Starting a career in visual arts, be it in fine art or fine craft, can be both exhilarating and challenging. As a budding artist, one of the biggest hurdles is figuring out how to sell your art, especially if you're not well-versed in marketing or sales. While it's important to focus on selling your art, it's equally crucial to plan out your art business to ensure long-term success.
A business plan may sound formal and intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Grab your laptop or a notepad, and let's map out the basics. Start by defining your art practice - what is your mission? How do you define success? Setting clear, specific goals, both short-term and long-term, will help you chart the path towards achieving them. Remember, every artist's journey is unique, so feel free to embrace your individuality and stay true to what you want out of your art career.
Visualizing the progression of steps to grow your art business is essential. By defining your goals and aspirations, you can alleviate that "deer in headlights" feeling that often accompanies taking on a big endeavor. It will also help you craft an artist statement, which is not only necessary for show applications but also for the About section on your website.
Now, let's talk about practical strategies to start selling your art. Here are seven low-tech and straightforward tactics that don't require extensive marketing knowledge or technical skills:
1. Leverage Local Art Shows and Markets
Participating in local art shows, craft fairs, and markets is a great way to get your art out there. These venues offer a low-barrier entry point for new artists and provide an opportunity to showcase your work to a local audience. They are also excellent for building connections with fellow artists and potential buyers. When preparing for these events, focus on presenting your work attractively and be ready to share the stories behind your creations, as personal connections often lead to sales.
2. Connect with Local Businesses
Partnering with local businesses can be a mutually beneficial way to display and sell your art. Coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, and local offices often agree to hang artwork on their walls. This not only decorates their space but also gives you exposure to their clientele. Make sure to leave business cards or flyers next to your art so interested buyers know how to contact you. Remember, the key is to approach businesses whose customers might appreciate your style of work.
3. Utilize Consignment Opportunities
Consignment through local galleries or boutiques can be an effective way to reach potential buyers. In a consignment arrangement, your art is displayed in the store, and you earn a percentage of the sale price when it sells. This setup reduces upfront costs and allows your work to be seen by a wider audience. Ensure you understand the terms of the agreement and select venues that align with your artistic style and target market.
4. Host a Home Art Show
Hosting a home art show can be a low-cost way to introduce your art to friends, family, and neighbors. Transform your living space into a temporary gallery for an evening or a weekend. Invite your personal network and encourage them to bring guests. This intimate setting allows you to discuss your art in a comfortable environment, making it easier to build connections and sell your work.
5. Participate in Community Events
Getting involved in community events, such as festivals, charity auctions, or school fundraisers, can help you gain visibility as an artist. Donating a piece of your art or offering it as part of a raffle can attract attention to your work and lead to future sales. These events are also excellent for networking and getting to know the local art community and potential buyers.
6. Collaborate with Other Artists
Collaborating with other artists can open up new opportunities for selling your art. Consider organizing a joint exhibition or an art swap. This can be done in someone’s home, a community center, or a local venue. Collaborations can also extend to joint promotional efforts, like sharing each other’s work on social media. By pooling resources and networks, you can reach a broader audience than you might on your own.
7. Use Word of Mouth and Referrals
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Encourage friends, family, and early buyers to spread the word about your art. Personal recommendations are powerful, especially in the art world where trust and personal connection play a significant role. Consider offering incentives for referrals, such as discounts on future purchases or a small gift.
Remember, selling art as a new artist doesn't require complex marketing strategies or advanced technological tools. By employing these seven straightforward and low-tech methods, you can begin to establish yourself in the art world and make those initial sales. But always keep your overarching art business plan in mind, focusing on long-term growth and success. With persistence, passion, and careful planning, you'll find your audience and turn your artistic endeavors into sales.
Elements to consider in an artist website and social media accounts
When it comes to an artist's website and social media accounts, there are several important elements that should be included:
1. A professional web address: It is crucial to have a web address that is concise, easy to remember, and relevant to your brand or name. This helps in establishing your online presence and making it easier for people to find you.
2. Usernames on social media: Consistency is key when it comes to establishing your brand. Choose usernames on social media platforms that are similar or identical to your web address, making it easier for people to find and recognize you across different platforms.
