Want To Turn Your Art Into A Business? Here’s 9 Things You Need To Do

The first thing we need to do here is dispel a myth.

The first thing we need to do here is dispel a myth.

Many creative people believe that business and art are like oil and water — they don’t mix (innovative analogy there).

Well maybe, but it all depends on how you look at it.

Oil and water don’t mix together directly, correct. But that’s not what I mean in this case.

Instead, think of your creations as an engine, and in order for the engine to run, it needs oil to lubricate it, and water to keep it cool.

In that sense therefore, both oil and water do mix, in so far as they are required to work together in a collaborative manner to allow you spread your story.

The apparent difference between art and business is actually two ends of the same stick. There is a point at which they join, or rather blend together.

There is the sweet spot, a point where they integrate and become a means to share ideas with the world.

So now…

Let’s begin to explore how to turn your art into a business.

Before You Start Your Small Business…

Before you start your small business, there are a couple of high level things that you need to consider in order to have a chance of it being successful.

Although I should say here that success is what you decide it to be.

If you are to turn it into an earner, then you will need to take the broad principles I’m laying out for you and get serious about them.

If you don’t currently have an online presence for example, then the points below will offer you a starting point. An online presence is essential to you scaling your business.

Eventually I believe you’ll need to host your own site on your own server and domain, although there are other options now such as Medium where they’ll do all the heavy lifting for you.

Branding too is important if you are to take your business seriously, and the entry level solutions just won’t cut it long term.

So let’s get into it…

1. Decide what expertise you wish to promote.

Before you start a business blog you have to decide what element of your skillset you will demonstrate. You have lots of skills, however if you don’t focus on one you’ll just confuse your potential audience.

Everyone’s an expert at something and if you’re already selling your art, then you know there is a market for what you do. So focus in on that.

Go narrow and deep on the subject matter and produce content that teaches people how to do what you do. You’ll be surprised how many people who admire what you do will consume your tutorials.

If you’d like to find out more about building an audience, check out this free (no BS) course from Sean McCabe

2. Decide who you are writing for.

Be very specific about your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? You cannot write effectively if you don’t have a clear picture of your ideal buyer.

Detail out the profile of who you are writing for. Consider demographics like age, race, marital status, income, and so on. Every time you sit down to write keep this person in mind.

When I write I’m thinking of the artist, the creative person. I can hear the question “how can I make my art, be true to it and still make a good quality living”. It’s a question that’s relevant to me as an artist also.

It’s very important to me and I know it’s important to my contemporaries, so that’s what I focus on. All the content I create is built around this idea of staying true to our art.

3. Give what you know away from free.

Many creative people are very protective of their knowledge and skills, after all they’ve spent a long time building it up. They are afraid to give it away in case someone steals their market.

On closer analysis you may see that this is a closed mind notion and really doesn’t serve you. It’s not compatible with what art is about, and certainly doesn’t comply with The Artist’s Manifesto.

I read a tweet the other day.

4. Just Start Writing.

You don’t need to start a business blog and have it up and running to start writing. You can use LinkedIn or Medium to post about your chosen subject while you are building your blog.

Take your time, become familiar with the functions of the back end of your site and learn how to share your work through marketing techniques from great sites like Sumo, CoSchecule, Authority Hacker and others.

Make a commitment to write frequently, say once every week and then follow through. I write every day but you don’t necessarily have to do that.

But you will need to be patient. Blogging to promote your art or small business takes time to build momentum. Box off two years of consistent work before you see significant results

Up to that point it will be slow and steady, with little wins occurring often.

Some successful writers like Henneke Duistermaat didn’t have their own website when they started.

So stick at it.

5. Open a FREE account with WordPress.com or Medium.

WordPress.com is one of the best ways to start promoting your art online, find your way around and get comfortable writing blog posts and publishing to your network.

This is how I started.

Branding is important but that’s for later, you need to understand the basics of blogging technology first before we start talking about custom domains and professionally designed websites.

Medium is another great place to start blogging about your small business. There are millions of readers there already consuming content around what you do.

I use medium to reach a wider audience. I post there in my publication; Storymaker, and I publish to other publications too which helps bring new readers to my site.

6. Sign Up for newsletters from industry experts.

I must have signed up to hundreds of newsletters over the years although many of them I’ve since ditched. I still have a number that I read and still get great value from.

Signing up to too many newsletters will leave you swamped, so be selective. Those you do sign up for, analyse how they do things, see if their methods are a fit for your business.

The experts can show you how to get started. However, there are some that might lead you astray, so avoid taking all advice you read and applying it verbatim.

You’ll need to accept a little trial and error until you find what is a good fit for what you make, and the people you make it for.

Here’s a few I subscribe to;


Authority Hacker

Google Webmaster Blog

Tim Grahl

The Abundant Artist

7. Apply what you are learning.

Slowly being to apply what you are learning.

If you take on too much too soon you’ll likely get overwhelmed and burn out. So the trick is to do little and often, take the inches instead of the miles, and eventually you’ll begin to make a dint.

It’s all about experimentation so, as I said above, accept that you’ll not get it right all the time.

8. Love it and it will grow.

Personally I get lots of satisfaction from writing and sharing what I’ve learned, so for me it’s enjoyable and rewarding. If you love it you’ll figure it out and make it work for you, if you don’t then you won’t put the energy in.

If you don’t put energy into blogging and sharing your work then fewer people will be exposed to it. Eventually you’ll lose heart and throw in the towel.

Staying power is what will yield results, way beyond what any single activity or task will achieve on its own.

Stick to your guns, show up every day and get your stuff out to the world.

9. If all else fails…

You know blogging is not for everyone, and if you’d rather focus on your core business then that’s what you should do.

Instead then, hire or partner up with someone who can help you market your stuff.

Whatever it takes do it.

Get your stuff out there under the noses of people who will appreciate it whatever way you can. Eventually you’ll make a dint in the world.

Here’s some resources that can help you get off the ground…

How To Make Money Blogging — Authority Hacker

Make Money Blogging — Smart Blogger

How To Create A Business Blogging Plan

Factors To Consider Before Starting A Business Blog

Avoid These 13 Blogging Mistakes

How To Build An Audience That Builds Your Business

Originally published at larrygmaguire.com on Jan 3, 2015.

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Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art & creativity. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.