7 Steps to become a professional artist

Here are 7 steps you need to consider when making te leap to become a professional artist.

Step 1. Commitment to your craft

Whether you are becoming a part-time professional artist or a full-time professional artist, you will need to commit to a large amount of time and effort to be successful at selling your art. Like any job, you will need to commit energy. As you are just beginning your journey as a professional artist, you will spend a fair amount of this energy setting the foundation to support your art. Here are some areas you will need to think about:

  • Finding studio space – It’s important to separate your creative space and work space so that you are not distracted. If possible, finding space outside your house to establish a professional studio is recommended.
  • Scheduling – You will need to make time to creating and marketing your art. Carve out time in your day that is strictly dedicated to creating, marketing and selling.
  • Investment – If you are going to commit to your craft, then DO IT! Don’t f$@k around buying the cheapest materials and art supplies. Invest in your tools and yourself.


Step 2. Setup the Business

Becoming a professional artist is like owning your own business. To be successful, you need to think of it as such. Set yourself up as a legal entity. The two most common entities that many artist use are Sole Proprietor and Limited Liability Company. There are a few differences that are notable.

Sole Proprietorship

  • Easy to setup
  • Managed by one person
  • Fully liable so personal assets are at risk

Limited Liability:

  • Start-up costs required
  • Limited liability so personal assets are not at risk in most cases
  • Can be managed by more than one person

On top of this, creating a Google account is recommended. Creating a separate email account can help establish a boundary between the personal and business  mind-set. You will also be able to utilize a Google’s business apps for strictly business purposes.


Step 3. Market Research

This is one of the most important parts of being a successful professional artist. Knowing your target market, which is essentially your fan/collector base, will allow you to cater your marketing efforts and give you the ability to market more efficiently. This means you need to ask yourself some of the following questions.

  • what are the ages of the people buying my art
  • Where do they live?
  • What do they like to do for fun?
  • What is their  average disposable income?
  • Why do they like buying art?

Asking these questions and more can help you discover patterns and trends among your buyers. For example, the people who buy your art may all earn between 50k-100k annually. This can help determine what places you show, galleries you work with, and prices you set.


Step 4. Create Marketing Materials

Now that you decided to become a professional artist, you need to be able to market yourself to the public. You need to be able to own your identity and promote it to the world. These are some of the items you will need to have ready as a professional artist.

  • Business Cards
  • Head shots (publications may want to see you if they are doing an article)
  • Press Kit
  • Portfolio
  • Email List

You are able to get by without some of these items but when preparing yourself for different opportunities that may arise, you need to have many of these items at your disposal. It’s important to be prepared when opportunity comes knocking.


Step 5. Design Website

In a digital world, websites serve as a storefront for businesses. Because you are a business, you need to create a website to serve as your headquarters for your art. When galleries or potential buyers are researching you online, your website should be the place where they are able to find all the information they need to make a decision. You need to have the following pages/sections on your website:

  • Bio/Artist statement
  • Gallery (Only you best works)
  • Contact information
  • Resume (More particularity for artist taking the gallery route)
  • Press (Articles published about you)
  • Social Media Links


Step 6. Setup your Social Media Platforms

Your social media needs to be upfront and top-of-mind. These platforms allow artist to share their work with a built in audience. They are already there for the picking so share you work. Your social media platforms needs to be consistent in quality. This means that you should manage them the same as you manage your other marketing assets. Choosing the right social media platforms is a process that you should not take lightly. focus on a 3-4 platforms that you believe your audience uses. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Research social media your audience uses regularly
  • Research platforms that communicates the value of your art well
  • Choose 3-4 of the best platforms from your research list
  • Create accounts and design your profile picture and information to be consistent and informative
  • Research the best hashtags, post styles, and management systems for each platforms
  • Create a posting schedule for each platform
  • Start posting and engaging with your followers

This takes time and effort. I spend 3-5 hours a day on marketing and social media. I analyze my data regularly and readjust my marketing efforts to keep me on track. You need to do the same because you are your best supporter and no one will buy your art if no one knows about it.


Step 7. Organize and plan a schedule

Organizing and scheduling are two of the most important concerns to take care of as a professional artist. Financials, marketing, studio rent, contracts, timely responses to customers and galleries, and other tasks must be scheduled and organized for you to be successful.  When organizing and scheduling your daily routines, you will find yourself becoming more productive. A great resource to use is your Google apps. Google created an assortment of apps for you to be efficient and effective. Regardless of what you use, you just need to organize, organize, organize!

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