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6 ways to add revenue to your creative arts business

If you are in business, your goal should be to make money. Sure you have other goals that revolve around making a difference or sharing your art or building a legacy. I know that I do. Problem is that you can’t make as much of a difference if you aren’t making a profit in your business.

Making a profit is tied to increasing your revenue or decreasing your expenses or both. In truth you can only increase your revenue in three ways.

First, you can raise your prices.

Second, you can sell more to your current customers.

Third, you can find new customers.

This post focuses on six ways that you can increase your revenue. Some you may already be doing. Some you may have thought of and not tried yet. Some may be new to you.


Clearly this is an obvious revenue stream. Many of you may already be doing this, and it’s not for everyone.

If you want to give teaching a try, don’t worry about your experience. You will attract people who want to learn from you. And, if you think about it, teaching is just sharing what you do. As you teach more and more, you’ll get better at it. One tip if you are just starting out: think of teaching as explaining what you are doing step-by-step. You’ll only improve with practice.

You can teach in so many venues. In a retail shop. In your home. In a studio you have outside your home. In a library. At a conference.

You can also teach online. This allows you to reach more and more people than you would with an in-person class. And, your revenue increases proportionately.

You can also structure your teaching to suit you. You might want to teach beginners or kids. You might want to do advanced workshops. You might want to specialize in an area that is your niche, for example pets done in fabric or watercolor house paintings.

One of the advantages of adding teaching to your repertoire is that it gives you a qualified audience to purchase other products you may have. This would include books you’ve written, supplies you sell, even finished art.

Sell your art

Most of you have huge inventory of work that you’ve made. You may never have thought of selling it.

In the beginning I started teaching quiltmaking at the local night school. I soon realized that I had lots of quilts and quilted items. I needed to increase my revenue so I started selling my work in a variety of venues from local craft shows to juried fine art shows to being a member of a fine arts cooperative. They were all steps in building my revenue and name.

You, too, have lots of options. Craft shows, both juried and non-juried. Galleries. Sales through your website or through social media.

Host or participate in a Home Show

This was one of my favorite ways to add revenue to my business when I was a primarily a maker/seller. I participated in two different shows for several years. The first I discovered when friends in an arts co-op I belonged to were talking about going to a show in another friend’s home. This woman had emptied out her first floor and created numerous vignettes to showcase the crafts of local artisans. I went, was intrigued with the possibilities, and asked to participate the following year.

The second show was called Thistle Down and was hosted by my aunt on her farm Thistle Hill. She had invited her friends who made art or crafts to participate. The items were throughout her first floor. In addition to my quilts, she had pottery, paintings, tablecloths, hand-crafted wreaths, jewelry, and other items.

Both shows were at holiday times. Fall in time for Christmas and in the spring for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduations.

Both shows also made an effort to make guests feel comfortable with beverages and cookies.

If you don’t know a show you can participate in, you can start your own. You can do it all yourself and charge artisans a fee to participate. You could also join forces with other artisans to share the work with you.

Sip ‘n’ Craft

Depending on your art, you can call this Sip and Stitch, Sip and Paint, Sip and Bead, etc.

Have you ever taken a Sip and Paint course? I did this last year on vacation. We all had a canvas and followed the instructions to recreate a painting. And, of course, we all had wine to sip. The environment was stress free and it was great fun.

This should be easy to translate to whatever art you make. All you need to do is find a space to host the event, determine a price, and advertise. Be sure to check any zoning or insurance requirements because you are serving alcohol.

Open your studio

You can look at this as inviting people into work in your studio to work alongside you. You could formally teach or not. Many people relish the opportunity to have an experience away from their own workspace and to spend time with you, the artist. You would charge a minimal fee and offer refreshments.

Another way to host an open studio is to invite guests to come in for self-guided art tours. In my area, there are several each year. As an artist, you open your studio to the public for set tour hours. You can work in your studio or just chat about your art with visitors. You’ll attract a variety of visitors, from people interested in art to those who are out for a drive on a lovely day.

If this sounds like something you’d like to try, do a search for open studio with your county name. You may be required to join a local arts association to participate.

Reprint your art

Most of us have customers in different financial situations and your art may be out of their budget. Look for ways that you can create art that is affordable for them.

This could take the form of giclées or high-quality inkjet reproductions of your artwork. It could also be something as simple as cards or bookmarks of your art. You could put your art in a calendar or a book or on a mug or T-shirt. This makes your art accessible to more people. And, if your customer loves your art at this price point, they may end up buying or commissioning something at a higher price point.

If you want to try this route, you might want to talk with your local printer about what they offer. Also check out or or Even or may be right for bookmarks. Just be selective about what art you place where.

While these are initial ideas of how you can add revenue, remember that you still have to do the marketing work. And, be ready for other opportunities that may come about as a result. You may find yourself with a one-woman show after someone stops into your open studio.

It’s your turn!

Pick one or all three of these questions and answer below.

  1. What is your favorite way to add revenue to your business?
  2. What other revenue idea came up for you as your read mine?
  3. After you comment, what one idea will you move forward with?






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2 Responses to “6 ways to add revenue to your creative arts business”

  1. Kelly Marie Johnson said:

    Cool ideas! I actually just did a home show at my house and it was great!

  2. Morna said:

    Great! Kelly, I always loved going to open houses to learn more about the artist and understand how they worked. From the artist’s view, it’s a great way to learn more about your client.

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