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So You Want to Be an Artist? 10 Tips to Get Your Art Career Started

Are you dreaming of becoming an artist, but don't know where to start? Or maybe you are selling pieces, but don’t know how to get to the next level. I️ am here to help! With the right guidance and preparation, starting your art career can be an incredibly rewarding experience. In this blog post, I'll be sharing ten tips to get your art career started on the right foot. From creating a portfolio to marketing yourself, these tips will set you up for success in the exciting world of art. So if you're ready to take your passion for art to the next level, read on to learn more!

1) Don't Quit Your Day Job...Yet

If you're considering launching an art career, the first thing to keep in mind is that it's best not to quit your day job just yet. Many artists can make a full-time living through their art, but for most, it takes work, time, and resources before they can do so. It's important to understand what it will take to achieve a successful art career and to develop a steady income. Don't be in a rush to turn your passion into a full-time job; instead, work slowly towards this goal and set achievable milestones.

An excellent benchmark to use when making the transition is to make sure that you can create 30% of your desired income with devoting only 10% of your time to your art. By taking this approach, you will be able to manage the risks and still pursue your dream of becoming an artist.

One of the best ways to start building an art career is by looking for jobs for artists. There are many types of jobs available for creative professionals such as graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, photographers, and fine artists. These jobs often come with good pay and benefits, which can help support you as you continue to develop your portfolio. Additionally, many jobs for artists offer great experience that can help boost your portfolio. When searching for jobs as an artist, it’s important to find something that fits your style and skillset. Doing this will ensure that the job experience itself allows you to grow as an artist as well as earn money to support yourself.

Finally, it can be a difficult transition turning a passion into a profession, so it is not always a bad thing to have another line of income. This is just step one. If you want to go full time you absolutely can but it is ok not to dive in full force right away.

2) Develop Your Skills

Before you dive too deep into growing your career, make time to develop your skills. Until you can draw well you will not be able to create masterful works. Understanding color will make for better abstracts. Understanding composition will lead to better paintings. I️ love taking art classes or just giving myself projects in the studio. The main thing to remember is to always be learning and make sure you constantly work on your craft. From this a style will follow.

3) Find a Niche

Next find a niche. You need to know who your Ideal Customer is and why they need your artwork. Many artists focus on “finding their style” and painting only one thing. I️ say throw that idea out the window.

As you develop your skills you will notice you paint a certain way. You are drawn to certain colors and as you begin sharing your work, you will see your followers are drawn to certain pieces. From this a “style” will follow.

You will have a unique way that only you create. Don’t force it, let it flow. The best artists allow themselves to take risks and be creative. Once you find what you love creating and what your Ideal Customer loves buying then you have found your niche.

4) Create a portfolio

An art portfolio can be a great way to showcase your work and get your career off the ground. It can be a digital document or a physical portfolio if that is recommended by the gallery.Your portfolio should include a statement or bio, pricing information, and of course, your artwork.

When you’re creating a digital portfolio, it’s important to make sure it’s well-designed and looks professional. Consider using a program like Canva or InDesign to create a beautiful PDF document.

When creating your digital portfolio, make sure to choose one style or collection and keep it consistent throughout. If you have different collections of artwork, consider breaking them up into separate pages.

Here is an example of what a standard PDF art portfolio might look like: [example]. As you can see, it’s important to include a bio or statement that gives readers an idea of who you are as an artist. Include pricing information. Make sure to choose pieces that demonstrate your unique style and talent. Doing this will help potential clients and galleries better understand your capabilities.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for advice from other artists who have been successful in their own fields - they may offer insight on how to successfully navigate the world of freelance artistry.

5) Get involved in the art community

One of the best ways to grow your business is through getting involved in the art community. Get to know other artists, get an art coach, go to events and classes. Creatives love helping creatives and when you put in the effort to getting out and getting to know people, the opportunities will come. I️ promise they always appear when you put in the work.

7) Share! Share! Share!

Marketing your art is an essential part of launching and maintaining a successful career. To effectively market your art, you should always strive to tell a story that allows clients to connect with you and your art.

Social proof is a key element in marketing; clients are more likely to purchase from someone they know, like, and trust. Leverage this by showing off the jobs you’ve done, the positive feedback you’ve received, and any awards or recognitions you’ve achieved.

Calls to action (CTAs) can also be used as an effective way to engage potential clients. Use CTAs such as “purchase here”, “comment below”, “check out my blog”, and “subscribe” to grab attention and encourage people to take action. However, be sure to only include one call to action per post so that it’s clear what you want people to do.

6) Always be Learning

This is different then develop your skills. Yes, you want to always be learning in terms of improving your art, but you also want to always be improving your business, your productivity, your profitability and so much more.

I️ listen to podcasts all day long. I️ read tons of self-help and business books. I️ see what other non-art business owners are doing to scale. Always be open to learning and you will be amazed at the ideas you have for your own business.

8) Stay Organized

It’s essential to know how much time you have available to devote to your art career. While it may not be full-time right away, set aside regular blocks of time for your creative projects, and test different tasks at different times of day to see when works best for you.

You should prioritize your tasks based on profitability, deadlines, and your excitement level. Set up a to-do list with Priority 1, Priority 2, and New Ideas/Side Projects lists to keep track of what needs to be done and when. As you start to build systems into your schedule, you’ll develop sustainable habits and increase your productivity. With a bit of organization and structure, you can create a rewarding career out of your passion for art.

9) Understanding Scaling and The Value of Your Time

To be a successful small business owner, you have to understand the value of your time and how to scale.

Your time and skills are worth something. Do not undercharge (or overcharge) for your work. If you are saying yes to everything, you are likely to burn out.

To avoid burn out and feeling like you have to say yes to make ends meet, consider diversifying your income streams. I️ love finding ways to make passive income or scalable income like courses or prints or digital downloads. Could you start a podcast or youtube channel or blog? Not all of these will be profitable for everyone, but having a few sources of income that are don’t depend directly on your time and you going into the studio and creating something to sell is a great way to build a profitable and sustainable business.

10) Never give up

No matter how many rejections, roadblocks or failures you experience in your art career, it is essential to never give up. As a freelance artist, the ability to remain resilient and motivated in spite of adversity will be an invaluable asset. If you want to succeed in this field, it's important to understand that success is rarely achieved overnight. You may have to invest years of hard work, dedication, and practice before you start to see the results.

It’s not just about honing your craft either – you also need to develop relationships, network, and learn the ins and outs of marketing. Keep in mind that even the most successful artists have faced their fair share of rejection and failure. So don't get discouraged if things don't work out at first. Remember that determination and hard work will ultimately pay off in the long run.

I️ hope you enjoyed this blog. If you are looking to learn more check out our podcast and membership!

Get your art career started today!


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