Art & Business – with Purpose

By Carolyn Edlund

Are you good at art but hopeless at business?

Courtesy Annie Strack

Lori McNee has posted a terrific article on her blog Fine Art Tips, which clearly shows why artists must know their audiences, do their homework and plan their marketing strategy if they want to be more successful. Artist and guest blogger Annie Strack has a well-thought-out plan to create for, and attract, a customer base. She is doing it with purpose.

Some artists seem to have the attitude that anyone who wants to buy their work will buy it, and that they are not responsible for knowing what color sofa their buyers have. They don’t seek to understand the audience for their art, or mindfully create for that audience, with the goal of selling and furthering their businesses.

When you conceive of a painting, a sculpture, a piece of jewelry – do you plan it, create it, perfect it to the best of your ability, with purpose? Of course. That’s part of the process of making art.

When you wish to sell your work and succeed as a business, it’s best to do it also with purpose. Knowing your audience is basic and essential to that. Think about it – in what other industry would a business owner not be absolutely clear on who they are selling to, and how to sell to them?  That’s part of the process of making your business work.

Entrepreneurs in many different types of business have a similar problem. It’s not just artists, and it’s not just you. Michael E. Gerber, in his book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It details this problem: the skills involved in creating art, and the skills involved in managing and running a business, are different sets of skills. That’s why artists and others often cannot find their footing as a manager, marketer, salesperson and customer service department.

Fortunately, you are a creative individual and if your passion is to have a career as an artist, you also have the motivation to learn to be an effective businessperson. There are tons of resources on the internet, in great books and from excellent coaches which will help you develop those skills, and start making well-though-out strategies like Annie Strack.





  1. Thanks for the motivation! I needed that today.

  2. Yes, the skills needed for creating art and those for running a business are different. But I do think it’s possible – and even necessary! – to take a ‘creative’ approach to solving business problems and both involve generating ‘ideas’!

    • Judy, I agree, and I think creativity is essential to business and marketing. Artists and craftspeople actually have an advantage here.

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