3 Ways To Make Money With Your Art Blog

By Nicole Tinkham

money-art-blog

Your blog does not just have to be a diary for yourself. It can be but if you are a professional artist blogging about what you do and different art tips and techniques, you can very well make money from your blog! And really, it’s not all that difficult to do either. Of course you want great content so keep on creating that for your readers. But there are a few extra things you could do as well to really get your blog going. In this post, we’ll walk you through 3 ways to actually make some extra money with your art blog. Remember, your time is valuable (we know the time and effort that goes into blogging!) so why not allow yourself to earn a little extra money while doing it?

1.    Sell on your blog

The first and most obvious answer to earning money through your art blog is to sell your work on it! You can set up a shopping cart (most likely linked to your PayPal account) or hire someone to set it up for you.

In addition to your artwork, you can also sell your knowledge. We’re talking PDFs, ebooks, guides, video series, CDs, audio and any other way to get your message out there. You can share your top tips and techniques for watercolor painting or a guide on how to keep your art room organized. Become and expert in that area and share your knowledge to help others.

You may be wondering first off how to do all of this and secondly, where you’ll find people to sell to. We honestly aren’t techies here so we recommend doing a little research, finding a friend to help you, or hiring someone to do the online work for you with getting everything set up. We’re just providing the inspiration so a professional can help you further with the production side of things.

When it comes to finding the right people to sell to, just keep providing incredible content! Talk to your readers and understand what they want. Cater to them and they’ll keep coming back to your blog, gain trust with you, and eventually buy from you.

You can also drive more traffic to your blog through guest blogging. Reach out to other bloggers in your niche, figure out how you can help them with your unique content, and ask to write a post for them.

2.    Affiliate marketing

Don’t worry, this sounded totally foreign to us at first too until we did a little research and found out how easy it really is. Amazon has an affiliate program where you can promote products (related to your niche) and earn a commission on sales through the link. You don’t have to worry about selling and shipping the items yourself as the affiliate company takes care of that part. All you have to do is share their link on your blog.

It’s basically like telling a friend about the art brushes you have fallen in love with and then that friend goes out and buys them based on your recommendation. Only with affiliate marketing, you make some money off that sale too.

Now we do want to warn you to think about what your readers want! If the link has nothing to do with what your blog is all about (like car parts on your art blog) you will lose your readers. If you have way too many ads on your blog, you’ll turn off your readers. Be sure to try the product out first and only use the affiliate link if you truly believe in the product.

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, you will have to sign up with an affiliate program. You won’t start earning money just by adding random links in your post. Here’s a great resource to help you get started with affiliate marketing.

3.    Write product reviews

Have you ever dreamed of playing around with different art supplies and getting paid for it? Go ahead and write reviews for other companies. Reach out to different art manufacturers, be interested in any new products they’re offering, and ask to write up a review on it. You’ll probably at least get some free supplies out of it 🙂

We’ve seen this done for food and travel bloggers so we’re sure artists can have so much with it as well. Product reviews are basically a win-win for both you and the company you’re working with. You’re providing valuable content for both audiences.

Also, people LOVE looking up reviews on Google. This means your blog will pop up more often in the search engine results, driving even more traffic to your blog.

We’ll be honest, it’s not always easy reaching out to these companies to write a review for them though. Make sure you do your research first. Read their blog and become familiar with the company. When contacting these companies (start with email), be completely honest about your site traffic and subscribers. They can easily do their homework and find out the truth so don’t even try lying about it. Once you do get a review to write, stay in contact with them through the whole process and keep them informed.

If you’re serious about writing reviews, check out this helpful article that goes into more detail.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at this point, you’re not alone. We’ve mentioned briefly 3 different ways to make money with your art blog and each thing on this list takes time and effort. You’ll notice that your blog audience will increase slowly (ours did anyway) but once you get the momentum going your blog will keep growing as long as you’re consistent with it. Same thing goes with earning money through your blog. Don’t become discouraged for not making thousands of dollars overnight. Be patient and keep providing incredible content to your audience. You will get there!

Why Isn’t Anyone Buying My Artwork??

By Nicole Tinkham

artwork

When your artwork just isn’t selling, your first thoughts might be that you’re a terrible artist. Of course this isn’t true but as soon as that one thought creeps in, the negative voices start to flood your mind. First of all, shut them up right now because we know just how amazing you really are. Secondly, we’re about to unveil the mystery and explain why your artwork isn’t selling-it’ll blow your mind. None of the following 5 reasons has anything to do with the quality of your work. Now let’s dive in so you can start earning some money through your artwork!

