Ready to get started selling your art online? It’s easier if you have a few little tools in your arsenal. Here are my top tools for building an art business online.
This is first on the list because it needs to happen before you even start selling your art. It’s an inventory management system specifically created for artists. So what that means is that you can keep track of where every piece of art you’ve ever made is – whether it’s been sold to a collector, it’s up in a gallery, or it’s sitting in the back of your studio. You can also track prices, dimensions, medium, date, exhibition history, and even keep your own free form notes.
Free to start. Then $249 one time fee.
- Caffeine (Mac only)
This little gem of an app sits in that little top menu bar of your Mac and when you click it, your computer will not go to sleep. If you unclick, it will behave like your normal sleep settings. This is fantastic for watching videos or participating in conference calls or webinars. If you aren’t touching your computer but want to be able to see the screen, this is your one-click solution.
When you start a business of any kind, you meet a lot of people – potential customers, competitors, media professionals, people you may want to collaborate with… And it starts to get overwhelming. You may remember everyone’s name, but do you remember the last thing you talked about? What piece of yours was their favorite? How long has it been since you connected? A “CRM” (content relationship management) will help you keep track of all this. I prefer Highrise because it’s free until you have a large number of contacts and you can add custom fields to keep track of anything you like (lifetime value of a collector! hooray!). I’ve even seen some artists use a CRM to keep track of their artworks too.
Free to start.
You’re going to have to get your money in order too. If you set up a separate checking account, you can link it and your Paypal or Stripe accounts to Wave so all your business money moves through one spot. Wave is just accounting software, but I love that the free version is so robust and it’s very important to get this in place before you’re making much money.
Gravatar is a fun little tool that helps the tiniest bit in your marketing. It puts a cute little image of your choosing next to your name when you comment on blogs. It works on most blogs and allows you to keep your branding visible from site to site. It’s free and takes less than 5 minutes to set up.
As you get into business, you’ll start receiving more newsletters in your inbox. It’s important to not feel hostage to your inbox so that you can focus on the work that really matters – creating and marketing for the most part. Unroll.me takes all your newsletters (you can pick which ones) out of your inbox and into ONE email each day – a visual digest of all those emails that you can quickly scan through at the beginning or end of your day and pick out the ones you want to read.
One of the best marketing tools in an art business is an email list because it allows you to keep in contact with people who aren’t in the market for art when they first see your work. You can’t just use your gmail account because your emails will land in the spam folder. The tool for emails that I like the best is MadMimi. They have very nice and helpful customer service that gets back to you quickly and they have all the functionality you need to get started.
Free to start.
With these tools at your back, you’re ready to kick off your art career organized, productive, and smart! Been selling your art for a while? You can get my full list of tools for art businesses over here, including social media tools, business courses, and ecommerce platforms.