Steps on starting your art business
1. Gather a startup capital
In the startup world, the first thing you need to gather is startup capital. Startup capital refers to the money that is required to start a new business, for example:
- renting a studio space,
- buying art supplies,
- making a website and social marketing.
2. Find investors
Startup entrepreneurs could get their startup capital from the bank or investors (angel investors or venture capitalists). If they get bank loans, they have to pay back with a higher than usual interest rate depending on the riskiness of their business. When an investor puts in the money, he has a percentage of this new business. He can make decisions and drive the business if he has over 51% of the equity. Next time you hear other entrepreneurs say they have investors, don’t feel jealous. It might not be a positive thing.
3. Make an art business plan
As an art entrepreneur, you probably could not secure a loan or an investment due to the nature of your business. The best bet you have is getting money from Family Friends and Fools (3Fs) or saving up for it yourself. Ask people in your inner circle to help out. If they don’t have the resources, you can still do it on your own. How much money do you need to embark on a full-time art career? Earn that money. The advantage is you will be in control of your art career.
If you are serious about your art, make sure you have a simple business plan and gather for your startup fund.
4. Gather a team
Consider adding the teamwork element to your art business. Many artists think as long as they can paint or draw well, they will become an artist and make good money. You talk to an art dealer, thinking that he will sort everything out for you. It won’t work! You are the owner of your art business. Cover many different aspects of running a business. Just blind collaborations with dealers are not enough. Better to have your team.
Who you need
Each artist is different; therefore, each art business is different. Here are some examples of who you need:
- The art director.
- The art market expert.
- The social media manager.
- The web ninja.
- The graphic designer.
- The photographer/filmmaker.
- The business manager.
- The accountant.
- The researcher.
- The general manager.
- The assistant.
Attract the right people
You must have heard many stories in the startup world: someone left Google to work on a startup. Why? Because they found something more important than money or a secure job. As an employer, you, the artist, obviously cannot beat Google for the salary or welfare. You need to be able to attract capable people to work for you by offering them something more.
Artists are not alone.
Remember, You can not achieve everything alone. You don’t work alone, and you don’t take all the glory alone. Art school might teach you to work as a solo artist, but you should play in a band. While building your team, try to learn as many skills as possible.
“Not having the right team” ranked as the 3rd best reason for a startup business to fail. Think about it; artists shouldn’t be an exception to the rule.
5. Maximize your shareholder value
This is all about Equity. Equity refers to the shares to which a co-founder or investor is entitled. It is a percentage of ownership in a company. Perhaps you have heard of stocks more often, like the stock exchange. Stocks, shares, or equity are interchangeable in this scenario. They all represent the ownership of a company.
6. Scale your art business
Perhaps you have not yet thought about it when you first plan your art business. It’s normal because we don’t usually consider scaling in the art business. But if you have a closer look, most established artists were prepared to scale. Yourself alone producing one piece of artwork every month will not get you very far. You need to think about scaling and have a strategy for it if you wish to have a team, earn more than just a salary, or become successful in the art market. You can jump directly to How to scale in the 3rd chapter of this article.
7. Beat your competition
In business, competition is good. It means there is a market for your product. Competition is a part of the market research without being emotional. But it is very different when it comes to art. When an artist friend talked about another artist with a similar style, he got upset about being copied. But at the same time, it did not qualify as a copyright infringement. Artists should approach competition in a business manner. See 4th chapter.
8. Sustain your art business
You need to maintain a healthy cash flow to sustain your art business. I will list a few pieces of cash flow advice applicable in the art world at the end of the article.