From Hobby to Business: What You Need To Know Before Becoming A Professional Artist (Part 1)

Every artist’s ultimate dream is to turn their passion into a profession. And why not? The joy of creating something unique and new every day, the delight in bringing their imagination to life, and the beauty of living a quiet and meaningful life are just a few of the pleasures offered by the creative field.


If you’re thinking of turning your hobby into a profession, do you know what it takes to be a successful artist? Are you ready for the long haul? If you’re unsure, read on to know some practical things to consider beforehand. In the next post, I’ll be sharing my own (unconventional) business advice for resin (and other) artists, so make sure to follow us to be notified first!


Things to Consider Before Becoming a Professional Artist


Are You Ready?


Deciding to be a full-time artist shouldn’t be done on impulse. Merely creating great art won’t suffice as you need to make a living from your profession. Hence, take stock of whether or not you’re ready to make a full-time transition as your decision comes with a lot of responsibilities.


Your timing is as important as your skills. If you aren’t ready to make the jump, there’s no shame in admitting it. Acknowledging it and knowing where you stand can save you from a lot of potential stress and anxiety.



Set Goals and Make a Business Plan


As an artist, you must remember that your art is your business. While art establishes your authenticity and creativity, it isn’t enough to pay your bills. Hence, devise a well-thought-out business plan that clearly spells out your long-term and short-term goals to ensure financial security and viability.



Pick a Niche


While it’s essential to experiment with various niches as you start your journey, you will eventually have to decide on a niche that you can become known for.


A niche could be anything from the medium of your artwork to the audience you wish to attract. For instance, if you’re a resin artist, your niches could be resin wall art, custom resin jewelry, and household items made with resin like coasters and cheeseboards.


Similarly, if you’re a painter, determine how you’d like to sell your work. You can sell prints and posters or display your original paintings in art exhibitions and sell them there.


For greater chances of success, figure out the demand for your product and fill the need accordingly. Also, find out who your competition is, and how you can stand out from the crowd.



Figure Out Your Needs


Most people want to turn their hobbies into a profession because they believe the joy and contentment they derive from them will continue during their professional journey. While some are blessed enough to experience this, it isn’t the case for everyone, especially for those who don’t have a financial safety net to fall back on if things don’t go according to plan.


If you have an emergency and suddenly need cash, it may not take long for your bliss to turn into resentment. Figure out early on if you’re ready to pursue your hobby for hours every day, with deadlines, expenses, and market demands hovering over your head.



Diversify Your Income Streams


When you start, you have to start small. However, as you progress as an artist, it’s also important to diversify your income streams. Not only does this give you greater financial stability, but it also keeps your artistic venture dynamic and exciting.


Diversifying income streams means defining and designing more than one way of receiving income from your artistic venture. While you can sell art through galleries and art fairs, you can also pursue passive income streams like licensing your art.


There are also several online platforms today that let you sell your art independently or collaborate with other artists and organizations for better reach. Look into Artsy.net, Saatchi Art, and Artfinder for help in selling your work. On the other hand, sites like Skinny Artist, DeviantArt, and Ello are great for connecting with communities of artists and for inspiration.

Online communities are a great resource, rich with information and possible business connections. They usually let you participate for free and there are numerous niche groups and sites that you can find on popular apps like Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook.



Prepare to Promote


A big downside of being an artist and a solopreneur is you’ll have to take care of all the marketing needs yourself. As daunting as it may seem, you have to learn the ropes of promoting yourself.


But even with a plethora of artists out there on the world wide web, all vying for your attention and patronage, you can’t deny that the current art scene leaves a lot of room for business opportunities and possibilities. From social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to content platforms like YouTube and blogs, there are many tools that you can use for promotion.


Here are some useful apps that can help you create and rollout great marketing content online:


Squarespace & Wix.com


Don’t have a website yet? You don’t have to have programming skills to share your work online as long as you have Squarespace, a New York-based website building and hosting company. I personally love Wix (which is what I’m using for my own website, no surprise there!) so you can choose and decide which one you like better, as they are both pretty similar in what they offer.


Since their tools and features are designed with creative professionals in mind, you can easily create your own online space by leveraging their web templates and customizing them with drag-and-drop elements.


Portfolio Box


Portfolios are to the art world what resumes are to corporations. Put your best foot forward and show the world what you can do by creating an online portfolio of your masterpieces.

Portfolio Box lets you do this by enabling you to build a website featuring your best works of art. With light monthly payments, you can showcase anywhere from 50 to 1,000 images and products on your site and even sell your work online. Since Portfolio Box doesn’t ask for any commissions, you get to keep all the profits!


Buffer & Hootsuite


Though not specifically aimed at creatives, Buffer and Hootsuite are both very similar in that they are social media planning and scheduling platforms. Instead of lining up each post manually, you can schedule a series of them in advance and have Buffer or Hootsuite publish them based on a predetermined schedule.


Buffer also offers additional features like the ability to analyze social media performance and quickly navigate to different comments so you can keep your readers engaged.



Manage Your Expenses


Managing your expenses doesn’t only refer to saving and investing your hard-earned money into your new venture. It also includes your plans for when the dry spells hit you.


Remember, if you stop working, bills will still continue to arrive. You’ll also have to figure out how to file taxes or hire a professional to do it for you. Again, this means more expenses and more financial planning.


Before taking the plunge, decide on a plan of action for managing your expenses and build an emergency fund or an expense account that you can turn to if you suddenly need cash.



Stay tuned for Part 2 where I share my personal (unconventional) business advice for resin (and other) artists!

 

Alex Labunets is an abstract resin artist and resin art teacher based in Seattle, Washington. She mainly works with epoxy resin but uses other media to achieve various results. Her work is inspired by nature and semiprecious gemstones, geodes, and agates. To inquire about a possible commission, click here. To inquire about her Resin Art Master Class, click here.


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