Starting a business doesn’t always require you to shift to another field like retail or food. Art can make good money, too, if you play your cards right. However, you’ll need a lot of planning to develop your creativity into a profitable career.
If you have considerable artistic skills and want to turn that into a profession, read these tips to get started:
- Know Your Niche
While most artists can be flexible, some prefer to stick with one art form, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Often, mastery of one craft will give you an easier time planning your preferred income stream. Some typical income streams among artists include shirt embroidery and graphic design. Others take time off to create pieces and then attempt to sell all their artworks in one go.
Whichever route you decide, it’s best to focus on it first when you’re starting, especially if you have another job. Practice your craft and medium until you think it’s enough to build a foundation. Once you feel it’s safe to take a step forward, you can diversify your income streams and perform multiple artistic jobs for higher earnings.
- Understand Your Market
Like any business venture, knowing your target market is part of the planning process. The audience for artistic professions is diverse, so you must know who you’re catering to.
You might think art businesses are scarce, but once you dip into the pool, you’ll realize how much competition there is. Try to observe your audience and note how they move and look for in artworks. Also, try to find out how much your market is willing to spend. Doing this can help you price your work accordingly and keep up with a possible demand.
In the same vein, study the competition. You may notice that some artists price their work in specific ranges depending on the complexity of their art. Or you might find artists exhibiting and selling pieces in particular merchant portals online. A saturated market may hinder you from attracting customers. Hence, it’s wise to choose the appropriate playing field.
When you’ve built the foundation of your business, continue watching the market flow like a true entrepreneur. There will be changes in customers’ spending habits and some trends turning into fads. You’ll need to watch out for these to adapt to them.
- Focus On Your Financials
Many artists confess to not having enough mathematical skills. But if you’re an artist who wants to start a business, you must have some financial knowledge to survive.
While you’re still in the planning stage, list the items you need to invest in. Your list may include art supplies, studio rental, or printing equipment. Alongside that, indicate your daily and monthly personal expenses—from bills to groceries. You can create concrete goals on how much you need to spend and earn to eventually turn your little business into a permanent livelihood.
After that, you’ll need to find a way to pay for everything while you’re still taking off. It may come in the form of crowdfunding, savings, a part-time job, or an artist grant. Working on your financial plan will help set up a more thriving business.
- Think Like An Entrepreneur
If you want to maintain a business, you have to create professional accounts for your business. You’ll need to have the mindset of a budding entrepreneur for people to take your work seriously.
Start with a professional email. Make it short and sweet, and avoid special characters and numbers. If you have a brand name for your art business, use it for all your professional accounts as much as possible. Consistency will help customers remember your name and tie that to your products or services.
Market yourself too, so you people can see your work. One way to get your wares noticed is to build an online presence. Regularly post photos of your samples if you’re a commission-based artist. Moreover, you can invest in some paid online ads to reach a wider audience. Once your posts get hits and likes, take the initiative to communicate with potential customers. Answer queries as clearly and correctly as you can. And don’t forget to be nice—customer service is also part of being an entrepreneur.
- Track Everything
When you’ve got the basics ready, it won’t stop there. You’ll have inventory, exhibition schedules, customer contact info, and more to worry about. But all that won’t be a challenge if you have management software on hand.
However, some professional software can be expensive. As a novice entrepreneur, you can still work well with a free online spreadsheet, calendar, and cloud storage. These apps should sync on your laptop and your phone so you won’t miss an important deadline or customer email.
Keep a ledger, too, to track your expenses and profits. And don’t forget to update your portfolio from time to time. Your latest works and previous products may attract new clients for future projects.
From food photography to candle-making, art can be a viable profession if you put your back into it. If you have the will to get out of your comfort zone and learn a few more things, you can turn your passion into your livelihood.