1.    Your presentation

To sell your artwork you must create a vision so the buyer can picture how incredible it will look in their space. Photograph it hung on the wall of your own (or a friends) home where it really stands out and makes a statement. Be sure your lighting is on point and really accentuates your work. If your art is hung in a gallery, consider how easy that gallery is to find and the shape that gallery is in. A nice clean environment is what you’re looking for. You must be professional when showing your work. Remember that this is a business so invest in the tools (photographer, lighting, camera, etc.) you need to show off your incredible work in the best possible way.

2.    Your pricing

Can we agree that pricing your artwork to sell is hands down the most difficult part of being an artist? If you price it too high, people will walk away. Too low and you’re undervaluing your work. When setting your pricing, consider the time spent creating, the money that went into supplies, and your own expertise (how experienced of an artist are you?). This should help you with the process and we recommend looking to other successful artists to learn from them as well.

3.    Your relationship with buyers

If you only have one thing in mind (money) when talking to potential buyers, they will know! No one likes to be sold on anything, even if it’s something they actually want. However, people can connect through genuine relationships. So before you make a sale with someone, get to know them a little first. What is their family like? What do they like to do on the weekends? Be interested in them and you’re more likely to get that sale. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t! They may turn around and do business with you later on.
4.    Your marketing

You cannot expect to create a masterpiece and instantly have a ton of buyers flock to you. Just like Target can’t put a vacuum on sale without telling anyone about it and expect to sell a ton of them. The key is getting out there in front of people. Let the world know what you’re doing and what you have to offer. How is anyone going to buy that fish painting you did a year ago when you never share it with anyone? Do people outside of your close network even know that you’re an artist?? This is something your neighbor’s cousin should know! Share what you’re doing on your website, social media sites, at events, casual conversation, and anywhere else you can think of. By the way, marketing isn’t anything complicated. You can certainly get into a whole marketing plan but for now, let’s keep it simple. This is your life so just talk about what you do.

5.    You aren’t standing out

We aren’t saying that your artwork isn’t amazing because we’ve seen it (through our Facebook page) and it truly is wonderful. What we’re saying is to understand your potential customers. What are they looking for? How can you make your artwork stand out from everything else? If what you’re doing right now isn’t working, try something different. Maybe it’s a matter of choosing a different subject, a different size canvas, or a color palette you don’t normally work with. Learn new techniques and keep expanding your skills.

If you’re sitting there right now thinking that your artwork is garbage and that’s why you aren’t selling anything, think again. It all has to do with what happens AFTER the artwork is complete, for example, pricing and marketing yourself. Never doubt yourself. You are so very talented and there are many people who are just dying to get their hands on your creations. They just have to know about you and the work that you do. So when in a rut, refer back to these 5 reasons why no one is buying your artwork and make some adjustments where needed.

Have you been successful in selling your artwork? Please leave a comment below with your best tips!

7 Ways To Have Fun With Your Art Again And Why It’s So Important

By Nicole Tinkham

fun-art

It’s possible you got started on this art journey for one reason: To have fun (so we’re guessing anyway). That’s how many artists begin their art career. They have a passion for art and they take the leap and start creating to earn an income. Doing what you absolutely love for work is the ultimate dream. But what happens when it begins to feel more like “work” and less like fun? We all get into these ruts from time to time so don’t get down on yourself for feeling this way. Maybe you’re stuck on a particular project, can’t think of any creative ideas, or just lost your spark. Don’t give up on that dream just yet. Before doubting yourself thinking you just weren’t cut out for the art life, read on for 7 ways to have fun with your art again and why it’s so important.

1.    Try something new

When it comes down to just trying something new with your art there are endless ways to mix things up. Need ideas? We got ‘em!

Try a different medium, take an art workshop, paint a different subject, work outside, work with other artist friends, learn a new skill or technique, change up your color palette, listen to music while you work, work in silence, work on a different size canvas, create something just for yourself, watch some art YouTube videos, pick up a new book for inspiration, take on a new challenge (like a 30 day sketchbook challenge), find a new tool to try out, sit rather than stand when creating, change your environment, work from real life versus a photo, and our list goes on and on..

