All the practicalities, admin, logistic, organisation that are part of our art making are definitely something that takes away the fun from what we are creating. We all would love to live in a fantasy world only in company of our colours and brushes and zero money, taxes etc… BUT if you start thinking that, that will stop you from living out of your art. Then let’s embrace it with all the love and open chakras!
When I started it's been a struggle for me too, and I slowly figured it out how to organise myself better. Step by step, here below you'll find some tips.
1. Create your own website
This is the most important tool to start showing your portfolio. There are tons of them out there, but I find Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix the easiest to use for visual people and non-techie types. Each of these three platforms have pre-made templates you can choose from and easy-to-use interfaces to display your work. Choose a clean design so that your art can be viewed on a clean, neutral background.
2. Get social with the right mindset
Once your website is ready, it’s time to show it off to the world. Social media (unfortunately!) is still a good way to promote your work. Be careful though. The big mistake is to put too much effort on social media and not much on your own website and on how you can actually sell your work. Bear in mind that it's quite hard today to stand out from the crowd on social media compared to years ago when all the social buzz started. So, if I can suggest you something is this: create your social media profiles, BUT use them to drive traffic to your website.
The positive side of social media is simply an easy way to engage with your audience and keep them in the loop about new products and projects such as exhibitions, fairs, work in progress. It's very nice to receive feedback from clients and even get photos sent to you of your art hanging in different locations.
3. Start making a list of contacts for your Newsletter
Newsletters are a personal and direct way to reach out to your audience, to those who are passionate about your journey as an artist, about your work and what you are up to. Mailchimp.com is a great platform to start with and offer a free service to send your newsletter to up 2000 contacts. Start building your Newsletter contact list as soon as you can. Those are contacts that belong to you and not to Mark Zuckerberg ;)
4. Email account for your admin
Create an email account that you use only for all your admin stuff. For example you may want to connect this to: paypal, etsy, other online shops for selling your art, online shops to get your supplies, admin softwares, your bank account, your website platform such as wix, squarespace, wordpress, your own e-commerce, google ads, google adsense, youtube, socials and other affiliates programs.
5. Email account for your contacts
Create an email account that you use for your mailing list, newsletter, direct contacts, basically where you have a contact with people rather than money.
For all these emails I do suggest gmail.com as you can easily and quickly switch from one account to another inside the same interface of your browser.
6. Bank account
Create a bank account that you use only for your art. You don’t need to ask to your bank to open the so called "business account" especially if you are at the beginning of your “artventure”, a personal type of bank account is more than enough. Opening a bank account is absolutely useful because you will have immediately a clear overview of your expenditure and your income as you go along, instead of figuring out in all the long list of bank movements piled up with your personal/private life.
When you choose your bank account, avoid those with monthly bank fees. And if like me, you are a nomad, consider opening a bank account that allows you a multi foreign currency or some solution that doesn’t make you pay pointless exchange rates fees when your clients have to pay you in a different currency or you are abroad and to buy a supply with your card it costs you some % more!
If you are in a cross-border lifestyle, consider also www.transferwise.com. This has saved me many times when I needed to get paid from clients abroad in a different currency.
7. A money tracking software
If the mobile app of your bank account doesn't allow you to organise your income and expenses in categories, then I suggest to set up a software account connected to your art bank account that allows you to track your money organised into categories, send invoices, get a chart of your money situation. I find www.waveapps.com the best for me. And.. it’s free!