Fine artist with no audience? 3 tips to make money

Hello my fine artist friends,

Today I want to talk about making money when you’re just getting started and haven’t built up an audience yet. If you’re feeling like its taking forever to get your art business off the ground, keep reading on for three ways you can start earning money without a huge email list, Instagram following, or a raving fan base.

Before we dive into making money from your art we need to talk about the art itself. If you are just getting started in your art business there’s a good chance that you're also fairly new to making art. One big mistake I see new artists make is jumping in to trying to monetize their art before they have settled into a consistent style. If that describes you, then I strongly suggest you take the pressure off yourself to make money. Enjoy the process of discovering your style. Fall in love with your art. Then think about making money from it. When you’re coming from a place of need, as in I need to make money from this now, that is a lot of pressure. Not a lot of good art gets made from that place. Take your time, enjoy your art making, even if that means working another job while you enjoy the exploration. Then you can get serious about making money from your art when you’re feeling confident and coming from a place of want instead of need.

OK. With that out of the way…

Tip #1

My first suggestion on making money without a huge audience is to license your work to an online fine art print shop like Artfully Walls or minted, or others like them. This is actually how I got started in my business and it’s still a source of income for me today. If your art is good, you can find a company who is a good fit for your style and they will take care of all the selling and production. It’s passive income for you, and you don’t need an audience to get started at all.

Tip #2

My second tip for making money from your art without an audience is to reach out to local shops that are a good fit for your art. Part of building an audience of your own is getting really good at knowing who the people are who love your art and can afford to buy it. These are your ideal clients. If you can figure out where your ideal client shops, you can arrange to sell your art there. Typically these arrangements are a 60/40 split between you and the shop owner. And if the shop owner is a fan of your art, they will be glad to promote it for you.

Similarly, if your art is gallery-ready you can reach out to any galleries that might be a good fit for your art. This is obviously the traditional way artists have made money from their art without their own audience.

Tip #3

In addition to the above, I would look for in-person opportunities to sell your art. Established art fairs are one option, but you need to do a little research on these before you sign up. Make sure you know how much its going to cost you to rent a space or set up a booth, and how much art you will need to sell to cover your expenses and make money. You should try to talk to 3 or 4 artists who have participated in the art fair before and ask how their sales were before committing.

A less costly way to get your art in front of people is to participate in a pop-up or open studio event. See if you can partner with some other artists or a local business that has an audience of art lovers. This way your art will be exposed to more people, you’ll get to make some valuable connections, and you’ll learn more about who your ideal customer is.

Remember, it takes time to both build an audience and to start making consistent income from your art. All three of the ideas I just mentioned will do the job of bringing in some money while also helping you to grow your audience, which is ultimately a big part of what you will need to do to make consistent income from your art. So be kind to yourself and keep going.

All my best,


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