One of the sad but true realities us artists must face if we are doing this as a full-time business, is to realize that we have to work the same way most retail type business operate. That means that we also have to come to understand the aspects and nature of the business.
#1 – It’s the toughest business to be in.
You should strive to meet benchmarks to grow and maintain a steady business as that means continual growth and the most important part: steady income. Find ways to keep your sanity and keep from quitting when times are tough.
#2 – There are high and low tides.
Some artists (myself included) freak out when business dies down or completely goes dead for a day, week or few months. We forget that this is a normal aspect of the business. We should adapt to it. Expect sales to go down during the summer, Independence Day and most holidays. Apply this to your own personal retail cycles. Some artwork/brands sell differently to different audiences. Different times, hours, days, seasons and holidays. Some people may find business BOOMING during the summer, but slumped during Holiday rush when other artists are banking. *Prepare to store/save money when things are thriving so you’re smooth sailing (or close to it) when business goes dead.
#3 – There will be taxes.
Another hard lesson I had learned myself, is you MUST know how to manage your money. Learn how to bookkeep or afford the help of one now and keep track of your expenses, costs and profits. Know what you are going to have to pay in taxes. Pay ahead, if you can. Try to keep your spending down.
#4 – The rollercoaster ride never ends.
Those moments when you have the best day ever do and will happen. If you’re working hard, making contacts, creating opportunities and keeping on top of things, you should be experiencing some days where sales and emails are flowing. Where your business is thriving and becoming established. Where your name is known to more people than you’d ever imagined. It will be a rush. Sometimes too exciting. Keep yourself from rewarding that moment by being frivolous with your time or money. If things are going well, take a step back and look at your goals and plans. As stated in #2, there are highs and lows. Keep on track with what you want to accomplish and don’t lose sight of that, even when things are looking great. No matter how long you’ve been doing this you’ll find it’s constantly changing and can go from great to terrifying the next minute.