to say that when I look back all of the experiences that I've had in the past, having cumulative to what I'm doing now. I started out kind of not knowing what I was going to do as a young person, which. Do I went to a community college where I was awarded a scholarship and was very interested in, I was doing modern dance and a little bit of theater at the time.

Ann Tracy: And I really fell in love with modern dance. However, as modern dancers can tell you, it's no way to make a living. And so, after doing that for a while and working the, you know, odd, office jobs that were available at the time for someone like me, in Colorado, I was having back problems. And so when you're a dancer and your back problems, you know, it's time to regroup and pivot to something new. And so I decided that I probably could do radio. Because I had a decent voice that, would sound good on radio. I thought. And I also thought about journalism as being just a particular style of writing and I've always been nosy.

Ann Tracy: So I've always asked people lots of questions. So it's turned out to be a beautiful segue for me. I went back to the community college that had gone to for, just general ed things and went to a specialized program. They had run by people in the industry and I was able to, this was a 1976 going into 77.

Ann Tracy: , I ended up meeting the guy who was the general manager of KTLK radio in Denver. And at that point in time, the national organization for women now. Had filed an injunction with the FCC because there were no women on the air in Denver. So the guys knew they had to hire some women. So I met this guy at a convention and we got along real well and he sent him a demo tape and he liked it.

Ann Tracy: And then I did an on air audition against another gal who was auditioning for the role who actually had worked at a PBS station in Boston. And so I thought, well, they'll be an interesting thing for me I'm originally from that area, it would be so ironic, but come to find out they like my, , vocal style and writing style, I guess, better.

Ann Tracy: And I ended up, doing that for a good 10, 11 years in the Denver market. And then we moved to Wisconsin where my husband is from. There for five years. And then we ended up moving out to Northern California. We both had wanted to move back to Colorado where he met each other, but there were no jobs for him there at the time.

Ann Tracy: And he was a plastic injection mold designer. And, , also designed big, die-cast dies for the automotive industry. And so he was able to get a job out in the San Jose area, which was where we first lived. And then we ended up going up to the Sacramento area when he decided that he wanted to become an independent contractor and he entrepreneurially started his own business.

Ann Tracy: And I was still working in radio. I thought, well, this is great. I can work in radio and help him set up his business. And then I can go back to school because I had been doing. To college a little bit at a time working full time. And I really want to focus and complete that BA in theater and communications.

Ann Tracy: So I did do that and, then worked in the radio market for a good 10 years. I always ended up working morning drive, which, is financially more lucrative, but you have to get up at three in the morning to do that kind of work. And I've always been a night owl. So after 10 years of having to do this crazy thing where I would have to sit close out, set an alarm clock, just hit the alarm clock, jump in the shower, jump in the clothes, grab the coffee.

Ann Tracy: As I went out the door, because if I try to stop at any point in time, I would start, fiddling around with things and lose track of time. So it was crazy. So that's when I became a PR consultant. And being a PR consultant, , gave me a lot more free time to do things in the evenings because, when I was doing my radio job, I hardly ever did anything in the evening.

Ann Tracy: I was in bed by seven o'clock. We had no social life and all of a sudden it was like, I'm working nine to five, like other people I can have a social life. That was lovely. But then I want to do theater again. And I was looking at the theater companies in Sacramento, the kinds of shows they were producing.

Ann Tracy: And it was all really old, boring stuff. They had been done 20 times before. So in my ignorance, which had I known what it would take to do this, I, don't not sure if I would have done it, but I had no clue. And I just decided I was going to start my own theater company and I did, and we did a new world.

Ann Tracy: And work that was, either a Sacramento premiere or a world premiere. And we did that for 15 years. And then what that did was it really opened up the theater community to doing new kinds of work. And also I was a big, non-traditional casting person. So I was constantly casting, people of color, African Americans, Asian Americans into roles that a lot of people would normally put white people in.

Ann Tracy: That didn't work for me because I thought that this is not the world we live in now. so I started doing that and that really helped expand opportunities for a lot of actors in the Sacramento area. And so when I saw all these changes coming. Around. And I saw some funding drying up for the theater company. Running theater companies is a hard job unless you have a lot of funding available.

Ann Tracy: Because your ticket sales will never really be more than 25 to 30% of your income. The rest of the income has to be donations and, state grants and foundation grants and that sort of thing. And I got tired of writing those grants really tired. And I want to focus in on my own, art, cause I had always been an artist, although.

