“You’ll Never Make a Living as an Artist!” — Yes, you hear that from a LOT of people! And it’s kinda scary if you think about it, right? But do you really need to be a “starving artist” to be a respected name in the creative world?

Of course, the answer is NO! What you need is to plan carefully and prepare like an Australian SAS soldier to get those bills and rent paid, sleep with a full stomach, and enjoy some extras. So that’s why we’re sharing these 7 ways you can earn a living as an artist so you’ll never have to starve again…

1. Network, Network, Network

As the old saying goes, “No Man Is An Island” which generally means that a person needs to connect with his surroundings or to other people. As an artist, you need to widen your network not just with other artists but also with other influencers, like writers, art agents, or gallery owners who can bring words to the community about the work that you do.

2. It’s OKAY To Be Earning

Some creatives believe that thinking about money decreases their creative value (and they don’t want to look like a greedy pig). Well, I guess it might be if your MAIN GOAL is to JUST make money.

Whether you want to accept it or not, money is important not just to feed yourself and your family, pay the bills and rent, but it also allows you to venture into other creative ways to develop your style.

So, don’t be shy to charge for your work accordingly or display your artworks in galleries to sell.  If people buy your work, it just means that they love and appreciate them. Isn’t that awesome? Why would you buy something that you don’t like, right? Not unless you’re an impulsive buyer like me, I guess 😉 LOL

3. You Could Teach

Sharing what you know to the next generation of artists is a noble thing to do. However, this might not be for ALL because like an artist, teaching requires passion and total dedication. Think about this option carefully before accepting any teaching offer or before you apply to different unis and colleges.

4. Say YES To The Internet

Not everyone goes to art galleries; so put up your own website (there are lots of free web hosting sites for you to start with like Wix and WordPress, etc) or social media profiles. If you didn’t notice, we already live in a world run mostly by the internet or social media. According to one recent study, as of December 2015, there are 3.26 billion internet users and that number is growing every year. Don’t you want to get at least a kernel of that 3.26 billion to notice your work?

Aside from selling your creations on your website, it’s a great way to showcase your portfolio. Successful shows that you have done, and announce your upcoming events. Social media is a great way to build your fan base and connect with them in real-time.

5. Accept Commissioned Works

Okay, the purists might not be so keen on this idea because you will be limited on what you can do and can’t do. However, selecting what kind of commissioned works you want to do will be of great help in making sure that your creativity will still shine through.

Moreover, it helps if you laid the terms and conditions in a contract before starting a commissioned work, like who handles the shipment if needed, the insurance, and of course, the payment for your work. And there are “difficult” clients who make changes and alterations like they own you; so in the contract, you can stipulate on how many alterations you can allow.

6. Venture To Other Forms Of Art

If you are a painter, you don’t have to just stick to your paint brushes and canvases, and directly selling your works in galleries or wherever. Discover other art forms like Surface Design. As a surface designer, you can take your hand-drawn designs and learn how to manipulate them on the computer to create various styles, design variations, and colourways and turn into repeat prints. Create anything from wallpaper, scarves, cushions, gift cards, wrapping paper, towels, clothing, handbags, shoes, floor rugs, bed linen and more which you can sell to other designers or turn into your own product ranges to sell to the public.

At the Australian Institute of Creative Design, if you qualify, you can take a full Certificate III course for just $50! How crazy is that?!? Think about all the new learnings that you could gain and a whole new way of earning a living using your artistic talents? Click here to check out the course.

7. Handle Your Finances Well

You already started earning. Bravo! So what’s next? You need to handle your finances well and engrave into your mind that money doesn’t grow on trees (unless you own a commercial orchard! LOL). It’s your hard earned money, spend it well.

But if budgeting is not one of your many talents, it might be wise to hire a Financial Adviser to track your finances once things get moving.

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” —Andy Warhol