Thinking about starting your own business? Launching an art business is often the biggest step, however, this blog post outlines some tips to help art entrepreneurs along the way.
If you’re past the launch stage, check out this blog post instead to begin scaling up your business.
1. Reframe what it means to “launch.”
When I think of launching an art business, the word launch makes me feel like I need to have already built up inventory, have a huge following on social media, and that I need to know what I am doing.
But for many small creative businesses and artists, launching our business is more like a smaller step (that just feels really really big). You don’t need the product, a large following, or know every skill to get started.
By changing the way you define “launching” to see it more like sharing ourselves to the world a little bit more, you can begin to see that starting that business seems more doable and less daunting
2. The best time to launch is…
Just kidding there’s never the perfect time to launch an art business. But the truth is, nobody is ever ready. The finances may not be quite right, the economy might be tanking, your fears are growing. Part of being a business owner is managing the risk and opportunities that come your way. You won’t have all the answers, but make sure you have some support structures, resources to turn to, and willingness to problem-solve along.
3. No Ducks will ever be in a row.
It can be easy to hide behind needing to get your “ducks in a row” before you open your business. But the ducks will never be in a row, this is just an easy way to continue to procrastinate. With opening a new business, there will be necessary “ducks” such as business documents and legal things to align before you are an official company. Other important business launching issues include a bank account, leased space, or insurance.
However, you will never know all the skills necessary to run every aspect of a business, you have to get into the nitty-gritty to learn. Hiding behind this statement is really preventing you from moving forward.
You will soon realize that you never will have everything finish, everything perfect, or everything ready to go.
4. Stop “Getting Inspired”
Thinking about starting your own business doesn’t cause it to happen. There’s a time and place for daydreaming and inspiration, but If you are stuck, it’s time to try some new design thinking strategies or talk to someone who has opened their own business. A workshop or an inspirational day-trip can also help to open up some possibilities. Find ways to get in motion to launch your art business. It’s time to take action!
5. Know that your business will evolve.
What you plan and work on today may be completely different than what it becomes. Get comfortable with change.
The What Art School Didn’t Teach You blog started out as an online diary to capture a 6-week residency. Over the years, it began to evolve to be less about me and more about other artists. I began by interviewing other artists. In between interview blog posts, I peppered in arts business topics until I found out that arts marketing and creative business was my true calling.
6. Names of businesses, websites, blogs, and the branding will change too.
None of these business elements need to be nailed down right away. For most of us, a fancy website will definitely not be on the financial books, especially when first starting out. Expect changes and rebrands. Believe it or not, you don’t need the perfect business name to launch an art business.
I have changed the name of this blog, as well as my own artist website twice each!
7. Claim your CEO title
Whatever you want to be called, artist, blogger, business owner, influencer, author, it’s time to take on your new title and own it. (Come on, you know you’re the CEO!) Heck, add it to your email signature while you’re at it. Reinforce your new title to your new customers, clients, and to yourself.
8. Develop and work your strengths, pay to cover your weaknesses.
Identify your strengths and struggles, then make a plan to pay someone to do the tricky stuff so you can focus on your work. This took me a few years to learn, the hard way. I had such a hard time photographing my artwork because it was oversized and shiny. I didn’t know how to balance the light, edit the photos, and make it look like the art. Eventually, I found someone to do the work for me, and it’s worth every penny and was way more affordable than I assumed it would cost.
Figure out what you need help with and find ways to budget for these crucial elements. By adopting this strategy, you will save valuable time, and time is money.
Comment below with tips you have for artists who are about to launch an art business, or comment below with questions you have about launching!