Every day, artists make a living from their art — without sacrificing their passion or their creativity. Following these five steps, you can build a successful art business that supports you and your creative spirit.

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The starving artist trope is alive and well. Creatives and artists have been told from a young age that they will have to “grow up” or “find other ways to make a living.” The truth is, though: It’s entirely possible to make a living — and build a successful business — as an artist.

Of course, building an art business doesn’t come with a handbook. On top of that, few traditional business-building practices apply. What’s more: As creatives, we often think of ourselves as right-brained (creative and intuitive) and not equipped with left-brained analytical or planning abilities. Most artists don’t view themselves as entrepreneurs , and we don’t see many examples of artists who’ve supported themselves through their art.

They exist, though. Every day, artists make a living from their art — without sacrificing their passion or their creativity. Following the five steps below, you can build a successful art business that supports you and your creative spirit. 1. A great product

It’s the same for any business: You need to have a solid product that people want to buy. While “great” is subjective in the art world, there are still standards for any medium. Potters need to create usable pottery, painters need to consider composition, and composers need to write music with certain notes in mind.

Your craft is critical when selling art . While you are an artist, and the raw talent is there, you also want to make sure that the art you’re creating is the best possible version of itself. This means potentially investing in art training, practicing your craft and even learning from fellow artists.

Learning from other artists, however, is not the same as emulating other artists. When we start to think about selling our art, it’s normal to start looking around to see what other artists are creating or selling. This isn’t the way to create our strongest art that people want to buy, though. Creating “honest art” is, however.

Honest art is the art that’s true to you and your skills. Honest art is the art only you can create. The more true to your skills and experience, the more likely your art will draw eyes and buyers. 2. A business plan

Most artists will avoid “planning” like the plague. It sounds too structured, too rigid and too detailed. Generally, artists are visionaries and dreamers, not planners.

The good news is: Your art business plan does not have to be an 18-page typed document that you submit to the bank or investors for funding. This plan is just for you, so that you can clearly see if you’re on track (and on task).

You’ll want to plan for things like collection drops, gallery shows or art fairs, commissions and artistic development. If you want to make your first sale in the next two months, that’s part of the plan. How will you make that sale?

Overall, it also helps to know how much money you need to make from your art business and how you’ll price your pieces . This way, you know you need to sell a certain number of pieces to reach that goal — and you can create a plan that helps you reach that goal from there.

Numbers, like planning, are often overwhelming for artists. However, it’s a necessary step if you want a business that’s viable and supports your needs. 3. Marketing strategies

Every business has to market its products to sell. Of course, when we think about marketing something as personal and raw as our art, it’s normal to freeze up. This is also where artists might come up against resistance — especially from art purists who believe that art and commerce should never mix.

The most effective way to overcome this is to remind yourself that sharing your art is how it makes an impact. It also helps to look to other artists, to see how they’re promoting (read: marketing ) their art in ways that feel true to their passions.

Take musicians and bands, for example. They may release their newest songs on social media or send newsletters about their upcoming appearances. Does that feel like marketing? No, it feels like they’re excited to share their creations with their fans.

Potters and illustrators also frequently announce “new product drops,” letting followers know that […]

source 5 Non-Negotiables When Building a Successful Art Business

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