3. Clear contact information: Make sure your contact information is readily available and easy to find on your website and social media accounts. This can include an email address, phone number, or a contact form, allowing potential customers or interested parties to reach out to you easily.
4. Working links: Ensure that all the links on your website and social media accounts are functional and lead to the intended destinations. Broken links can create a frustrating user experience and may deter visitors from exploring your content.
5. High-quality images of your work: Displaying high-resolution images of your artwork is crucial to showcase your talent and attract potential buyers. Make sure the images are clear, properly lit, and accurately represent the colors and details of your art.
6. A clear and engaging About section: Craft an About section that provides a concise yet descriptive overview of your artistic journey, inspirations, and style. Use this section to connect with your audience on a personal level and give them a deeper understanding of your work.
7. Utilize website builders or templates: If you lack web design skills, consider using website builders or templates specifically tailored for artists. These tools provide beautifully designed and user-friendly interfaces, allowing you to easily create a professional-looking website without extensive technical knowledge.
8. Focus on quality over quantity on social media: Instead of trying to be active on every social media platform available, choose a few platforms that resonate with your style and target audience. Concentrate your efforts on creating high-quality posts that effectively showcase your artwork and engage with your followers.
Remember, these elements work together to build your art brand and shape people's perception of you and your artwork. By diligently considering and implementing these aspects on your website and social media accounts, you can establish a strong online presence as an artist.
Do I really need to make my art business legal?
The answer is a resounding, yes! Artists can find information on the steps required to make their art business legal by conducting research and deciding what type of business structure they want to establish. Many artists opt for a sole proprietorship as it is simple to set up and suits the needs of a basic studio practice. I recommend an LLC for it's flexibility, protection and ability to grow with your art business. However, it's important to note that the process may vary between states. Therefore, it is recommended for artists to visit their local Clerk of Courts website, their state's Department of Revenue site, and the IRS site to ascertain the specific steps that need to be followed. For further guidance, consider joining the Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program where we walk you through the process step by step.
Why is it important to make my art business legal?
It is crucial for artists to ensure that their art business is legally registered for several reasons. Firstly, each state has its own specific requirements and processes for operating a business, and by making their art business legal, artists can comply with these regulations. This can typically be achieved by visiting the local Clerk of Courts website, the state's Department of Revenue site, and the IRS site to familiarize themselves with the necessary steps.
One important aspect of establishing a legal art business is to separate personal and business expenses. By opening a separate business checking account with their bank, artists can avoid mixing their personal finances with their art business finances. This separation becomes particularly beneficial during tax season, making it easier to file accurate tax returns.
Furthermore, keeping track of business receipts is vital to establish financial transparency. By saving all business-related receipts, artists can maintain proper records and ensure they have proof of their business-related expenses. This documentation not only helps during tax preparation but also provides clarity and accountability in their financial transactions.
Selecting the right name for an art business is also a crucial step in the legal process. Artists are advised to consider using their own name combined with relevant keywords such as "art" or "studio." However, it is important to choose a name that is easy to pronounce, abbreviate, and, critically, ensure it is not already taken. Performing a careful search to verify the availability of a chosen name can help artists avoid potential legal battles and confusion in the future.
Additionally, establishing an online presence is essential for artists to attract customers. Having a consistent art business name across their website and social media accounts makes it easier for potential customers to find them. It not only enhances their professional image but also helps in building a strong brand presence.
In summary, making an art business legal provides artists with numerous benefits. It ensures compliance with state regulations, facilitates accurate tax filing, maintains financial transparency, and enhances their professional credibility. By following the necessary steps, artists can establish a strong foundation for their art business, allowing them to focus on their creative work while operating within the bounds of the law.
How should I structure my art business?
When considering the appropriate business structure for artists, it is essential to conduct thorough research and make an informed decision. One option that many artists tend to choose is a sole proprietorship. This structure is popular because it is relatively easy to establish and meets the basic requirements of a studio practice.
However, artists should also explore other business structures to ensure they align with their specific goals and circumstances. For instance, some artists may find that a partnership structure is more suitable if they collaborate frequently with other artists or creative professionals. This structure allows for shared responsibilities, resources, and decision-making.
