Starting From the Bottom
Disclaimer: I am far from the top of my artistic career, but I hope what I’ve learnt so far can be of help to those also wishing to pursue their art professionally.
Choosing to try to make a business from your art can be a very overwhelming but rewarding decision. These are a few tips for those trying to make a name for themselves with little funds or experience.
1. Social media is your best friend!
This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give based on my experience. I started with an Instagram account to share my art with my few dozen followers. But from this, Instagram has become a platform where I have made friends, been offered opportunities for work, started a shop, and been able to reach thousands. So share everything you can, make an effort to connect with those who support you, and build a strong social media presence.
2. Talk to people.
Linking in with my previous tip about sharing on social media: Use it to connect with as many people as possible! Make friends, start collaborations, listen to your followers, and keep up-to-date with those who inspire you. Contact other artists, share your knowledge and experiences, and maybe you’ll find a new mentor, or someone to work with on a project. Be ambitious, try contacting “big” brands or users, ask them to check out your work. Be persistent. They’ll remember you.
3. Making $$$ with minimal $$$.
Trying to start an online store can be an expensive process. However, there are a few options to make that dream achievable. For those interested in illustration or photography who want to see prints without paying for shipping and printing, sites like Society 6 and Red Bubble are perfect. Base prices are set, so when you upload your prints you can adjust the profit margins and list them in your store—all the rest is done for you. These websites also allow for printing on apparel, tote bags, and much more. If you can afford to make and ship your own products, I recommend using an online store platform called Tictail. With this, you can set up and personalize your own store, without paying for a template, host, or domain. All sales are processed through PayPal, making currency conversions, refunds, and invoices super easy!
4. Reach for the stars!
Do everything you can to open up new opportunities and spread your name as an artist. Enter competitions, contribute to magazines and online platforms (Rookie ♥s submissions), try to get people to repost your work, and share everything you create. Eventually, people will begin to recognize your work and your supporters will grow. If you’re lucky, opportunities for work or exciting collaborations may arise! Potentially increasing business for your store, too! ♦