Does an artist need a business plan?

Hello my artist friends,

Are you an artist? Or are you a business owner?  

That's a trick question. Because the answer (if you are trying to make money from your art) is that you are both. And once you realize that and start thinking more like a business owner you might wonder if you need a traditional business plan.  

The first thing we need to address is what exactly a business plan for artists is. In the traditional business world, a business plan is a roadmap outlining your business goals, strategies, financial projections, and operational details. But how does this translate to a solo artist just getting started in the world of fine art?

First, while a traditional business plan is definitely overboard for our purposes, a simplified version can be a great tool to articulate your artistic vision and set achievable goals. It's a chance to define what success looks like for you, both creatively and financially. Put it this way: If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know what you need to do to get there? And how will you know when you’ve arrived?

Second, a business plan will help you to establish a clear and strategic approach to pricing your art. Creating a pricing structure can be tricky for artists. But if you take the time to do it right you can do things like compare the pricing of luxury vs mass markets and really define where your art fits into the market. 

While you’re working out your pricing you should also look at your expenses for art supplies, software, website fees and other expenses that come up. Being aware of these will help you price your work so that you’re being compensated fairly. And when used strategically all this information works together to create a plan that results in a business that is sustainable and profitable. 

This brings me to my third point - which is that the art world is a big place, and your art isn't going to be for everyone. So part of your business plan will be working to identify your specific target audience, and develop marketing strategies tailored to your artistic brand. How you get your art in front of the right people is part of your business plan.

And so finally - when you think of a traditional business plan you might think of a weighty document that you show a bank or investors to get support for your business. But a business plan for artists doesn't have to be a rigid, intimidating thing. Think of it more as a creative tool, adaptable to your unique journey that you’re going to use to set your own priorities and goals. I have a specific method that I use to work through my own business plan every single year. It helps to keep me focused on what’s important in the near and distant future and it changes and adapts as my business and needs shift.

So, do you need a business plan as a fine artist? The answer depends on your goals and aspirations. If you're creating purely for self-expression and have no interest in selling your work or seeking out opportunities to show it, a business plan might not be necessary. But, if you're looking to turn your passion for art-making into a sustainable career, a business plan is a must-have.

Alright, friends, that is it for today. Hope you've found it helpful! 

Thanks for being here!

All the best,


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