Have you ever looked up at the end of the day and thought, “What am I doing wrong?!”
You’re trying really hard to build your art business…
You’re working during every spare moment…
And somehow, none of its coming together. There’s just not enough money.
Has that happened to you?
In that situation, a variety of things could be wrong.
But I find most of the time that the artist is flitting from strategy to strategy.
And that’s usually a symptom of not actually knowing what kind of business you want to build.
Have you spent time to dream what your art business will look like one day?
What do you really want from your career?
I recently got to dig into the idea of finding out what you want from your art business a lot as I was preparing bonus content for my The Artist’s Business Plan course because I took examples of actual artists I’ve worked with and why we picked the particular type of business for them that we picked.
For instance – One of my clients was an illustrator who didn’t want to feel daily pressure. She hated the idea of having to ship orders on time or deal with customer service emails, or other daily pressures and urgent responsibilities of selling art directly to customers.
So for her, we needed to find ways of making money that didn’t involve selling to customers because she didn’t want to build a business she didn’t like running.
We picked licensing, children’s books, and the occasional commission that she has complete control over.
That eliminates surprise orders that need to be packed & shipped. It eliminates the daily hustle to connect with new potential customers. And it eliminates scary or exhausting customer service emails.
In its place, she’ll have to deal with asking lots of companies to work with her, hearing a lot of rejections from publishers, and saying no when commissions come her way that are a bad fit or she doesn’t want to spend the time and energy on at that time.
You can’t eliminate all the negatives, but you can pick negatives that bother you less.
We used her personality and preferences to determine the right fit for her art business.
But in order to do that, she had to dream about what her day would look like and realize the parts about it that she didn’t want.
IT ALL STARTS WITH A BIT OF DAYDREAMING.
Imagine it’s 3 years from now. Your art business is making consistent money and you walk into your studio to start work.
Is it morning, afternoon, or night? Is your art business the only responsibility you have today? Do you spend the day inside or out and about? Are you doing a lot on your computer, more pen and paper, or is it all about your artwork? Is there a balance of business and artistic tasks?
Give yourself time to really envision it. Unfold the day. Maybe even journal it out as if it were happening right now in front of you.
And then ask yourself…
What seems fun and exciting?
What seems stressful or terrifying?
What seems comforting?
What seems tedious?
Start to identify the types of things you want and don’t want from your art business.
Then line those things up with the ways you can market and sell your art.
Here’s an excerpt from the business plan course of just a handful of the list of ways to sell your art:
Originals sold directly to customers
Originals sold through galleries
Prints sold through a publisher
Print subscription service
Teaching art at a community college
An agent selling everything for you
And here’s an excerpt from the course of just a handful of the list of ways to market your art:
Collaborations with other artists
Joining local networking groups
Getting featured and interviewed (public relations)
Open studio events
Getting work hung on consignment in stores & office buildings
AND THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING!
There are loads and loads of options for your art business. It can look like anything you want it to.
But you have to decide. You have to know what you want so that you can head there.
And that’s part of what the business plan course is for. If you need help either deciding what you want or figuring out how to get there, then the course is perfect for you.