More Articles

The Value of Art In Situ

The Pain and Power of Tough Criticism

How to Build Profitable Relationships with Galleries

New Technologies for the Studio Artist

A Distinctive Body of Work

How I Got My Art Placed on TV and Movie Sets

Video Marketing & Artists: A Match Made in Heaven

Tips for Promoting Your Art on Instagram

Selling Art in the Wholesale Marketplace

What Do You Want as an Artist?

Is Your Art Priced Correctly?

Boost Your Art Marketing with Printed Materials

Collection Strategies for Artists

Problems Getting Paid? How to Never Get Stiffed Again

What’s Going Right with Your Art Business?

How Artists are Using 3D Printing

Goals Matter: Pointers for a Productive Year

How to Create Successful Art Events

Social Media Tips from Lori McNee

Why You Fail to Sell Your Art at Festivals and Fairs

My Studio Mascot

Move Towards Your Destination

What Your Customers Can Teach You

Collaborating on Art? Why You Need a Contract

Connecting with a Niche Market

Increase Your Art Sales by Making an Emotional Connection

Will Your Great Idea Translate into a Great Business?

How to Balance Art & Life

Give Yourself a Promotion

4 Ways Booth Signage can Draw a Crowd

Secrets of a Successful Open Studio

The Thrills of Networking Within A Local Artist Community

Partner with Your Galleries to Sell More Art

The Artist Doesn’t Always Know Best

Protect Yourself from Art Scams

Put Your Business Cards Away

How to Deal with those Dreaded Shipping Costs

Luck vs. Opportunity

How to Get Accepted by the Press

Artists are Entrepreneurs

How to Promote and Sell Art on Instagram

Playing Up

Is Fear Running Your Art Business?

What I Learned by being a Gallery Owner

How to Get Rejected by the Press

Art with a Healing Touch

Art and the Struggle with Depression

Are You at a Loss for Words?

Avoid these 7 Mistakes when Photographing Art

How a Hard Look at Business Changed an Artist's Life

7 Reasons Why Your Art Marketing Isn’t Working

What to Do when your Show is Slow

Working Smarter to Sell Your Art

Top Tips for a Successful Open Studio

What's the Back Story on Your Art?

10 Free Ways Artists Can Get Publicity

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

Hiding Away


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

Painting Terms

Mixing Colors

The Benefits of Buying Art Online

Beginning Your Journey as an Artist

Art for Art's Sake

Build a Budget for Success: How I Tripled My Income in 2 Weeks


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.

How is your budget working for you?

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.

How do you approach advertising?

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.

  • The first time people look at any given ad, they don't even see it.
  • The second time, they don't notice it.
  • The third time, they are aware that it is there.
  • The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they've seen it somewhere
  • The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
  • The sixth time, they thumb their nose at it.
  • The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
  • The eight time, they start to think ‘Here's that confounded ad again.'
  • The ninth time, they start to wonder if they're missing out on something.
  • The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they've tried it.
  • The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
  • The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
  • The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
  • The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for
    a long time.
  • The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can't afford to buy it.
  • The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the
  • The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
  • The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this
    terrific product.
  • The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
  • The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

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.

Build a budget for success.

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.

Here's how it works:

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.

Cory HuffThis article is courtesy of
Cory 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: window