6 financial tips for artists

    Financial planning is essential for building your art business and to make your artistic career stable and lasting.

    Proper financial planning allows you to have greater control over your career, intelligently manage income streams and set professional and personal goals with better awareness.

    Establishing clear financial practices for your artistic activity is not as difficult as you may think.

    Here are 6 tips to have more security and financial freedom in your artistic practice.

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    1. Establish SMART goals that allow you to grow and save

    In the art world, setting SMART objectives (i.e. Specific, Measurable, Accessible, Realistic and Timed) means directing your choices to invest money and energy in projects that can expand your artistic practice. The setting of professional and financial goals will help quantify a budget and channel money towards the aspects of life and artistic career that matter most, also ensuring you a savings fund.

    2.Check your expenses and regulate the cash flow

    An artist must always be aware of the expenses that await him. Therefore, it must establish a monthly or annual spending plan, which records any expense items such as rent, utilities, survival goods, artistic material and other additional activities or needs (insurance, entertainment, travel, etc.). Making a list of all items of expenditure will allow you to understand how much money will be needed to live and work, as well as identify unnecessary expenses. Creating and maintaining a cash flow analysis is necessary to clearly identify income and expenses; it is also a useful tool for creating a budget and a growth plan.

    3.Create your business plan

    Planning a budget means strategically organizing the expenses and money available. In defining a Business Plan, it is necessary, first of all, to list the essential items of expenditure, such as expenses for materials, locations rental, utilities and basic necessities. There are a number of tools that can help you build your Business Plan quickly and easily, such as using an Excel spreadsheet or a wide range of free apps such as Fudget and Mint.

    4.Search for grants and participate in prizes to finance and enhance your artistic practice

    Grants and prizes can be an aid and validation for the artist or useful to finance a special project. The artist must commit to participate in the open calls that are best suited to his or her artistic practice, in order to obtain scholarships, grants or participation in residences and awards that can support the work economically and increase one’s artistic value.

    5. Relationship with the gallery: a handshake is not enough

    The relationships between artists and galleries arise from a mutual appreciation for the quality of the work supported by both parties, where a handshake and a verbally concluded collaboration contract seem to be worth more than a piece of writing. In reality it is still a commercial relationship, which can be regulated by different types of contracts aimed at selling. Sometimes many artists forget to think about their own economic gain, because they are taken by the enthusiasm to exhibit. However, always make sure to put in black and white the expenses that both parties will have to bear in organizing an exhibition (logistics, materials, communication, setting up). It is also of fundamental importance to fix together the price of the works and the percentages of commissions on the sales that are due to the artist and gallery owner.

    6.Accessory income or secondary employment can ensure better financial stability

    At the beginning of your career it is not easy to live only with the sales of your works of art, but it is the goal to be achieved for a professional artist. An effective way to offset the volatility of an emerging artist’s finances is to establish multiple streams of income. These can come in different forms: for example, you can opt for a work related to the world of art, such as teaching or assisting an artist with a career already underway. Other types of works may regard the field of graphics and digital: these offer both margins of creativity and the possibility of developing marketing and communication skills, which the artist can exploit for his promotion.

    And you, are you ready to build your financial planning?

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