Tag Archives: how to make money as an artist

Income Sources of an Alaskan Artist

~ by Maria Benner

At the end of 2015, we entered the last income and expenses transactions into QuickBooks, feeling proud of every penny we earned with our own business.  So then the big question is, how do we manage to achieve growth in 2016?  As the business manager for our little operation, I decided to take a look at our income sources.  So here’s the break down for 2015.

Etsy sales: 50%. Clearly, our Etsy shop Real Art Is Better is the main sales engine, and we’ll keep optimizing listings, and promoting the shop.  The goal is to increase traffic to the shop, and to increase the conversion rate from views to sales.  There are many ways to do that, and the key is to devote more time to these tasks.

Commissions: 15%.  There were more commissions in 2015 than ever before.  Having a studio where clients can come meet with Scott about their painting concept has been very useful.  We hope to do more commissioned work in the future, so spread the word!

Sales at craft fairs and at our studio: 12.5%. 2015 was the first time we did craft fairs, and had a studio where clients could purchase art.  We’ll probably try to do at least two craft fairs in 2016, and will host a couple events at the studio.

Art shows: 11.6%. We had five art shows in 2015.  Three of them were in breweries in Anchorage, one at a chocolate lounge, and one at a coffee shop in Juneau.  We already have four shows booked for 2016 (check out the one at Midnight Sun Brewing on display until February 4th), and plan on booking at least one more.  We’re still trying out new venues in Anchorage, and have thought about having art shows in the Lower 48, but haven’t found an opportunity that would generate enough income to justify the cost.

Custom stickers and graphic design: 8.3%. Currently we’re trying to figure out how to promote our graphic design and custom stickers business. So far we’ve been relying on word-of-mouth.  If you know of someone in need of these services, please send them our way.

Galleries: 2.7%. Selling art at galleries accounted for the smallest percentage of income, because galleries take a 40% commission, so we only sell prints there.  We prefer to sell directly to clients, not only because we avoid paying the high commission, but also because galleries try not to connect clients directly with artists, and we like staying in contact with our clients.  That’s one of the funnest parts of our business!

In addition to working towards increasing revenue from each source, we’re also working on adding new sources, such as public art projects, beer label designs, and publishing a book.  The possibilities are endless, and we’re looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring.

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