5 Decisions Artists Need for an Online Business Plan

By Jessica Craddock | Artist Business Plan

Feb 05

*This post may contain an affiliate link, which means I will either make a small amount of money or receive free services if you decide to purchase my recommendation. I only recommend products or services that, at other times, I spread the word about whole-heartedly without compensation. 

If you need a plan for your business, but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in luck! We’re going to make one together, right now.

The last two weeks we covered the vision of the dream life and why you want it. These make your big picture overview that will drive your motivation. Many people would tell you to get really detailed here about how you’re going to get to that big dream, break it down into five years’ worth of steps, and get to work.

I don’t think that works for us creative types.

Here’s why… we have a new idea, we pivot. New idea. Pivot. New, idea, pivot. Being tied down to a long term plan defeats the purpose of having a creative business for us. Yes, we need some structure, but having the next five years of your life mapped out will never do.

Instead, I recommend you know what you want and why you want it first, then make an itty-bitty short term plan. When you’re done with that plan, you make another one. This ties you down just enough to be able to make progress without skipping all over the place.

As long as your big dream vision is still in front of you, you’ll get there no matter what winding path you may take. You’ll enjoy the journey much more, and I believe you’ll get there faster for that reason.

How long do I make my plan?

Break the year down into four pieces, or quarters. (January 1 - March 31, April 1 - June 30, July 1 - Sept 30, Oct 1 - Dec 31)

What if I don’t want to stop when the next quarter rolls around?

Don’t! If it’s working and you’re still enjoying it, carry your plan over into the next quarter of the year.

There are five things you need to include in your artist business plan

If you want to go further and add more, great, but let’s start small.

1. What do you want to sell?

Pick one product or series (retro 8x10s from art school, signed prints of paintings you did inspired by your beach trip, or watercolor portrait commissions) to focus on. Less options = more clarity for you and the customer. Don’t worry, you can change directions next quarter if you like.

2. Why they’ll want to buy it.

Your ego probably says wait... they’ll want to buy it because it’s good art. They might. But there’s just as good a chance they’ll spend their budget on someone else’s equally good art. Without a plan here - you are gambling your art business. Many artists never get anywhere because they leave this part out. This is the stickiest issue so I’ll cover it in more depth next week. Write down your inital reaction for now.

3. One marketing tool to focus on

Do you need to get more peeps to your website? Focus on one specific part of a social media platform, like Instagram Stories or setting up Tailwind pin looping. Do you need to make more sales? Start writing emails to your list, even if it’s just your mom. (Then ask her to forward it.) You won’t want to drop your other marketing completely, but it should be bare-bones. Spend 80% of your marketing time on your focus, then 20% on maintaining the rest.

4. How much money do you want to make?

If you’ve never sold online, start small. If you have, add 15% to your average month. You’re always welcome to blow your goals out of the water, but having small goals will help you believe they are possible. This pushes your brain to find innovative solutions to make them a reality as opposed to just giving up when you start slow or feel discouraged.

5. How many do you need to sell to reach your goal?

Compare the price of what you are selling with how much money you want to make. You may need to adjust your goal or raise your prices based on this number.

That doesn’t sound too intimidating, right?! You’ve got this.

homework for an artist's online art business

Write down your plan, then email me any questions you have. Psychologists say you’ll be more successful if you use pen and paper, but get it done however you can!

Do the work & create your luck,

Does this post speak your language? Please share it with other artists!

About the Author

Jessica Craddock is a consultant for artist entrepreneurs who are building their following online but haven’t figured out how to sell regularly. They’re deciding the world doesn’t understand or appreciate their art enough to buy it and self doubt is creeping in. She teaches them to present their art in ways that are “authentically them” so they can sell more through their website & spend their days creating beautiful things.