Studio Visit Book Vol. 1

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The business side of art: Artists discuss how to manage it all

Artwork by Fabiola Gironi

As an artist, if you feel that you have a lot on your plate, that’s because maybe you do! You will notice that for many artists, selling art can be challenging. It’s not because their art is not good enough, but because they struggle to be seen. It’s not easy to devote your time to create something and then make a successful business out of it at the same time. While it may not seem easy, it’s not impossible either!

Every week, Arts to Hearts Projects asks a question from its artist community on Instagram so artists can interact with one another. The responses we get are also a great way to provide an answer to those who are looking for guidance.

This week, we asked our followers about handling the business side of their art.

The truth is, this question may make many non-artists uncomfortable. While your followers may love your art, appreciate it, and look at it from time to time, you may not always get many buyers. It’s like an elephant in the room, where we expect artists to handle their business perfectly and don’t acknowledge the sweat and tears that go into it. That’s why it’s so important to talk about the marketing and selling aspect within your community. As always, our dear followers did not hesitate to express their honest thoughts. Lets’ look at the top responses!

Many people seemed to agree with these tips that included setting up a transition time, trading time with a friend, and setting goals along with with your fellow artists. I must admit, while all the tips are excellent, trading time with a friend is genius as it can work for those who don’t have the money to hire someone and are too shy to ask for a favor. In case you’re wondering how trading time works:

Some artists admitted that they’re not really sure how to handle it.

On a lighter note, a few had a humorous take on their unsuccessful efforts.

Artwork by Fabiola Gironi

Let’s talk about some ideas that would potentially help you run your art business.

Set a Budget and Hire Someone

The most obvious thing to do is to hire someone – that is if you can afford it. Nothing beats getting an actual professional to do a job. A person who knows marketing, business, industry, and knows how to execute the plan, that’s the person you should be looking for. Don’t forget to make a budget for it!

Ask for help

Not everyone can afford to hire someone, especially if you are a struggling artist. The next best thing you can do is ask for help. When you are doing everything, even a simple task like cleaning your work space can take a lot of time, time that you could be spending doing something productive. If you have friends, ask them to help around, even if it is just packing orders or organizing your supplies. Make sure to treat your friends with a dinner or coffee date so they feel appreciated.

Another thing you can do is something called trading time, which I have mentioned above already. For this, you can look for friends or artists that have a skill that can help your business. Ask them if they can help you get that task done, and in return you can assist them with something they need! You can also create a co-working space to make everything easier for yourselves.

Separate art work from business work

For creatives, sometimes managing the business side can feel monotonous. Without a schedule, you can also lose track of time and that can be a mess. The best way to handle you work is to keep yourself organized. Like the artists have mentioned above, designate days where you only work on your marketing strategy, so it does not get in the way of your creative process.

Build your Network and Connect with other Artists

Create your own network, the more artists you reach out to, the more support you will get in return. Go to art galleries, meet different people, and once you get any buyers, make sure to leave an impression. You can always count on a satisfied customer to refer you to their friends.

A great way to market your work is to create your portfolio on social media, and post regularly. The more reach you have, the more chances are that someone will end up buying your art!

Be consistent

Of course nothing will really work if you’re not consistent. Building your momentum and then keeping it steady will ensure that you don’t lose your sales.

Artwork by Gartner Howe

Something artists know in their bones is that while creating may be all fun (for the most part), it’s hard to get people to SEE your art. It may feel overwhelming to create and sell at the same time, and as you’ve read all the comments, you’re not alone. I hope that after reading this article, you were able to identify with other artists and are now at a better position to figure out which strategy will work best for your art business.

Don’t forget to interact with us on our weekly posts so we can continue to share more insights with you. Till then, keep creating!

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