By Nicole Tinkham
Do you have a dream of quitting your job to pursue your art full-time? For a lot of us, we dream and talk about our passions, but rarely move past that step. Why? It could be a variety of things, but most reasons are centered on one thing: FEAR. Sometimes it’s the fear of the unknown. What if it doesn’t work out? Where do I even begin? How will I possibly begin to market myself? Or maybe, how do I build a website? Every single question is something you must think about when deciding if taking the leap is for you. We’re not here to say that it will be easy, but we are going to help you face that fear head on, even if it means embracing it to move you to action, and not overcoming it completely. We agree, starting your own business can appear very overwhelming, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not possible! With that being said, it’s time to shift your way of thinking. It’s time to start planning how you can become a full-time artist and take that passion of yours and turn it into the fulfilled life you’ve only dreamed about so far. Let’s start by asking yourself these 5 questions.
1. What do you want to do?
Your answer to this first question shouldn’t state the obvious – be a full-time artist. Dig down a little deeper and ask yourself what you really want to do. What medium do you want to work in? What subject matter would you like to focus on? What size pieces would be your norm? You don’t have to figure it all out right away but it helps to know where you want to go in this moment. Things can always change in the future. Don’t spend too much time dwelling on this as the goal is getting things started now but do give it some serious thought. Figure out who you are as an artist.
2. Who are your customers?
Once you figure out who you are and what your purpose is as an artist, it’s time to figure out who your customers are. Think about who would share the same passion as you. Who has the same values? Most likely, your ideal customer is someone very similar to yourself. Understanding your customer is the key to selling your artwork and becoming a full-time artist. To get a better understanding of who this person is, write out a description of them. Include their age, family life, what they do for a living, their interests, and hobbies. Keep in mind the subject matter you determined in question #1 and think about who would be interested in it. This target audience will come in handy when creating your brand and marketing yourself to the right people.
3. How can you get your name out there?
Based on your target audience, consider where and what the best strategy would be to get your name out there. Where are your customers looking? Are they at networking events? Are they active in social media groups? Are they attending art shows and competitions?
Are they involved in the community?
Make a list of the places you need to be in order to find your ideal client and start making some plans right away. Also, don’t forget to reach out to the people you already know. Build relationships with the people you haven’t talked to in awhile. You never know who might know someone who could be a future client.
4. What does your brand look like?
By answering the first three questions, you’re actually already building your brand. You may not think of yourself as a brand just yet but once you begin your art business, you have to consider how you present yourself. How do you want people to feel when they do business with you? Will you have a website? A blog? An online art portfolio? What type of personality do you want to portray? How can you make every customer have a positive experience with you?
When is comes to pricing your artwork, it can get very tricky. We hear all the time that this is the one thing artists struggle with most. It’s easy to push this question aside for later but the reality of it is, you have to consider it and determine a pricing strategy before going full-time as an artist. This blog can really help when pricing your artwork. Remember to think about how much your time is worth, what materials you’re using, and the size you’re working with.
If you sat down and gave these 5 questions some thought, you’ve made a step in the right direction to become a full-time artist. A lot of things you need to face head-on have nothing to do with your artistic abilities, but instead the mindset you take into it. If you think of your art as a hobby that you work on occasionally, only dreaming of actually doing it full-time, it will remain just a dream. But if you take that dream and start planning it out, staying consistent and making moves (even if they’re small), you can and you will turn it into your reality. It may not sound fun, but planning out the business side of things is an important step that most people completely overlook when making a move like this.
Are you a full-time artist?? We would love to hear how you got there. Share your story in the comments 🙂