5 Things to Avoid When Monetizing Your Artwork

Thinking about these 5 things early on in your artrepreneurial journey will help you avoid time-wasting mistakes.

1. Undervaluing Yourself

As you start to think about asking for money for your artwork, it can be hard to place a dollar amount on your value. But doing so is one of the first steps to monetizing your artwork. It’s important to strategically price your artwork–learn about how to do so here.

If you’ve never charged for your art before, it can be easy to undervalue yourself. You might sell your first oil painting for $300 and realize later that it was worth at least $1,000. A mentor once told me to start high to test the market; if people won’t buy my product because it’s too expensive, then lower my price. Do this until they finally purchase, and you’ve found your sweet spot. Unfortunately, lots of artrepreneurs (myself included) do the opposite. We price too low and gradually increase as we realize the value that we’re really providing. Save yourself some time and lost money, and make sure you are valuing yourself and your artwork fairly.

2. Undervaluing Others

Artrepreneurs are often “solo-preneurs”–people who are building a business on their own. As a solopreneur, its easy to undervalue the help and support of others. You might think that it’s easier to do things on your own, but have you tried working with someone else to accomplish the same goals? Of course, working with others isn’t always easy, but the power of teamwork makes the collaboration worth it. Instead of trying to do things all on your own, start off your artrepreneurial journey with others on your side.

3. Not Thinking About the Customer First

Being an artrepreneur is unique because artwork is often more important to artrepreneurs than other products like, let’s say, toilet paper or toothbrushes. Artrepreneurs are so connected to their artwork, that they often forgot to think about their customers first. Remember: As an artrepreneur, you are creating for other people, not for yourself. The customer must be the core of your creative business. Your art-based product or service is made for them.

4. Only Creating for Money

However, artists also need creative time that is not restricted by product limitations or the wants of the customer. As an artrepreneur, remember to take time to create for yourself, not only for your customers. Become dedicated to working on art for your business AND art for yourself. If you forget to create for the sake of creating, you risk losing the joy of creating artwork for others by burning yourself out.

5. Not Asking for Feedback

Depending on the creative product or service you offer, you may have a close interaction with your customers or you may not. Regardless, you must find a way to ask for their feedback. Understanding the experience of your customers will:

– Help you ensure that your product or service is of quality
– Help you improve the customer experience in the future
– Help you identify important changes that you might need to make to your business model
– Help you develop trust with your customers

Whether you create a standardized digital survey, informally ask your customers about their experience in person, or do something in between, getting feedback from your customers and your partners can mean the difference between building a sustainable creative business and not. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others; its purpose is to make you more successful in the future.

Thinking about these 5 things early on in your artrepreneurial journey will help you avoid time-wasting mistakes. But also remember to revisit each of these points as you grow your creative business. All are important to your continued artrepreneurial success!

Peace, Kayla

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How to Price Your Work as an Artrepreneur

As an artist, it might be tough to put a price tag on your work. But as an artrepreneur, putting a price tag on your work is the key to your creative business.

How do you decide what price is right?

1. Based on Expenses and Desired Profit

One way to price your work is to think about how much time and money it will cost you to produce your service or product, and how much money you want to make off of it.

For example:
Let’s say it costs you $15 in supplies and 15 hours of time to create your product. First you must ask yourself: How much is each of your labor hours worth? Maybe you want to make $30/hr… $30 x 15 hours = $450 in labor for this project. Great. Now you can add in the $15 you spent on supplies, and you’ve got a grand total of $465. At this number, you’re breaking even. But what if you want to make some extra profit? Maybe you’ll charge $500 instead, so that you can make 35 extra dollars of profit to put toward running your business. If $500 is really low compared to your competitors, maybe you’ll charge $800 and make $335 in profit to put back into your business.

Note: Tracking your time is critical for pricing your product or service. To understand how much you should charge for labor, you must understand how much time you are actually spending when developing your product or service.

This method helps you to understand the minimum amount you should charge (all your expenses + the profit you desire). But, #2 helps you to understand the wider range of pricing that might be acceptable for your creative business.

2. Based on the Competition

What is your competition charging? What value are they providing for that price?

For example: If the average price your competitors is $500 dollars, that might be a good sign that you should charge a price in somewhere around $500… UNLESS you provide an additional value that is worth paying extra for. You’ll need to conduct competitor research to understand what your competitors are charging and why. Doing this will help you to better understand the range in which you should price your product or service. However, #3 will tell you the maximum amount you can truly charge.

3. Based on What Customers Will Pay

At the end of the day, you can only charge as much as your customers will pay. When you tell a potential customer that your product or service is $20, how do they respond? If they seem too pleasantly surprised, maybe you’re not charging enough. If they seem too unpleasantly surprised, maybe you’re charging too much. Obviously, this form of measurement is vague, but its all about trying to gauge how your customers, or potential customers, feel about your pricing. Want to know for sure? Try asking! Consider a pre- or post-purchase survey, or even asking them in person.

At the end of the day, your pricing should reflect the value you offer. Make sure to understand your customers’ “pain points” and how you help alleviate them. As you test your creative business model, listen to the response of your customers and make adjustments accordingly.

Challenge: Talk to 5 people who have purchased or may be interested in purchasing your product or service. Ask them how they felt/feel about the value they received/will receive for the price they paid/will pay. Record their answers and think about how you can use that information to create or adjust your pricing strategy. Good luck!

Peace, Kayla

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