Selling Art with Confidence
The Power of Repeat Sales
6 Ways to Sabotage Your Art Business
5 Steps to Gaining Referral Business
It's Not All About the Money
Consistency is Key to Making Art Sales
Should You Quit Your Day Job?
6 Display Tips to Increase Your Art Sales
Making a Profit with Your Art
What Blue-Chip Galleries Can Teach Us About Social Media Networking
Artists Need A Business Plan
Your Greatest Asset in Finding Gallery Representation
The Personal Touch
Sell Your Art into the Corporate Market
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
Several people lately have asked my opinion of simply quitting their day jobs and going solo as an artist. I'm self-employed myself, and owned a studio for over twenty years, so I'm a big fan of the independence and satisfaction of being a business owner. But it's not for everyone.
It partly depends on your personality. Does facing a challenge, like coming up with next month's rent through sales of your work, energize and motivate you? Or does it throw you into sudden panic and possibly an anxiety attack? Only you can tell what your comfort level is here. But, you can overcome some of the stress by putting a plan into place that works on multiple levels to bring in the income you will need when you quit that day job.
Develop a business concept and understand how you will sell. What is special about your art? Why should people buy from you? Do you have a complete story, a brand, and a concept that intrigues potential buyers and pulls them in? Does your work fit into a niche? Have you built a system for cultivating and closing sales? If you aren't confident that you can sell your work, do this planning while you are still employed elsewhere, and before you go it alone.
Multiply the ways you will earn. Having more than one source of income, which are complementary to each other, can stabilize your business. Selling wholesale and also exhibiting at retail fairs is a good combination that I recommend (it's how I built my own studio into a six-figure business.)
But you may not want or be able to produce items that sell wholesale. So, would you license your art? Sell your work online? Solicit commissions? Sell to the corporate art market, seeking out designers, architects and building managers? Would you teach classes or give workshops? Do you plan to write a book about your technique?
There are many ways to earn money as a self-employed artist. Just be sure that you understand clearly that as an entrepreneur, you are in sales, plain and simple. Be prepared to devote a significant amount of time to marketing, following up and closing. Is this currently a challenge for you? Marketing and selling are activities that you must embrace if you want to be self-employed. But, I can guarantee that making regular sales of your work is fun. It's satisfying, motivating and validating. You might even start wondering why you ever thought you didn't like the idea of sales in the first place.
Creating income streams where you have repeat sales puts you in the position of doing business with regular customers, which is far easier than always seeking new customers who are "cold." There are ways for artists to build this component into their business. The aforementioned wholesale model is a perfect example, but you might cultivate strategic alliances with businesses who send you regular referrals in return for a percentage, or for a return referral.
Maybe local funeral homes recommend your handmade custom urns for families who want to honor their loved ones in a special way. Perhaps you have an ongoing arrangement with a restaurant to make custom ceramic mugs with their logo. Or you regularly provide stock photos for a service. Get creative here – there are a million ways to connect with repeat customers. Come up with ideas and be prepared to flesh out this model, and to make a presentation to build those partnerships.
Know what you will do during the rough patches. Is January a tough time for your art business? Unless ski resorts are your best market, or you live in a tropical resort area, this might be true. Regardless of whenever you hit a slow sales period, you will need to plan ahead. Those multiple streams can smooth over the hard times by adding income when another earning method has dried up. Giving a workshop in January might be your solution to having no retail fairs in your area, if you don't want to travel south for the snowbirds.
Have a money plan. If you have no other income, such as social security, investment income, or a spouse's salary, and you have to earn every cent through your own art sales, you will need a multi-pronged plan before you leap into action. Do you have savings that will help you through the transition to quitting your day job? Do you have a good grip on the costs of being self-employed, including taxes, and expenses? Is your work priced correctly to produce profit on every sale?
Ultimately, there comes a time when you will have to quit that day job if you want to work full-time in your art business. If you decide that having that day job (either full or part-time) is a lifeline you don't want to give up, that is a perfectly sound decision, too. Everyone has a different vision of their ideal work situation, and different needs. Find the perfect balance that works for you.
This article is courtesy of Carolyn EdlundCarolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, is a business writer, speaker and consultant for artists. She is the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, presenting at art business workshops throughout the United States. Carolyn works with artists every day in strategy sessions designed to help them structure their businesses, set and reach their goals. Find out more about scheduling your own business consultation with Carolyn here: https://www.artsyshark.com/build-your-art-business/