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  • Sara Bailey

Starting an Art Business: 5 important details to consider (by our guest blogger, Sarah Bailey!)

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

They say when you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. So have you thought about turning your passion for art into a small business? Building a hobby-based business is a great way to blend your interests with your career, ensuring every workday is inherently fulfilling. If earning income from your art sounds like a dream come true, maybe it’s time to start making that dream a reality! That takes planning, though, so here are a few things to consider, courtesy of Elvira Dayel.

Is a Hobby-Based Business Right for You? Keep in mind that turning a hobby into a business isn’t right for everyone. Many people value their hobbies as distractions from work and a chance to step away from the daily grind. Before monetizing your art hobby, try to be realistic about what you’re going to gain and what you’re going to give up. Are you willing to give up employment benefits and paid vacations to run your own business? Will you enjoy your hobby a little less when it becomes your job? Ask yourself these tough questions and make sure you’re really ready for entrepreneurship.

When you decide that running a business is right for you, don’t let anything hold you back! If you’re concerned about the work involved in launching a business, turn to professionals who can offer guidance.

How Will You Structure Your Business? One of the first things you need to consider is how you’re going to structure your new business. Certain business structures are better for creative businesses than others, so research your options carefully. You may even want to consult a lawyer before moving forward. Some of the most popular business structures are sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, and S corporations. Each has its own pros and cons. In the end, you’ll want to pick the structure that most closely aligns with your business priorities. When in doubt, look to see what others in your field are doing!

What is Your Business Model? There are countless ways to make money as an artist. What methods will you use to generate profits for your business? Will you sell digital products? Physical paintings? Live classes? You could offer custom design services, event photography, video editing, and the list goes on. Decide what you’re going to offer your customers and how you intend to set yourself apart from the competition.

Who Are Your Target Customers? Determining your target audience will help you narrow down your business idea, creating a product or service that fills an unmet need for that market. As Artwork Archive explains, it’s important that you avoid trying to please everyone with your business. An audience that is too broad will dilute your brand and make it harder to connect with individuals who are likely to be interested in your products. Market research is key to uncovering basic demographic information about your target audience, as well as the traits, values, and interests that drive their purchasing behaviors.

How Will You Market Your Business? Marketing is one of the most important parts of building an art business. Thankfully, marketing can be a lot of fun when you truly feel passionate about the product you are advertising. Start by setting up social media accounts for your business so you can begin connecting with people who are interested in your art style. Encourage followers to visit your website and sign up for email updates about your business. Once you have an email list and a social media following, you’ll have a couple of free avenues to promote your products to people who have already expressed interest in your new brand!

Also, while it’s great to spread the word via social media, don’t forget to include some old-fashioned approaches, too. For example, you could leave business cards at key locations where potential customers are likely to see them, from coffee shops to bars and restaurants.

Once you’ve thought through all of these important issues, you should be ready to move forward with your new art business! Turning an enjoyable hobby into a profitable business is one of the most rewarding ways to earn an income. A little upfront work is all it takes to make your dreams a reality!

Elvira Dayel is a multidisciplinary artist working in both traditional and new media including series of large scale - paper-cut abstractions, series of large drawings in soft pastel, digital rendering, 3D printed & assembled light-sculpture. Feel free to browse her.

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