7 Ways to Stay Financially Afloat While Pursuing Your Art Dreams.
I think this goes without saying: the vast majority of people inclined to pursue their creative passions will inevitably encounter financial challenges. Whether you’re a writer, painter, musician, or any other type of artist, you must find ways to stay financially afloat while pursuing your art. I’ve been there, more times than I’d like to admit. I know how challenging it can be to balance creative pursuits with financial stability. In this article, I will share 7 tips and insights, based on my own experience, on how you can stay financially afloat while pursuing your art dreams.
1. Create a budget and stick to it
Creating a budget is a crucial step in managing your finances as an artist. Even if you’re not one of those people who writes numbers down (that’s me), you still need to know how much money is coming in and going out each month. Any way you can do it, become aware of all of your expenses, including rent, utilities, food, transportation, and any other necessary expenses. Then, set a realistic budget for your art projects, including supplies, equipment, and any other related costs. Once you have a budget, stick to it. Avoid overspending, and try to find ways to reduce your expenses whenever possible. Once this becomes habitual, you won’t have to try so hard anymore to stay afloat. You will worry much less.
2. Find alternative sources of income
You are not alone: it’s a fact that most artists have to supplement their art income with other sources of income. Consider taking on a part-time job, freelancing, or offering your services as a consultant in your field. Look for ways to monetize your artistic skills, such as teaching or creating digital products. Keep your expenses as low as possible, so you don’t have to work too much to support yourself. Personally, I used to work full time for 6 months or so, then quit my job and do my art full time for another 6 months or longer. After that, I would show my work, sell some paintings, and go travel. This worked out really well for me for many years.
3. Look for grants and other funding opportunities
There are many grants and other funding opportunities available for artists. It takes a certain type of artist, or person, to be able to do this – but if you are that person, it can be a really good way to support yourself while pursuing your art dreams. Grants can range from small to larger fellowships or residencies. Do some research to find grants and other funding opportunities that are relevant to your artistic pursuits. Be sure to submit your best work and follow all application guidelines. Keep in mind that competition for these opportunities can be fierce, so apply to as many as possible and be patient.
4. Diversify your income streams while pursuing your art dreams
Diversifying your income streams is a tried and true way to stay financially stable as an artist. Create a range of work that showcases your skills and abilities. This includes original artwork, prints, merchandise, or digital products. By having a diversified portfolio, you can create multiple streams of income and reach a wider audience. Consider offering your services as a consultant or freelancer as well. However, don’t go too broad with this. In my experience, staying focused and having a small handful of creations or services to sell is much better than trying to do too many things – which can wear you out, and water down your creative potential and output.
5. Save for a rainy day
This one is ¡muy importante! Be prepared for times when your income may be unpredictable – and it will be, at some point. Set aside money for emergencies, such as unexpected bills or a period of low income. Having an emergency fund can help you weather financial storms and stay on track with your art projects.
6. Be frugal
I always hated this one, but it’s a fact, and it’s really worked for me over the years: being frugal is important when you’re pursuing your art dreams. This means being mindful of your spending and finding ways to save money, and making a habit of it (though this should not be confused with having a ‘broke’ mindset – that’s another thing altogether and something to avoid like the plague). Consider cutting back on unnecessary expenses and finding ways to reduce your cost of living. For example, you could cook more meals at home, shop for second-hand clothing, or find free entertainment options. By being frugal, you can stretch your income a lot further and have more resources to invest in your art dreams.
7. Seek out mentorship and support
Finally, seek out mentorship and support when pursuing your art dreams. In terms of financial stabiity, having a mentor or a supportive community can help you stay focused and realistic about what it takes to stay afloat financially. Consider joining a group of artists in your area or online, or seek out mentorship from someone who has experience in your field. Having people to turn to for advice and encouragement can make a huge difference in your success as an artist.
In a nutshell, pursuing your art dreams can be a financially challenging experience, but with these tips and insights, you can stay financially afloat while pursuing your passion. Remember to create a budget, find alternative sources of income, look for grants and other funding opportunities, diversify your income streams, save for a rainy day, be frugal, and seek out mentorship and support. With dedication, hard work, and a bit of financial creativity, you can build a successful career as an artist while staying financially stable.