As an artist or creative person, you know the importance of turning your passion into a career. But too often, we forget the basics of entrepreneurship when it comes to running our own business. In this blog post, we will outline 12 essential steps that every artist and creative person needs to know in order to turn their craft into a successful business!
What's in this blog?
Let's set the stage:
Mandy is an artist. She loves painting and focuses on creating large abstract paintings that she displays and sells at local art shows and craft fairs. Mandy has been an artist for almost 15 years but has just recently decided to turn this passion into an income-generating business.
She gathers some of her favorite pieces, creates super cute and elaborate packaging, and heads to a show to start making some serious dough. Her expenses weren't that bad. She only paid $75 for her booth space, $50 for her truck rental, and $25 for lunch. She sold 3 pieces that day and made $500! She's feeling pretty good until she reviews her notes from the event.
A customer asked me how I got started as an artist. I began telling them my story but in the middle of the conversation, they just walked away. What did I do wrong?
I sold my largest piece for 25% off! It originally was $100, but I sold it for $75. My customer loved it and got a great deal! But how much money did I make on that sale? If I remember right, all my supplies cost $65, and since I'm starting out, I don't need to pay myself.
A customer asked if I had a website, but I told them I despise websites and I don't need one. Also, it's more intimate when a customer can just text me one on one. If I have any sales information, I'll tell them through text message. What was that person's name?
Ouch. It looks like Mandy has a lot to learn about entrepreneurship! Let's help her out by sharing 12 essential steps that every creative person needs to know in order to turn their passion into a successful business:
The first step is to have a clear vision for your business. What are your goals and objectives? What are your targets? What can you realistically achieve in the short and long term? What does success look like to you? Once you have a clear vision, you can start to develop a business plan. This will help you map out the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.
The second step is to validate your business idea. This means testing it out with potential customers or clients to see if there is a market for what you're selling. This can be done through market research, surveys, interviews, or focus groups. If your business idea was validated, you can move on to the next step, but if it wasn’t, then it's time to go back to the drawing board!
Third, once you've validated your business idea, it's time to start building your brand. This includes developing a strong name, logo, and identity that will make you stand out from the competition. Branding is a hot topic, so let's take a quick dive.
How do you develop a strong business name?
Your business name is one of the first things potential customers will see, so it's important to choose something that is eye-catching and easy to remember. How do you create a logo? Your logo is a key part of your branding and should be unique to your business. It should be simple, yet memorable, and should reflect the values of your business.
What are the most important parts of a logo, and how do you design one?
The most important thing to remember when designing a logo is that it should be simple and easy to understand. The best logos are often the ones that are memorable and easy to recognize. Many times, less is more when it comes to logo design. Try to avoid using too many colors or intricate designs, as this can make your logo appear busy and difficult to understand.
Your logo should also reflect the values of your business. For example, if you are an environmentally friendly business, your logo might include green and blue colors. If you are a luxury brand, your logo might be more ornate and include gold or silver details. Keep your target audience in mind when designing your logo to ensure that it appeals to them.
What is brand identity?
Your brand identity is how you want your business to be perceived by the public. It includes factors such as your company name, logo, tagline, and colors. Your brand identity should be consistent across all platforms, from your website to your social media accounts.
Creating a strong brand identity will help you attract customers and build trust with them. It's important to put thought into your brand identity and make sure that it accurately represents your business.
Fourth, you need to create a marketing strategy. How are you going to get the word out about your business? This might include things like social media, PR, and advertising. But what exactly is a marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy is a plan of action that you take to promote your business and attract customers. It includes the message you want to communicate, your target audience, and the channels you will use to reach them.
Your marketing strategy should be tailored to your specific business goals. For example, if you're trying to increase brand awareness, you might focus on social media or PR. If you're trying to increase sales, you might focus on advertising or discounts. There are many different marketing strategies out there, so it's important to choose the ones that are right for your business.
Fifth, it's time to start building your website and online presence. This is critical in today's digital world! Do you really need a website for your business? Yes, you really need a website for your business! Your website is often the first thing potential customers will see when they search for your business online. It's important to make a good impression of your website and give visitors the information they need.
Your website should be designed with your target audience in mind. Make sure it's easy to navigate and includes all the information they might be looking for. You should also include calls to action on your website, such as "Sign up for our newsletter" or "Buy now."