Another viable option is a limited liability company (LLC), which provides a certain level of personal protection for artists. By forming an LLC, artists can separate their personal assets from their business liabilities, safeguarding their personal finances in the event of any legal or financial challenges.
For artists looking to expand their practice and potentially secure funding or investors, a corporation structure may be worth considering. Incorporation offers the advantage of raising capital through the sale of stocks and shares, allowing for growth and the ability to attract outside investment.
Ultimately, the choice of business structure should be based on careful consideration of factors such as the desired level of personal liability, tax implications, operational needs, and growth plans. Consulting with a legal or financial professional who specializes in working with artists can be tremendously beneficial in making an informed decision tailored to the unique circumstances of each artist.
How can I price my artwork for profit?
Pricing artwork for profit (check out this resources called How to Price Your Art) can be a challenging task for many artists. However, it is crucial to remember that as a professional artist, the goal is to make a living from your art. Contrary to the myth of the "starving artist," it is entirely possible to be successful and financially stable in the art industry. To ensure that your pricing strategy maximizes profitability, consider the following guidelines:
1. Understand your costs: It is essential to calculate and include all your costs in the price of your artwork. This includes not only the materials used but also your time, shipping expenses, and even framing costs if necessary. Make sure that the price of your artwork covers these expenses, or you will end up paying for them out of your own pocket.
2. Determine a reasonable hourly wage: Your skill set as an artist should be valued, and clients and collectors are willing to compensate you for your services. Deciding on a reasonable hourly wage that you would feel comfortable with and working backward from there can help ensure that you are adequately compensated for your time and expertise.
3. Use art pricing formulas: There are various art pricing formulas that can provide guidance when determining the value of your artwork. Some formulas factor in the size of the work, while others focus on labor time and costs. Your skill level and education may also play a role. Regardless of the formula you choose, ensure that there is still a profit margin left for you after factoring in all costs.
4. Consistency is key: Maintaining consistent pricing for your artwork is crucial to building positive relationships with galleries and collectors. It helps to avoid situations where one buyer feels undercut compared to another. Consistency in pricing also reinforces the value and integrity of your work.
5. Offer artwork at different price points: Recognize that not all potential buyers can afford higher-priced pieces. By offering artwork at multiple price points, including smaller and more affordable works, you can reach a wider range of buyers. This strategy allows you to cast a broader net and increase your chances of making sales. Remember, every sale counts towards your overall profitability.
By considering these guidelines, you can improve your pricing strategy and increase the potential for profit in your art business. Remember, pricing your artwork should not be based solely on subjective factors but on a calculated approach that factors in costs, value, and market demand.
Do I really have to consider the finances of my art business?
Yes! Considering finances in your art business is of utmost importance for several reasons. Firstly, neglecting the financial aspect may lead to personal, professional, and financial dissatisfaction. Not addressing the financial side of a career in the arts is a missed opportunity to ensure fulfillment and success in all areas of your life.
By proactively dealing with the financial aspects, you eliminate uncertainty and gain the ability to plan for the future. This enables you to sustain your livelihood and ensure stable income while pursuing your artistic passions. Understanding your financial situation allows you to make informed decisions and set concrete goals regarding your earnings and savings, enabling you to cover your expenses effectively.
Moreover, incorporating financial considerations into your art business allows you to create a solid foundation for long-term success. Financial planning ensures that you have the necessary resources to invest in your artistic growth, such as acquiring materials, attending workshops, or marketing your work. It also provides you with the stability and security needed to weather any unforeseen circumstances or economic fluctuations.
Additionally, by understanding your finances, you gain control over your artistic journey. No longer will you be solely dependent on sporadic sales or luck. Instead, you can strategically manage your cash flow, budget effectively, and make informed pricing decisions that align with your artistic goals. This financial awareness empowers you to make sustainable choices and develop a thriving art business.
In summary, considering finances in your art business is crucial for personal fulfillment, professional success, and financial stability. It allows you to plan ahead, set meaningful goals, and make informed decisions that will support your artistic endeavors and ensure a sustainable livelihood. Don't overlook the importance of understanding and managing the financial side of your art business—it is a vital step towards realizing your artistic vision and achieving long-term success.