Ann Tracy: I had an innate sense of, skills, which I think was highlighted and, heightened if you will, by being a theater director, because when you're dealing with design issues, theater, people have to think of it on a 3d level because you have bodies in space.

Ann Tracy: And what you're doing is you have to make sure the bodies are moving in space in something that makes sense for the character and what the character wants as well as highlighting the psychological drama. That's going into the scene. And that gave me a really good basis for going back to art, which I did when I ran a co-op gallery with, two of my friends in Sacramento for about three years.

Ann Tracy: And that was when my husband and I decided that we wanted to move back. I wanted to move back to new England. I playfully say that the clams of my childhood were calling me. It's a good tagline. I, came back and decided to really focus in on the art, part of my life rather than on the, theatrical side of my life.

Ann Tracy: And I think it was a good decision because, it gave me more time to myself. I had retired from, being a PR consultant and a photographer, but all the skills that. Had learned doing radio news, working as a PR consultant and working as an arts administrator that all set me up to become an artist slash entrepreneur, because that's what most artists are really.

Ann Tracy: If I were 30 years younger, I'd probably be having a day job. I'd be doing an addition to this, but now that I've retired from the world of consulting, I can, kind of set my own hours, which is nice. And it gives you a little more time to have a little more breadth , in being creative, having a little more acclaim around it.

Greg Mills: Let's back up just a little bit. Did you come from an entrepreneurial background at all? Did anybody in your family growing up? Have their own business?

Ann Tracy: Not really. My mom, had always worked for other people and, my dad was only around blind was nine. It's funny because he and his second family. Lived in here in Maine. And just a couple of few years ago, I, caught up with my brother from another mother. And he was telling me that later in life, dad did have some, entrepreneurial urges in which he, tried, but I guess he wasn't good on it with it, but that wasn't part of, my background growing up.

Ann Tracy: So it's kind of amazing that I just kind of up and decided to do this.

Greg Mills: Yeah, I would say, so what are some of the skills that have been applicable that you learned, as a radio announcer?

Ann Tracy: The skills I learned were how to write a good news release because you wouldn't believe some of the news releases I would get from PR agencies and ad agencies that I would write. Rip up and throw away, because they were being silly about things. And I'll never forget having guys from the radio ad sales department, come in and say, oh, look what my client is doing with this.

Ann Tracy: Make a nice news story. And me going, no, sorry. It won't. They can buy an ad if they wish. Why don't you sell them an ad to advertise

Ann Tracy: If it wasn't news, it's not news. Making those editorial decisions has helped me, be a better news writer if you will.

Ann Tracy: When you're doing an event, what I always did was actually ask the actors what panels they were from, because we're in Sacramento. And there were lots of panels in the suburban area. And I would send separate news releases out to the little papers, the little towns with the headline, A fulsome actor, Sarah Smith plays big role, a new play at, beyond the presidium productions.

Ann Tracy: nine times out of 10, they'd just run with the news release itself, because I had learned how to write, how to make sure that those five W's were all in the first paragraph and not very that lead. I think that's a really important thing for entrepreneurs to think about is maybe taking a journalism class at a community college, or if they're thinking about maybe going into the biz and they know they're not going to be able to hire someone to do PR for them is to do it themselves, but to be smart about it, because the PR, atmosphere now has changed so much.

Ann Tracy: There are fewer and fewer of those small little papers out. That are willing to print that kind of stuff. The social media world we live in now, it's so hard to figure out if the stuff you put out there is really being seen or not. I think that is probably the most difficult thing is to figure out which platforms are your best.

Ann Tracy: As far as social media goes, are the best bang for your buck as far as doing PR on. And I mostly did only PR for my clients because a lot were non-profit groups in a small businesses. They didn't have very much of an ad budget, so we tried to do as much as we could PR well, to get some notice on the different, programs and, ideas that they were trying to float, then buying an ad.

Ann Tracy: It was far more cost-effective, but you know, thinking about PR is you could have everything all set up, be almost certain you're going to get that front page article. But if there is a big, big three alarm fire that happens that day, you're not going to make it,

Greg Mills: Was one of my other guests said if it bleeds, it leads.

Ann Tracy: if it bleeds, it leads. Oh, yes. It's really true. As far as a TV news goes, the TV news is hard to crack.

