Starting a Small Business is tough. Starting a small business centered on selling your original artwork is really hard.
My first blog post will be dedicated to collecting my thoughts and hopefully providing somebody somewhere a hand in creating their business without having to stumble like I did.
First, you have to have quality work. This goes without saying, but in the art world, there is the relative quality of your work compared to others in the nice, as well as in your locale. This determines if and what people will pay for your work.
Quality means many different things, but if your work isn't up to par for your style, then time will need to be spent getting your work to that quality.
Once your work is viable (sellable), you must find the people that are willing to pay. If I had a dollar for every compliment Ive received at an art show, I would at least have been able to pay the booth fee! The truth is, some art shows have serious buyers, but mostly it's just people browsing and enjoying a nice day off. The real collectors are hard to get a hold of, and getting their attention requires work, persistence, and a little bit of cleverness.
To find the right people, you must get your work in front of as many people as possible. One way to do this is to physically show it to people at art faires, shows, farmers markets, festivals etc. Those can be expensive, time consuming, and ultimately fruitless if the people aren't really buying. Nonetheless, these shows can be invaluable in getting your work and your brand out there. Do research and talk to artists in your area to find out if these shows are worth the effort.
The next way, and arguably the most effective way to get your work out into the world is through the internet. Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and all the other sites are great places to market your work. Each platform has it's demographics and it's ways of being successfully leveraged to gain exposure. It's also a great networking tool to see what events are happening near you to get into.
Personally, I use a combination of YouTube videos and Facebook to promote myself, and it's working for me. I have Pinterest and Instagram, but as I mentioned, each platform has a learning curve and that means time spent learning it.
So, to sum up starting your art business: Make sure your work is your best work, get involved in local shows, create and build an online presence on one or more platforms.
Experimentation is key, so get out there and do something! Every journey begins with a single step!
Stay tuned for upcoming posts where l address each of these aspects of art business growth!