One of the main reasons why you could be feeling less than enthusiastic about the work that you’re doing is because you’re burned out. You’ve been doing the same things for far too long and it has simply gotten boring. Any little shift in the way you work or what you’re working on can bring new creative inspiration and joy into your artwork.

2.    Work in a creative atmosphere

As we mentioned above about doing the same things over and over again, being in the same environment day after day can also wear you down. Your environment has a huge effect on your feelings and your feelings have a huge impact on your artwork. Maybe your studio needs a makeover. Rearrange things so your space makes you feel happy. You’ll notice a huge difference not only in your attitude but also in the quality of your artwork.
Our biggest suggestions when making adjustments to your art space are to get organized (yes, you may have to get rid of things you no longer use!), have plenty of natural light, lots of colorful inspiration, and some plants. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re comfortable in your space.

3.    Take a vacation

Just because you work for yourself as an artist doesn’t mean you can’t take days off! Plan vacations, weekends, and random days off. Do something new or something that you really enjoy outside of the studio. This gives you something to look forward to so you’re not just going through the motions every day and a nice break can bring on fresh, new creative ideas.

Be sure you get away for a bit even if it’s for a day trip. This is so refreshing and you won’t have work sitting around to worry about. Shut off your mind and actually relax! Another important thing to keep in mind is your daily business hours. Remember that you need breaks throughout the day as well.

4.    Loosen up and remember your why

Just when you’re about to give up and feel totally defeated, you must remember why you started in the first place. Remember that anxious and excited feeling when you were first starting out? You had so much joy and big goals for yourself. You started out loose and creating artwork for fun which showed in your work. As you go, you may become strict with your artwork and put more pressure on yourself. This is when the mood about your artwork shifts. You may start to resent the work that you’re doing. Instead, get back to the good ole days, create for the fun of it, and loosen up.

5.    Be yourself and trust your inner voice

It’s incredibly easy to slide out of your true personality and start acting differently once you get your art business rolling. You start to conform to what you think others want and what you see other artists doing. But it’s so important that you remain true to yourself. For starters, you’ll have fun being yourself. It’s much more difficult, draining, and time consuming trying to be someone else. Also, people need what you have to offer specifically. You were born to bring something special to this world so don’t just be a copy of someone else. Be your own unique self.

We recommend sitting down and really thinking about who you are, what your values are, and what you want to give to the world. Check in with yourself frequently to make sure you’re on point with your priorities and goals.

6.    Smile while you work

You don’t have to wait for something good to happen before you can put a smile on your face. Wear a smile no matter what, even if you’re having a terrible day. It tricks your mind and actually does put you in a better mood. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and try it 🙂

A simple smile makes you happy which helps you have fun in whatever you’re doing and also puts others in a better mood as well. You can attract better, more positive clients and just be happier in your business altogether.

7.    Work with people you love

You may think this sounds totally crazy but you do not have to work with negative clients who stress you out. Choose to work with the people you get along with and who make you happy. It makes dealing with clients much easier and a happier experience for you both. You can also gain a strong lasting relationship and build trust with them. It’s much better to have quality clients who stick around than flaky ones who cause you stress.

Why is it so important to love what you do?

Would you wake up on your days off, weekends, and vacations to scrub the bathroom floor and spend the day doing other miserable things you hate doing? Yes, these things need to be done but chances are you won’t be doing these things all day long on every single day you have available. With that being said, why would you wake up every day and spend your time doing things you don’t like even when it’s for work? What we’re trying to say is life is just too short to not like what you do and by the way, you do have a choice. You chose to be an artist for a reason, because it excites you and you enjoy it. Just because your flame may be going out doesn’t mean you should give up on that dream. You can easily bring that spark to life by applying the 7 ways to have fun with your art.

Remember, you were born for more than to just go through the motions of every day life. You may have to tweak your path but you should never give up on your dreams.

6 Things To Do When You Feel Burned Out

By Nicole Tinkham

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Burn out doesn’t just happen when you’re overworked in the office. Listen up artists; it can happen to you too! And it could be even worse. You know those creative blocks you get when you just cannot think of any brilliant ideas or you’re at a loss when trying to complete a project? You’re most likely burned out and it happens so frequently among artists because when those creative ideas do strike, you’re in constant work mode jumping from project to project. We know many artists who work straight through the night on big projects. That’s tough on the mind and the body! It doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s a job you’re not fond of or one that you love. Burn out happens to us all and we’ve discovered 6 tricks you can do next time you feel this way. Read on for ways to clear your mind and get back in the game.

