The Pursuit of Art as Business

When you scroll through social media, you often find yourself seeing plenty of success stories of how artists or small businesses have thrived with new advancements in how we can reach new customers across the world. Maybe they created an Etsy and suddenly got an influx of sales or one viral video put them on the map. Some took longer to find the right strategy that broke them free of dead end cycles. After 5 years of pursuing my art as a business, I would say I'm in the latter category and still not there yet...

The struggle of the pursuit of business as an artist is not an easy one. These two ideas seemingly crash into one another and yet they are also inherently supportive of one another. What I mean by that is on one hand, artists are creatives and their innovation often comes from the space of dreaming. But business is not really about dreaming. It's about doing. Testing various avenues, running numbers, weighing pros and cons, consistent effort and never stopping. That's not to say you don't get a break, but too many breaks can feel like you're falling away from things you need to get done. Sleeping on opportunities that may come and go. Sometimes you have to catch the wave when it's there because you don't know when the next will come. A self employed business is driven by the self - however motivated you can stay.

On the flip side of this, having an art business as an artist can be extremely motivating. I never painted as much as I did when I had a purpose to paint. Bringing new designs to my fans who feel moved by my work has been an uplifting aspect. I no longer have to rely solely on my own desire to see a piece finished. As a moody Pisces my own motivations can get stuck and seen as meaningless, but giving to others can activate me to keep on going. With that being said, when that aspect of my business seems to disappear it can leave me feeling aimless.

As I enter June 2024, I celebrate 5 years of the intentional pursuit of art as my business. I reflect on how things started in my local community and they are no longer the same. Where I was once able to rely on a thriving collective of markets and events with a community of supportive artists and musicians there to always keep things moving, I now see only dwindling remnants. Many have moved away for better opportunities, community members and businesses are fractured and the economy struggles as a whole. After many attempts to salvage and rebuild, I feel the call to pivot now more than ever. 

When I first established my art business, I understood that I needed to build a collection of products based on my work and create an online store that could reach beyond the boundaries of my town to bring extra income. However, as I stated in the beginning business doesn't come natural to the artist's mind, even one as witty as myself. It's been a real slow growth journey and often times I feel I have put my energy in directions without return. I rebuilt my website last year on Shopify which was a huge overhaul for me. Then Shopify raised their prices and I didn't quite understand how to drive traffic to my site without spending even more money I didn't have. I directed my energy towards social media and only got burned out yet again with no progress. So after a year and the current state of my local economy, I am back to rebuild my website yet again with new strategies. Sometimes it takes everything else falling away to push us into one specific direction.

It can be depressing when you work really hard and feel your growth is slow and not truly sustainable. But it always comes back to innovation and personal growth to overcome the adversities life brings you. Knowing your worth and manifesting the life of your dreams. So I'm here to commit more time to my website by implementing a couple new strategies for organic growth:

- Working on search engine optimization

- Creating blog posts to keep my website relevant

- Integrating Pinterest

- Creating YouTube videos

I have wanted to use my blog and YouTube to highlight each of my paintings and talk about the depths of their meanings, but have yet to start this project. Now is my chance. In my research, these strategies are a better means for driving traffic than wasting energy on social media posts, following trends and using the right audio to go viral. It all seemed too contrived and unnatural. That's not me. I started this business to reflect a part of my authentic self out into the world and I won't sacrifice it in the pursuit of money.

If you've read this far, I thank you for being a part of my journey and listening to my story. I hope you stick around for more to come.



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