Let me make one thing clear: I'm not an artist because I want to make money. I'm an artist because I couldn't imagine my life without creating and sharing my vision. Even if I wasn't getting paid, I'd still be doing this.
But as someone who has been on this journey for almost a decade, I have a few more things to say about the monetization of your passion.
1. Start Small, Grow Steadily
When I began my business during college in 2014, I primarily sold to friends and relatives. This phase lasted for a few years during college. While having an online business has its advantages, the initial discoveries and lessons you learn from selling to people within your circle are incredibly valuable. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback; it's a crucial part of growth.
2. Value Your Work
For my fellow artists and creatives, please stop charging prices that you would find on Amazon. When you underprice your work, you're devaluing your own creativity. If people aren't willing to pay what you charge, they might not be your ideal customers. Remember, your craft is unique and deserves to be priced accordingly.
3. Trust Your Journey
Building a business and nurturing an intimate clientele takes time—often, a lot of time. It's easy to compare yourself to other businesses that appear to have grown overnight. But you must stop comparing. You never really know what's happening behind the scenes of that viral business. Trust where you're at, embrace your journey, and most importantly, trust yourself.
4. Quality Over Quantity
The number of followers you have on social media means very little in comparison to the quality of your community. I was making six figures in my business with only 4,000 followers. Building meaningful relationships with your audience and serving them well is the key. They will support you when they believe in your talent. You don't have to be a starving artist. People are willing and ready to support talented artisans.
5. Embrace the Ups and Downs
Your journey will have its share of highs and lows. There will be moments when you doubt yourself and your path. But remember, these challenges are part of the process. They shape you and your business. The important thing is to keep moving forward, even when things get tough.
6. Evolve and Adapt
As an artist, your style and preferences may evolve over time. Embrace this evolution; it's a sign of growth. Don't be afraid to experiment with new techniques, materials, or styles. Your audience will appreciate your willingness to adapt and innovate.
7. Celebrate Your Community
Your community of supporters is the backbone of your journey. They're the ones who believe in your work and help you thrive. Take the time to celebrate them, express your gratitude, and show them the love they deserve. They're not just customers; they're your allies.
I am incredibly grateful for YOU, my tight-knit community. I couldn't do this without you. You are MY PEOPLE, and I thank the universe for you all every day.