1.    Get out and stay active

Your first instinct when you need a break may be to sit yourself on the couch in front of the TV. While this may turn off your brain, there are better ways to disengage from work and really escape reality. Stay active and go out for a hike or a walk. Get out there and do something new and different. Go on an adventure and find a new park. Whatever you do, just get out of the house. Even if you’re at home doing nothing on the couch, your mind can wonder back to work related things. But if you’re staying active, you’re keeping your mind busy so you won’t worry so much about your stresses.

2.    Disconnect

Drama lives online and can easily find its way to your Facebook news feed. If you really want to clear your mind and get out of burn out, you need to disconnect. Turn the phone, tablet, computer, and TV off. Get connected with yourself. Read a self development book, write in a journal or get out and meet with friends (it’s different in person than online!). The length of time you choose to disconnect is totally up to you but even just a few hours can make a huge difference.

3.    Change your surroundings

Your surroundings can trigger your thoughts. That’s why they say not to have your home office in the bedroom. When you’re trying to sleep, your work in the corner of the room will remind you of all the things you need to and should be doing. Spending too much time in the art studio when you’re already burned out can become stressful. You’re putting all this pressure and stress on yourself. The best thing you can do is completely leave your work area even if you still have work to do. Head to a coffee shop or library to get some work done. Or meet up with a friend to swap creative ideas. Changing your surroundings tricks your mind. You’re in a new place and will hopefully have new ideas. If you don’t physically leave your space, just change it up. Clean it up, rearrange things, or get new furniture. Just make it fun and different! Even small changes can make you feel like you’re in a totally different place.

4.    Get more sleep

Getting more sleep will help you feel refreshed every morning, ready to get back at it. But that’s easier said than done, right? Here are a few of our tricks to getting better sleep:

•    Turn off your phone, tablet and any other devices ahead of time (they say the light from these will keep you awake longer)

•    No caffeine after 2PM – even if you don’t think it affects your sleep, it can!

•    Make sure the room is dark, cool, and quiet

•    Read something positive before bed. This will help you de-stress and wake up feeling better.

5.    Help someone else

The best way to help you is to help someone else. Plus switching gears and focusing on different problems other than your own will get your brain thinking in a different way. Then when you come back to your project, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go. On top of all that, helping others just feels really good 🙂

6.    Schedule downtime

It’s easy to say you’ll take a break, go on vacation, turn your mind off, and escape but we rarely actually do it. The problem is we have this long list of to-dos marked on the calendar. We make sure to get the busy work done but we don’t schedule in any downtime to just relax. We believe the key to enjoying time away from work is to act as if this downtime is an important business meeting. Put it on your calendar and follow through with it. This could be taking breaks throughout the day, planning for vacations, planning for relaxing weekend time, day trips, or visits with friends and family. Schedule these times in advance and actually do them! When you say you’re going to give yourself a break, follow through on your commitment. Getting the proper rest will actually allow you to accomplish more when you get back to your list.

Next time you cannot think of that brilliant idea for a project or the thought of going into the office to put in long hours makes you want to pull your hair out, simply take a break. You’ll be amazed by how much more productive you are when you get the rest and relaxation you need. Be active and try something new, put down your phone for the day, change up your environment, get more sleep, help someone else for a change, and schedule that downtime for yourself. You deserve it! These 6 things will definitely rejuvenate you and help get out of burn out. Give them a try and let us know how it works for you.

The 4 Phases of Handling Negative Feedback

negative-feedback
By Caleb Hoopingarner

Words are powerful. Think back to a time when someone spoke something over your life, either negative or positive. What was the outcome? Did those words stick with you as you grew up? Did you start to believe those things said about you, whether uplifting or discouraging? It’s amazing the impact and weight our words carry. Over the past few years of running a highly engaged Facebook page and Blog, we’ve faced our fair share of encouraging and critical words. We’ve all been there before- you put out what you think is an amazing story, post, or email piece, and you get a comment that completely throws you for a loop. Isn’t it crazy how one negative comment can overshadow all of the other inspiring and uplifting comments in a thread? It’s like we disregard the good and only think about that one bad review. While your natural instinct could be to quickly delete the comment and move on with your life, we actually think this is the worst possible reaction. Here’s why: the commenter wants their voice heard. In order to get the most out of this situation, you’ll do yourself and others good by addressing their comment, seeking to understand their perspective, consider what they have to say, and explaining your decision and reasoning to them. If you want to learn to seek the valuable lessons in negative feedback, read on for four phases of handling negative feedback to leave your customer with a positive experience.

