In this blog I want to talk all about how to start teaching your art as an income stream for your art business. Now this will be great for some of you and may not suit everyone, but is certainly worth considering. Especially if you love interacting and inspiring people to get creative, make art and learn something new.
I started out teaching 3 core workshops from my garden studio, and they became really popular that I was always full. So starting small is always a good thing to do and you loose nothing really if it doesn’t work out.
From there you could find a larger venue or studio space to run your courses from. Or even consider running them online via live video of course.
Start Teaching Your Art From Scratch In 7 Simple Steps:
Step One: Have a solid business plan with the bigger picture mapped out.
For me everything starts with the bigger picture, and that includes having a simple Business Plan. You don’t want to just wake up one day and think: “I know, I could make some more money if I start teaching my art”. It means starting with the idea, then testing it out within your plan.
For example, do you have any experience teaching? How many hours a week would you want to do this for? What topics exactly? Where and how much could you teach? How much money would you like this to generate and is that realistic? And most importantly, will you love doing it as much as creating art?
For some people this will provide a great balance to your life, for others it could end up being an imposition. You want to get really clear before you set out.
Step Two: Brainstorm what topics to teach & how you would deliver them.
Once you have decided (and you can still change your mind at this stage), then grab a paper and pen and write down every topic you think you could teach. Keep going even with silly things. Remember here you are just brainstorming, nothing yet is concrete.
Circle the 3-5 topics you could master and teach really well.
Now think about how you would want to deliver these. Circle your preferred here as well.
- Weekly classes
- One-day or weekend workshops
- Online virtual training
- 1-2-1 lessons
- VIP Days
- 5-7 day retreats
Step Three: Get very clear on your targeted audience.
Now you want to think about who exactly will you be teaching. As this audience will likely be different to the one that buys your work.
Will you focus on children, teenagers taking art exams, adults wanting a new hobby, students out of college, elderly people looking to relax, or professional artists wanting to improve their practice.
You’ll know quite quickly who you resonate with I think. Decide and move on.
Step Four: Mind-map out each session on large paper.
Once you know who you are aiming your teaching at things become a lot easier. Now you really can start teaching your art. First you’ll want to plan out each session in more detail.
Get clear on the one main aim of each lesson first and make sure your content delivers this.
I absolutely love using Mind-maps, so I recommend using a sheet of A1 paper and coloured pens. Start with a circle in the middle of your page with the rough title of your course or workshop etc. Then draw branches out for each session. Jot any ideas down next to these as well as the approximate length of each session.
You are doing a 6-week class, each 2 hours long. So you know that each ‘branch’ needs to fill 2 hours.
Or perhaps you want to trial a one-off workshop over one day. I would split the day into chunk, and then each branch is a chunk.
Step Five: Use post-it notes to drill down into more details.
I love using Post-it notes for the very fact that you can stick them down, pull them up and move them around.
So grab some coloured notes, write down words or bullets to remind you what you want to cover. Then place them on the mind-map and re-organise till you have a coherent looking skeleton (important: this is not your full lesson plan at this stage).
You may well notice that some areas have too much content and others not enough. So address this by either rearranging, adding more or taking content away.
Step Six: Market and sell some places first.
OK so it’s only once you have marketed and SOLD your first places that you are fully committed. Up till then you can pull out on all of it. I think it’s important to mention that teaching won’t suit everyone.
To start teaching your art you must be prepared to invest quite a lot of time preparing the session. Then of course marketing and finally delivering each session.
I have a variety of other blogs on the topics of marketing, so if you’d like more detail on a couple, then just click below. I will also be writing one specifically on marketing your art teaching, so sign up to my weekly emails to make sure you get this.
Step Seven: Then create a simple lesson plan for each session.
So once you have actually sold some places and have people attending your course, workshop etc…it’s time to complete the details.
Go back to your mind-map and drill down into each session with more detail. This will differ of course depending on the level of teaching, the content and time-period involved.
As a newbie art teacher you are likely to want something very detailed and concrete at first. Once you have some experience this will all become much looser.
After teaching art to children for 8 years and adults for a further few more, I thought it could be great to share some tips. Not to mention training adults in business and marketing over another 8 years.
This is what I have found useful and hope you will too.
Some Simple Top Teaching Tips:
- Each session should have a very clear aim.
- Remember less is so much more – communicate succinctly.
- Don’t overwhelm people with information.
- Speak slowly and vary your tonality, volume and pitch.
- Always test your lessons on a child, teenager or other willing adult first!
- Think about all the learning modalities.
- Injecting some humour will go a long way to keep people happy.
There you have it, you are now ready to start teaching your art. I’m excited for you and hope you are too. Please post your questions in the comments below.