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5 Tips for Launching Your Art Career While Working Full-Time

You’ve always dreamed of making a living as an artist, but right now, you have a full-time job for the steady paycheck, benefits, and sense of stability that it provides. Of course, holding down a traditional 9-to-5 job does not mean that you have to push your creative dreams to the backburner. Resources from Art Connective can help you establish yourself as a professional artist while you keep your day job. Furthermore, we’ve put together some advice on how to make time for your art when you have a full-time job, accurately track your time and finances, and take advantage of opportunities to promote your work.

Create a Balanced Schedule

If you’re working full-time and investing time in your art career, you don’t want to end up dealing with burnout. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, create a realistic schedule that includes specific time blocks for art projects, as well as any household responsibilities that you won’t be outsourcing. Do not agree to commitments that will force you to work outside of these hours - otherwise, you’ll inevitably stretch yourself thin.

Track Your Time and Expenses

When you’re working full-time while taking on freelance art clients or handling commissions, you need to take a meticulous approach to time management. Take some time to crunch the numbers and ensure that you’re being paid fairly for your work. You can set up a spreadsheet to track your time and expenses, and if you already have this information in an existing PDF document, a tool like this will convert a PDF to Excel for free. Make sure to keep these figures in mind as you write up contracts for freelance work so that you don’t undercharge.

Be Selective About Your Clients

Since you have regular paychecks coming in from your full-time job, you do not have to work with unreasonable clients for the sake of making money. Instead, you can be quite selective about which clients you work with, and when you open up opportunities for commissions. Whether you’re offering illustration, graphic design, or other freelance services, you can be choosy about your clients.

Dedicate Time to Marketing

In order to attract clients, build your network, and connect with people who will reach out to you with exciting opportunities, you will need to market yourself and promote your art. Set up a website that will serve as a virtual portfolio. Additionally, use social media to your advantage! RedDotBlog recommends posting examples of your work consistently, sharing some personal details about the inspiration for your work, and focusing on one or two different platforms rather than trying to use all of them.

Show Off Your Work in Public

Finally, look for chances to submit your work for exhibitions or local galleries. ArtistsNetwork recommends reaching out to local businesses to see if they would be interested in hanging up your art, entering juried exhibitions, and eventually, submitting your work to artist-run galleries or commercial galleries. You could also consider signing up for a booth at a farmer’s market or outdoor art show on the weekend to sell prints of your work. This allows you to connect with customers face-to-face and hand out business cards! It’s a fun way to network in-person.

Making a name for yourself as an artist can be challenging. But when you have the financial security of a 9-to-5 job, you can carve out time to focus on your art, gradually build up your client base, and build your career. With these tips, you’ll be able to easily track your time and expenses with spreadsheets, land clients you love working with, and show your pieces at exhibitions, galleries, and other public venues.

Want to make progress in your art career? Turn to Art Connective! Browse our website today for educational resources, exhibition opportunities, and more.

Photo via Unsplash

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