6 ESSENTIALS FOR STARTING YOUR CREATIVE BUSINESS
Are you a budding creative ready to make a name for yourself, however, you’re not sure what that looks like professionally?
Being an entrepreneur and turning your passions into a legit source of income is both an exciting and overwhelming journey in the beginning stages. With this leap of faith comes a lot of “oh shit” moments. You know, the feeling that you missed some memo as you sit at a art show/meeting underprepared.
It happens and it’s okay. So whether you are just getting your toes wet or you are waist deep into your art journey, here are some tips for business effectiveness as a creative.
Share purposeful content on social media.
Content is anything from posts showing your artworkyou working on art(shopping for supplies, sketches etc) to quotes, videos, and sources of inspiration (like other artists work or photography). All of these things should in some way help reinforce who you are as a creative and what your work represents in the mind of viewers.
You know what’s an eyesore? Scrolling down someone’s “business IG” and they have all these unrelated posts down their page. Garbage memes, videos from the club, rants about their relationship, all in the mix of them promoting their business.
The key to great content is making sure that it matches your brand, and if it doesn’t, don't share it. Simple as that.
And when you share, add a meaningful caption. Share your thoughts, ask a question, tell a story. Don’t be afraid to show your personality off or to post multiple times a day.
Make a business email, please.
Customers don’t want to email you at firstname.lastname@example.org and try to form a business partnership. Nor do you want to mix your junk mail with business emails. Save yourself the headache and make a separate plain email that you are proud to say aloud when someone asks to contact you. And it should make sense. YourName@domain.com or YourNameArt@domain.com is pretty simple and efficient.
Invest in a website.
If you are selling your art online, you need some kind of digital home outside of social media. Whether it’s through Wix, Squarespace, or Bigcartel, when you start to do shows people will ask where can they find you online for future purchases.
At art shows, have business cards.
“Do people really still use business cards?” In the real world. Heck yes. Maybe not at kickback types of events but actually networking with people who will invest and partner with/in you, they have business cards. So do yourself a favor and get some.
Information to include on your card: an image of your artwork or something related to what you do, the best way to contact you (either email, phone number, or both).
Also, have your social media accounts and any other web accounts associated to your business listed as well.
At art shows, have a subscription sign up list.
Shows are not only to sell your work but to build a clientel. When people come to look at your work, have a way to keep in touch with them. Sign up sheets are an easy way to build your email list for newsletter marketing and to promote future sales and shows.
Establish a brand.
This is probably the hardest and most complex part of being an artist. And for that, it’ll be the last point I make.
A brand can be seen as a persona. Brands have their own personalities, interests, and style through which you are able to tell stories and create moods. Brands are meant to be bridges, connecting the creator to their audiences in a mutual space. If you are having trouble on establishing your brand and the direction you want to take it, think on the following questions:
- Why do you make art?
- What does your artwork say/represent?
- How you do want to be perceived?
- Who do you make art for?
Once you honestly answer these questions, take a look at your work and see if it fits with the answers you provided.
If there is some disconnect, acknowledge the areas where that break takes place and repair it. Maybe choose a different subject matter, add more detail, level up in skill and practice, push yourself to create outside of your comfort zone by trying something new, or create themes/stories to guide your work. Also consider the amount of influence your personal life will have on your work. The following accounts I think do a great job of owning their brands as artists:
- Twin sisters @mister_michelle and @strangedirt do a beautiful job of framing their art in photos. From the shots of their hands against a work in progress, the elements of nature and how it influences their work, finished pieces hung up in different spaces, mixed with the occasional selfie and personable captions, you still get a sense of who they are as artists without making it all about them.
- If you really want to just create and promote your work consider creating a lifestyle brand like @deforstudio. Her account has a very feminine vibe to it, from the colors, to the art subject, scenery photos that add to the overall mood, each post is deliberate and works together to tell/sell the same story.
Lastly, when creating a brand, be true to yourself. Aligning your brand to certain parts or values of yourself builds that connection with your business and your audience. Invest and believe in yourself.