06_Art Business Tip: Art Business Revenue Streams – Part 1 - Define Artist Website

art business tip art marketing artist website free resource

Introduction to Artist Revenue Streams

The one thing that many artists learned, really they got a crash course in,  over the past year is to diversify their art revenue streams.  In this series we'll focus on artist revenue streams an artist can go after and where to start.  

The following is the most important advice you can get and I wish someone would have given me way back when...and even today - there are not any articles that I have found that state it this well - sounds conceited but, you know what I’ve been there, done that and I wish to God someone would’ve told me what I’m about to tell you. 

So get ready - here we go. 

Introduction to Ways Artists Can Create Additional Revenue Streams

The challenge is to pick a revenue stream that meets the life you want to live.  If you aren’t sure what life you want to live, then you need to check out Episodes 1 and Episode 2 that speak to  - SMART Goals AND  Lunch and Learns: Planning Mindfully with Action (available to Positive Painter Members) so you can develop your dream big and the peripheral goals around that big dream.  

If you don’t believe why this is so important - feel free to ignore my advice and waste your time and effort.  Just saying….you have to know where you want to be to determine how to get there.  This is one of the key points for all my coaching clients and the very first thing they do before they engage with me. 

What are The Types Revenue Streams For Artists

I categorize the revenue streams into 2 categories based on the level of complexity and risk that each involves and the order in which they need to be considered, you have: 

  1. Sole Effort
  2. Collaborative/Contractual Effort.

The Sole Effort Revenue Streams are the simple ones that you can do yourself and are the ones that you can generally explore BEFORE you need to walk the path of getting a business license and you are feeling things out to see if you want to make this a career choice rather than a hobby.  

When you get into a collaborative or contractual effort it will involve a 3rd party outside of your business, which means your costs may increase, you’ll need to be tracking your expenses, have a separate bank account, have a proper business license. Etc.  And the collaborative/contractual effort is generally where we just want to jump right into, like  “I want to be in a gallery”.  And I'm not saying not to dream big, I am saying let's lay the foundation before we build the house. 

You are better off starting with the Sole Efforts first before proceeding to the Collaborative/Contractual Efforts to get to know and understand all of the business basics BEFORE you go into an agreement with a 3rd party like a gallery.  How do I know this - yep, been there, done that.  My first gallery was before I knew anything about pricing my artwork, anything about the level of effort required, and anything about maintaining my own client list. 

Now that we understand there are two categories of Income Streams, Sole Effort and Collaborative/Contractual Effort, here are the breakdowns for each (and as we move forward, I'll break them down more to better enable you to select which option best meets your needs)

Sole Effort which is also Low-Risk Revenue Streams would include artist revenue streams like:

  • Sell Original Artwork Online
  • Sell Prints and Products Online with Hosted Providers
  • Sell Prints and Products with Print On Demand

Collaborative or Contractual Effort where the Risk and Exposure Increases would include artist revenue streams like:

  • Sell Original Artwork in a Gallery
  • Commissions
  • Art Fairs/Festivals/Fairs
  • Sell Prints in Galleries and Shops
  • Sell Products with Print on Demand in Galleries and Shops
  • Teach online workshops
  • Teach in-person classes and workshops
  • Licensing Artwork

AND let me also say, pick one, perfect it before you add another - like  I said in Episode 3 Art Business Tips: 2 Must-Dos When Building Your Art Business

 - if you move forward with another business process without streamlining the first process you’ll get into the business of fixing everything instead of enjoying your art time. 

Over the next several topics we are going to dive into each type of revenue stream and you are going to get some homework for each section. 

Remember what you are building is your dream, it will take time - the old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day” applies to developing multiple revenue streams and the life you want to lead. 

Define Your Requirements for An Online Store

Sole Effort Revenue Streams: Sell Originals Online

So that's a lot of different revenue streams, right?! So where do you start?  That’s the easy answer: start with the Sole Effort Revenue Streams by creating an online Store to sell your artwork.  

Why Should You Start An Online Store to Sell Your Artwork?

When you create your website, you own it, when you pay for it, you own it.    When you use free platforms, like Facebook Shop, you are building your house on rented land.  

This past year we have all seen the power that Facebook wields with shutting down people and business pages all because someone determines the content is not appropriate.  Now you may be thinking, but I paint flowers...I still recommend you get your own website and/or paid for service.  I can tell you, that I understand the hesitancy to invest in your website for nerves or that you don’t want to pay.  But let’s flip that script when you invest in a website you are investing in the future dream and goal that you believe in.  That makes $15 a month seem minuscule, doesn’t it….

But before you go and just pick one, really think about your requirements, meaning what you want your future self to be doing with a website, and choose the option that best suits your growth.  

I can tell you, it is a big pain to move from one platform to another because you are ready to progress to selling classes and you have to migrate 4 years of work, find the original images, copy-pasting blog posts, etc., to a new platform….(that took about 6 months in duration).  You may or may not notice, but my website doesn’t show any work that is older than 2 years - I migrated off a Specialized Artist Website Builder to a fully customizable Soley Hosted Website (and I'm going to get into those terms and what they mean in the next part of this series). 

And I’ll also say this,  the hardest part of building a website is knowing what you want.  Think of it like sourcing images for a dream piece of artwork, you know what you want you just have to find the pieces that match your vision.


That’s your assignment for this week: determine what exactly you want YOUR website to be able to do to showcase your art now and for the future.     Consider the following perspectives - your perspective and your client's perspective:

  • What do you your clients to be able to do on your website? (purchase originals, prints, take commissions, showcase artwork, take classes, register for workshops, blogging, wholesale section, download artwork - all the things).
  • Then consider your time:
    • Which is more important to you: a consistent website look or more time to create?
    • Which is more important to you: maximizing your profit or more time to create?
    • Which is more important to you: getting to know your clients or more time to create?

In the next part of this series, you will need to be armed with the must-haves for your website and we'll discuss 3 Types of Website Providers to consider based on your requirements.  

In an upcoming Lunch and Learn we are diving into Website must-haves and considerations.  You can register for the FREE online Lunch and Learn scheduled for March of 2021 in the Positive Painters Online Community.  In this interactive session Website Designer and Creator, Rachel Harchanko from Social Media 360 will be talking with us about what you need to consider for the website… register for that click here.  If you are viewing/reading this part of the series after March of 2021, you can become a Positive Painter Member and gain access to this and so much more.

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