Many hobbyists find it incredibly difficult to take that leap of faith and turn professional. This is especially true for many artists, who often let fear and excuse prevent them from following their dreams. These fears can manifest themselves in the fear of failing, taking risks, or merely the idea of the unknown.
Oftentimes, these fears can prevent an artist from even trying to turn professional, even if they believe in themselves and their capabilities. However, fear is never really a good reason not to do something, especially following your dreams and passions of becoming a professional artist.
While feelings of elation or excitement are appropriate, it is important not to set unrealistic goals. The path to becoming a professional artist will be long and arduous. Establishing yourself, making a name for yourself, and making a living off your art will not happen overnight, or quickly at all for that matter. It will require plenty of effort, time, planning, devotion, and dedication to your craft. Despite what some may tell, making money off of your art, and possibly a living, is possible and a lot easier today due to all the opportunities that are available online.
Once you decide you want to try making money off your art, you may feel lost as to what to do next. With just a few online business tips and tricks, you can start thinking like an entrepreneur and transform your artistic hobby into an online business.
Coming Up With a Business Plan
When people decide to venture into the world of selling their art, they often do not realize they are essentially starting their own business. In reality, they will be selling a product to customers. Just like any business that is just starting out, a business plan is one of many online business tips and tricks that will help you think about how you will turn a profit by selling your art. Your business plan can be as formal or as casual as you want it to be. Just grab a notepad or start a word document and put down as many ideas as you can think of.
Consider aspects of your business such as a mission statement, a vision statement, your competitors, finances, marketing, and process. Also, think about the demographics of your potential customers. This includes their income level, their goals, where they live, where they usually buy art, and their any interests or hobbies.
A Mission Statement
A mission statement is perhaps one of the most important online business tips and tricks to help come up with a business plan. To help craft an effective mission statement, think about your short term and long term goals and how you will define success. Try to be completely honest, realistic, and specific as possible. Depending on the artist, these answers will vary drastically. Define your mission statement will help you define your online art business and help alleviate any nervousness. Visualizing and defining your online art business will also allow you to see what next steps will be required to grow your online art business into a profitable endeavor. Coming up with a mission statement is one of the best online business tips and tricks because it will also help you craft an artistic statement later on down the road, which will appear on your website.
Identifying Your Target Customer
Since you have already thought about the demographics of your potential customers, identifying your target customer should be a bit easier. Nonetheless, identifying your target customer is one of the best online business tips and tricks. A target customer is an important and commonly used marketing term. It basically refers to your ideal customer, or in other words the those who are most likely to buy your work. Once you identify your target customer, you can begin to better promote your art work with turning a profit in mind.
There are many free business guides online that will ask you a series of questions to help you determine the demographics of your target customer. Be sure to focus on their shopping habits and income level so you have an idea of what they can afford. This will help you gain their business. If you are competing with other jewelry stores, for instance, you may not offer products with as much variety in price point.
It is important to do your due diligence here since the entirety of your marketing strategy will be tailored towards your target customer. Considering how many ways there are today to market your art work, such as social media, email newsletters, galleries, art fairs, and blogging, you will have to focus on a few to be as effective as possible. Based on the demographics of your target customer, choose a few marketing tools to accompany your online shop and include them in your business plan.
Many artists dread the prospect of handling their business’s finances, but it is an essential responsibility involved in starting an online art business. If you are at all dismissive about the financial aspects of selling your art, you will be setting yourself up for professional, personal, and financial failure and unfulfillment. With these online business tips and tricks, that will not happen. It is never too early to begin planning for your business’s financial situation and how you will maintain your livelihood. Try to take any uncertainties or guesswork out of the situation and figure out exactly how much income you will need to cover your business expenses and turn a profit. One of the most important aspects of your finances is the cost of supplies, whether it be acrylic paint or inkjet printer parts. It is also important to keep your personal expenses separate from your business expenses in order to not create confusion or an imbalance.
