Perhaps you might be thinking that the phrase ‘build your dream art business’ is a million miles from where you are right now. And it’s only for ‘some people’ who can have that. I have a belief that anyone can achieve anything if they put their mind to it and take constant action. In this blog, I’m going to walk you through some simple steps to creating just that: your dream art business. The same principles I work on every day to build my ideal life and business.
Now, as I sit here writing this blog, I’ve just moved into my brand-new Artists Studio just 12 minutes drive from the gorgeous house where I live with my partner, set in a quiet location up in the leafy hills outside Perth, Western Australia. I should add to this that I also have a beautiful home office with a view over the hills down to the city. So now I have two dedicated working spaces and can run both arms of business in a flexible, easy way.
I also have a clear picture of where I REALLY want to work from, but as yet this building doesn’t have a floor or anything habitable about it…but the vision is there. From here I am, however, just 2 minutes walk away, so the attraction force is set in motion.
I imagine now you might be thinking “what a lucky b****h”. Many years ago I might have thought exactly the same, as I started out painting in my bedroom at the very foot of my bed.
Building your Dream Art Business may not happen overnight; this has really been over 10 years in the making. This included changing climate and country, as my health wasn’t suited to good old damp England; changing my thoughts and beliefs and changing my business model.
Lets’ take a deeper look.
Here Are The 10 Steps I Recommend Taking To Build Your Dream Art Business:
1. Start by working out what your Ideal Life actually is.
Where do you want to live, with whom, and what values are important to you? Maybe you currently live in the city and would prefer the quiet of a country way of life. Or perhaps like me, you actually fancy moving countries. What days or hours do you want to work and what else would you like to be doing? Of course, only you know your circumstances, what’s possible; but these days it is becoming much easier to move around the world on a budget.
2. Ask yourself how much money would you need to live this ideal life?
You will probably be surprised that it might not be as much as you might assume. We have this idea that living a dream lifestyle is going to require millionaire status, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of us are happy with an income that pays for what we need, plus an element of freedom and fun.
3. Next is to work out from where you will get this income.
You might be happy to work full-time in a rewarding job and to just build your art business in the evenings and weekends. Perhaps you’ll work part-time and once you’ve built things, move to business full-time. Or possibly, like me, you are totally un-employable and so you need to create your income as soon as possible from your business alone. You might have a passive income from property or such, or even a savings pot to live off till you become established.
4. Creating a perfect Balanced Lifestyle.
Now I don’t know about you but working for yourself also means total flexibility. Go swimming at lunchtime, exercise when it suits you, work at whatever hour works best for you – here’s to all those late-night artists. I suggest you write out how your perfect day could look and aim towards making that your life from now onwards. Take time out, do some yoga and meditation and don’t forget all those travel breaks. (See how they could become a ‘business expense’).
5. You will need to put together your Artists Business Plan, so you have a clear road-map to follow.
See my various other blogs, videos and of course online courses if you find yourself stuck with this task. However this is possibly the single most important step here and one that most artists just don’t do. It really isn’t that difficult, so diarise a couple of days and get it done.
6. Get clear on what it is you do and how you can sell it.
This might sound obvious, but there are more ways to do one thing. If you are a painter like myself, there are over 20 ways to make money, so you’ll need to make some decisions. For example, you might decide to only sell originals, at medium to high prices, through a physical gallery. Or you might be a jeweller with a totally unique and exciting product range using some material that nobody else uses and you’ll sell online through your website.
7. Your Business Model.
Essentially you’ll want to make some decisions around whether you will sell original artwork through a third-party gallery and/or agent, sell your own original artwork via open studio, art fairs and group or solo shows; sell smaller items via physical craft fairs or online platforms such as Etsy or Social Media.
Perhaps you create and run physical workshops either at your own location or outside venues, or your own online training programs, courses, and/or membership.
Or maybe you offer your services for public or corporate art projects; or you are a freelance artist and creative work, such as illustration etc.
Get excited. Whatever and however you want to work, you can.
8. Who is your audience?
This is an area that many artists skip over, thinking well ‘anyone can buy my stuff’. But I’m here and I am going to ask you this: Have you got the time, energy, and money to market to everyone in the vague hope that someone might buy? Or are you going to narrow down to exactly the people who are already interested? I recommend niching yourself and getting very clear on who your ideal customer is.
9. How will you attract your ideal audience?
Ok, so this is the part you will need to do in order to build your personal brand, position your artwork or services and get that cash rolling in. Yes, I am talking about Marketing and Sales. Two terms that will likely have you running for the hills. It’s one of the areas I am totally passionate about helping all artists to get great with, as I believe if you can approach it with the same excitement as your art then you really can build your dream art business. Like all good things, consistency is key; I suggest focussing on 3-5 key marketing strategies at first until you get really good at these. I often talk about the difference between ‘On-going Marketing’ and ‘Campaign Marketing’ and you can find further blogs and videos on this topic and much more.
10. Last – but very much not least – learn, grow and stay inspired.
Avoid the ‘I know it all’ syndrome, as I very much doubt that you do. In order to build your dream art business you must stay open to constant learning, developing and growing. Read books on business, personal development and the like. Listen to Podcasts and invest in courses. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have the success I currently have if I hadn’t done just that and continue to do so. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that growth only comes from outside of the comfort zone.
I’m excited for you reading this as really anything is possible. If you can dream it, you can make it happen. Focus on creating your ideal life first, then wrap your art business around that. Most people do this the other way around, thinking that you have to make money and then the ideal life can follow, I don’t subscribe to that. Build a business doing what you love, build your dream art business and that will support your life.