How to set yourself up for an Art Business – 6 Steps
Art is an emotional buy. Art is based on feelings and drawing people in. The art needs to connect with the person and the person with the art. With all this in mind, selling and marketing art is a niche market that often the artist themselves is not comfortable doing. The artist will first and foremost see themselves as an artist and while this is great, it does not always give you the mindset you need to step up into business.
For so long, artists have put themselves into ‘dabbling’ categories. Many that I know have not felt that anyone would want to buy their art. They convince the people around them that they just love doing it and so it’s more of a hobby. Then, one day, years later, when they are feeling brave enough, they decide that they actually would like to start selling their art. So, they step up, put their art online and list prices.
Nothing happens. They keep posting photos of their art, still nothing, except for some lovely comments. They keep their day job because we all know artists can’t make money, right? Wrong.
Artists are the most prolific people I know. They are passionate, superbly talented and bursting with ideas! So, what seems to be the problem? It is that centuries of beliefs have been ingrained in our society and become your belief without you even being too conscious of it. There is the belief in the ‘starving artist’, the belief that you can’t make real money as an artist, the belief that it is a tortured life filled with pain and suffering.
Let’s bust these Myths! How can you put yourself in the right place, mentally to run your art business?
Follow These 6 Steps To Get Started:
Step 1: Mindset
Mindset. It really is as simple as that but also easier said than done! Change how you see yourself. When someone asks you what you do, instead of saying that you are an artist, say, ‘I run an art business’. Before you try it out on others, just try this on yourself. See if saying this feels right for you. After all, we do need to keep things authentic to ourselves.
If you have someone else running your business, then you do have the luxury of saying you’re an artist, but if you’re like me and wear many hats, then you are a business person who happens to make what you sell. Just this simple readjustment of your view on how you see yourself will honestly change things! Once you see yourself in this way, others will too.
Step 2: Research
Do your research into ways you can make money as an artist. There are so many print on demand companies out there now that you can easily set up an online shop without much tech knowledge. There are always markets but they need research to check your target audience. Those are just two ways to bring money to you, there are literally hundreds more.
You just need to be open to accepting that you actually can make money as an artist. It really is about how you see yourself and how you see your business. Get down to the nitty gritty of what you want your art business to look like. Get clear on this. Paint a picture- so to speak, of what you want your ideal life to look like. Then what are you doing to make this kind of life?
Step 3: Find Your Community
Mix with the communities that will take you where you want to go. By this I mean, find the people like you, find other artists, mix with them. Ask the questions, be honest and find the people that you connect to. Will you connect with all artists? Well, no, just like we don’t connect with all people, but you soon learn who you want in your life and who you can do without.
Do not ask for too many opinions though, as this can lead to overwhelm and confusion. This will obviously not help! There are so many art societies, art clubs, art meet ups around, you are bound to find one that suits you. Don’t forget though, go along, try it out and if you immediately don’t like it, just don’t go back! No harm, this is about you finding the right spot that feels good to you, no one else.
Step 4: Target Audience
Next step is to look at your art and work out what kind of person would love it. What we are doing here is finding your target audience.
Are they men/women? Are they interior designers? Are they mothers with small babies? Are they bikers? Are they political activists? The list can really go on and on depending on what your art is about. What this does is help you to get into the heads of your audience to know how to pitch to them, how do you reach them? Where are you likely to find your audience? So for me, my audience is middle aged women (mostly) who are stepping into themselves and wanting to put themselves first for a change.
They are craving some colour as well as fun. They also need a confidence boost and finding what makes them happy. So for me, I will make sure to strike up conversations with people, if the opportunity arises, make connections because for me, it’s where I connect the most. It feels good for me. Find what feels good for you, who you can honestly connect with and go there.
Step 5: Marketing – Social Media
So now that you have all that info and you know that you’re running an art business, you’ve connected to your people, you’ve isolated who your audience is, let’s get marketing!! I love this part so much!
As you know, there is Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, twitter etc. I know there are more, but we will just focus on some common ones. Make yourself known on the platforms that seem easy to you. Most people are comfortable on Facebook, so maybe just start there.
Here’s what I have: a personal page, a business page and 1 group so far. Now, what I have found is that I’m not so precious about my personal page anymore, so I like to tell my friends what I’m doing. I try not to get too salesy as that doesn’t feel so good, but I like to let them know what I’m doing and let them know that they can purchase if something resonates with them.
The business page that I have is linked to Instagram for me. It is on there that I have a shop and so can tag products for people to buy. Here is where I do more sales but also progress shots and time lapses. Then I have a group for my special people who want to have more to do with me! We have Mental health Mondays, we have lives, we have tips, we have sharing- it’s fun and a place to build connection.
Step 6: Connect
Running your art business relies on connection. We have social media for just that. Let’s connect. Let’s support each other, let’s collaborate, let’s give and receive. This is what life is about. The life of an artist is one built around emotions, so tap into that and connect where it feels right for you. So, let me give you some examples:
Say you paint pet portraits, mostly dogs. Your target audience is people who love dogs. How do you find them? Look up dog societies on facebook, see if there are groups that look good. Just be aware most groups do not allow promotion, so be conscious of that. Always remember, you want to connect with dog people because, one assumes you love dogs too if you’re painting them!
Make connections, put up posts of your own dogs (by all means have a portrait of your dog in the background!) Have photos of your studio dog helping you. Watch out for posts where someone may ask if anyone knows of a person who does dog portraits. They will come around! It’s a waiting game, but in the meantime, you are making wonderful connections! That is what life is about.
Join other art groups where they often have promotion posts – take part. You just never know who connects to you and where it will lead. Life is all about connection. Make connections, not because you want something out of it, but because it feels good to connect with people who get you, who love the same things, who may help with support. I can’t emphasize this enough- connect.
Gosh, there are so many things that I haven’t covered here as I could just go on forever! I will stop there though and maybe revisit this another day.
I hope this blog post on how to set yourself up for an Art Business has helped you to clarify the steps you can follow to get started and set up your art business for success.
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Have a beautiful day and may the month ahead (being Christmas/Hanukah) be filled with blessings.
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