Selling Your Art: 3 Things to Know to Start Your Business

Creating a business based on what you love to do is fun but hard. It can also be scary. Nothing good comes easy. When you want to work for yourself, you have to make sure you’re not trying to do it for the wrong reasons. You may have talent and a great imagination but there’s a reason why the term “starving artist” exists. Art business is probably not the best route to take if you’re looking to get rich. Place your art into the hands of a trust here.

Art Business.

There are three main things tied in with success:

1. Passion – If you don’t love what you do, you can’t expect to do it for long. Money in business is important, of course, but it’s not everything. Think of what makes you happy and devote a lot of time working on your art. A lot. If you can’t see yourself doing this nearly all day, everyday, for several years or forever, maybe it’s not a good fit. You can do anything you put your mind to, just not for long if your heart’s not in it, too.

2. Hard work – Everything you do has to have a purpose. Think long-term. It’s one thing to buy a business and generate sales from that. But when you start out with almost nothing, no money to invest, you can only depend on your own hard work. You might consider taking a business managing class or going to an art school. If you can’t afford either one, your best route is learning through books and the Internet . It will require hours upon hours (upon weeks, upon months) of research on your market, supplies and materials, and business and tax license information. And of course, time and labor devoted to your art to create your inventory of paintings, photographs, sculptures, or jewelry.

3. Luck – Even if today’s most successful artists have worked themselves insane to get where they are today, luck still played a part in their success. Every art medium and style has a market. You can’t predict when a person with certain tastes may happen to notice your work and simply adore it and buy it right there on the spot. Sometimes all it takes is being at the right place, at the right time.

Imagine this: Your gallery show is ending today and you will be taking your work down at the end of the day. A woman is visiting her parents for a couple days. She’s never heard of you, but she’s an art collector and has always loved the work of local artists in her home town. She needs to run some errands and plans to stop at the gallery later. But not today. Tomorrow, when she’s not busy. But your work won’t be displayed tomorrow because it’s another artist’s turn! I’m not saying you’ve completely missed out on a sale. You don’t know if you did. We don’t know if this woman would have bought anything, or if she’d even like your art. As far as you’re concerned, you have no idea of her existence. Also imagine if she decided to skip a few errands and visit the gallery instead. Then as she’s purchasing one of your pieces, she shares with the curator that she wasn’t planning on stopping by until the next day. I’m just saying that we have no way of knowing these kind of chances but things like that happen all the time.

Actually, there’s one more important thing. It’s so important that it should be common sense. Every business is based around.. what?

Connections with people.

4. People! Connections with people will lead you to opportunities. It’s all about who you know. So talk with people, make friends, tell everyone about your art. When you meet someone new and they ask what you do, tell them what you do. If you say that you’re a waiter at restaurant, that’s how you’ll be remembered. What if that someone you’ve just met has a friend who’s looking for the right artist to paint a portrait of their family. It’s doubtful that they want to hear, “The other day on the elevator, I met a waiter and he could probably help you with that!”

Working for yourself is a learning experience that never ends due to constant changes in the people you work with, the market, and the environment. Accept that nothing is guaranteed and all you can do is try. If this is what you really want to do and never try, you’ll just end up wondering what could have been. Especially when you begin to plan your art estate. When you do what you love, you already have your reward. Learn about forming an asset protection trust for your art.

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