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How to Create a Successful Business from your Art
If you believe you have what it takes to make it as a successful artist, what next?
Many of us would like to work in a creative industry where we can spend our days doing something we love, and earning a good living from it. When you put it this way, Making the decision is often the hardest step – it requires careful consideration, probably some degree of soul-searching, and most importantly, a belief in your ability to stand out from the crowd – a belief that you have something special to add to your chosen artistic discipline.
Working for yourself is perhaps the most exciting career path to take, but relying on your own output as the product is something else entirely. You are going to need to understand business and marketing as well as your craft. This is why people will often say that while not all entrepreneurs are artists, all artists are entrepreneurs.
Understanding the Road Ahead
Having that belief in your abilities – the belief in yourself, that you can do this – is an essential first step when going into business on your own. If you are struggling with this, consider your work objectively in comparison to others who are already successful – do you truly believe you can do better? If not, why not wait a year and see how your skills develop?
On the other hand, if you do believe you can do better, don’t make excuses to stop yourself from making the jump to going professional. It’s easy to let fears of failure, of taking risks, and of the unknown put an early stop to your artistic ambitions.
Getting your new professional artist business off the ground won’t happen overnight. Like any new business, it will take time to establish yourself in the marketplace. If you have already been selling your art, perhaps as a supplement to your regular income, then you will have a head-start here.
If not, you will need to find an outlet through which to sell your art – your product – to the people who wish to buy it – whether that be collectors or just everyday people looking for something to decorate their homes with.
Creating a business plan will help with this. Search on google for business plans specifically for creative professionals and artists and you will find plenty of examples that will help you identify the main areas you need to focus on.
What Should Appear on Your Business Plan?
Business plans have a habit of being presented quite formally, unsurprising given that these are the primary documents often used to acquire loans from banks and other investors. Perhaps this is something you will need to do yourself in the future, so it makes sense to keep your business plan up to date and professional.
Businesses will often speak of having a ‘mission’, and you should have one too, however obvious or simplistic it may be. This will help you to define success within your business and identify your long and short-term goals – along with, more importantly, how you believe you can achieve them.
Creating an Artist Statement
A second document you will need to create is your artist statement. This can be much less formal, but should include five key points:
You’ll often be asked to provide an artist statement when applying for a stand at trade shows and art fairs. It is also something that larger collectors will want to read before considering purchasing from you, too.
Identifying Your Target Market
Who is most likely to buy your particular type of artwork? Where does your ideal customer look for their art? Answering questions such as these will help you to identify a marketing and promotional strategy, and hopefully, begin the process of acquiring your first few sales.
If you struggle with this, searching for the work of artists you admire such as “Yoel Benharrouche art for sale” will help you identify where artists producing similar styles to your own are selling their works.
Pricing your work realistically, but without undervaluing it, is a fine line to walk. If you are unsure, perhaps exercise caution in the early days. If you sell a lot of pieces quickly, you’ll know that your price is fair and realistic and can gradually begin to increase it later. This is much easier than recovering from the damage that overpricing your artwork can do at the very beginning.
Setting up your own website is easier today than ever before, so there is no excuse for not having this in place at an early stage.
The web is also the quickest way to reach the largest number of customers and gives you an easy way to divide your work into separate collections, with different price bands for each.
We’ve only really touched on the basics in this article; there are many more steps to take in establishing yourself as a professional artist.
One important step we haven’t mentioned is to be sure you follow all of the legal requirements in your country before you begin selling your work – do you need a business license? What taxes are you required to pay? Should you arrange a business bank account to keep your finances separate?
The main thing is that you have started your journey now – you have all the time in the world to build upon those foundations.
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DISCLAIMER: We hope whatever you find on this site is helpful, but be cautioned that it may not apply to your own situation, or be totally current at any given time. Idea Cafe Inc. and all of its current and past experts, sponsors, advertisers, agents, contractors and advisors disclaim all warranties with regard to anything found anywhere on this family of websites, quoted from, or sent from Idea Cafe. and its related sites, publications and companies. We also take no responsibility for comments published by others on these pages.
TRADEMARKS: The following are Registered Trademarks or Servicemarks of DevStart, Inc.: Idea Cafe®, Online Coffee Break®, The Small Business Gathering Place®, Take out Info®, Biz Bar & Grill®, Complaint-O-Meter®, A Fun Approach to Serious Business, CyberSchmooz, and BizCafe.