Dealing with Anxiety as an Artist – 10 Tips to make more money and become a smarter business person!
Dealing with Anxiety as an Artist
Being an artist isn’t always roses and sunshine, and often feelings of depression any anxiety can creep in when things arent going your way. I know, I’ve been there – many, many times.
Sometimes its because a job doesn’t go your way, or sometimes it’s because someone you trusted in goes behind your back and does the wrong thing by you. It takes a lot of courage and strength to get past these things, especially when you put so much time and energy into what you love doing.
For me, most of the anxiety came from money, or lack there of. It’s hard not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from, or when you’ll get paid for the work you did months ago and if your so called “mates” will come good with the money he owes.
In fact – this feeling is one of the contributing factors to why I created this Blog. I had so many sleepless nights while I was grinding my teeth, hours awake drawing designs for people who thought they took five minutes and weeks of frustration for work that didn’t go to plan.
So if this rings familiar, I’ve put together a two-part post today about how you can avoid these headaches and make some smart passive incoming without having to rely on people who don’t keep their word.
To make smart income
Start a blog, Reddit post or a forum topic
Think about it.. You love doing a particular style of art or have in interest in learning a new skill. What’s the first thing you do? You go to Google and you punch in something like “Graffiti Art”. You might see images and various websites pop up, but if you wanting to learn about that particular craft; what are you normally hunting for? A forum or a blog! Somewhere you go to see the common questions, tips and tricks about Graffiti, where you can get products and supplies and some posts from other artists already in the Graffiti industry.
Once you’re more established in that particular niche, you need to start posting your work and doing write ups that will help others. The next four steps will explain how you can then turn this into a bit more cash flow.
Become the master of one niche
Becoming a master of one niche is difficult and normally takes many years to narrow down what you’d like to focus your time on. However, as you start to churn out work for people and you get a name for yourself you’ll begin to notice what type of work sells better and is more popular in your demographic area. You want to try and make this your bread and butter. Spend time on making your work different to others in your area! You want people to be able to spot your work from a distance and know because of the ways it’s been executed that your the incredibly talented person who came up with that style!
When I first started out, I took whatever work came my way because I literally did what I could to keep my head afloat. There’s nothing wrong with that, and we all do what we have to survive. However, thinking back now I would have done things much differently. I would have started out by doing detailed market research and looked at what was already popular in my area. (I’ll be putting a video together about this in the future, and what tool I use and recommend that will help you find profitable niches)
You might think this sounds stupid, but just ask people. Or even just the right person. Ask them: Hey I really love doing “Graffiti” and I want to start making money with it, do you mind if I ask where’s a good place to start? And if you ask the right person (you’ll often ask 20 wrong people) if they’re already in a good niche they’ll tell you. Why? because if it’s a good niche, there’s generally plenty of work to go around.
Build an Etsy store or similar
Online sales are the best thing to ever happen to new start up Artists. Many years ago, we’d have to rely on galleries or markets to promote and sell our work. Nowadays we can showcase our work worldwide and potentially sell our art, or prints while we sleep! The best thing is you can now do it without any real computer skills! Things like Etsy.com, Shopify.com, Wix.com, WordPress, Pinterest.com, instragram.com, Facebook all have online stores where you can create incredibly professional looking sites that generate passive income everyday. Hop to it!
Design a simple product
What exactly is a simple product? Well, that’s different for every artist. For me I think a simple item is something everyone can afford but still brings joy, or value into their life. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, in-fact it’s probably the opposite. It’s small, created quickly and generally mass produced.
Here’s a few ideas:
– Fridge Magnet
– A small piece of metal work
– A sticker or quirky saying
– A phone cover or accessory
Most people that like your work but don’t have the money to buy a larger item and generally willing to support you with a few dollars because they appreciate the time you’re putting into your craft. A simple product although inexpensive can turn into something bigger and better down the track – don’t underestimate the power of keeping things simple!!