1.    Address the comment

So someone left a terrible comment on your Facebook page, a recent blog post, or on some other platform. What you do next shows how in touch you are with your audience. The worst thing you can do is ignore the comment or delete it right away. This shows that you’re either scared to face a little bit of criticism, or you’re only ok with your customers when they say nice things about you. Reality check- being in business is tough, and receiving negative feedback is just part of it. Your goal is to learn from the situation and do what you can to turn the relationship around. Make them feel GOOD about your company despite what they originally thought when they made the comment or review. Maybe they had a bad experience and this is their way of letting you know. Even if you don’t agree with how they are handling it or the words they’re saying, your business can be better because of their comments.  We all want to be heard, which is probably the reason they made the comment in the first place. Hear them out! Remember, your reaction says a lot about you and your company so you want to respond wisely.

2.    Understand their perspective

If someone leaves a negative comment about your company, it’s understandable if you want to get a little defensive. After all, this is your company and you know how good you really are. But hold off on that. Instead, take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Now put yourself in their shoes so you can see from their point of view and try your best to understand where they’re coming from. Is their complaint valid? Would you feel the same way if a certain situation happened to you? Is this something others are experiencing too? If so, you may need to step back and take a look at where this issue is coming from. Even if you still truly believe the comment is false, do your best to view it from the other side, and then respond from that place.

3.    Consider what they have to say

Let’s make this clear right off the bat: you do not have to agree with the negative comment or review. BUT, your customers have a unique perspective that you do not. They feel pain points a lot quicker than you do, and in ways unfamiliar to people on the inside. They might hate the way your website functions when you think it’s incredibly well-designed and user-friendly. This is why listening to what your customers say will make or break your company. After all, you are doing this for them, not the opposite. If they’re talking, you better listen! Could you make some changes for a better customer experience? What are the pros and cons of making a change? Have others made similar comments in the past? Sometimes we are blind to issues and the way we do things in our own company. This is why analyzing negative feedback and making the appropriate changes (when they make sense) can actually help your business more than getting positive comments.

4.    Explain your decision

After taking the comment into serious consideration, it’s time to make your decision and have strong reasoning to back it up. This lets the customer know that you’ve thought over what they had to say and you’ve considered their suggestions. This does not mean you have to make changes simply because of their comment though. Point out the valid points they mentioned in the review and thank them for bringing it to your attention. State your plan of action and tell them why you chose to go a certain route.

Trust us, you are not the only one who receives negative feedback. Here’s an example of one we received and how we handled it.

We have an email list for artists whom we typically send out art workshop information and sale flyers to. Since we received a great response on our Keeton’s Facebook page with our encouraging and inspiring posts, we decided to add to the emails an encouraging story written by a different Keeton’s employee each week. We were blown away by the positive responses we started receiving about these emails. We were truly helping our customers on a deeper, more personal level. However, we did receive an email from a regular customer complaining about how our emails should be strictly art related. Instead of ignoring the customer’s response, we considered what she had to say. Were we sending out too many emails? Were these emails not providing value? How many positive comments have we received? We even looked at the open rate of these emails versus the other emails we were sending out. Our conclusion was to keep the encouraging emails as they were helping far more people than that one customer. We explained to her our reasoning and suggested she just delete the Monday morning emails when they come in.

It’s ok to disagree with negative reviews you receive. The important thing is to hear your customer out and take any and all comments into consideration. You want to keep a positive relationship with them and turn their negative experience into a positive one. Even if you don’t agree with what they have to say, try to come up with a solution that helps them with their problem. Also, don’t take negative reviews to heart. We know how devastating they can be but people just like to voice their opinion. Remember that. Although a punch to the gut can hurt, consider all the positive feedback you get as well. You can’t make everyone happy but you can address their concerns and be understanding to their problems.  Next time you receive a negative comment, stop yourself from deleting it and instead try out these four phases of handling negative feedback to build positive relationships with your not so happy customers. And for more information on your online reputation and why it matters, visit our friends over at Reputation Management. They do a great job at explaining why your reputation is an important thing to consider and some shocking stats you need to know!

