People often perceive the day-to-day life of a full-time artist as a happy-go-lucky one, thinking that we just paint all day and are in a deep meditative state, because, you know, we do what we love the most.
It is true that we are indeed working on what we are passionate about, but as every entrepreneur in any field out there, pursuing art as a full-time career takes a considerable amount of HARD WORK, PERSEVERANCE, COURAGE and requires you to develop strong BUSINESS ACUMEN, since you need to navigate in a very ambiguous and highly volatile market!
Some days I have to put my artistic hat on and concentrate only on perfecting my skill and creating beautiful work. Other days, though, I have to put my business hat on and concentrate on my business strategy and how I can best promote my work to a larger target audience in the world. Truth be told, when you first start your own creative business, 60-70% of your time will require you to keep your business hat on in order to get it going!
While I was part of the corporate world, my day-to-day tasks were pre-determined for me by management. I had little say in what my day would look like and I would heedlessly follow someone else’s requests. My day typically involved completing a project, sending it to management, getting it approved, receiving another project, sending it to management and the cycle went on and on...
However, that predictability of a 9 to 5 job dissipated as soon as I started my own career as a creative entrepreneur, and unpredictability and chaos ensued in my daily life! I would spend hours in my studio painting, but I had no clue where to begin creating a business out of my artistic talent, especially in a market that I had never navigated. All the unpredictability and chaos came with feelings of guilt and self-doubt because I had recently completed a Master of Business Administration from Duke University, so I believed that I ought to know how to build a business, market it, and grow it exponentially!
I am telling you this from experience – it DOES NOT MATTER how business savvy you are or how many years you have spent in the business world; when it comes to entrepreneurship you are going to encounter a big learning curve on a professional and personal level.
Continue reading in order to discover what you can expect when starting your own creative business and gain insight on how my day-to-day life as a full-time artist and entrepreneur looks.
1. CREATING MY OWN ONLINE ART STORE
Wix won me over, because its ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) or more commonly known as user platform, was easier to navigate and was more beginner-friendly than Squarespace. I wanted to quickly launch my website, so I did not miss on potential clients. Squarespace seemed like it would take me much longer to configure and operate. I had never created a website previously, let alone used coding to add features onto a website.
2. TAKING PROFESSIONAL PICTURES OF MY ARTWORKS
As the expression goes "a picture is worth a thousand words" so the production of my pictures had to be appealing, since they are the first and main reason why potential customers visit your website. That took a fair amount of time, since I had to select the correct lighting, experiment/adjust the setup of the equipment in my studio, and select a couple shots from the dozens of photos I took to ensure the right images were published onto my website for each of my artworks. All the while, I was continuing to create more works of art so this process was repeated numerous times.
In order to ensure the photo quality was professional, I purchased the following items from Amazon in order to facilitate the vision I had for the photographs:
3. PRICING MY ARTWORKS
Determining the price of my artworks was another major hurdle, which I will talk about in-depth in an upcoming blog post. For now I will say that it took me a few weeks of thorough research and significant amount of introspection in order to determine the right price point for my artworks (that's when my business background came in handy)! It was an arduous task as art can be priced very arbitrarily in the marketplace at times. Establishing a consistent pricing strategy that is congruent with your skillset, experience level, and medium you are using is important. Oh, and don't forget the unforeseen and additional costs most people forget to mention (which I will disclose in-depth in a follow-up blog).
4. FOCUSING ON CREATING ART
During the initial establishing of the business portion of my art a considerable amount of my time was spent creating and maintaining a website, running my website's analytics and focusing on the promotion of my artworks through various social media platforms.
Thus, during the first few weeks of launching my business I lost focus on why I started this journey to begin with; which was to create beautiful and meaningful artworks. After re-allocating my time more appropriately, I was able to get back to creating the beautiful and meaningful works of art that filled my heart with joy.
Therefore, before embarking on my journey to Europe during Christmas of last year, I purchased a traveling easel, canvases, and painting essentials to continue creating while being a traveling artist (for tips on how to pack your art supplies while traveling internationally check my blog post here). Now as I am still traveling, I ensure that I set up a studio space in every airbnb I stay in so that I can do what I love the most, which is creating art!