Starting an art business is both exciting and horrifying. I can still remember how excited I was when I decided to start an art business many years ago. Before Facebook existed just to give you an idea.
But when my dreams started to turn into reality, I began to ask if this was the right thing to do.
I started to question myself because I didn’t know where to begin or how to get started.
When I began, I didn’t know how to sell products online or where I could sell my art online.
I had so many questions, and back then, the resources were not as available as they are today.
My goal for this post is to help make the process of starting an online art business more comfortable for you.
Bt the end of this post, you will know…
- How To Start An Art Business With No Money
- How To Identify What Your Wants And Needs Are
- How To Set Up A Budget
- How To Start Planning
- How To Define Your Mission
- How To Learn Who Your Target Audience Is
- Know The Cost Of Doing Business
- How To Price You Artwork For Profit
- Set Up A Business Checking Account
- How To Build A Website
- How To Build Your Brand
- How To Start A Blog
- Set Up Business Accounts On Social Media
- Network With Other Artists
How To Start An Art Business With No Money
The first step to take when you are starting your art business is to know what your objectives are. The second step is to never stop working towards your dreams.
I do have to disclose that there are going to be some bumps in the road as you go along but you will overcome them and learn from the obstacles.
The challenges you face will only make you a better business person.
You might also have to work different jobs to generate an income while you are building your art business.
Every artist I know, including myself, had to work different jobs until the business generated enough money. I still know many artists who work additional jobs for extra income streams.
You have to keep in mind that when you start an art business, it will take some time to grow your audience.
During that time, you will want to make sure that you are generating an income to pay the bills.
There might be a time when you are at a point when you have to make a decision to make your art business your career.
Let’s go back to knowing what your objectives are.
- Why do you want to start an art business?
- How much income do you need to make from your art business?
- How many hours can you devote to your art business?
- Will you be working with someone else?
- Where would you like to be in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years?
Having a clear vision of what you want will help you to make a better art marketing plan.
Once you have a clear vision of what you would like to achieve, write them down.
Writing down your goals will help to keep you accountable for your actions.
Here are some workbooks and printables to help you write achievable goals, keep accurate note and how to asses the growth of your art business.
Identify What Your Wants And Needs Are
There are going to be some upfront costs when you are starting your art business.
All of the marketing I do is free online however it does cost money for art supplies and if you want to build a website there will be some costs associated with hosting and a domain name.
An artist who is operating a successful art business knows all of their expenses and income coming in.
There are going to things that you need to invest in and there will be things that you wish you had but do not need them at this point.
For example, when I first started, I would draw where ever I could.
I didn’t have a drawing table or an office for the art business.
It would have been nice to have an office/art studio at that time, but I could not afford it at that time.
I made do with what I had, and when money was coming in, I would reinvest in my business.
Over time I was able to purchase everything I needed for an office/art studio.
Now is the time to think about what your business expenses will be.
Write down everything you need to start an art business, not what you “want.”
Art supplies – What supplies do you need to create the artwork you will be selling?
Office/art studio – Do you need ample space to work or could you find a place in your home somewhere?
Website – Could you start selling your artwork on a Facebook business page or do you need to invest in a website?
I do recommend owning a website for online art businesses. This website only costs me about $ 4 per month.
I use Siteguard for my hosting and domain name.
Yes, you could start on Etsy for a small listing fee and selling fees but when you start to sell more products, you will find that your Etsy fees will cost more than owning a website with Siteguard. And you will own this website.
You will be able to change and modify your site as your art business grows.
Other Expenses – write down any other expenses that might associate with your business like, internet, smartphone, etc.
Start An Art Business – Set Up A Budget
It takes most business up to 6 months to see any activity and up to a year or two to see a substantial profit.
Knowing this is valuable.
Putting money aside for the costs of doing business every month will help you to keep your business running during the growth process.
Having a clear vision of the cost of doing business will be the foundation of your art business plan.
During the growth process of your business, you might want to consider hustling and doing other small jobs that relate to art to help with the business costs.
Related Post: 17 Art Business Ideas To Help Supplement Your Income
While you are figuring out your business costs, you will also want to focus on your personal spending.
Track your spending for a couple of months.
Write down what you need to live on, and on a different piece of paper, write down things that you might be able to cut expenses on, like going out to eat once a week instead of five times a week.
Save money everywhere you can.
- Use coupons
- Reduce your electric bill by turning off lights in rooms that nobody is using.
- Reduce your cable bill
- Reduce your entertainment costs by eating out less or going to fewer movies.
Think of all the different ways you can save money and start doing it.
There are going to be some sacrifices you will have to make in the beginning.
But in the long run, you will be enjoying the rewards of operating a successful business.
The strategies you learn about saving money will also help you immensely for your business.
Every business starts because they have a vision of making a profit.
One of the easiest ways to make a profit is to keep expenses low.
You will be learning how to do just that while you are build ing your business.
Start An Art Business Plan
When people decide to sell their artwork, they often do think that they are actually starting a business.
But it is true.
If you are selling products or services, you are operating a business.
Now that you know that you are starting a business let’s talk about writing a business plan.
Every business that succeeds has a plan that they are implementing daily.
Everything that they do will affect their business either positively or negatively.
And the same goes for you.
The more you plan, the better you will be.
Start An Art Business By Defining Your Mission
What does a mission for business mean?
A mission statement is a sentence or two that describes a company’s function, markets, and competitive advantages.
Your mission statement is what defines your art business and provides a way for your audience to get to know your vision.
A mission statement will also help you to stay on track with your goals and prevent you from derailing and wasting time.
- What is your mission?
- What is your vision?
- How do you describe success?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What are your mid-term goals
- What are your short-term goals?
This is the point when the goals you have documented will come in handy.
