You may think: “I just want to sell my art, I don’t want to build a company.” Or “I’m an artist, the name <businesswoman> is offensive for me!”. Well, to be honest, you can think whatever you want, but if you want to make money from your art, your art is your business. Why is it so important to understand?

Why your art is your business?

The word “businessman” may sound like Wall Street and Fortune 500 in your head, but the truth is, everybody who sells anything is a businessman. “Ok, Aleksandra, I get it, but why are you bothering me with this talking?”. Because I really, really want you to understand that your art is your business. What does it mean? That you have to learn to think and act like a businesswoman in order to succeed. Many artists come to me and tell me: “I want to sell my art. I have a problem with that”. But you know what? When we dig deep it turns out, they don’t even have a website, nor a social profile, nor any place that people can find out about them. Do you think your customers read minds? Of course, not! So how to sell? It’s a process more complicated than a one-sentence response.

Mental shift

First of all, you have to start thinking like a businesswoman. I know, if you’re all about being creative, it might be scary, but stick with me for a second. You don’t have to learn complicated things like stock exchange or joint ventures to be a businesswomen. But you have to understand some basic principles to get your party started. If you just sit and say: “I want to sell my art”, but you don’t do anything about it then… well… wait for the Fairy Mother. But if you want to do anything about it, then you have to become a businesswoman and start thinking like one.

You don’t learn the right tools

If you don’t consider yourself a business owner, you most probably avoid anything that has to do with the serious, business stuff. It really doesn’t have to be that difficult! But reading a few books could help you immensely to bring your art business to the next level. You can be the best artist in the world, but if you don’t learn how to sell (=do the business), you won’t succeed. If you don’t like reading, check out the videos, online courses, whatever. Just don’t reject the business stuff anymore. Find the most comfortable way for your to do it and learn at least the basics. You won’t move on without it!

You need to know your numbers

I know some artists have problems with maths, I get it. But in order to make profit from you art, you have to know all the costs, too. No fancy accounting needed, but understanding where your money comes from and where it goes is a must. It’ll also help you to determine, how to price your art. I know this must be scary, but once you do just a few simple calculations, you’ll notice you have everything under control and you’ll feel so good!

Another thing to remember is all the legal stuff. You have to at least know what contracts apply to you, basics of the copyrights, taxes, etc. I know it may seem confusing, especially at the beginning, when you’re not even sure if you’re going to make it, but take care of it sooner than later to avoid serious problems.

That terrifying “M” word

Yes, I mean marketing. For me it also still sounds like a challenge. We automatically want to defend ourselves: “But I don’t want to be a heavy salesgirl!”. And you absolutely don’t have to. You can learn how to sell without being salesy. It might be challenging, but without it the chances for you to succeed and become a full-time artist are drastically low.

Where to start?

Are you fired up? Ready to learn and don’t know where to start?

Now it’s your turn! What do you think about this topic? Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments!