So you’re a creative person. You plan to turn your artistic capabilities into a flourishing business. Whether you doodle, sketch, paint, design, or sell photography, there is a vast art market. The United States of America alone employed 3.48 million people in arts-related business in 2017.
Before you take the plunge, remember that this is a challenging and competitive space. Not for the weak-hearted. Because relying on the huge market alone for the arts cannot promise you a rewarding career. So here are some basic steps to follow, something like an outline to help you make the shift from hobby to business.
Step 1: Build a Mindset and Identify a Niche
It’s essential to frame your mind to make the business work. A resilient mindset helps you push through creative blocks and uninspiring days.
Another part of your business initiation is to identify your niche. What is it that you are going to focus on? For some, it could be to sell sketches or designs. For others, it could be to sell photographs. Whatever your creative pursuit, select a specific style and stick to it for consistency and branding.
Step 2: Know your Audience
As with any other business, it is essential to understand your customers and their interests. Research their behavior and seek them when they are more inclined to buy from you.
- Who are these people? Are they students, professionals, interior designers, or homemakers?
- Where do they generally purchase art? What is their spending capacity?
- What do they look for in the designs?
- Is there something familiar between you and the buyer?
- How can you reach them?
Step 3: Identify Work Location and Register Your Business
So now you have identified your niche, created a mindset to deliver, and studied your audience. What next? Find a work location. Will you work out of your kitchen table or from a rented studio space? If you are in a creative hub, scout for collaborative art spaces or studios.
Your workspace is now sorted. For the next step, you need to understand local laws and figure out business permits. Finally, invest time in the documentation for taxation departments and legal clearance. Always better to be safe than sorry.
Step 4: Price your Art
You have the business infrastructure, and you are all set. But the first challenge that often worries new business owners is the pricing. You need not shy away from quoting the real price. If a prospective client buys what you sell, then give yourself credit because it is worth that much. Do market research and price reasonably.
Last, you do not owe an explanation for your pricing. State your price and leave it at that. Leaving a client dangling with a reduced or negotiated price often works against you. Be confident. After all, it is your thoughts and time that you’ve invested to create something for someone.
Step 5: Market your Service
Even after all that, there is one more important step. Marketing, or in simpler words, reaching the right kind of people at the right time. Make sure your creatives are well-photographed, and your portfolio showcased on your website. In addition, platforms like Facebook and Instagram give you the option of targeted advertising. Use this option and make your work visible to the right audience.
Marketing can be offline too. Get out and be part of local art communities: host workshops, meetings, and exhibitions. Not only do you get to sell your art, but you also interact with peers and learn.
Step 6: Manage your Finance
Last but not least, manage your finances like a hawk! Make a list of expenses that you’ll incur that includes everything from supply materials to your rent if need be. In addition, incorporate costs for social media advertisements, search engine optimizations, and art gallery registrations.
Once you have the list of things ready, decide whether you’ll pay for it from your savings or look for an artist’s grant or fellowship. Some of them include the 2021 Susan Beech Mid-Career Grant, Artist Grant, The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, and Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant to name a few.
These are just a few of the many fellowships or grants available for artists out there. If you spend some more time researching and ensuring you sign up for all their newsletters and e-mailers, you are bound to have steady information at your fingertips.
The Bottom Line
The benefit from art and its related business transcends the individual. It makes an impact on the country’s economic performance, making it a crucial growth driver. The nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion during 2015, proving that art is here and it is here for good. So, if you are someone with a creative streak, now perhaps is the best time to reap the monetary benefits from your creations.