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6 Common Art Business Myths You Shouldn't Believe

In the world of art and creativity, artists often find themselves navigating a field full of myths and misconceptions about the business side of their craft. Whether it's about marketing strategies, pricing, or simply how to even begin, these myths can significantly impact an artist's career.

In this blog post, we’re discussing six common misconceptions that many artists unknowingly buy into, and sharing the real truth that will empower them to take charge of their artistic journey towards success.

Myth #1: The “Starving Artist” Stereotype

We’re tired of the “starving artist” myth, aren’t you?? It’s time we stop listening to others (and sometimes even ourselves) when they say you can’t make money from being an artist. That’s simply not true, and in this digital age, it’s now easier than ever. No longer are we limited to our small towns, the strict gallery method, or this idea that only “the greats” are considered successful.

With the rise of this digital era, you can use the power of social media to connect with buyers all over the world, opening up your market and providing you with opportunities beyond what was once possible. We're not "struggling" artists, we're successful artists.

Myth #2: You have to have tons of followers online to make sales.

If there’s one thing we hear consistently from artists in the early stages of their selling journey it’s that they believe they can’t even start because their social following is too small. We’re here to remind you that that isn’t the case at all. You can have a very successful career as an artist without having thousands of followers.

In truth, you only need a handful of the right followers to make sales. Once you’ve identified who your ideal buyers are, it becomes easier to create a business strategy that will make you sales, regardless of your follower count.

Myth #3: You have to say yes to every opportunity that you're presented with, regardless of whether it’s something you want to work on or not.

This one might be a hard one to disprove to yourself, especially if you don’t feel like you have the financial privilege to turn down the prospect of a sale. However, you're allowed to decide what kinds of jobs you like and which ones you don’t, and create a business plan that sticks to those boundaries.

For example, if you find you really don’t like doing a certain type of commission, it's okay to turn down those opportunities. The more time you spend working on projects you enjoy, the quicker you will begin building a profitable art career you're proud of!

Myth #4: If your art isn’t selling it’s because your prices are too high.

News Flash: that's almost never the case. If you're concerned about why you're art isn't selling, the issue isn’t that your prices are too high (because they probably aren’t.) The reason your art isn’t selling is likely related to not having reached or connected with your ideal collectors. Once you do that, you'll find that your ideal collectors are ready and willing to purchase your artwork and pay for its value.

Myth #5: You have to sell in a gallery if you want to be a “real” artist.

There can be a sense of pretentiousness around galleries, along with the misconception that if you want to be considered a “real” artist, you need to show your work in one. This is a common narrative taught in art school, and the reason many artists still feel this way.

However, not only is this not true, only selling in galleries is one of the reasons some artists aren’t as profitable as they could be. Many galleries take a large cut of an artist’s sale, significantly minimizing their profit. If you're ready to take back control of your sales, consider selling directly to buyers through your own website!

Myth #6: Artist’s can’t be business savvy.

This myth is one many artists fall victim to simply because of self-doubt. We're told to believe that since we don't have any prior business experience or knowledge, it's just not something we can do. And the worst part is, it's our their fault. Most traditional art schools conveniently leave out any business training, making it that much harder to figure out. But just like anything else, these skills can be honed and improved so that we can grow a successful art business. 

Remember, success in your art business isn't solely about talent; it's about understanding the nuances of marketing, pricing, and networking. Armed with knowledge, artists can confidently navigate their careers and forge their paths to success with creativity and determination- without falling victim to these common misconceptions.