Greg Mills: Actually he was from a TV background that was traveling Robert.

Ann Tracy: Yeah. So that would make sense then he with have that attitude about it, for sure. I guess the most important skills I learned were organizational skills. How to back time events. If you're doing an event in August, you need to start planning for that event in January. It showed me the importance of doing that because when I was, running the theory company, I had to by January, say, oh, 2006, we had to have our ducks in a row for what were you going to do from the 2006, 2007 year coming up.

Ann Tracy: There was a lot of advanced planning you had to do. And you also had to do that with writing grants. You had to make sure that you, had enough time, between when the grant was due and when your project was going to happen and you could get the right kind of documentation, because most grants, you have to quantify how that money was used and what, it produced what you thought it would produce.

Greg Mills: Now that brings up an interesting question. What percentage of your time do you spend, and I hate to say this, but I'll say it doing art because you could either be doing photography, digital media, acrylics, and what percent is either advertising or administrative.

Ann Tracy: Yeah, that's, that's always the burn. I mean, think every entrepreneur or freelancer probably spends, I would say half their time dealing with admin PR and marketing issues and then probably 50% of the time on their work work. And I think that that was probably pretty true in the world of theater and I'm with the years that I've been doing this as an artist, as a fine artist, I would say it's about the same.

Ann Tracy: You end up spending about half your time and you have to realize that, you know it, unless you have some people who can help you with it, that if. Doing it by yourself. Now this is where the interns come in. Oh. To find a PR intern to help me out. That would be one of mine, next things that I need to do, because I find myself I'm getting lazy about social media marketing, every day it's going to be something new.

Ann Tracy: It seems,

Greg Mills: You've probably could do that on LinkedIn Tracy now looking for a social media NS or,

Ann Tracy: that's what I actually should do is do them on LinkedIn. But that will have to happen after I unpack all the boxes here at the studio, I just moved into a new studio space that was just finished. It's high over the garage of our house in Rockport, but it's really the biggest space I've ever had.

Ann Tracy: And I can't believe how I jammed all this stuff into the smaller places I had. I guess it's knowing how to pile things up effectively.

Greg Mills: yeah, you've got a really nice wide open space.

Ann Tracy: Oh, I do. I so love it. I get lots of great Northlight.

Greg Mills: So what's a typical day, like for you.

Ann Tracy: Oh, a typical day for me is I'll get up and, do my physical therapy exercises . I fractured my humerus bone and it certainly is funny, um, in the January.

Ann Tracy: And now I am in the really painful part of the PT stuff. So I'll get up. I'll look at my phone to look at my calendar again, to see if I have any early morning appointments or anything, and then do my PT. Then I'll have some breakfast and then one run to the studio. In the past. I've just first started out in the computer and, um, looked at okay.

Ann Tracy: The calendar stuff. What's upcoming. What things do I need to prepare for the coming week? I've started trying to do this now with this new space is when I first come in, I'll kind of look around, check my phone, to see what's on the calendar. And then, sit down and write three pages.

Ann Tracy: It's a way to clear things for yourself and also to set intention for the day. Cause I've been really lazy about that. And I think doing that will help me be a lot more productive.

Ann Tracy: Then I'll go back to the house and have some lunch. And, and then a lot of times I'll have afternoon appointments. I have to get to, I tell you, this PT business is taking more time out of my day that I really like,

Greg Mills: I can imagine.

Greg Mills: At what point are you doing your craft, your art, and then what point are you doing administrative stuff?

Ann Tracy: What I like to do with that is kind of break up the administrative tasks. So it doesn't feel like I'm chained to my computer in the desk. So I'll, I'll try and, make a hierarchy of needs if you will, take something from Maslow, and figure out what I need to be doing now, and then work on some pieces and then give them a rest because there are a lot of times you get to a point with a piece you're going, boy, I know I need it needs something else, but I have no idea what it is yet.

Ann Tracy: So you put it away. And I have artists, friends who have done that. Who've put pieces away for years. And I totally understand that because I have a tendency not to really realize what have the. The highest meanings of some of the pieces I've worked on until it was a couple of months later. And I look at it and go, oh my gosh.

Ann Tracy: Now I get why I did that. It was a culmination of these other experiences. And I was reacting to this experience in the real world.

