In 2016, we’re continuing to share a different story every couple of weeks of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out last week’s with Nate Nordstrom).
If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why.
Today, we’re lucky enough to catch up with QuHarrison Terry, a DYFR and DYFC alum and former student success story. He also brought his buddy and business partner, Ryan Cowdrey along for the ride.
Hi QuHarrison and Ryan! Tell us about yourselves; who are you and what do you for fun?
23VIVI is a team of two, QuHarrison Terry and Ryan Cowdrey, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. We started up a solid freelancing career — promoting artists — revolving around Brennan’s freelancing tutorials back in early 2015.
From there, we decided to take our careers one step further and start a company known as 23VIVI, an online marketplace for rare and limited edition digital art. (Ryan will explain exactly what digital art is later.)
We are a formidable team that has done many entrepreneurial ventures; from advertising, to dressing up as the Startup Rangers — a duo of Red Power Rangers that promotes startup companies. We have both taken a leave of absence to pursue this opportunity, because we feel the timing is right for us in the art realm.
For fun, we love to check out cool digital art, go laser-tagging and attend Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3.
What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?
I think that we can both agree that freelancing was meant for us from day one. We both have grown small ventures on our own time and know how to grow a business.
If you are an artist, you essentially are a freelancer, because unless you work for Disney (or some other big company), you work completely on your own time. So when we got into freelancing, we geared our services to growing the brands of artists, because we saw a need for a mechanism to help build an artist’s following.
“We both hold Instagram accounts with followings in the 20k range and can essentially make an artist popular with a few clicks.”
Not only do we market for these artists, but we also have created a marketplace platform for these artists to monetize their new found followings. This has been everything we’ve expected to the “T,” and has been extremely fruitful for us.
Tell us about your hardest moment as an entrepreneur to date.
The hardest moment for us was realizing that we were two art enthusiasts that had an online presence in the art game, but not necessarily a physical presence.
This didn’t really deter us from pursuing our art marketplace strategy though, because we kept our sights on genuinely wanting to help artists grow their freelancing careers.
On the flip side, what’s been your biggest success so far?
Our biggest success so far has been establishing the 23VIVI Aesthetic, known as VIVI VIBES.
We’ve spent enough time in the digital art game to understand the trends, and ultimately the “art movement” happening in digital art. Drawing from its roots in glitch art, a new form of digital art is emerging that has a strong focus on textures, colors and physical presence.
Within the digital medium, artists are creating abstract works with familiar textures, vibrant and contrasting colors and 3D feelings. These works essentially come out as abstract sculptures that transcend the digital medium and bring these “virtual artworks” to life in the physical world.
Artists are now very aware of VIVI VIBES and are seeking our guidance in promoting and selling their brand.
What were you struggling the most with when you ran into Brennan’s material?
I think we were really struggling with market validation, because there were very few competitors in the digital art space.
We knew that we could grow an artist’s following, but digital art as a commodity for sale is a very nascent idea that we were struggling to understand if we had a viable niche in selling digital art.
What are some specific strategies, tactics or pieces of advice that helped you grow?
We really have taken Brennan’s advice to heart on owning your brand.
There was definitely hesitation on our side in the beginning — questioning if we could really make waves in the art industry. But ultimately we used his advice on owning what we had already created and selling artists on what the future of 23VIVI holds.
What are you most excited about for your business in 2016?
We are obviously very excited to see our sales numbers, because that directly translates into succeeding as “freelance” artists.
But more than anything we are excited to see what lane digital art will take next. What is the next art movement within digital art that will transcend the medium and bring digital artwork to life?
To learn more, check out QuHarrison and Ryan’s company, 23VIVI.