You’ve had creative urges all your life. You’re an aspiring musician, composer, writer, artist, dancer, actor, comedian, or filmmaker. And you were fired from your damn day job. AGAIN! Only this time being downsized in a bad economy makes you look normal. Now you seem like an everyday working Joe who got caught in the latest wave of job cuts. For once, you’re not the guy/girl with the creative problem your family worries about. Finally you’re just like the other 14 million jobless folks in America. But who wants to be like everybody else, right?
Assuming you have talent, check out the creative arts industry. You might just be the next Isaac Mizrahi.
The term “creative industries” describes businesses with creativity at their core. Examples include visual arts, crafts, music, literature, publishing, design, film and video, fashion, TV, radio, advertising, computer games, and the performing arts. Cheap thrills are in demand, and if you’re creative, now is the time to translate art into cash. Whether you compose music, literary works, visual art or fashion, think about marketing and selling people a diversion; an experience of escape. The art experience is when art captures a person’s attention and takes their mind away from its current state.
Now that your day job is gone, think about how to earn money expressing yourself and providing a healthy diversion for people.
Business and art don’t naturally radiate from the same side of the brain. You might hate the business and selling side of art, but somebody has to do it — and that somebody doesn’t have to be you. If business is not your passion and you know it’s a job, you’ll do it half-way. Consider teaming up with a business partner who will drive the selling end of whatever you create. Take advantage of all the unemployed sales and marketing people out there. Align yourself with someone who loves what you create and sees dollar signs in their eyes. Sharing your profit with someone who helps sell your art is better than making no money at all or earning money and loathing every second of it.
Can you think of a way to sell a product of your imagination for $10 or $20? Use what you know about Internet and viral marketing to get your art out there and a buzz going. If you’re selling your art on T-shirts, prints, downloads of your music, or merchandise, be sure to market your craft to other parts of the world where currency is stronger than the American dollar. People will feel like they’re getting an even bigger bargain if they can get the most for their money. Register for Yahoo accounts in other countries. Post videos if you can. Sites such as You Tube, Video Yahoo and Meta Café are used by people around the world.
Big Cartel is the best place to start if you can’t afford to invest a lot of time or money in your artistic endeavor. It’s also a good way to go if you only want to sell a few products (up to 100) and can’t justify the expense of paying a Web designer to customize and maintain an Internet storefront for you. Monthly fees range from $0 to $19.99, depending on the number of products you’re offering. There’s no set-up fee, because Big Cartel has made it easy for the average computer user to design the site, upload the images, insert product information, receive payments and maintain/update the Web pages. The only prerequisite is a PayPal premier or business account, necessary for receiving payments for product. As far as your artistic production goes, you can start small with just a couple of products. In fact, if the number of products you’re offering is less than five, using Big Cartel is free. If you want to offer up to 25 products online, it’ll cost you $9.99 a month. For $19.99 a month, you can offer up to 100 products, but that’s it. Big Cartel isn’t for mass production.
Online art galleries who offer sales and reproduction services make it easy for you to market your fine art as framed prints, cards, posters, and calendars. When selling through online galleries, in most cases you set the price you want for your work, and the gallery adds their markup, takes orders, collects payment, and ships your work to the customer. They send you a check every month or when your profit goes over $50. It’s a turnkey setup, (which means there is a system already in place that will make it very easy to get started.) All marketing materials and ad copy may be available. All these items greatly reduce the time for setup, thus making it a “turnkey” solution for you.
Online art galleries such as RedRubble.com, ArtistRising.com, ImageKind.com, and Art Fair365.com, offer convenient services. They pay 15 percent or more commission on each item sold. There are several free sites where you can run your own online art gallery.
Another great place to start your artist storefront is through etsy.com “The place to Buy & Sell all things handmade.” Etsy provides customizable storefronts to use as an online art shop for all types of artists and crafters, including fine art, photography and fashion. They also offer payment collection through PayPal and, most important to an artist, Etsy members experience support and inspiration from fellow artists. You can also create your own gallery and add a shopping cart but you’ll have to find a company that reproduces and ships your work on demand. This is useful because you don’t have to lay out any money for inventory that you might get stuck with if it doesn’t sell out.
And don’t forget about eBay. Give it a try. It’s a little more artistic than a garage sale!