As your business grows, you will always have the option to go back and alter your budget for your business. For instance, you can rent a meeting space for your business. Once you have a list of expenses for your business, you need to figure out how you will cover the price until your business starts to turn a profit. You will probably have to hold down a day job for the time being or turn to your savings, business loans, artist grants, a joint income, a crowdfunding campaign, or selling some art work you already have. However, you raise the funds, have a solid plan for paying them back. About as 70% of all small businesses in the United States currently struggle with debt. Even though it may not be your strong suit as an artist, planning ahead for financial success is one of the most important online business tips and tricks.
Consistently Turning a Profit
Pricing your art work in order to turn a profit on a consistent basis can be one of the toughest parts of an artist’s business plan, but it is one of the best online business tips and tricks for your art store. Pricing your art correctly is a crucial step if your ultimate goal is to make a living off of your art and become a professional artist. The starving artist is a common archetype, but it does not have to be. Your success as a professional artist will largely depend upon your business plan and pricing your work is a crucial part of it. When setting prices for your art work, follow a few simple guidelines such as doing your research, confidence, transparency, staying consistent, having multiple price points, and always giving yourself a living wage.
One of the most important guidelines for pricing your work is to be aware of all of your costs and ensure that they are included in the price of your work. These costs include materials, time, shipping, parcel pricing experts, and framing. Even if you do not remember to include these costs, you will still have to pay for them yourself at a later point. As an artist, you possess a certain set of skills that certain people value and are willing to exchange compensation for. Think about the hourly wage you feel your services are worth and settle on a reasonable amount. In 2019, the average hourly wage for fine artists, including painters, illustrators, and sculptors, was around 24 dollars, according to the United States Department of Labor. Once you decide on your hourly wage, work that figure into your pricing.
If you need one, you can try a pricing formula like the ones used by a corporate art dealer to help you with pricing. Some formulas take the size of the work into account, while others only consider the cost of supplies and labor. Your education and skill level may affect prices as well. Regardless of how you determine your prices, make sure you are considering all costs and will consistently turn a profit by selling your art online.
Applying for Licensing
Before you start selling any of your art work, you have to make sure your online business is legal, and in compliance with all local laws. If you are an artist selling your work online, you are required by law to hold a business license. Another one of the best online business tips and tricks is to do some research and determine what kind of business structure you want to form before applying for any license or permits. A sole proprietorship is the most popular choice for artists because it is the easiest type of business to get started. Since every state’s law for starting a business are different, you will want to do some research on your state’s Department of Revenue website, your local Clerk of Courts website, and the website for the Internal Revenue Service. Here you will find the steps necessary to start your online art business. If necessary, business attorneys can help you with this sometimes complex process.
To start your online art business, you will also need a name. Branding is important for any business. Using your own name followed by studio or art. This adds a personal touch that your business would not have otherwise. It also gets your name out there amongst your customers. Also, be sure to check whether or not that business name is already taken.
Creating a Website
Today, it is almost unheard of to have a business without a website to accompany it. Building your online image is one of the best online business tips and tricks to promote and sell your art. Your online presence should include a professional website and social media accounts to complement it. Aspects you should focus on include having high-quality photos of your artwork, a well written about you section, contact information that is easy to find, and a succinct and memorable web address and usernames on social media. Well done well, all of these factors will work in conjunction to build your brand. If you can spare the expense, PR companies can work wonders for developing your brand.
There is almost no excuse not to build a beautiful website to accompany your business. There are plenty of free resources available online such as premade templates, designs, and guides follow along. Even if you have no experience as a web designer, you can build a professional looking website all on your own. If not, custom web design services are available to help. In terms of social media, try to focus on doing a few sites well rather than trying to be everywhere at once. Consider your target customer and focus on the quality of posts rather than the quantity.
Managing a Business
After you have come up with a business plan and worked out all the legal aspects, your focus will turn to managing the business. As an artist, many responsibilities of running a business may not come naturally to you, such as managing inventory, sales records, customer contact information, invoices, and scheduling. However, in time, you will learn to become a better business owner and manager. There is plenty of assistant software for artists who are venturing into the world of online business for the first time. This business software will help you keep everything mentioned above in order, as well as making other business tasks a breeze. With these online business tips and tricks, you will not only stay more organized but have more time to focus on your art.