Friday, January 7, 2011

The Business Side of Art

This, the first post on my new blog, will hardly cover all aspects of the business of art, but it's a start. The beginning of the year is a good time to put attention into business, and I'll share with you my experiences as I go.

When I started my business, I went to the Small Business Bureau and they gave an Excel template to me which works as a forecaster of income and outgo. I save a new copy of it each year, and enter the entire year's anticipated expenses based on what went on the year before.

Then I enter the entire year's goal for income. Yes an artist cannot know how many paintings will sell in a given year, but that is no different from any other business. The point is to set a goal at the beginning of the year, and to adjust these figures as the year progresses. My income is from painting sales, workshops, and a recording contract. Last year the painting sales and workshops were both down, but the recording contract carried me. 

This year, if this first semester is any indication, the workshops will be filled at pre-recession levels. So, when I make my estimates, I will use this first semester as my goal figure. I'll put in a slightly higher goal for art sales, again using this first semester as an indication of the possible loosening of purse strings in the art world.

The other side of this picture is the Outgo figure. I am extremely conservative with my Outgo. Just in case the goals are not met, or just in case a crisis occurs, I keep a year's expenses in a savings account. This comes in handy when your car dies, as mine did this week. I had to replace my car -- two years into the recession -- and the money was there for a new car. 

This is where Dave Ramsey has been a lifesaver. If you don't know about him yet, go here:   He has tools to help people avoid debt or get out of debt, and to help get started saving. Terribly important, especially for a freelance artist, to stay away from interest payments. You will have the freedom to make art without worrying about the wolf at your door!

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