Do you want to sell art? Do you want to be known as a working artist? In this post discover how easy it is to write an Artist Business Plan that will help you grow your art business.
Artist Business Plan
An artist business is much more than an artist creating art to sell.
It takes hard work, dedication, and planning in order to sell art on a consistent basis.
Once you have decided to start selling your art you have crossed the line of being a hobbyist to becoming a business person.
You are no longer creating art just to create art.
You are creating art to help pay the bills and put food on the table.
You will no longer be spending your time and money on supplies to create art that you will give away for free.
Your mission will be to make a profit and an honest hourly wage.
Before you start to develop a plan, you will need to answer a few questions.
Do you want to make extra income from your art to help supplement your entertainment expenses?
Do you want to make a career from your art?
Are you willing to do other activities such as teaching, tutoring or commissioned work relating to art to help supplement your income?
Do you have a steady income now to help supplement your income while you are building your business?
Do you have a support group? (People around you that will support your vision and goals)
After you have answered these questions, you are ready to start planning.
Here are some suggestions on how to write an artist business plan that will work for your vision.
The first obstacle many artists have to conquer is the fear of being a business person.
What were your thoughts when I said you will no longer be a hobbyist, you will be a business person?
Many artists I talk with get defensive or shy away.
I often hear the words, “I am an artist, I don’t want to be a marketer.”
The hard truth is, if you want to sell art you will be both, an artist and a business person.
Unless your art can support both you and a marketing team, you will have to accept you will need to do both.
Let’s use the phrase “how to make money” if you do not like to hear the word business.
If you want to supplement your income or make a career as being an artist, you will need to make money from your services and skills.
When I was a performing musician, I got paid for the time I was performing.
I get paid for providing one-on-one music lessons.
I get paid for commissioned drawings.
I get paid for providing courses and eBooks to help you learn how to build your business (sorry, how to “make money”).
There are so many ways for you to generate an income from doing something you love to do. You just have to accept that it is ok to be paid for your services and your time. You also have to accept that you are operating a business.
When you are writing your artist business plan, remember one thing, there is no such thing as the perfect plan.
Success comes from planning, not a magic plan that works for everyone. For as long as you are operating a business, you will be planning and learning.
Your strategy is what you will be focusing on. It will be strategic tactics you will be implementing on a daily basis.
Decide on what your main focus is and where you are going. It could be as simple as selling your art online, to whom and what platforms you will be using. Or it could be hosting an art show in your local area. Decide on what you are going to concentrate your business efforts on and start implementing your strategies.
Tactics are strategies you are executing. They will be decisions you make such as what platform you use to sell your art, pricing, stores, galleries, craft shows, agents, social media networks, studio and overhead costs. The tactics or ideas you implement must reflect your strategy.
For example, if you are selling art online you will need a place online where people can view and purchase your art.
Your tactic will be to build or have someone build a website where you can showcase your art and collect money.
The next plan will be to upload your art on the website and set the prices.
The following plan will be to promote your website.
Write down some measurable milestones you would like to accomplish. Start with small milestones. Something you can accomplish in a relatively short amount of time but will benefit your art business.
For example, it might be selling your first painting. Or maybe it will be to collect 100 emails for your email list. How about your first YouTube video or your first blog post.
Write them all down. When you accomplish something mark the day it was accomplished and set a new milestone.
Creating milestones will help you to stay focused on what is important at the time.
Achieving a milestone will motivate you to work as hard to accomplish the next milestone.
Many artists are afraid of writing a sales forecast simply because they do not know what it is.
“Sales forecasting is the process of estimating future sales. Accurate sales forecasts enable companies to make informed business decisions and predict short-term and long-term performance. Sales forecasting gives insight into how a company should manage its workforce, cash flow, and resources.”
All you have to do is predict how much money you will make in a year or broken down into quarters.
This information will greatly benefit your planning. You will know if the strategies you are implementing are on target or not. You will be able to make adjustments in a timely manner and you will be more focused on what matters. Making money.
Think of it like your monthly budget. You know how much your bills will cost you per month and how much income you will generate. By knowing this information you will have a clear vision of what extra money you will have to either invest or spend on entertainment.
The Four Steps
Successful artists, entertainers, small business owners and large business owners know that the plan is not what brings them success, it is implementing the plan.
A successful artist business plan has four steps.
The four steps are:
Write these four steps down. You will want to look at them every day at first. They are the most important steps you will be taking during your art career.
In time, they will become a habit and you will be doing them without even thinking about it. Until that day comes, look at those important words daily.
