10 Ways to Ruin Your Art Business

How many of these are you guilty of?


Colored pencils


1. Don’t consider what your audience wants. Create whatever interests you – but do not expect that what you want to make and what people want to buy are the same thing.


2. Guess on prices. You aren’t sure of your expenses (and you might be a little afraid of how much they are anyway.) So you price your work at what you think “the market will bear” with no true knowledge of whether you are making any profit.


3. Don’t pay yourself for your labor. If you aren’t paying yourself, then you have a hobby – not a business.


4. Assume that if you build a website, they will come. Launching your own website is a great idea. But that’s just the beginning, because then you have to publicize your site to attract visitors. If that doesn’t happen, your art exists on a tiny little virtual island that nobody will see.


5. Show your work online – with no prices. Do you think that members of the public will see your art online and call you up to find out how much you want to charge them for it? Not likely.


6. Apologize for your work. If you lack confidence and suspect that your work is not really “ready for prime time,” work on your skills, don’t apologize for them. If you feel that you can’t really call yourself an artist, then others won’t either.


7. Ignore your existing customers. According to the Small Business Administration, it’s 65% easier to make a sale to someone you sold to in the past. If you never contact the people who have purchased your work, you leave all those sales on the table.


8. Focus on busy work. Spend all of your time on small details (like surfing the internet and posting on social media) instead of doing the hard work of structuring your business to create consistent income. This will ensure that you never really get off the ground.


9. Fail to plan. The old saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail” is very true. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there?


10. Avoid action. Simply taking action, on a consistent basis,  is one of the most essential parts of starting and growing any business. No action means no business.


These are just a few ways that Artists sabotage their businesses. How many others can you think of?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • Posterous
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter


  1. […] I sort of cringed when I read this article on the Arts Business Institute blog earlier this […]