Turning Your Art Into a Business: Read This Before You Set Up Shop

Rouselle Isla

Rouselle Isla

Last updated February 28, 2023

When it’s your passion, you devote time and energy to it, no matter how busy you are with work or personal responsibilities. Whether you’re into doodling, clay art, watercolor painting, or resin jewelry, you’ll find that joy and fulfillment quickly replace stress and exhaustion.

You might be considering turning your art into business or pursuing it full-time. After all, it’s any creative’s dream to get paid for the art they create. If you’re one of those talented and artistic individuals thinking about selling their art, here’s how to start an art business in the Philippines.

What is an Art Business?

An art business can take many forms, such as music, design, fashion, writing, and more. A lot of artists who plan on turning art into business focus on small art in mediums like calligraphy, graphic design, and photography, just to name a few.

How to Tell If It’s a Good Art Business Idea

how to start an art business - how to tell if it's a good business idea

There are many kinds of creative art, some more lucrative than others. The first thing you need to know about how to start an art business is whether your art has enough universal appeal to become a potentially profitable business.

Ask yourself the following questions before quitting your job and setting up shop:  

  • Is there a market or audience for my art?
  • Can I still make a profit even if I sell my art at an affordable price?
  • How saturated is my chosen market, and who are my competitors?
  • Will my art be able to maximize trends without being written off as just a fad?

How Much Can You Earn from an Art Business?

How much you earn from your art business will vary on how much you price your art. Pricing your art will depend on many factors, such as your experience and skill, the medium or style used, the scope and amount of work involved, the cost of materials, the artwork’s intended usage, and your general expenses.

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5 Potentially Lucrative Art Business Ideas in the Philippines

If you’ve been working on your art for the longest time, deciding on a business idea won’t be a problem. But if you’re interested in several things, you may need time and research to pick one that you can turn into a successful business. Here are some art business ideas you can explore:

🎨 Photography

how to start an art business - photography

There’s a range of options in photography, such as travel, nature, portrait, fashion, event, and food photography. This makes it an excellent fit for many types of creatives. It can be lucrative because individuals and businesses benefit from having professional-looking photos online. You can also quickly and easily set up a portfolio and website.

🎨 Calligraphy

You can launch your own calligraphy business if you have beautiful penmanship that’s worthy of being featured on shirts, greeting cards, posters, and the like. Sell your merchandise with your calligraphy or teach calligraphy lessons.

🎨 Sculpture and Painting

As these traditional art forms have been around for centuries, there will always be a market for painting and sculptures. As long as there are blank walls and empty spaces that need to be decorated, there will be buyers of paintings and sculptures.

🎨 Tattoo Art

If you have the mad skills and the steady hand to create art that will last a lifetime on someone’s skin, tattoo art may be an excellent business idea. As more and more people are willing to get themselves inked, they’re also willing to spend more on high-quality tattoos.

🎨 Graphic Design

how to start an art business - graphic design

Earn from your digital art by designing brand logos, company videos, or social media graphics. You can design websites or sell your design templates to individual users or small businesses. There’s no shortage of income opportunities with graphic design.

How to Start an Art Business: 5 Essential Steps

Being a good artist doesn't happen overnight. You can say the same thing about setting up an art business. Here’s how you can turn your passion for art into a successful business.

1. Pursue and Develop Your Art

Before you take the leap and start your art business, learn, practice, and create great art that people will be willing to buy. Without it, you can’t expect to lead a successful career in art or launch a profitable art business.

Invest in yourself by signing up for courses or workshops. Add value to your art by learning everything you can about it. Research and read up about it. Follow artists who make the same art for inspiration, lessons, and advice.

2. Know Your Target Market and Marketplace

Like any other business, you need to determine the right market for your art. Be clear about what kind of art you’re making and who you’re making your art for. This means finding the right market locally, nationally, and even internationally.

Find out how big your potential market is and who your competition is. Who’s making the same art or doing similar work? How much are they getting paid for their work?

Moreover, knowing your target market means determining where your art fits in the art marketplace or where you want your art to be seen. Do you want people to see it in public exhibition spaces like museums and art galleries? Or do you prefer that people see it in your art studio, online portfolio, or social media channels?

