What I've learnt from running my own business

5 Aug 2018

I started selling my own artwork when I was at university, so after 5 years of building my own business I'd say I've definitely learnt a lot whilst at the same time still experimenting with how to be my own boss! I read a great post by Emma Inks recently on things she wishes she'd known before starting her business and I couldn't of agreed enough - selling products online isn't just as black and white as it sounds. You need many skills to not only set up your business and networking is hugely key, so unfortunately the illusion of creating art all day and making lots of money as you're doing it might be just that for a long time.

I really want to share more about myself as an artist and my own business here on Heartshapedbones so hopefully for other fellow artists wanting to set up their own store this will be helpful! 

you can't just slap art on internet and say 'buy it pls'
Back in the day I would take a photograph of the art print I drew on my bed, put it onto bigcartel and then be really sad when it didn't get tones of people buying it instantly. It's never been that simple, unless you have thousands of followers and you've become a big internet sensation in the online art world. I've found the more effort into selling a piece of art the more genuine interaction it gets, this means from product shots, the quality of the actual photograph and then the networking that follows. You'll spend most of your time  networking whether it be with customers, potential clients, other artists or just making your business known on the internet. never feel like you're 'spamming' too much because with how apps like Instagram and twitter filter what you see, not everyone is seeing your posts.

admin work is just as important 
This applies to running of a blog too, sometimes those days of sitting on your laptop and organising yourself is just as important as they days where you're creating the content. I find hard to make time for the writing side of my blog, but I always feel 10 times better once I've written the posts, answered the emails and done the little bits to my websites that you guys see. When I worked for myself last year I'd spend organised hours doing certain things and the first thing I'd do in a morning was to answer all my emails and do some general admin things like refresh stock, plan how my day would go and also schedule what to share on social medias. 

losing inspiration can mean losing business 
It's so important to be putting out new products but without fueling out prints that have zero passion to them. I find myself in funks sometimes where I feel like I never draw thing for myself anymore, purely because I have to see things as potential products. It does add pressure - but it also means if I stop creating the art I see a drop in my store. Obviously it's so hard to just make yourself have inspiration but I aim to atleast have a new print up every week. 

treat it like a job with planned hours
For the brief months last summer when I worked from home for myself I found the best way to organise myself was to have a spreadsheet that determined what I did every day! It made it more apparent that it was a job, I knew when I could be networking, organising, making art, packaging up prints and also when to have a dinner break. 

you have to do the jobs you really hate
It's just one of those things you have to do, if you ever feel like it's one of those days where you just don't want to talk to people, well tough your business is a reflection of yourself - get up, answer the emails, fix your problems and venture on. Working with clients has always been a part of the job I hate, you can work for people who don't really know what they want and make things ten times harder than things have to be. I love getting commission work and they can be the funniest part of my job, but at the same time working to a deadline for someone can be overly stressful especially if you don't mix well as two creatives. 

its lonely
I recently mentioned in a blog post how lonely being a blogger can get especially as I don't live in the city. Well, the same goes when you're running a business alone! I've currently been working with a few other people and it's felt amazing to interact with other creatives because half of the time I'm sat on my sofa with my headphones in having a little draw. Working on my laptop takes away my attention to other things and whilst I would love to be in the pub catching the sun, I need to be selling myself as a business because you need to put in the effort to reap any rewards. 

you need funds in place before doing anything
I wish I had known this when I was first starting out, but you definitely need a little money in your business first before you start doing anything. Building a site whether you do it yourself or get someone else to do does require a little money to get the best results. Paper, printer, if you're making t-shirts, even if its just a little I recommend saving first before you think to start selling things. 

Until next time guys,

Keep updated with me on social medias:


I've just launched my own independent business so here is my shop too : Witchcrafts
& My sisters Instagram for anyone who loves aspiring photographers: Perfectly Ordinals