How To Make Money Selling Art

How To Make Money Selling Art – If you’re any kind of artist (especially a visual artist) and you’re trying to make a living with your creations, this is the article for you. I’m going to break down everything you need to know to get started. And I’m not going to tell you to “sell flyers” or “print logos” like some folks are suggesting. I’m going to teach you how to make serious money, and a career with your art online. You might not like everything I have to say, but I can assure you that it works. I’ve been in the world of business for years now and I met many artists who struggled to sell their art.

There are some common issues with creators that are stopping them from making that money. The most obvious one is that artists don’t know a lot about business. And I don’t blame you. You are focused on your craft and on creating the best visual/video/audio. But, if you want to generate some income, you need to start thinking like a business owner also. So, are you ready to get started? If so, smash that like button right now if you are excited, and let’s get started.

How To Make Money Selling Art

1. Choose The Online Market 

This article is focused on making money with your art online. Which is the easiest way to promote your work and find clients with whatever you want to do. Plus, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t helping artists meet customers in person. So, if you want to follow this methodology, an online presence is not optional. It’s a must. Still, the online market is hypercompetitive. There are millions and millions of artists, just like you, that are trying to make a profit.

2. Think Like A Business Owner 

Some of you aren’t going to like this, but it’s necessary. Being a business owner doesn’t necessarily mean spending your time on spreadsheets and in meeting rooms. You can have your little activity and still spend 60 to 70 percent of your working time on art. Again, this is not advice, this is prescription. The most common problem amongst artists is that they don’t know how to find clients, how to get recurring clients, how to charge more for their services and products, how to sell in general, etc… you get the point.

Here’s a reassuring fact. Developing a business is, to some extent, an art form. You need to spend at least 30 to 40 percent of your working time on developing that business, and I’m going to tell you exactly how. 

3. Does The Market Even Want What You’re Selling? 

Be honest here. Do people like your stuff? Because if they don’t, they won’t buy it. And it’s not just about “it has to look good”, it needs an actual brand and story. Here’s what entrepreneurs do. First, they identify a need in the marketplace. Maybe that need isn’t yet satisfied by any product or service, or maybe it is but it can be improved. Then, they offer a product that satisfies that specific need.

For example, you might find that an area of your city has no restaurants at all, so people never eat out. You, the entrepreneur, could open a restaurant in that area, and you would have no competition. So, your art needs to have its place in the marketplace. But, here’s the thing. Art isn’t that easy to position. To find your way out of this issue, you could follow one of these two paths:

  • Experiment and create new art until you succeed and create a trend. This will take a lot of trial and error and you might not even succeed at all. It’s riskier but, if you do make it, you will make serious money and it will probably be more satisfying for you as an artist.
  • Follow the trend and stay up to date on what people are buying. Create your version of the current trending art, and make it yours. You’re taking what is already working and you’re personalizing it, then selling it. This one should be much, much easier than the first but it might be less fulfilling as an artist. 

4. Transition Your Skills To Digital 

If you’re a musician, you should probably learn how to record, mix, master, and publish your creations. If you’re a painter, you should probably learn how to create digital art with programs like adobe illustrator, photoshop, Krita, and so on. You might even start 3D sculpting in 3D programs like blender and cinema 4D, and then sell your creations to animators or game developers.

There are many possibilities. You might also have to invest some of your money into (microphone, graphic/drawing tablet, and so on) but it’s worth it as soon as you start seeing a return on your investment. If you haven’t yet transitioned your artistic skills to the digital world, you should probably think about doing so. It’s not mandatory. You can sell your art online and have it delivered (if you’re a painter for example) but that excludes a lot of opportunities online. 

5. Pricing Your Art 

The market ultimately decides what your art is worth. How? My reaction to your price changes. For example, let’s pretend that you’re offering to create a personalized piece for 150 dollars. Many people start asking you for your services. So many, that you can’t handle all the commissions. So, you raise your price, to 350 dollars. Now the market is reacting negatively. No one is asking for your services anymore, and you aren’t making a profit. This means that you need to adjust your price. Maybe you go down to 275 dollars, and the market reacts positively. People want your services, and you can handle all the commissions.

