Past Posts

February 2011
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Why you may not be ready to become a business

Oh wow-there is a long thread on another forum that I belong to with advice from many, various artists on “starting a fine art business” being thrown around like it was a recipe for biscuits!  I am always amazed at how quickly someone will take advice from someone who may not be where they want to be! (think about that)
Finally after browsing through dozens of replies-all honest and well intentioned, but still lacking in real life functionality, I saw the real problem underlying all the comments and I have copied my reply here because it is so relevant to all artists.

<I usually advise artists to start with and use what they have. Unless your current sales justify all the paperwork and detail necessary to be a “formal” business, then keep your art a “hobby.”

There is nothing magical about the word “business”.So many artists feel that they must justify this somehow.  It does not happen overnight and I constantly remind artists that it is hard work. It is a state of mind. Combining creativity and business is also a state of mind and you will be unsuccessful if you cannot switch gears to accept and embrace what needs to be done.:-)

Do you need to have a sales/use number in order to sell the occasional painting? No. But you sure do if you are going to “collect” any sales tax on that painting! Sales tax is not included in your gross profit. You are temporarily holding it for the State. And often artists rush out to get a sales/tax number and then are surprised to find themselves paying  a fine at some point because they had a month of no sales and forgot to send in a report (any way).

Keep this whole thing in perspective. There is no need for an artist to “justify” her expenses to anyone.(and I use “her” as this seems to be a predominantly female trait!) Not to her friends, not to her spouse, not to her relatives. Art is no more expensive than golf, video games, gardening, fishing, scrapbooking or any other hobby that someone chooses to have.  Only in art does one’s hubby (and I see this with women ALL the time) say “you can sell this, Honey and make some money”.  Well why doesn’t he take his fish to market and pay for the boat? Or his golf score last week to sell and amaze on Ebay? :-) You see my point.

So relax. Only when you find your sales REGULAR and “real” should you even consider going the business route. Regardless of all the “easy” ways to sell your art that “experts” all over the Internet are selling or advising, use plain old common sense. There is no such thing as an easy business :-) .

Now go have fun at your easel and don’t be pressured into a premature decision! Art and Business can be fun, exciting and stimulating but only if you accept the mindset AND your sales justify this decision!

Art Career Experts

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