Picture this: you’re fresh out of college and it’s time to begin your career as an artist, but you’re probably thinking, “What’s next?” Being a professional artist is not only about what you create but also how you market your creations.
If you’re struggling with how to begin this new chapter of your life, consider creating a business plan for yourself. It may sound intimidating, but it’s easier than you think! In short, a business plan is a method for defining your brand to your audience and outlining your career goals.
Creating a business plan will serve as a foundation for your artistic aspirations and be an asset to the future of your career! To get you started, we’ve recommended a list of important topics to summarize in your plan.
An executive summary is a fancy phrase used to describe the overview of your business or brand. It includes basic information including the name and location of your business and introduces what you’ll be covering in the rest of your business plan.
Additionally, the executive summary includes your mission and vision statements, which define the purpose and goals of your brand, respectively. We recommend setting SMART goals for your business plan; this acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Read more about this goal-setting method here.
Following your executive summary, identify your target audience. This should go beyond stating their age, gender, and location. Get creative with it! Create a persona for your business’s average customer. For example, Sam is a college student from Denver who lives a sustainable lifestyle. She often shops at thrift stores and small businesses!
Identifying and understanding your audience’s lifestyles will not only help you pinpoint your target market but also help build a meaningful connection with your customers.
Product/Service and Competition
Once you’ve established your target audience, it’s time to describe the products and/or services you’ll be providing. Here are some questions to consider: what is the purpose of my products? How do they align with the current market landscape? What makes them unique? Why should people purchase them?
Additionally, comparing your products or services with your competition is beneficial to understanding the market and where your products lie within it. Many business plans separate products and competition into their own sections, which often depend on the scale of your competition.
When digital artist Emma Kielgas brought her business to life selling stickers on Etsy, competition was a significant factor in creating her products. As a recent college graduate, Emma took art classes at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, or MIAD, and considered how other students managed their products. Being able to understand how your art compares to competing businesses or products plays an important role in your journey as a professional artist.
Here, you will determine how you plan on marketing your brand and services. Will you utilize social media marketing and create a presence on Instagram? Or will you pursue email marketing to directly reach out to your customers?
There are endless marketing opportunities for you to explore, and many of them come at little to no cost! One of these strategies includes organic marketing, a tactic that produces meaningful content using a natural approach. Learn more about this strategy here.
Regardless of which path you choose, be clear and concise with what you include about your business during your marketing efforts!
With any start-up comes expenses. In this section, determine what you need to allocate money for regarding supplies for your business. For online businesses, this may include bubble mailers and other shipping supplies; for brick-and-mortar businesses, this may include displays and shelving. After creating this list, indicate how you plan on paying for these necessities.
In order to organize her expenses, Emma created a spreadsheet to keep track of the purchases she makes for materials and supplies. For her stickers, she purchased sticker paper from Amazon and waterproof laminating sheets. Because she’s an online business, her other expenses come from mailing and listing her products, as Etsy has a small fee for adding a product to their website.
Aside from expenses, this section should include the pricing of your products and services. When determining this, consider both your expenses and what your competition is doing!
Kickstart Your Career!
It may seem overwhelming, but writing a business plan provides a structured framework for your artistic endeavor. Once you create one, you’ll quickly realize you have what it takes to pursue your passion as a professional artist. If you want to learn more about business plan, schedule a free consultation with us today! We’ve provided some templates to give you an easy start. Check them out below!
Kristine Dizon is a multi-faceted performer, teacher, writer, author, linguist, and entrepreneur. She is Founder & CEO of the Music & Language Learning Center, The Modern Artist Project and co-founder of the Gran Canaria International Clarinet Festival and American Single Reed Summit. She is an artist for Uebel Clarinets and Silverstein Works. Learn more at www.kristinedizon.com.