Tell Your Story, Sell More Art
The Price is Right
Confessions of a Professional Art Gallery Closer
How to Create Raving Fans by Telling the Story of Your Art
Burnout & Its (Sometimes Surprising) Consequences
How to Get Into A Gallery, and Succeed With A Gallery
The Power of Persistence
Build a Budget for Success: How I Tripled My Income in 2 Weeks
Learning to Sell Art: Investing in Yourself
Top Traits of Successful Artists
What Makes Art Remarkable?
Working for Free
The Evolution (and Re-Evolution) of An Art Business
Ann Rea: Artist, Entrepreneur, Instant Success
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Become An Artist?
8 Ways to Improve Your Online Portfolio
Artists, Do You Need an Agent?
The Power of Consultative Selling
How to Make Your Customers Fall in Love with You
Artist Housing Projects
The Pinterest Guide to Selling Art Online
Artists Who Sell: How to Write a Killer Sales Page (and why)
The 5 Biggest Mistakes that Artists Make on Their Blogs and How You Can Avoid Them
Business Plans for Artists: Here, I Did It for You!
How to Write An Artist's Statement That Doesn't Suck
How to Make Your Art Stand Out Online?
10 Strategies to Improve Your Art Sales
Social Sharing on Artist Websites & Online Galleries
Why Artists Should Avoid Gallery Representation
5 Art Pricing Lessons I Learned the Hard Way
How to Research Your Online Art Market
The Crowdfunding Guide for Artists: Part 1
12 Things all Starving Artists Believe
Personal Branding for Artists
How Paula Manning Lewis Has Sold More Than 30,000 Pieces of Art
How to Build An Art Business While Working a Day Job
The Benefits of Buying Art Online
Beginning Your Journey as an Artist
Art for Art's Sake
While I enjoy budgeting, I am unable to predict my income with any certainty. Can you relate? How often has your business budget left you feeling afraid, resistant, and uncertain?
Unpredictable finances and lack of marketing can wreak havoc on an artist's dream. Without income, there can be no paid advertising, and without paid advertising, it can be difficult to find large groups of new customers. I've discovered a method that helps me market within my means and gain control over my finances.
For nearly two years, there was no method to my madness. I paid myself sporadically, ordered supplies at will, and occasionally bought advertisements. Recurring monthly bills associated with my business never failed to surprise me. I always walked away from the notice wondering, "This again? When am I going to be able to pay it?" [FROM CORY: One of the methods I learned later was that you can use financial management software that will keep your supply order costs and income managed for you.]
I soon realized that the first three years of business are part plan, part flying by the seat of your pants. It's hard to predict an income, so I've chosen not to–and I would suggest you do the same. You're lucky if you're funding your own growth in the beginning stages of your online shop.
However, I was making two critical errors in my approach to finances and marketing. First and foremost, I was operating on scared money, and scared money never wins. You should confidently put forward an investment and believe in either its purpose or return. Second, a new advertisement is only the beginning of real marketing as it can take up to 20 times to capture a potential customer's attention.
The following guide to advertising was written by Thomas Smith in 1885, and with today's short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, I believe it's even more relevant today.
Since people don't necessarily become customers the first time they see a product that interests them, I needed to redesign my approach and come up with a marketing plan in which I could feel comfortable investing. That's when I decided to apply my personal financial plan to my handmade business.
The budget strategy I'm discussing next is based on the Balanced Money Formula (I learned about this from J.D. Roth and it's credited to All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan). It's written for personal finances so, of your take home-pay, 50% is allotted to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% goes to savings. You can read all about it here: The Balanced Money Formula. I love this method, and it's given me great peace of mind in my personal financial planning.
When I combined a regulated marketing plan with the Balanced Money Formula, I had the unexpected benefit of increased confidence and a new shift in momentum. In fact, I tripled my income in two weeks.
Carve out a week where you spend nothing on your artistic business besides your time. Use only free marketing techniques (such as social media leads and an email update) and collect the total of those organic sales in your business' Paypal or bank account.
At the end of that week, apply the Balanced Money Formula to your account balance like so:
50% Needs: Supplies, hosting fees, shipping costs, etc.
30% Marketing: Advertisements, business cards, promotional signage, etc.
20% Pay: What you pay yourself.
When I applied the 50-30-20 plan in my first week, I knew exactly how much I could afford to spend for the next seven days. I ordered supplies and set aside shipping fees when I calculated the 50% for needs.
I then used the 30% earmarked for marketing to run my advertisements that have proven to work, only now they stay active for a lot longer. If no sales come one day, I know that my advertising money was well invested because I'm building a relationship with many potential customers.
And in that first week, I paid myself $85. Now, I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but that $85 was the best money I've ever paid myself. I knew I could rightfully withdraw that amount and still attend to all necessary matters in business.
After several weeks of using this method, I've never felt so comfortable with my shop finances. Fear and uncertainty have been banished from my budget. I'm on top of my bills and paying myself more than ever at the same time. Give it a try!
Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. Her e-course, Market Your Creativity: How to Turn Your Hobby Business into Handmade Success will be released in November 2012. It's designed to help you get paid to be … you.
This article is courtesy of Cory HuffCory Huff is a digital strategist specializing in helping artists learn to sell their art online. His Big Hairy Audacious Goal: help 1000 artists create a full-time living from their art. You can view more blog posts like these and get a free gift for ArtPal artists here: http://theabundantartist.com/start-here/