Design a piece of clothing
I have a good friend of mine who started designing skateboard decks as a small hobby which later became popular and well known within the skating scene in Melbourne. Because of the age bracket of most skateboarders he decided he’d dabble in designing some hats with his logo on them to see what the response would be. His hats started to outsell his skate decks because of the great logo design and because it was something that could be worn and was promoting his label.
Designing a piece of clothing is quite simple and you can do the whole thing sitting in front of your computer:
To become better a better business artist
Be careful with giving shop credit
This was a HUGE mistake I made in the first few years of my business and people will take it for granted. Big businesses will often take your invoice and wait 30-60 days before paying you because ‘thats when their payments are processed’. That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard!
If you are dealing with someone directly from that business, you make sure you explain to them that you are a small business and don’t offer any kind of credit. Once you finish the work, they pay for it when they pick it up. Make it very clear under no circumstances does the work leave your premises without payment. This covers your butt because you have bills to pay and without constant income every week you simply can’t wait 60 days for your money.
I would often need paints and products for my projects which is outlay that I need to pay before even starting the job. It’s also a good idea to ask for upfront payment for products if possible – but I’ll cover this in another post/video.
Your designs/proofs are worth money
Hey bro, I just got a new ____. Reckon you could design a sick design for it? I’m not sure what I want, maybe something with _____. If it’s cool I’ll get you to spray on my _____.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this.. lol. I have a good friend who is a fantastic tattoo artist, and obviously a good drawer. When he started out, he would often spend hours and hours designing a tattoo for someone and they wouldn’t even show up to look at the drawing! I’ve done it too. Wasted time, money and effort on what I thought would turn into a high paying job only to have them SMS me that they can’t afford it anymore.
If someone is serious about getting something painted, you need to make it clear that you charge for proofs/drawings. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, but trust me it separates the wheel kickers from the serious buyer. Even if you’re relatively new to the game, just charge a minimum fee of $20. You’re orth it and so is your time!
Never do work cheaper – especially if they say “You’ll have so much work after you do this for me!”
I remember I was driving through town one day in my business vehicle and two Harley’s rode past me and somehow got my number from the car. One of the guys rang me and insisted I drop whatever I was doing that day because he had to have his helmet airbrushed there and then. Sure enough I took him and his friend back to the workshop and airbrushed like a beast well into the early hours of the morning because he was part of a big bike group and “I’m gonna get sooo much work from this”.
Well how many extra jobs do you think came through the door from painting this helmet? Yep, not one.
Don’t fall victim to this too – If someone asks for a cheaper price because they’ll bring you heaps of work. Just be firm and say “Sure, if you bring in 50+ items like you say I’ll work out a good price for you, but not before then”.
Get a good book keeping program
Accept Paypal and online payments
Starting out it’s hard to outlay hundreds of dollars on software of any type. Things have become much easier now because most software companies offer subscription based memberships with low monthly fees.
I was/am a terrible book keeper and I spent a lot of money on accounting fee’s because I never gave it the time it deserves. Being able to do book keeping online is so easy and I’d thought I’d let you know what software I’ve used and recommend:
Don’t waste your time with doing things manually. Being able to jump on any computer to look at your figures, or being able to link your account to billing software is so incredibly powerful. You can now even send invoices in your iPhone!
Quote what you think something will cost, then double it
I know what you’re thinking, I’m not going to double what I think something is worth – I’ll never get the job! That’s why you need to apply this principle when you feel the time is right.
If your making good steady regular income, maybe from your passive income or Shopify store and someone approaches you with a job you don’t really want to do – you need to think seriously about what it’s worth to you. Would you rather put your time towards building your online store? Or what you rather charge this person what it’s worth and make a nice cherry on the top?
It’s a difficult call sometimes, but when my shop had jobs flowing through nicely and someone walked in wanting a smaller-time consuming job I’d bump the price up because I knew I could fit it around what I was doing and if they really wanted it done they would pay for it.
Anyway guys, that’s my 10 tips for new artists! I really hope you enjoyed this post and I would really appreciate it if you took the time to leave a comment or give me a shout out on the social networks. Any questions, let me know!!