It seemed like an impossible dream – to make money taking pictures. But I had no choice – it’s been nearly 8 months since I moved to Italy and started searching for a job. Even my Law Degree wasn’t helping – my job applications were remaining unanswered, it was time to say: “Enough!”. I could have kept on searching for the career I would have hated anyway, or I could pursue one of my dreams. The choice was quite obvious, but there was a problem: I needed to start making money right now! That’s how I learned how to start earning from your art ASAP.
How to start earning from your art ASAP?
1. It all depends from you
Stop waiting for a prince charming on a white horse that will make your dreams come true. You’ve got everything you need and the prince may never come. Just get to work and do it. “I don’t know how to start!” – you may say. Start with anything that comes to your mind. Do the first step. It’ll get easier with time. Remember to always be active and take The most important step to take to build the art business.
Still not sure how to start? Download my free audio training “From a hobbyist to a full-time artist in 5 steps” that will show you a roadmap of the whole process to make sure that you always know what your next step should be.
2. Take the shortcuts
When I was just starting out as a photographer in Milan, I needed a mentor so I became an assistant of an experienced photographer. I asked him, what I should do and he told me: “You should work for a few years as an assistant of a photographer or in a studio, make connections and maybe in 10 years you’ll be able to start on your own”. When I heard it, I came back home crying. 10 years of carrying bags? It’s a nightmare!
But then I thought: “I didn’t leave my legal career to carry bags and do other things that I hate. No way!”. I decided to skip the traditional path, ignore the advice, and just use everything I’ve learned studying modern business and marketing practices. In 6 months I managed to work full-time as a fashion photographer.
What does it mean for you? In some cases, it’s not possible to skip the traditional process, for example in the case of medical doctors. But as artists, we have endless possibilities of entering in our field, we just have to be creative, fearless, and patient. Always keep searching for new ideas and possibilities. Just that somebody succeeded in doing one thing, doesn’t mean it would also work for you. Maybe you can find a way that is even faster and better?
3. Use what you already have
“I don’t have the right equipment”, “I don’t have a studio”, “I don’t have blah blah blah” – it’s one of the favorite excuses not to take action. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you DO have. If needed, you can rent the studio or equipment. Again, your creativity is your only limit.
Focus on what you already have and how you can use it. Don’t think only about the obvious like: “I’m a photographer so I can take pictures”. Dig deeper! You can also teach, offer services connected to what you do (for example, I also offer retouching services), find ways to sell on autopilot (for example, selling stock pictures), etc. Make sure to use The secret weapon to create your financial security and remember, there is always something you can do.
4. Be ready for compromises
I know you dream big and have the ideal picture of your life in your head. However, to arrive there, you may have to make some compromises at times. They don’t have to be so bad and they may be connected with what you do, but can give you some additional amount of money during the hard times. For example, starting as a fashion photographer I didn’t always have enough fashion jobs to make a living. Instead of taking a 9-5 job, I decided to make a compromise and also take pictures at events like baptisms and birthday parties. It’s not my favorite kind of photography, but it’s also not something I hate, so for me, it was a great solution to fix my home budget.
Be careful! Make sure your compromises have a good money-time ratio! If you have to spend too much time on your side job, it becomes your full-time job and the one you really wanted to focus on remains a hobby! In the beginning, many people were telling me to take wedding pictures. “It’s such a good business” – they said. Well, it is if you want to do it full-time. But finding clients as a wedding photographer is not so easy, also people are really demanding, so you have to take time to convince potential clients. Then, the shooting is long and post-production even longer. Altogether, if I’d start taking wedding pictures, I’d have started building a different business than I wanted. It wasn’t working for me. As I mentioned before, instead, I took pictures of birthday parties and baptisms. The pressure is much smaller, so the clients are also less picky, the events are short and post-production doesn’t take very long. It was a win-win.
5. Adjust as you go
Of course, you may feel unprepared! You’ll never feel ready until you do the job and get some experience! No matter how long you study, you won’t be ready until you don’t get dirty and actually work as an artist. Don’t worry, it’s normal. Do your best to make the client happy and adjust as you go. In many cases, you’ll learn new things just to satisfy the client and trust me – this is a really express learning. And it works. Chill out and start. The sooner the better. As I said – you’ll never feel ready, but let me tell you a secret: You are ready. You just have to convince yourself about it.
6. Let the clients find you
The most challenging thing for most artists, especially at the beginning, is finding clients. Many think just having a website would do the trick, but it doesn’t work this way. So how to find clients? The easiest way is to let them find you. How? Make sure to be present in places where they are already looking for you: for example, local news boards, websites that provide traffic like Fiverr or Upwork. You can also try to be listed on websites with certain categories of services – for example, when I was organizing my wedding, I found a website with lists of wedding photographers, make-up artists, florists, etc. It’s much easier to sell to people who already know that they need services like yours.
Do you have any other suggestions about how to start earning from your art as soon as possible? Share them in the comments. And if you have a friend who needs to find out how to start earning from your art ASAP, make sure to share this post with them. Let’s spread the love!