Sports and art aren’t often two areas that overlap, but sometimes advice for athletes is exactly the same as advice for artists. You have probably heard the quote from Wayne Gretzky that goes, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
And while we deal more in paint strokes and gallery submissions than goal shots, the sentiment remains true.
Don’t let your doubts or fears keep you from turning your art hobby into a full-time career. Follow these steps to make sure you are building a solid foundation for yourself before making the leap to a full-time art career.
Be Honest With Yourself About Why You Want to Be a Full-Time Artist
Many artists work part-time or even full-time jobs while establishing their art careers. If you have already been balancing both, you probably know how exhausting it can be. This fatigue may lead you to consider jumping in feet first to your art career.
But before you get in the deep end, ask yourself why you want to make a career out of your art.
Do you believe your work will benefit from more focused time? Do you have such a passion for your art that you can no longer see yourself doing anything else? Do you want to be famous? Do you want freedom from the 9-5?
Write this all down and reflect on where your motivations are coming from.
Take Serious Stock of Whether Or Not You Are Ready
Regardless of your motivation, transitioning into a full-time career is going to take more than just creating art. You are will take on the new role of business owner and will need to take on the responsibilities that come with that if you want to make a living.
Take a good long look in the mirror, and ask yourself if you are ready to become a business owner.
There is nothing wrong with the answer to this question being “no.” In fact, it could save you a lot of stress and set you up for when the answer is eventually an enthusiastic “yes!”
If you currently have a full-time job, scaling down to a part-time job or picking up freelance projects as you transition to making your hobby a full-time gig can provide the financial stability needed to take risks, invest in materials and alleviate some of the stress.
If you aren’t fully ready—either financially or emotionally—you will struggle to build your empire, and you surely won’t enjoy the ride.
Develop a Business Plan You Will Stick To
When you are just starting out, you may not see the need to create a business plan for your art career. It just doesn’t seem that urgent and making the work often takes precedent. But, by taking the time to thoughtfully plan out your business and get it on paper, you will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business.
Thinking about your pricing and business expenses will be key to making sure you can support yourself before going full-time.
Write down the estimated cost of materials, business cards, marketing materials, and don’t forget to include a budget for paying yourself. Once you have your business expenses laid out, you should clearly see how much you need to sell and for how much in order to make a profit.
Need a hand getting started? Check out these resources from creative business coach Jennifer Lee.
Find More Ways Than One Way Make Money
Getting gallery representation or selling at art fairs are often the first venues that come to mind when thinking considering where to make money as an artist. But, there are other ways you can make money from your work.
Licensing your work is another great way to make additional income and get your work seen by tons of people.
Also, consider the options you have to sell art online. The growth of online shopping had extended to artwork and can be a great sales platform for your business. Just make sure to pick an online platform that will work best for your art business.
If you are ready to plan your sales revenue, start with this cheat sheet outlining the 7 ways you can increase sales in your creative business from the founder of the of the Artist Entrepreneur, Catherine Orer. Then, check out this webinar about business plans in collaboration with Artwork Archive.
Cultivate a Unique and Authentic Brand For Yourself
Developing a brand for yourself will be one of the single most important things you can do when transitioning into a full-time art career. This is also the hardest part for many artists.
Creating a brand will require some self-reflection to understand how you want people to recognize and relate to your business. Will your audience relate to you as being fun and quirky? Will they recognize your fun, bright colors? Or will they see something in nature and think of your brand?
Take some time to think about what kind of artist you are and what message you want to send to your audience. Your business name, logo, cards, website and social media presence are all ways to communicate your brand. Make sure you keep all things that your customers see consistent with your brand.
Don’t Shy Away From Promoting Yourself
There are many platforms out there to help you make a professional website and online portfolio for yourself. Take advantage of them as a way to drive people to your site.
You can create a professional portfolio of all your work online using a platform like Artwork Archive.
Artists on Artwork Archive have significantly increased sales by adding a link to their public profiles on their social media pages and website.
You can give it a try Artwork Archive for free and see how other artists have used it to help grown their full-time art careers.