10 Essentials for Launching and Growing Your Art Business

Many artists and craftspeople would love to be making a full-time living with their art, and they have the best intentions. But where to begin?


It can be confusing and frustrating trying to be successful if you don’t get organized and start thinking like a businessperson as well as a creative spirit.

Here are 10 tips to get started: 

1. Develop a Vision for your business. Get very clear about what you want to do with your art, and what your business will look like when you have achieved your vision. Write down your dream. What does it look and feel like?

2. Make a Plan. Long-term and short-term goals, broken down into manageable pieces will help start your business planning. Your plan should be flexible, to adjust the direction of your business as you develop it. Making a commitment to get serious about selling your work is easier when you have a plan set it place. Because if you don’t have a road map, how will you know how to get there?

3. Take Action. This is where you take the initiative and commit to doing something every day in the pursuit of launching and growing your creative business. Get started immediately. What can you do today? Even if your “To Do list” is just to make one phone call or internet search, take action. Every journey starts with a single step.

4. Have your own space. Separate your studio work space from your living space, so that you have a designated area that is just for your art and nothing else. Keep it organized and ask others to respect that space. When your studio and living areas are blended, it can become chaotic, and distracting.

5. Block your studio time. Do you have a schedule that allows you sufficient studio time without interruption? You may need child care, a flexible day job or an understanding spouse, but make it a priority to give yourself the studio time to design, create and be really productive. Making a commitment to your business means that you must ask others to honor your work time too.

6. Keep learning. The business and art worlds are in transition. The traditional art gallery model is under siege. Online selling is exploding, and new ideas and methods of doing business are being developed all the time. Keep your technical skills honed, too. Plan some time to attend a workshop or a conference in your medium. What do you need to learn more about to make your business even better? Continuing education will help you stay sharp, focused and productive.

7. Be part of a community. It’s hard to do it all alone. The relationships you build with others in your art community will offer you support, feedback, opportunities, and referrals. You may belong to a guild or even an online group, but make sure to schedule regular time to interact with your community. Ask questions, state your opinion and do your best to help other artists. Being a giver is the best way to receive assistance for your own business.

8. Work with a mentor. If you are frustrated or unsure of your direction, a mentor can be a terrific source of assistance to you. Talking to an unbiased professional who understands the big picture and different options available to artists can be truly eye-opening.

9. Market Your Work. This is an ongoing activity to ensure that you are getting exposure on a regular basis. Even if you feel that you are not the most outgoing person, you need to be able to speak clearly and effectively about your business and your work to other people. Marketing should be a part of your business plan. Make it a regular part of your weekly schedule too.

10. Persistence. In order to be successful, you have to have the desire, the vision and the persistence to pursue your plans, even when the going gets tough. Many artists have failed in business because they didn’t follow through and take action on a consistent basis. Does that sound like you? Use all of these steps to keep yourself motivated, informed and moving forward.


Artists looking for mentoring and business assistance can speak with experienced consultants from The Arts Business Institute. Click here for more information.

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  1. Janice M. says:

    I added one:
    11. Make good art.
    Too many starting out/beginner artists seem to try to promote and sell their art before their art is ready or good enough for the art market.
    Trying to sell one’s art before it is ready can lead to disappointment and abandoning being an artist. Take a year or two extra to refine and make better art.
    Do not fall into the trap of selling art at such a low price so that one is just living for the “vanity sale” – “I sold something! I sold something!”. If one can not sell their art at a reasonable profit, then one should reconsider the entire idea.
    For example, on etsy the average price for an item sells for about $17. Who can make a living as an artist selling something here and there at such low prices???

  2. This is a great list! #1 has definitely been our biggest asset in being full time for almost 10 years! Planning is so so important.

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