Your creativity is more than a hobby as a self-employed artist. But to reach your ambition of a successful artist, you need to profit from your work. 

This means you’ll need to invest in things like marketing, advertising, materials, and host events to show off your skills and build a name for yourself. 

To do that successfully, you need to strategise, set goals and define how you’ll achieve them. Additionally, if you don’t have the capital to get your business off the ground on your own , you can seek investment to fund your ideas

This guide discusses how to craft a self-employed artist business plan that helps you find investors and steer your artist career in the right direction.

You should include details about:

  • Your business
  • Your process
  • Your marketing
  • Your finances

How to write a self-employed artist business plan from scratch

Your business

Explain to investors what you’d like to do with your career (after all it’s your name they’d fund). Set out what you’d like to achieve and convince them of the practical steps you are taking.

Mission statement

The purpose of the business could be to promote and sell your unique art –– put that together in a mission statement. Or maybe you could take it further and suggest what you hope your art will do for people, perhaps a social objective.

For example, you create pieces inspired by mental health and will donate a proportion of the proceeds to a related charity. Overall, your statement would be to increase awareness through your chosen medium.

You could look to become one of the biggest names in the UK art scene, with significant price tags on your work (that may excite potential investors). Look at other artists and think about what the purpose of their work is.

Goals

An overarching mission is excellent, but you also need to set out SMART goals, these will help you carry it out.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Goals should include each one of those points and they can either be short, medium or long-term. For example, to grow your reach by over two months through an increase of Twitter followers by 200.

Your process

The work you do is critical for your self-employed artist business plan (it’s your product). There aren’t any restraints on what art can be, but it should be original to build recognition. Consider a focus on a specific niche or technique.

Unique selling point

Iconic artists have similarities between their work, meaning that each piece becomes sought-after. If you find a USP (unique selling point) in your work, it will be easier for an investor to understand your likelihood of success.

A USP also helps lay the groundwork for future marketing, since you have something special to draw on in your message. 

For example, street artist Banksy is known worldwide for their signature graffiti style and political meaning behind their work. In addition, the mystery behind the artist adds to the value for art lovers.

Action plan

To convince an investor to fund your work, use your plan to explain how you work and what you’d like to do. That could start with gathering supplies, how you create a piece and the method you’ll sell it.

For collections you’ll sell together, mention the process you go through and how that fits into a commercial timeline. Investors want it to be profitable, so consider time to build hype around a launch throughout the process.

Your marketing

How do you sell your work?” is an important question that your self-employed artist business plan must answer. Think about who would be likely to buy your pieces and how to create interest for them.

Market research

Conduct market research to decide on relevant marketing. Find insights about your audience. Use surveys or interviews to speak to the public, ask what art they’d buy and find details about each participant.

Look at your competition, other artists who run a business from their work. Check their websites or social media platforms to see how they sell and who buys from them.

Target audience

Your market research will likely find similarities between the people most likely to buy your art. That can help you identify a target audience for your business.

Think about their:

  • Ages
  • Locations
  • Occupations
  • Lifestyles

A target audience informs your choice of marketing. For example, London bankers in their mid-thirties may use Instagram and LinkedIn. They might also be likely to attend exhibitions close to their workplace.

If you tailor your strategy to your ideal customer’s lives, then you’re more likely to reach them and can convince investors of your marketing abilities.

Your finances

For an investor, a self-employed artist’s business plan needs financial information. That can include what you plan to do with the money they give you and your projections for the future.

Expenses

Suppose you ask for a figure from an investor. To back it up, research relevant costs you are likely to need

Those could include materials, time, equipment and even marketing or events. A digital marketing agency could offer you a quote.

How much you spend doesn’t always go to plan. Luckily, tools like Countingup can help here. Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software that lets you manage your finances from the phone. 

The app even has an expense categorisation feature to sort costs automatically. 

Projections

Create a sales forecast to show how much you’ll make from your art. It can show the next month, quarter or year. Multiply the prices for your pieces by how many customers you expect to welcome.

Countingup can help you keep track of the money that comes in and out of your business. Its cash flow insights feature will allow you to compare your accounts with projections and help you make future decisions.

Draw on innovation and financial management with Countingup

You can’t let mismanagement get in the way of your craft. To be a successful self-employed artist you need to be in control of your money. Prepare a project budget and stick to it to avoid hurting your profits.

Countingup, the business account with built-in accounting software can bring artistry to your finances. With its receipt capture feature, use your phone camera to capture and upload your paper billings straight to your accounts.

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