5 First Steps in Building Your Art-based Business

You might be thinking that it’s time to turn your art into a business. Here are 5 crucial steps in starting to develop your new art-based business:

You might be thinking that it’s time to turn your art into a business. ‘Artrepreneurship’ is becoming more and more common and maybe you’re ready to take a whack at it. Not exactly sure what ‘artrepreneurship’ is? Take a read through Is Art Entrepreneurship? to make sure that you’re ready to take the leap. If you’ve already read through the post, then you’ve decided that you’re ready to move forward with your lifestyle or growth company. AWESOME! (If you’re not familiar with the difference between a lifestyle company and a growth company, please take the time to read through Is Art Entrepreneurship? so that you can have a solid foundation on which to move forward!)

Regardless of which kind of company you’ve decided on, there are 5 crucial steps in starting to develop your new art-based business:

1 – Understand your value

As an artist, you have a very special set of skills and people of all kinds are looking for your services. The first step to serving those potential customers is to identify exactly what it is that you can offer them. Start by thinking about the need you are fulfilling. Perhaps companies have a need to share their messages through video content, but can’t make quality videos by themselves. As a video content creator, for example, you can help to fulfill that need.

Think about your customers’ “pain points,” or things that are hard or impossible for them to do on their own. For example, maybe they can’t make that high quality video because they don’t have the knowledge to edit their videos in professional editing software, but you do. A successful business helps solve it’s customers’ problems — what problem are you helping solve for your potential customers?

2 – Decide on your message

Now that you truly understand what helpful solution you’re providing for your potential customers, it’s time to think about the best way to communicate your value with them in a relatable way. “We help bring your brand to life.” While this isn’t about making slogans, you can develop a message that underlies your creative business. Maybe it’s an internal statement that sounds something like: “I help people grow their own brands by creating killer video content for them.” Decide on what your message, your mission, is so that you can work on sharing this message with your potential customers.

3 – Think about your branding

One of the best ways to share your message with potential customers is through your branding. Your branding consists of everything from fonts to colors to slogans and logos. Your branding should make your message clear to the customer; let them know what problems you can help them solve.

There are two main elements of your brand: the visual elements, and the emotional elements. One common way to share visual elements is through a branding board. See the example below. Read more about how to create an awesome, comprehensive branding board here.

MARQUE ONE brand board
Branding Board example by Krishna Solanki

While a branding board can help you share your brand visually, you should also work on sharing your brand by focusing on relevancy to the customer — this helps to create a emotional response. One way to do this is by creating relatable slogans like the: “I help people grow their own brands by helping them creating killer video content.” Make sure you focus on your value and the problem that you’re solving. Another way is to develop a list of keywords that summarize your value and how you want to share it. “awesome video content, collaborative concept development, message sharing, fun to work with, creative business, professional yet casual, the list could go on. There are many ways to describe how your want your brand to feel. Write down as many as you can think of, then choose the top 5, 10, or 15 that really describe your brand in a way that’s relatable to your potential customers.

4 – Evaluate your resources

Alright, you’ve got your value, your message, and your brand — but how are you going to deploy them? You need to evaluate your resources. How much time do you have to spend working on your business? How much money do you have to support your marketing efforts? Who do you know who could act as a mentor, partner, or evangelist for you? Do you have all the tools you need to execute for your potential customers?

One of the best ways to evaluate your resources is by making a plan:

5 – Make a Plan

Business plans sound stiff, but the benefit you can get from prepping one is well worth the work. Making a plan doesn’t have to be hard. Strategyzer.com provides the Business Model Canvas, which is like a one-page business plan that can help you get a plan going for your new artrepreneurship endeavor. Follow me to the next blog to learn about how to create a one page plan for your art-based business!

Peace, Kayla

P.S. Through each step, remember to always be thinking from the perspective of your potential customers.

Author: Kayla Banda

Helping artists become entrepreneurs! From Business Counselor to Creative Producer, my experience has made 'artrepreneurship' a big part of my life. I really enjoy working every day to help creatives of all kinds share their art with the world!

20 thoughts on “5 First Steps in Building Your Art-based Business”

  1. I love your post and it is very good advice. It has been 3 months I quitted my job to follow my artentrepreurship and it’s quit hard. I found some clients but it’s still relatively small. Perhaps you might have some advice for me. Will you check my blog ? Wendynouse.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Wendy! Congrats on starting your artrepreneurial journey. It is a hard one. I might start be asking how you found your first few clients? It’s helpful to understand what brought them to you and try duplicating that system. You have a good amount of helpful content on your site, which is great. I might suggest that you focus on networking at this stage. You may need some “evangelists” to help spread the word about your services. I might suggest that you start with identifying individuals in your field (both other artists and potential clients) who you can work on connecting with. Ideally, you need a person with a large network to interact with you either offline or online, so that you can continue to grow your own network.

      It’s hard to say exactly what could help you grow your business at this point, without knowing too much about what you’ve tried already and what your business model really is. However, consider checking out this article to help you think through each part of your business model. See where you’ve had success, and try to duplicate it. Where you’ve been struggling, think about a new approach. https://kaylabanda.com/2020/02/27/one-page-business-plan-for-the-creative-entrepreneur/

      I hope this is helpful for you. Best of luck, Wendy! Keep up your hard work and you’ll get there.

      Peace, Kayla


      1. Thank you so much for your message! It is very helpful! I actually knocked on doors and used an local art platform where people can make announcements. I met some people who connected me with other people and it went really fast at that point. We’re still in lockdown at least till the 5 of June. I think after that it will start picking itself up again. In the meantime I have been working on selling my work online. But it’s tricky! I am going to check out the page you send! Good luck and stay healthy! Love, Wendy

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Wendy! Yes, networking is often the kickstarter of many businesses. I might suggest that you start networking online now via social medias, so that once lockdown ends, you already have a warm intro to individuals you might want to meet with in person. Good luck, Wendy! You’ve got this! Peace, Kayla


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