How to I find my Ideal Client and Target Audience?
Identifying your target customers is a crucial step in developing an effective marketing strategy for your artwork. By understanding who your ideal clients are, you can tailor your promotional efforts to resonate with them and increase your chances of making sales. Here are some steps to help you identify your target customers:
1. Define your niche: Start by narrowing down the specific niche or style of artwork you create. This will help you attract customers who have a genuine interest in your work. Consider the subject matter, medium, and style of your art to better understand the audience it appeals to.
2. Conduct market research: Research the art market and analyze the demographics of your potential customers. Look into factors such as age, gender, location, income level, and buying habits. This information will give you a clearer picture of the people most likely to buy your artwork.
3. Create buyer personas: Develop detailed profiles of your ideal customers, also known as buyer personas. This involves imagining the characteristics, preferences, and behaviors of your target customers based on your research. Consider factors such as their motivations, interests, and where they typically look for art.
4. Analyze your existing customer base: If you already have some customers, take the time to analyze their characteristics. Look for patterns and similarities among them to identify any common traits that make up your target customer base.
5. Seek feedback and engage with your audience: Interact with your audience through social media, email newsletters, or surveys to gather feedback and opinions. Engaging with your audience will not only help you understand their preferences and expectations but also build relationships with potential buyers.
6. Consider customer demographics and behavior: Determine the demographics, interests, and behaviors of individuals who are likely to buy your artwork. Consider factors like age groups, income levels, education, and where they tend to shop for art. This information will guide you in choosing the right marketing channels to reach your target customers effectively.
7. Refine your marketing strategy: Once you have a clear understanding of your target customers, refine your marketing strategy accordingly. Choose marketing channels that align with the preferences and habits of your target audience. This could include email newsletters, art fairs, social media platforms, galleries, blogging, or other avenues that your buyers are likely to frequent.
Remember, your target customers are at the core of your marketing efforts. By identifying and understanding them, you can tailor your marketing messages, tone, and channels to effectively reach and engage with your ideal buyers.
How can I set goals and be successful in my art business?
Defining your art practice and setting goals for success is a crucial step towards building a fulfilling and thriving artistic career. Here are some essential steps to guide you through the process:
1. Reflect on Your Mission: Start by asking yourself, what is the purpose and meaning behind your art? What message or emotions do you hope to convey through your work? It's important to have a clear understanding of your mission as an artist, as it will serve as the foundation for your overall art practice.
2. Define Your Version of Success: Success means different things to different artists. Take the time to determine what success looks like for you personally. Is it the recognition and validation from peers and art institutions? Is it the ability to make a sustainable living solely through your art? Or is it the opportunity to create freely without any external pressures? Clarifying your definition of success will give you a target to work towards.
3. Set Specific Goals: Once you have a clear mission and definition of success, it's time to set goals that will help you achieve them. Break down your long-term vision into manageable short-term objectives. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, if your long-term goal is to exhibit in a renowned gallery, your short-term goals may include creating a body of work, building a strong portfolio, and networking with gallery professionals.
4. Stay True to Yourself: It's vital to stay true to your artistic vision and aspirations throughout this process. Avoid comparing yourself to other artists or being influenced solely by external expectations. Your art practice should be an authentic representation of who you are as an artist. Embrace your uniqueness and let it guide your decisions and choices.
5. Visualize and Plan the Steps: Visualize your art career trajectory and the path you need to take towards your goals. Break down the natural progression of steps that will help you grow your art business. This not only provides clarity but also alleviates any overwhelming feelings associated with embarking on a substantial artistic endeavor. Create a roadmap outlining the tasks, activities, and milestones you need to achieve along the way.
6. Craft an Artist Statement: As you gain a clearer understanding of your art practice and career goals, it becomes crucial to create an artist statement. This statement defines your artistic identity and communicates your intentions, inspirations, and artistic vision. It serves as a valuable tool for everything from show applications to your website's About section, enabling others to connect with your work on a deeper level.
Remember, defining your art practice and setting goals for success is a personal and ongoing process. It may evolve and change over time as you grow as an artist. Stay open to refining and revisiting your mission and goals to ensure they align with your artistic vision and aspirations.