Make sure your website is responsive, meaning it looks good on all devices ( desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone). More and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet, so it's important to have a website that looks good on all screen sizes.
Sixth, now that you have a strong online presence, it's time to start selling! This might include setting up an online store or using platforms like Etsy or Amazon.
Which online platform is best to use?
It really depends on your specific business and what you're selling. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you'll need to decide which one is best for your business.
Some factors to consider include the type of product you're selling, the price of your product, and your target audience. For example, if you're selling a physical product that's under $20, Etsy might be a good option. If you're selling a digital product, like an eBook or online course, Gumroad might be a better option. There are many different online platforms out there, so it's important to do your research and choose the one that's right for your business.
Seventh, once you start making sales, it's important to track your progress and analyze your data. This will help you understand what's working and what isn't so that you can adjust your strategies accordingly. But how do you track and analyze your data?
There are many different ways to track and analyze your data. One option is to use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track website traffic, sales, and conversions.
Another option is to use a spreadsheet or software like QuickBooks to track your sales and expenses. This will give you a more detailed view of your business finances.
No matter which method you choose, tracking and analyzing your data is critical to the success of your business.
Eighth, as your business grows, you may need to start hiring employees or freelancers. This is an important step in scaling your business. But where can you find freelancers?
There are many different places to find freelancers. Some popular platforms include Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. You can also post job listings on job boards or reach out to people you know personally. When hiring freelancers, it's important to carefully screen candidates and only work with people you can trust. Be sure to set clear expectations and deadlines, and pay promptly.
Hiring freelancers can be a great way to scale your business without having to commit to full-time employees.
Ninth, once you have a team in place, it's time to start thinking about expansion. This might include opening new locations or launching new products or services. But how do you grow your business as an artist??
There are many different ways to expand your business as an artist. One option is to open a brick-and-mortar gallery or studio. This will give you a physical space to showcase and sell your work. Another option is to launch new products or services. This could include creating an online course, teaching workshops, or writing a book.
No matter how you choose to expand your business, it's important to have a clear plan in place. Without a plan, it will be difficult to measure your progress and gauge your success.
Tenth, as you continue to grow, it's important to stay organized and efficient. This might mean implementing systems and processes or using project management tools. What are some examples of project management tools? Some popular options include Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. These tools can help you track your to-do lists, deadlines, and progress on projects.
Another way to stay organized and efficient is to implement systems and processes. This could involve creating templates for common tasks or setting up automatic payments for recurring expenses. By having systems and processes in place, you'll be able to save time and energy in the long run.
Eleventh, as your business continues to expand, you may need to raise money from outside investors. This can be a great way to fuel further growth. How can you raise money as an artist?
There are a few different ways to raise money as an artist. One option is to hold a crowdfunding campaign on a platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. This will allow you to raise funds from a large group of people in exchange for rewards.
Another option is to apply for grants or fellowships. There are many different organizations that offer funding for artists, so it's important to do your research and find the ones that are right for you.
You can also approach investors directly and pitch them your business idea. This can be a great way to get involved with angel investors or venture capitalists. No matter how you choose to raise money, it's important to have a clear plan in place.
Finally, the twelfth and final step is to always be learning and evolving. As the world changes, so too must your business. Stay ahead of the curve by constantly learning and innovating. What are some ways to innovate your artwork?
There are many different ways to innovate your artwork. One option is to experiment with new mediums or techniques. This could involve trying out digital art, sculpture, or printmaking.
Another way to innovate your artwork is to create new and unique pieces. This could involve coming up with an entirely new concept or reinterpreting classic works in a new way. You can also stay ahead of the curve by keeping up with trends in the art world. This might involve attending art fairs, following fashion trends, or reading industry news. No matter how you choose to innovate your artwork, it's important to stay creative and open-minded.
By following these 12 steps, you'll be well on your way to turning your artwork or creative passion into a successful business! So what are you waiting for? Get started today!
Do you have any questions about entrepreneurship or running a creative business? Leave me a comment below, and I'll be happy to help! And be sure to sign up for my newsletter for more tips and advice on entrepreneurship and small business ownership. Thanks for reading!
Do you want to know more about these 12 steps?
Of course you do! That’s why I'll write more about each of them. I want to help you understand that creatives can also be good entrepreneurs.
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