Illustration by Joey Souza
A lot of people think that all there is to being an artist is creating art, when in reality, creation is only a small part of being a professional independent artist. Here are the other shoes one has to fill, on top of being a creative, in order to succeed:
When it comes to doing commissioned work for a client, you set and haggle your own rates. Determining the value of art and figuring out a price for your blood, sweat, and tears that is both fair for you and the buyer is a tricky matter.
The name of the game is publicity. No one is going to buy your work or ask you to do work for them if they have no idea that you even exist. That’s where contacting art blogs and magazines comes in. Contacting them in a professional way is incredibly important in order to get your work noticed at all.
3. Website Admin
Even if you don’t own your own eCommerce store online and only sell on Etsy, you still have to learn and implement some basic SEO practices, as well as keep everything in your shop updated at all times. Heaven forbid that someone place an order for that screen printed shirt that’s out of stock because you didn’t update your inventory correctly.
4. Social Media Manager
You need to foster a following and reach out to as many people as possible, so you’re on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and have your own Facebook fan page. All of which you must update every time you get a new piece of artwork finished and ready to sell so as not to neglect your dear fans after you worked so hard to get noticed in the first place.
5. Order Fulfillment & Shipping
Better know how to properly package a print so that it doesn’t get damaged in the mail. It would be awful to get a bad review on a site like Etsy, or to have to refund the customer’s money and take a loss on the shipping costs. It’s also handy to know how to print shipping labels at home so you don’t have to wait all day at the Post Office wasting precious time just to ship a small order.
6. Customer Service Rep.
A package was lost in the mail because the buyer put the wrong address in their shipping information and now they’re pretty upset about not getting their order. Time to go smooth it out like a pro and turn them into a huge fan and, hopefully, a repeat customer.
And of course, finally, you have to be an artist. But creating art is obviously only a small part of actually making a living as one.
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