How to Start an Art Business in 3 Simple Steps

Did you know that plenty of businesses are looking for artists in a wide variety of niches? It’s true, you might be able to make money from your art if you play your cards right.

But being a working artist is scary, right? How do you turn your hobby (or passion) into a money-making opportunity?

We’re here to help you start. Read on to learn how to start an art business.

1. First: Learn Basic Financial Skills

This is one of the most important steps for anyone who’s trying to work for themselves in any field, and art is no exception. You need to understand the basics of finances. 

When you work as an independent artist, you’re going to have to do your own taxes. Usually, employers take out taxes from your weekly pay. As an independent worker, you have to pay the IRS estimated taxes every quarter.

We recommend setting aside about one-fourth of your income for taxes. 

Next, make sure that you know how to bill art clients. Are you going to do standard sales, or are you going to be a freelance worker who completes custom projects? 

If it’s the latter, you’re going to need to learn how to write an invoice. The invoice tells the client how much they owe you. Check here for a free invoice template.

2. Define Your Practice and Goals

What do you want to do with your art?

Again, you’re going to have to decide if you plan on selling prints and original pieces, or if you want to create custom work (or a combination of the two). Doing custom design work is more lucrative, but selling prints is a great side-gig (that can turn into a full-time gig if you’re lucky). 

How much money are you trying to earn each month? Have you set actionable goals? 

This is also when you’ll learn how to define yourself as an artist. How do you describe your art and your artistic mission? How would you want to represent yourself to potential buyers or clients? 

3. Assemble a Portfolio

As an artist, your portfolio is everything. How will clients or buyers know that they want to use your services or buy your art if they can’t see it? 

For beginners, it may be enough to set up a portfolio on a site like Instagram, but this isn’t the most professional way to go about things. We recommend setting up a portfolio on a site like Behance or Squarespace. 

You’ll link your portfolio to your social media platforms (more on that next!) and send it to potential clients when you’re looking for work. 

In your portfolio, you want to showcase all of your skills, but only post the best of the best. 

That’s How to Start an Art Business

When you’re trying to figure out how to start an art business, try these tips! It won’t be easy and you won’t have clients lining up out the door at first, but if you’re consistent and determined, you’re sure to be successful!

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