Greg Mills: Okay, let's talk about, a piece that you've recently done. I believe it's flowers for Ukraine.

Ann Tracy: Yes. Let me, let me show you, I did this lovely print and it was kind of an interesting story, a hero you're seeing that. This is why was free Cray 50% of the proceeds from this print are going to, United help Ukraine, which is a nonprofit organization that helps with, medical and food issues and a lot of other programming and the people in the Ukraine really need our help now.

Ann Tracy: As a matter of fact, I was also invited to, um, donate a print to a big art sale that is coming up the end of the month at the coastal land trust in Durham, a SCADA. And, um, I'll be blogging about it. Um, Within the next couple of, within the next week, probably, um, to let people know what's going on. And, um, if anyone's interested in buying a print, the prints only $20.

Greg Mills: , the flower street Ukraine was a digital art piece, correct?

Ann Tracy: is. And there is a story behind it. This a friend of mine and she's a Facebook friend. We've never met face to face, but we've been Facebook friends for years and, she's actually purchased a few pieces of my art. She sent me some flowers, some photographs of sunflowers.

Ann Tracy: She took this past summer and it's been sitting that those photos have been sitting in my inbox. I keep thinking, what am I going to do with them? And then when the viral monster sent his shock troops into Ukraine, I realized what I was going to do. I use those photos.

Ann Tracy: She had sent me small, JPEGs and I wanted a better quality. So I had to, upcycle them in the special algorithmic, software. And then I saw some photos of the, in key. There is this wonderful. Victory statue for when they first won their freedom, that stands in the middle of town I cannot remember the name of it to save my life. But if you looked up victory statue Kieve, you would find the history of it. And if people wanted to go to my blog, which is Anne tracy.blogspot.com, um, they will be able to, find somebody information on it as well. Cause I kinda tailed how I decided to make this.

Ann Tracy: I felt so frustrated, but, this art project was a way for me to put that energy into it and to be able to offer it in service to the people of Ukraine. I got a lovely little email back from the folks that United help Ukraine that said, thank you so much for thinking of the people here and it's yeah, we have to, we're all human beings on the same planet.

Ann Tracy: And until we begin to realize this we're going to be in a world of hurt.

Greg Mills: Now how are customers finding you.

Ann Tracy: That's the hard thing about this being an entrepreneur business. They are finding me from me going out into the community and doing art shows basically. And also, , from my efforts at social media and getting the word out on different things that I'm doing, I think every time you make contact with someone and you're able to talk about either your art or the service you provide or whatever it is, it could set something up down the road. Finding customers is a really difficult because when you're selling something that is so subjective, like fine art.

Ann Tracy: I mean, there are a lot of people who really love that print. That surprised me. I didn't think they liked things that were that abstract, of my cousin-in-law as a matter of fact, um, and bless her heart, she sent me 80 more dollars than she needed to. So now we can donate that $80 to United health Ukraine, which I, I think you, Karen McKenzie, I had to think about her married last name.

Greg Mills: Thank you, Karen.

Ann Tracy: Yeah, Farrah near the messy.

Greg Mills: what online platforms really kind of move the needle for.

Ann Tracy: Oh man. That's hard. Cause it it's all been so kind of gradual over the years that it's hard to pinpoint one particular event or show or thing that I did, but I think one of the best things I do. Was to join several, groups of artists. I'm a member of a gallery down in Portland that the, , union of main visual artists runs.

Ann Tracy: And I'm also associated with a group up here in Knox county with a group of artists that are here. And then there's also another group of artists that, I joined with in Freeport. but many of these galleries, you have to be able to, volunteer to gallery sit because that's how they're holding administrative costs down and you're able to offer your art for, not an astronomical price, but a price that people could afford to pay.

Ann Tracy: I think that's important too. Make sure you're out there in the community. And I think doing those three things has helped with, what I've been doing. We had a situation last January where the guy who was originally, set up to do a show at the gallery had to back out, and ironically three months later, not, it was sadly three months later, he ended up passing.

Ann Tracy: So I think we're eventually going to do his show without him here. And I said, well, what, um, one of the guys who was instrumental in forming the union main visual artists in the seventies, Carl was a, male artists.

Ann Tracy: He did male art as well as doing other, genres and male art is basically take a postcard. You make some art, you mail it to someone.

Greg Mills: Oh, okay. I thought this was going a completely different direction.