3. Create a Simple Business Plan

Even a small home-based art business needs a business plan. Don’t stress because you can quickly devise one by answering a few essential questions:

  • What customer need is your art business addressing?
  • What makes your art unique and something worth buying?
  • How much do you want to earn in the next 12 months?
  • When should money start coming in?
  • How much work must you put in to meet your income or sales goals?
  • How will you manage your finances when there are no sales?
  • How will you promote your art business?
  • What do you need to start your art business

Your business plan isn’t something that you do one time and never look at again. It should change as your business changes. Eventually, there will be new challenges and opportunities that you didn’t factor in while making your initial business plan.

For your art business to survive and succeed, you must regularly revisit and update your business plan.

4. Decide on a Location

how to start an art business - decide on a location

Next, decide where you’ll run your art business. Set up shop in a bustling art district so your business will be visible and accessible to your target market. Local collaborative artist groups may also offer studio or gallery space, so you won’t have to rent the entire retail or studio space.

If you want to run your art business from home, set up a space conducive to creating, displaying, and selling your art. Create art at your home studio, photograph them, and upload them to your website or online store.

5. Create Opportunities to Show and Sell Your Art

Now that you have the art and the platform to sell it, you’re ready to share your art with the world. This is almost as crucial as creating the art itself—it’s how you’ll introduce your art, grow your following, connect with the art community, and meet customers and collectors.

📌 Showcase Your Art Through Your Own Website

It’s crucial that you keep your website updated with new content. Your very own space on the internet acts as a "shop window" to your art business.

how to start an art business - inkscribbler

Photo: @inkscribbler (Instagram)

In an interview with Moneymax, Alexis Ventura—founder of the calligraphy business Ink Scribblersaid, “I created inkscribbler.com to separate my calligraphy and lettering works. Then in a few months, I was receiving some inquiries. It was an amazing leap of faith, and I have never looked back since.”

📌 Join Online Art Groups and Communities

So that you’re in the know about upcoming art events, market your art by taking out an exhibition space at art fairs, consigning at an art store, or joining pop-ups.

For instance, before earning six digits from her online store Paperaica Shop,[1] artist and former animator Jamaica Verceles used to join art conventions and fairs to sell her art.

how to start an art business - paperaica

Photo: @paperaicashop (Instagram)

Now, you can buy her products in different online shops. Aside from her hand-drawn stickers, she also sells pins, memo pads, sticker albums, washi tapes, and many more.  

Post new art on artist networks and platforms like DeviantArt, Behance, and Artstation, as well as on social media accounts. Make a TikTok or YouTube video of your creative process or the story behind your art. You can also go live on social media to chat about art with your connections. 

how to start an art business - ciara gan

Photo: @ciaraganart (Instagram)

📌 Share Your Art on Social Media

Many Filipino artists started their art businesses by sharing their art online. Young Filipina artist Ciara Gan shared on her YouTube channel[2] that she started her art business at 16 by putting up her art on Instagram.[3] According to Ciara, it's the most effective and accessible gallery and portfolio. 

You can also hold an open studio, so people can see and ask questions about your art, or run free art classes or seminars if you have the time. 

These efforts will all make it easier for people to see your art and connect with you, the artist. If they like what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll follow you online. It will only be a matter of time before fans, followers, and online connections become paying customers.

Even if they don’t purchase outright, they can still introduce and recommend your art to new people. The challenge will be consistently making art they will love and can’t ignore!


Read more: 13 Steps to Starting a Small Business in the Philippines (Plus Tips for Success)

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to start an art business, remember that it’s not always the easiest and simplest business. Running your own art business is a never-ending cycle. But with passion, determination, and the right entrepreneurial mindset, your art business will thrive and succeed.

So take the leap, but before you do so, do your homework, learn the ins and outs of your industry, and secure enough funds to ensure your art business has legs. As Alexis said, “If you can do it on the side, then go for it! If you feel called to do it full-time, then brace yourself. Follow your passions responsibly, not recklessly.”

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Rouselle has over eight years of writing experience in the personal finance niche. She has written feature stories, articles, and how-to guides on various personal finance and trending lifestyle topics. Before that, she briefly worked in banking and was a licensed life insurance advisor. When not writing, Rouselle likes to read books and binge-watch films and series. Follow Rouselle on Linkedin.


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