What Does an Artist Business Plan Need?
So far everything we went over is goal based. You are setting goals, developing a plan to achieve your goals, reviewing your actions and revising your plan.
As of now, thinking like a business person is not all that bad, is it?
It really is not that difficult. You just have to know what you want and decide how you are going to get it.
Here is a breakdown of what focus on with your artist business plan.
What is the mission of your art business?
Why do you want to sell art?
What do you want to accomplish with your business?
It might be deeper than just making money. Sit down and write your mission statement.
Many people confuse a mission statement and a vision statement. The mission statement tells “why” you have a business, the vision statement tell “where” you would like to see your business go.
Do you want your business to grow big enough so you can live in a beach house?
Do yu want to employ people and other artists?
Do you want to make just enough money so you can enjoy a night out at a fancy restaurant?
The answer is up to you, but you do want to know what the answer is.
Like I said earlier, the beginning of this post was focused on goal setting and assessing the outcome of the tactics you put in place.
Setting goals are important for any kind of movement or change.
If you want to lose weight, you have to set a goal of how much weight you would like to lose and when you would like to lose it.
If you want to make money selling art you have to make a goal of how much art you would like to sell and how much you will be charging.
Do you struggle writing goals or do you have a difficult time with time management?
If you do you might find my eBook useful, The Productive Artist – How to Live Your Dreams.
Who Are Your Customers?
You will want to be able to identify who your target audience is. Your target audience is the people who are interested in your artistic style.
They are the people who are looking to purchase your art.
Once you have a clear vision of who your target audience is, you will be able to market to them. Your chances of landing a sale increase when you market to a specific audience.
The amount of time and money you will save in the long run will be well worth the time invested know.
Here are some questions you will want to be able to answer:
Does your art attract mainly males or females?
What is the age range of your audience?
What is the yearly household income of your target audience?
What is the marital status of your audience?
What inspires your audience?
What motivates your audience?
What common problems can you solve for your audience?
What are your customer’s values?
Where does your audience shop?
What fun activities does your audience like to do?
What social media sites does your audience hang out on?
Who are Your Competitors?
Not only do you want to know who your audience is but you will also want to know who your competitors are.
Who is selling art that is similar to yours?
How long have they been selling art?
Where are they selling art?
What are their prices?
What social media sites are they using?
What strategies are they using that is working?
After you know your competitors you will want to do some reverse engineering.
Figure out what you will need to do to outshine your competition.
How can you make your website better?
How can you make your artist blog better?
How can you make your listings more appealing?
How can you shine on social media?
Your business will have expenses and you will want to be aware of what they are.
Just like life, you want to develop a budget. Decide on how much you are willing to spend on your business and stick to it.
This includes money for supplies, shipping, marketing, promotional items, and learning.
You will have to decide where you will be coming up with the money at first until your business starts to cover the costs.
It takes up to two years for most businesses to start seeing a profit. Make sure you have the funds available prior to starting a project.
The good news is that selling art online is relatively inexpensive. You will just have to purchase a domain name and hosting for your website. Everything else besides purchasing advertisements (if you choose to) can be done for free or for little costs.
How are you going to market your business?
What platforms and mediums are you going to use?
Are you going to market online, offline or both?
How much time are you going to devote to marketing?
These are important questions you are going to need to answer. Many artists make the mistake of thinking that just because they put an image of their art on Etsy it is going to sell.
It is not that easy. If it was you would not be reading this post.
You have to make people aware that your art is available for sale.
People can not buy something if they do not know it exists.
You have to show people your art.
Let them know the story behind your art.
Let them know where they can find more about your art and how they can purchase it.
That is art marketing. It is that simple, all you have to do is make people aware that you sell art and what style of art you create.
One of the most important parts of an effective artist business plan is the schedule.
When are you going to get the projects done?
Write down a schedule, just as if you were at an office job.
Know what needs to get done and when.
The schedule should include:
- Creating art
- Purchasing supplies
- Taking images of art
- Editing images
- Uploading on website
- Writing art listings
- Writing blog posts
- Social media
- Researching submitting art to upcoming shows
Writing an artist business plan is easier than you thought.
It is all about knowing what you need to do, being organized and staying focused.
Remember that your plan will change as your business grows. Without change, there is no growth.
You might also be interested in:
- How to Sell Art Online in 5 Easy Steps
- How to Sell Art Online with Pinterest
- Art Marketing Plan
- Working Artist – Getting Stuff Done
- 10 Mindsets Of A Successful Artist
Graphite drawings by Dave Nevue
Click to Purchase Prints.