Ann Tracy: Male art is something that artists have done to get their work out of the gallery system. And just to share it, I often think that postal employees have got to get a great kick out of. Some of the wacky things. I know when the pandemic hit one of the ways for me to jumpstart my creativity again, because I was really in a bad place, was to start doing meal art and just doing really wild wacky things.

Ann Tracy: That really helped feed my creativity. And then I was able to start doing work on more serious pieces, but I suggested to them, I said, why don't we do a mail art show and have it open to anyone? And people will send us their mail art, and then we'll do a next December. We'll do a special, fundraising auction of these pieces.

Ann Tracy: So they'll help to support and sustain the gallery. That next, let this past December, it wasn't to everyone. That's when that next wave kind of hits. With COVID up here in Maine and it, there was no way we were going to do it as a matter of fact, the show that was up at that point in time was a virtual show.

Ann Tracy: So we did it as a, um, we use, we use those pieces to do a virtual online, uh, auction

Greg Mills: If somebody has talent and knows how to create their own art what's their next steps kind of

Ann Tracy: Yeah. Oh, well, as they say, you should never quit your day job right away.

Greg Mills: bingo.

Ann Tracy: Keep that day job because, visual artists are very similar to, actors, , be they, equity stage actors or, , sag movie actors. , I've done a lot of commercial work in my day and never, a union for various reasons, but, , it really amazes me.

Ann Tracy: That only 10% of the people who are already in it. It's a, it's a rough climb to get into one of these unions when you get into the sag and the after unions for acting, only 10% of the people who are in those unions make their entire living from their craft. So that means there's 90% of people who have already attained this level of professionalism that still can not still have to have a day job.

Ann Tracy: So I think we need to remember that it's no bad thing to have a day job, most artists and actors and creative professionals do. There are a lot of people who think that if they could just find a way to use, use their energy and to become a graphic designer, say they're artists, but they want to do something in the arts to make money.

Ann Tracy: They could become a graphic designer. Well, those jobs are few and far between in this day. So I would say if probably one of the best things someone can do, if they're, they're willing to do that, is there are, there are some good books out there on, I think they should read entrepreneurial how to start business books, because that's basically what you're, , being an artist it's, if you're interested in selling your work.

Ann Tracy: There are some things that you, you need in life, but other things , people don't think you do need.

Ann Tracy: And it's funny because I think having nice art in your house can really give you a sense of your own self in place. And it helps show people who you are, you know, by what you have in your walls, I would have people, read some books. There is a very good book by, uh, art critic by the name of Jerry salts, S a L T S.

Ann Tracy: You can thank me for this later, Jerry, , who has written a book about how to become an artist and it's funny and it's true. He has a great sense of, , whimsy, if you will, and knowing the art world as well as he does. And he's a guy who spent was an artist and then didn't make it to the big time and threw that out.

Ann Tracy: The window became a truck driver for 20 years. And then he started writing, I think, for the village voice at first, just doing a little art reviews and, he's a good writer. He really is. But his book is, is great about that. But another thing they could do too, is I think taking a marketing class at your community college, It would be a really wise thing to do.

Ann Tracy: I know a lot of artists just don't want to have to do that. And it's, that's fine if you don't want to sell your work, but if you want to share your work with people, then I really think it behooves you to have some background in it.

Ann Tracy: You'll also be in a situation where you'll meet some people and who knows, you might be able to meet someone who will trade their PR services for some of your artwork, because that's another thing to do.

Ann Tracy: A lot of my personal art collection have developed by trading my pieces with other artists that I know and love. I'm always willing to trade for stuff, and I think a lot of entrepreneurs are, if you can give someone a, a beautiful painting that they love and ask them to please give you, you know, 30 hours worth of.

Ann Tracy: , time for whatever you need to be done. I think that's definitely a fair deal.

Greg Mills: okay. Now what surprised you the most about being an artist and an entrepreneur?

Ann Tracy: Ah, what surprised me the most, then I'd still be doing it. A lot of times there's something about being an artist that would I look back first, I was a modern dancer. Then I was doing theater and then I had that hiatus doing radio work. And, but then went back to the theater stuff. And I think that, um, what has surprised me the most was the joy that I still find in making beautiful things to share with people.

Ann Tracy: I really love that part of it. I really love. And I love going to art shows and talking to people as you can see, I'm kind of a blabber mouth, so I can talk a good long while improvisational talking.