How To Grow A Community Of Like Minded People

By Nicole Tinkham

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I am so blessed to be part of two very special online communities; one being the creative, goofy, fun group on the Keeton’s Facebook page and the other being the positive and uplifting people on my personal Facebook page. So many of our friends are thanking us for this community where people can just be themselves but really, we should be thanking YOU. Without our fans, our page would be nothing! We wouldn’t have a community at all. Our Facebook friends are the ones who lift us up and inspire us each and every day. As mentioned, I feel incredibly lucky to be part of both communities and if you just don’t quite fit into a particular tribe, I want to share with you how to create your own. I’ll explain how you can feel comfortable just being yourself, how you can connect to others and build friendships, how to grow your tribe, and how to share content that people want to see. This is great for any artist starting their own business or for anyone who just wants to meet new people. Read on for how you can grow a community of like minded people as we have.

Being Yourself

This is so important! There are many artists just like you out there so you must show the world how joining your tribe is different than anyone else’s. What about yourself makes you totally unique? What can other people relate to? If you’re an artist starting a new business, keep in mind that there’s more to who you are than just your art business. What else are you passionate about? Cooking? Pets? Family? These are the things that will make you stand out from everyone else. Don’t be scared to let your true self shine because there is someone out there exactly like you and when you draw that particular person to your community, something magical happens. There’s a special connection that takes place and a lifelong friendship is built.

Building Trust

Building trust has a lot to do with consistency. Say you’re building your community on Facebook. You better be posting at least one thing every day. You can’t just disappear for awhile and pop up whenever you feel like it. People won’t follow you. They want consistent information that they can relate to. In order to form these relationships you must show up every day. Also be open to your community. Share your struggles and vulnerabilities. They can relate to that and most likely they’ll want to help you out.

Relate To Your Audience

Always share your story with your community. If someone mentions that they’re struggling with a particular thing and you can relate, share that story with them and how you overcame it. If you don’t have a story of your own that deals with their situation, share a friend’s story and how they went through the same thing. People don’t like feeling that they’re the only one’s going through difficulties. Support them and let them know they’re not alone.

Provide Valuable Content

Remember that your tribe is very similar to your own personality. When you’re talking to this person, think about what interests you. What is something you would “like” on Facebook? What’s a blog topic you would read about? What are some things you excel at and can teach to others? What are some things you want to learn more about? What is your community asking for? Be sure you’re providing great content and advice so they keep coming back for more.

Talk To A Specific Person

Don’t try to reach every single person. When you do this, you aren’t truly connecting with like-minded people. Once you narrow down your audience and speak to a specific person that you can relate to, that’s when the relationship really builds. Also remember that you have the choice on who joins your tribe! If you’re too broad with your reach, you may catch some people that just don’t mesh well with your community.

Encourage Growth

Once you start building your community, encourage them to invite their friends to join you as well. Make it clear who the community is for and if others have friends who fit, this is a great way to grow the community. Eventually their friends will start inviting their friends and from there it will really expand.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running your own business or just want to be part of something bigger than yourself. Anyone can create and grow a community of like minded people. It all starts with you being yourself. Share your own stories, struggles, successes, and at least one thing that makes you totally unique. Be consistent and show up every day. Remember, growing this community should excite you! If someone lands in your community and they don’t seem to belong, hear them out. Start a conversation and figure out what it was that made them join in the first place. Most likely if it’s not for them they’ll leave and move on to something that does suit their needs. People will come and go but the strong friendships you’ll make in your community are the ones that will last forever.

Tell us, what’s one unique thing about yourself that you could share with your community?

How To Start An Art Business: 3 Action Steps To Do Today!

By Nicole Tinkham

How To Start An Art Business_ 3 Action Steps To Do Today!

We engage with hundred of artists on our Facebook page every week, and wanted to take a moment to brag on how amazing your work is. We are always blown away at the response we get anytime we ask to see their artwork. But we also see some frustration. Many of you have the dream of following your passion but feel stuck in a full-time job or other responsibilities where you can’t give your art your complete attention. We want to help you get there! We believe in you and your dreams. We know that you are capable of incredible things and we want you to succeed. But first you’ll have to put in some serious work. If you want to start your own art business but have no clue how to begin, here are the 3 action steps you can do TODAY to get started on your new journey.