This is the point where you maximize your profits. This, in economics, is called the law of supply and demand. It’s very easy to understand but isn’t so easy in practice. The thing with art is that you can also raise value based on what people perceive. This is called perceived value and is the value that people subjectively give to products and services. To do this, you need to brand yourself and your art. If there’s a story or a style behind everything you do, you aren’t just selling a piece, you’re selling a fraction of your brand and story. 

6. Develop a brand for your art 

Now you know why you need a brand for everything you do. A brand isn’t just the logo or the name of your activity. It’s what people think about you, it is your style and how your art is seen by the world. It’s much more profound than “visuals”, it’s about the story behind what you do. To develop this story, you should probably be consistent with your style, be specific with your targeting (who you want to sell to), and make everything contextual to your brand. 

7. Create a website 

Again, this is not an option. If you want credibility you must have a well-designed website for your art. And this shouldn’t be a regular website, because you aren’t using it just to give people your contact information. It is a representation of your art. So everything needs to be coherent, from pictures to font and message. 

8. Set Realistic Expectations 

You aren’t going to become an instant millionaire with your art. Business growth is exponential. An exponential curve is one that, initially, grows very slowly. So, at the beginning of your career, you will struggle to see growth and profit. However, the curve starts growing faster and faster with time. That’s exactly when you need to work the hardest because it’s when you are going to grow. This is called the explosion phase in business. What I’m saying is that you probably won’t make money for a while, but you need to be persistent and update your strategies to see what works best, and you will start seeing profits soon.

9. Teach Others How To Create Art 

As an artist, selling your work isn’t the only way to make money. You can start teaching others how to do what you already know how to do. This can be in the form of personal, 1-on-1 coaching, but it can also be an ebook, an online course, or an online workshop. Again, the possibilities are endless, you just need to be creative, and as an artist, you probably are. For example, if you know how to use Adobe Illustrator, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are willing to pay you to teach them how to use it.

If you know how to play an instrument or record vocals, people are willing to pay to learn that too. As long as you do proper marketing and you are giving actual value (not just random, repetitive, online content) you really can’t go wrong. An online course or ebook will also generate passive income for you, as opposed to 1-on-1 coaching that requires your continuous attention. 

10. Create the content on art 

You could vlog your journey as an artist. Many fellow art enthusiasts will gladly follow your content and see what you’re up to. If you have an interesting life and know how to talk with a camera, you could start a YouTube channel or even a blog. From there, you could make money with advertising (on YouTube for example). Or, if you’re smart, you can create content, then sell your art to your followers while also teaching them how to become good at what you do with an online course. Once again, the possibilities are endless.

One BIG BIG piece of advice in 2022 is to create a TikTok profile and start posting on Tik Tok. If you don’t have money to advertise your content, Tik Tok IS the way to go in 2022, with no doubt. It is the best way to get organic reach (A.K.A. free followers). Many of you who already are content creators and don’t have a Tik Tok will find this hard in the beginning.

Remember that your content needs to be contextual to the platform you’re on. So, don’t post on the Tik Tok the type of content you would post on your Facebook page. Contextual, interesting, entertaining, and valuable content is the best way to grow a pretty dedicated audience on Tik Tok, which you can then send to your other platforms like Instagram, Website, or Facebook. 

11. Create Merch For Your Brand Or Other brands 

If you’re a visual artist, creating merch is another profitable path. You can also apply this to your content creation journey along with all the other strategies and have an extra stream of income. If you want to create merchandise for others, you could create a whole business around it. Many content creators don’t know how to do it, so you can be their savior. Or, here’s another good one, you could create an online course on how to create your merchandise. Once more (can’t stress this enough), possibilities are endless.

12. Private Commissions 

There are two types of private commissions, especially if you’re into visual art:

  • Create art for businesses (such as logos, branding, graphics, design, banners, etc) and help them with their marketing and to sell more.
  • Create art for art enthusiasts. They are willing to pay you a lot of money to create personalized pieces just for them. This is also an easy way to get new connections and meet potential clients.

The main takeaway from this article is that there are many, many ways you can make money online as an artist of any kind. You can combine the strategies above and make some serious money.

But this won’t happen if you don’t start thinking like an entrepreneur. Just shift your perspective a little, and you will start seeing the world as a place full of profitable opportunities. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more fulfilling for an artist than making a living from selling your craft. 

RELATED: How to Make Money as a Teenager Online


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