Learn Who Your Target Audience Is
Identifying who the people you will be selling your art to will help you to:
- Grow your business faster
- Prevent you from wasting your time marketing to people who will not purchase your art
- Save your money on marketing expenses.
The people who have a passion for your artistic style and would love to display your artwork in their home are known as your target audience.
One of your goals is to learn everything you can about them, so you share your art with them.
I have written several posts about target audiences you might be interested in:
- Simple Strategy For Finding Your Target Audience
- Pinterest Board Tips That Will Attract Your Target Audience
- How To Find Your Target Audience In 3 Easy Steps
- What Is Your Target Audience Searching For
- 5 Ways To Find Your Target Audience On Facebook
How To Price You Artwork For Profit
Pricing your art will be one of your biggest challenges in the beginning.
Learning how to make a profit can even be more difficult.
But your goal is to make money not lose money, right?
Have you ever heard the saying, “the starving artist”?
There is no such thing.
The success of any business falls back on its plans and strategies.
The same is true for your art business.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that will help you to decide on the best price for your artwork. I wish there were.
Here is a brief outline of what you will want to focus on.
- The costs of making the product
- The time invested in making the product
- The cost of marketing the product
- The fees associated with selling a product
- Shipping expenses
The next step is to research what the market value is for artwork like yours.
Once you have all of this information, you will be able to price your artwork accordingly and make a profit.
I have written several posts that will help you with pricing your artwork.
- How To Calculate The Selling Price Of A Product
- Craft Calculator – How To Price Handmade Products
- How To Price Art Prints
- How To Price Art – 5 Essential Strategies That Increase Sales
- How To Price Your Artwork For Better Sales
- How You Can Increase Selling Prices
Set Up A Business Checking Account
Now is the time to make your art business legal.
Even though you might think that you are the only one working on your business, it is still a business.
You are required to have a business license.
Contact your accountant and ask what business structure would be best for you.
Most artists choose to classify their business as a sole proprietorship but I recommend that you do some research to find out what will be best for you.
Every state has different laws so you will also want to visit:
- Department of Revenue site
- Clerk of Courts site
- IRS site to see what the next steps you will have to take
After you have done your research you will want to create a business checking account.
Your business checking account will help you to keep track of all the business’s finances and separate your personal expenses from your business expenses.
How To Build A Website
Now that you have finished all of the tedious work let’s have fun and start building your online art gallery.
Your online art gallery will be the place where people can view and purchase your artwork
There are several different options that you have.
- Build and own a website (I recommend this option for every art business)
- Create a gallery on eCommerce solution sites (these sites have a monthly fee that could eat up your profits)
- Sell on a third-party site (Most third-party sites have a monthly fee and you will have limited customization options that will make it difficult to brand your business)
For more information visit – Sell Art Online – 16 Websites And Website Builders For Artists
If you decide to build a website I recommend using WordPress as your platform.
Visit Siteguard and discover how affordable and easy it is to have your WordPress artist website up in just a couple of minutes.
WordPress Tutorials for artists:
- How To Add WooCommerce WordPress Categories
- How To Install WooCommerce On A WordPress Artist Website
- Why Artist Websites Should Be Built On WordPress
- WordPress SEO Basics
- WordPress Categories And Tags
- WordPress SEO Plugins
- WordPress Visibility Settings
- WordPress Themes
- How To Manage Plugins In WordPress
- How To Manage Menus In WordPress
- How To Manage Widgets On WordPress
- How To Insert Links On WordPress Blog Posts
- How To Manage Comments On WordPress
- How To Embed YouTube Videos On WordPress
- How To Upload And Install Media On WordPress
- How To Create A WordPress Category
- WordPress Discussion Settings
- WordPress Page Options
- WordPress Post Options
- WordPress Permalink Settings
- WordPress Writing Settings
- How To Install Social Warfare On WordPress
- WordPress reading settings
- WordPress General settings
How To Build Your Brand
Now that you have your online art gallery you will want to focus on building a brand that will separate yourself from all of the other artists selling art online.
You want to focus on branding when you first start an art business.
Your brand will help you to attract your target audience and make it possible to recognize you on all mediums online.
Here are some helpful posts to help you with branding your art business:
- What Branding Is For Creative People
- Sell Your Paintings By Building Your Brand
- 7 Effective Social Media Tips For Growing Your Artist Brand
- 3 Easy Tips To Help Artists Build Their Brand Online
How To Start A Blog
Next is to drive traffic to your art listings and this will be done with content marketing.
Your artist blog will be the fuel that drives a tremendous amount of people to your website.
Every post you write will make it possible for your target audience to discover you in the search results and will inspire your social media following to visit your site.
To learn how to build a successful art blog visit – Best Art Blog Traffic Tips That Work
Set Up Business Accounts On Social Media
The next step is to set up business accounts on all of the social media platforms you will be marketing your artwork on.
Do some research before you start creating business accounts for every social media platform.
Discover what social media platforms your target audience visits.
Keep in mind that you are going to be working alone. There are so many hours in the day.
Related Post – Choose One Social Media Platform To Focus On
Network With Other Artists
The last thing you will want to do is to find other artists to work with.
Build a network with local people and people online.
A village is built with a tribe.
Related Post – Essential Artist Networking Tips For Creative People
Popular Art Marketing And Sales Tutorials
Below are some of the most famous art marketing courses that will grow your online art business:
Most Popular – How to Make a Living Selling What You Make by Megan Auman
Most Popular – Build a Successful Creative Blog by April Bowles-Olin
How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft by Megan Auman
Pinterest Marketing for Makers & Designers by Megan Auman
Did you enjoy this article? Don’t forget to sign up for my free weekly newsletter.
You can also join me on:
Learn how to start, grow, and monetize your online art business.