As Pablo Picasso famously said : “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” As challenging as it can be to maintain your creative way of thinking as you age, it’s even trickier to balance this passion with the need to make a living.
Not only do the tools of your trade cost money, but pursuing your creative practice professionally means that you’ll have to find a way to make it cover your rent or mortgage, utilities, food, transportation and travel. The heavily romanticized “starving artist” stereotype rarely cuts it in our current economy.
Let’s say your dream is to be a full-time photographer. Whether or not you get a degree in this field, you’ll still need to consider everything from business insurance for photographers to legal agreements with clients. These same principles apply across artistic pursuits, from painting to sculpture, performance and more.
Here are five important business logistics to consider as you work to make your creative dreams your professional reality:
The entire Internet is at your fingertips, but are you taking full advantage? Oftentimes, artists find it beneficial to learn skills outside their immediate field. For example, any creative can benefit from knowing basic or advanced coding so they can control their own website, set up an online store or take on freelance design projects.
As one artist who learned web programming notes in The New York Times, “With a little Web savvy, it’s relatively easy for artists to reach a global marketplace for their work.”
Many artists start out by making work at home. But soon, space constraints take their toll (not to mention the fact that you feel cooped up all day in the space where you also live). Eventually, getting a separate studio or office is unavoidable.
What you look for in a studio space will depend on your specialty. Do you need a flexible space for staging photo shoots and meeting clients? Are you looking for a somewhat chaotic space to create a flurry of art? Could you share a studio with a fellow artist to cut costs? Above all, it should keep your work safe and not break the bank.
Doing a commission for a client? Not without a contract, you aren’t! Otherwise you could be setting yourself up for a major misunderstanding or even a lawsuit. According to The Practical Art World, here are the key points you’ll want to include:
It’s time to incorporate your business and get it licensed. You’ve got options here: sole proprietorship vs. partnership, LLC vs. S Corporation, etc. Licensing procedures and permits often depend on your city and state, so do your due diligence so you can establish a proper foundation.
Even artists aren’t exempt from needing business insurance—whether we’re talking about photographers, studio artists, graphic designers or copywriters. In addition to a standard Business Owners Policy to protect against general liability and property damage, artists who work with clients need professional liability coverage in case a client takes them to court.
Want (or need) to know more about business insurance for artists? CoverHound breaks down the different types of commercial coverage that you need to run a business. Get started with a personalized quote today!