What exactly do you want to do?

If your answer to this question is “do art” you need to dig a little deeper. Before starting any business, you must have a clear plan and vision on where you want to take it. The first thing you must do is find your niche. Many of the artists we know are so talented in many areas but we recommend narrowing it down and getting laser focused on one particular thing you do well. We say this because you need to stand out in the crowd. There are so many artists just like you trying to make a living with their art. You have something different to offer this world. Stop trying to do everything and instead do one thing really well. Do that one thing like no one else. Choose something that other people aren’t doing or if they are, put your own unique spin on it. We understand that it’s easy to think that the more variety of artwork you produce, the more people you will attract. However, if you really get focused on one type or style, you will build a strong following of supporters. Those who like your unique style will keep coming back for more and will love everything you put out there. To us, it’s more valuable to gain the trust of some loyal customers than to have many customers come and go who may not return.

Finding your niche isn’t an easy thing to do. Don’t just sit down for 5 minutes and think of something. Take plenty of time to figure out where you want your art business to go. Here are just a few action steps you can take right away to help you figure out your niche:

•    Take a look at your artist portfolio. What stands out to you? What’s your favorite piece? What did you have most fun creating? What do you get the most compliments on?

•    Ask for opinions. Let some of your artist friends take a look at your art portfolio and explain to them what you plan to do. Ask non artists as well what they like from your portfolio and also current customers. Is there a common theme of what they like? Sometimes an outsider can give you insight on where your talents lie better than you yourself can.

•    Look at the competition. What are other artists in a similar niche doing? How can you be unique and different? Why would someone rather do business with you?

Get down to business!

When starting an art business, or any business for that matter, it’s important to treat it like a business. We could be wrong but we’re going to assume that your talent lies in creating artwork, not in building a business and that’s totally ok. You don’t need to run out and get a business degree or anything like that, but having an understanding of the basic business principals is always good to know before getting started. Here are some initial things you’ll want to start thinking about now:

•    Pricing your work to sell
•    How you will market yourself
•    Managing business expenses

This may not be the fun and exciting part of your art business, but challenge yourself to learn a little about the business world each day. You can pick up a few books, listen to audio, research online, watch YouTube videos, or ask someone else to help you out with it. Never feel like you’re alone on this journey. There are so many people and resources out there to help you along. Remember that you can look up just about any question you have on Google and find an instant answer!

Grow your network

Once you get your business going you’ll need customers, right? So why not start growing your network now? Let the people already in your life know what you’re future business plans are. They may even be able to give you valuable feedback. Also begin meeting new people that you connect with that could be future customers. Start by being active in your art community and get your name out there. Have your friends spread the word of what you’re doing and be sure to have all these new contacts saved in one place. You can organize all contacts in a spreadsheet or write them down in a notebook if you’re a pen and paper kind of person. Either way is perfectly fine as long as you’re keeping track of it! You can also explore online forums and Facebook groups relating to something you’re interested in (doesn’t necessarily have to be art related). This is a great way to find like-minded people and build that relationship with them so when you do start up your business, they’ll already have an interest in buying from you.

Your homework for today is: Make a list of 100 people you already know. This could be close friends, family, your neighbor, someone from your past that you haven’t spoken to in awhile, or your hair dresser. 100 People sounds like a lot but if you really think about everyone you know, you’ll have your list created in no time. Once you have this list, it’s time to start reaching out to these people. You don’t have to jump in and tell them all about your business plan right away. Just catch up with them and see how they’re doing. If you have the chance to mention your new art business, go for it but make it sound natural.

Starting your own art business isn’t as easy as just creating art and having fun with it. We definitely think having fun and enjoying yourself is a huge part of success but there is more that goes into the business side of it. First you’ll have to figure out exactly what you want to do and determine your niche. You’ll also have to learn basic business practices or have someone help you get started. And you’ll always have to be growing your network so you constantly have new buyers. Not only will these three action steps get your art business started right but they’ll also open your eyes as to what’s involved in running your own business. Maybe you’ll discover by doing these things that an art business is just not for you and that’s perfectly fine! It’s better to find out now than later on down the road.

Do you already have your own art business? We would love to hear your story on how you got started. Feel free to share with us below in the comments!