Greg Mills: What's been The most difficult part of being in an artist and an entrepreneur.

Ann Tracy: The most difficult part is thinking you're not good enough. You're not creative enough. You've lost your edge somehow. I think we all, I think the society we live in. More of an emphasis on money in our culture, then it doesn't art. And a lot of times when you, you're trying your best to get word out about things and, and you're not making the sales, you think you should make at these shows, you're going to, a lot of it is, can be very discouraging.

Ann Tracy: It's very, it's the same way as, as actors have to. I, I keep going back to the acting thing because that's really my other area of expertise. It's like getting knocked down for so many roles. It's like, Nope, Nope. We don't. You audition for something you think you're doing great. And then you don't get called back for the part it's selling artwork is kind of like that too.

Ann Tracy: It's like, you like it, you like, look, Hey, you want. No, you don't like it that much. You don't want it that high. I'll just be moving along here. Yeah, it's it's that self-confidence thing I think happens too. And the imposter syndrome, I think is maybe a little higher in artists of whatever genre they may be working on, than it is for, other people.

Ann Tracy: We have to keep reminding ourselves that we do know what we're doing and if we're listing to her instincts. And that's another thing listening to your intuition is really important, too

Ann Tracy: Yeah. And I think it's keeping your confidence. Um, and just getting yourself, um, rev to get out there every day. And, um, one of the things that's probably go back to your other question there. One of the things that really has surprised me too, is that, um, I I'm so driven to do this work. It's like, there's, there's this force it's kind of going, yeah, you have to do this.

Ann Tracy: Yes. You have to do this. And I'm not quite sure how to analyze that or, or even if I need to analyze it.

Greg Mills: I don't think you need to, as long as it's not a problem for you or your family

Ann Tracy: Exactly. We had Bob the K yes, my husband and Bob, the cat NY. That's our small family now. my husband, um, is also, after having been an entrepreneur. Mold designer for many years, he, um, is gone back to his first love of music and he's playing in two different, bands, which, uh, what the other difficult thing about being an entrepreneur is having the time to do it, taking the time away from your family.

Ann Tracy: Sometimes when you have a big project, you've just got to get done. And I'm sorry. No, no. I have to stay here and do this. Um, I think for me, it's been good that my husband has had a creative outlet because he's going to band practice these different bands he's playing with, uh, twice a week. So it means, oh, good.

Ann Tracy: I get to spend longer hours in the studio. Yeah. I think that's a real difficulty is I think whether You're an artist or, you're a CPA with your own business. I still think, taking the time away from family matters can be really hard.

Greg Mills: I could see that now let's get ready to wrap this up.

Greg Mills: Is there a piece of software or app that you find indispensable in your business?

Ann Tracy: oh, Photoshop.

Ann Tracy: I'm beginning to think that Photoshop is a Zen practice because I don't think you really ever learn the whole program. There are so many different things you can do with it. And the way I use it is probably totally different from the way other digital artists or photographers use it.

Ann Tracy: I know that I don't like certain programs. , I'm not a fan of light box. I'd much rather do my processing of my photos in Photoshop and Lightbox, because I don't like this. This sounds so funny. I don't like the way they have set up this way of putting your files in different places. It's like, I want to know that I'm going to put the file in the file that I put it in because I have a tendency to set up files for the different jobs I'm shooting.

Ann Tracy: So if I'm shooting headshots for a group, I'm going to just have a file right there and I'll make up other files. So I can do some batch processing in Photoshop, like to get all the, raw files, down to JPEG cells. A lot of times I'll use a batch process for that, but I also grew up with, uh, PC.

Ann Tracy: We used to have to type it. This is way before the windows interface, when we were typing in dos code to get the programs. And, I think knowing that made me set up my own ways of doing things that, after this point in my life, I am loathed to give up now.

Ann Tracy: I had to learn a new, video program three months ago. So I can do this little video for my husband's 71st birthday. And, , it was so frustrating cause it's like, okay, , I can learn how to do this. I can learn, but what I'd like about it, it wasn't as, dictatorial, if you will, as some of these other programs, it's called Wondershare and I found it very similar to I hadn't been using premier pro and it was similar enough to premiere pro.

