Top 6 Money Habits for Artists

As a bookkeeper, I have worked with a number of industries and can tell you, many of them have quirks that can make managing your money difficult. Maybe your expenses are high in some seasons or your income is somewhat unpredictable – like for those in the arts!
Seasonal fluctuations also change from one type of artist to another. For those of us who knit, the fall and winter will likely be our busy seasons. Whereas if you are in the performing arts, during the school year may be your busier time!
No matter the type of artist you are, you are likely experiencing some specific challenges that can make it hard to manage your finances. This is why I have collected the top 6 money habits for artists.
1) Invest in Your Creativity, Not Trends
With social media, it is easy to get wrapped up in the latest trends in art. Maybe you want a new camera lens or high-end brushes. However, you are going to find a much higher return on your investment if you spend those dollars on building your creativity. Take a class, join a mastermind, or brush up on your own skills first.
Continue to refine your skills so that when you buy those more expensive tools, you are able to use them more creatively than before!
2) Build A Savings
Whether you are looking to transition from your current job to your creative one full-time or you are already in the thick of the arts industry, it is important to build savings. Typically, the rule of thumb is to have 3-month savings. If you are transitioning from your day job to a creative one, I recommend a 6-month savings to give yourself some time to get started.
3) Rent
As we mentioned earlier, social media can mess with our creativity sometimes. It can influence us to buy things we don’t need or spend dollars on things that won’t help us get the job done better – or quicker! This is especially true when it comes to renting space.
I am creative as well and I know how important your environment is to fully get in the zone. But take an honest look at the expensive studio you are renting and consider whether there is a better option. As someone who works from home, I can promise you a room dedicated to your work can generate just as much creativity!
4) Learn to Sell & Network
It is really easy to get focused on creativity and doing what you love, but selling and networking are necessary to make sure you can continue to fulfill your vision. Spend time learning about your products and who your target audience is. Spend your marketing dollars on areas that would attract that specific audience. Once you build your brand and network, this part will become easier and the sales burden will become less.
5) Plan Your Supplies
We’ve all been there. You are wandering your local art supplies store and see that pair of needles that have been on your mind for months. Or those paintbrushes you just know will change the game! We can all quickly get carried away.
When it comes to purchasing tools and supplies, have a plan. Either give yourself a budget whenever you visit the store or in your planner schedule out when you need to restock. If you are really tempted you can even have them delivered to your door to avoid temptation.
Quickbooks also provides tools that let you know when it is time to reorder inventory. The software will actually send you a notification so you can quickly order and get back to work.
6) Track Your Finances
This last one is probably the most important. There are plenty of bookkeeping software programs out there. We recommend QuickBooks online. It has been around for a long time and provides plenty of tools for small business owners. Once you begin tracking your finances, you will quickly realize how important it is.
Tracking your finances pays you back in so many ways. Just a few of our favorites include:
  • Allows you to measure your changes in sales over time
  • Track your expenses for tax returns
  • Measure how well products are doing and compare
  • Properly price products to determine whether you are profitable
The arts industry is like no other. We are all a collection of free spirits that care more about bringing a little joy and beauty into people’s lives – but in order to do that there is going to be some business and organization that needs to be done. Consider these tips to make sure you are always in the green and can get rid of that financial stress so you can truly create.

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