I won’t lie to you – becoming a successful artist requires hard work. It takes perseverance, and a willingness to learn and grow. It is a lot of work, but if you’re passionate about your art, and you can think of it as a fun, project, it will be much easier and more fulfilling. The following 10 steps are the nuts and bolts of what it takes to go pro with your art. If you take them to heart, you will achieve your goals creatively and professionally in your chosen field. Remember – you can do whatever you set out to do!
1. Identify your creative and professional goals
The first step to success as an artist of any kind is to identify what you want to achieve creatively and professionally. Do you want to become a full-time artist, exhibit your work in galleries, or sell your artwork online? Or if you’re a musician or actor, do you want to perform? If you’re a writer, do you want to sell a lot of books, or write a successful blog, or write for tv or films? Once you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you can start working towards your goals.
2. Create consistently
Creating consistently is one of the most important things for becoming a successful artist. Whether it’s painting, drawing, writing, or composing music, artists need to work on their craft regularly to improve their skills and produce high-quality work. Consistency helps artists develop a unique style and a body of work that they can showcase to potential clients, galleries, and collaborators. The best artists work day in and day out, treating their creative process like a day job, showing up on time, 5 days a week or so, and resting when they need to. Persistence is key to being a successful artist – so be the tortoise and not the hare, and you’ll certainly win out in the long run.
3. Network and collaborate
Networking and collaborating are crucial for artists to build relationships and gain exposure. Connect with other artists, industry professionals, and potential clients through attending events, joining online communities, or even reaching out to people on social media. Collaborating with other artists can help to build relationships, share knowledge and inspiration, and create new opportunities. Some artists merely rely on a small group of friends – other artists – who can help them connect to clients. Strength in numbers, as they say. The key here is to become acquainted with other artists and patrons that you like, and that you can rely on.
4. Build a strong online presence
Social media can be a powerful tool for artists to promote their work, build their brand, and connect with their audience. Use platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and others to showcase your work, share your creative process, and engage with your followers. Be authentic and consistent on social media to build a loyal following. But, be warned – don’t spend too much time on social media platforms. It can be addictive and a distraction to doing your work. Keep to your creative medium, and post online after you’ve done your work, then go back to creating.
5. Be business-savvy
Understanding the market, pricing your work appropriately, and having a strong online presence are all important aspects of being a successful artist. Research the demand for your type of work, identify your target audience, and price your work competitively. Have a simple yet professional website and social media presence to showcase your work and make it easy for potential clients to find you.
6. Diversify your income streams
Exploring different avenues to make money as an artist, such as selling prints, teaching classes, or licensing your work, can create a stable source of income and build a sustainable career. By diversifying your income streams, you can also broaden your skill set and create new opportunities. You can also work full time if necessary, then quit your work for a good amount of time to do your *real* work, your art, and then go back to other work when you absolutely have to. This can work out well for artists who like to work full time on their art.
7. Keep learning and growing
Staying curious and open to new experiences is key to being a successful artist. Seek out new opportunities to learn and develop your skills, whether it’s taking workshops, attending art events, or collaborating with other artists. By continuing to evolve your craft and stay relevant in a rapidly changing industry, you can achieve your goals and become the successful artist you long to be.
8. Stay focused on your goals
Building a career as an artist is a journey, and there will be setbacks and challenges along the way. When the going gets tough, stay focused on your goals. In staying consistent in your creative practice, and being open to learning and growth, you can go beyond what you think you’re capable of doing, and reach your full potential. If you need to, reach out to other artists who can help keep you on track. You can also find an art mentor or art coach to help you stay on track. You can also read a good book to give you inspiration and focus.
9. Be patient and persevere
Give yourself breaks if you need them. Go slow and steady. Creative success takes time and patience, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing immediate success, and don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from your mistakes and keep pushing forward towards your goals. The key to being a successful artist is taking your time and loving what you do everyday, instead of trying to rush frantically toward a goal.
10. Stay true to yourself and your passion
Most importantly, stay true to yourself and create art that you are passionate about. Success is not always measured in traditional metrics like fame or fortune. Being a successful artist can also mean achieving personal goals, like creating a meaningful body of work or having a positive impact on others. In being genuine, staying true to your passion, and creating art that speaks to you, you can find fulfillment and happiness in your career as an artist. You can find more on this topic in The Infinite Artist book.
In conclusion, becoming a successful artist requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn and grow. By following these 10 steps, artists can achieve their goals creatively and professionally in their chosen field. Identify your goals, create consistently, network and collaborate, build a strong online presence, be business-savvy, diversify your income streams, keep learning and growing, stay focused on your goals, be patient and persevere, and most importantly, stay true to yourself and your passion.