Ann Tracy: That I was able to not have to do too many tutorials to be able to do this very simple video. It was a 10 minute video. I had people using their phones and making videos, wishing him a happy birthday. And I found some, his brother was really a big help to me, sending me family photos and that sort of thing.

Ann Tracy: It's a good piece of software. Wondershare um, there is another piece of software that, uh, and I use the Photoshop, not only for doing my digital work and photography, but when I do paintings, I have to be able to photograph them and have digital pieces that are high resolution.

Ann Tracy: If I'm doing some shows and I want to send out that file to a media outlet, if they're a print outlet, then hopes that they will use it. Um, and so having some skillsets. To know how to photograph your own work is really important. And to be able to know the difference between, um, the high resolution and the low resolution and what you need each for is really important.

Ann Tracy: Our phones are getting so cool with their cameras in them that you can almost shoot it with your phone, but then there's some work that you have to do within some kind of a software program in order to get the photo looking the way it should be looking. , the one program, I think that's the most important for me has been Photoshop.

Ann Tracy: The other one that's been important. Um, Has been well, the Wondershare, that was just for a personal project though, but I think probably Photoshop. And that would be probably the, that end. You know what else is really important though? You have to have a good word processor, because if you're going to write news releases, you want to have something that will catch your grammar, mistakes, your spelling, mistakes.

Ann Tracy: Cause you don't want to look messy. Things sent out to media means that you're not setting up a good relationship with media and that's what you want to do. You want to set up a good relationship. So when you have a story that makes sense, the media will go with it because they've learned to trust you.

Ann Tracy: They know that you're not going to try and horn Schwab alum into trying to run a non-story as a news item. And that's why you have to be, you have to think to yourself. Okay. So. Now my, um, project to do the prince to raise money for Ukraine that had a great hook to it because it was, here's an artist doing something to help people who are living through this horde war over there.

Ann Tracy: And that was the hook to it. But if I had just decided that I was just going to make this image and not do anything with it, it's like I had to be able to do the, 50% donation to make it a decent news story. That actually brings me to another point where as an artist, it's always good to try and, work with other nonprofits to help them.

Ann Tracy: I am now at the point where I don't like to, that I am going to donate a hundred percent of the. From that the sale of that print to this other group that is raising money for Ukraine. But generally I will only donate work to nonprofits if they will agree to give at least 50% back of whatever they can auction the piece off for, to the artist and have the other 50% go to the, um, nonprofit group because artists need to be paid.

Ann Tracy: And I think that's something that we need to talk about more in our program. It's funny because musicians have no problem asking for money, but it seems like actors and artists and visual artists seem to have a harder time. If photographers don't seem to have a problem asking for money for their work, but there is some of us who are going well, I don't know, is it worth that much to someone else?

Ann Tracy: You have to remind yourself of it, but I only will donate to art auctions that will share some of the proceeds with the artist is I think that's the fair thing to do

Greg Mills: I would agree with that.

Ann Tracy: is artists get asked all the time for work.

Greg Mills: Now what's the best way for somebody to contact you or check you out.

Ann Tracy: The best way to contact me would be to email me at a N N T R a C Y. And then the number is five one and Tracy fifty1@gmail.com. And from there I can send them links to my blog site and my sales sites right now. Just have a blog in two sales sites. I have a sales site at fine art America, and also want an Etsy.

Greg Mills: Tracy.

Ann Tracy: and Tracy fine.

Greg Mills: Okay.

Ann Tracy: Nancy. and that's most of my work that I have physically in the studio, a lot of the work, on the fine art America site is, digital uploads that you can have, canvases printed on.

Ann Tracy: You can have tote bags, you can, they do all these product things. It's like, wow, you can get a phone case with my art on it. Maybe I should do that. The best way for them to do it is just to contact me and then I will point them in directions that they should go,

Greg Mills: Lastly, what's the number one piece of advice that you can give for our listeners.

Ann Tracy: oh, be kind to each other and realize that, None of us knows what other people are going through and someone's life could look picture perfect. And you wouldn't necessarily know what they're having a hard time dealing with, who knows what kind of issues. So I think that the best advice I can give anyone is to be kind to each other and realize that, we need to treat each other the way we'd like to be treated.

Greg Mills: Okay. That's good advice. Well, I am. That's a wrap. Thank you for being a guest on entrepreneurs over 40.

Ann Tracy: I'm so pleased to have been a guest where you, Greg, it was a wonderful experience.