Art Entrepreneurship Guide: Selling Your Creativity Successfully Today




Time to Read:

8 minutes

Mastering Art Entrepreneurship

Art Entrepreneurship
Art Entrepreneurship

You love creating art, but selling it? That’s a whole different story. Did you know that 80% of full-time artists in the U.S. earn less than $10,000 annually?

This blog is your map to navigate the tricky terrain of art entrepreneurship.

Discover ways to market and sell your creations—and yes, really make a living from them. Stay tuned; this is game-changing!

Key Takeaways

  • Many artists earn less than $10,000 a year, making financial struggles familiar.
  •  A lack of business knowledge can hold artists back, but learning from successful ones helps.
  •  Mentorship and educational programs are vital to succeeding in the art business.
  •  Tim Packer’s webinar on March 19th offers strategies for marketing and selling art.
  •  Secure a spot in the webinar early for discounts and access to additional resources.

Challenges of Succeeding in the Art Business

Many artists need financial help and need more business knowledge to succeed in the art business. I’ll share a personal story of overcoming these challenges and how you can, too.

Getting Success in Business

Financial struggles of artists:

Making money as an artist is tough. Imagine, 80% of full-time artists make less than $10,000 a year. Even more shocking, half of them earn under $5,000.

That’s not much to live on! After university, I, too, faced empty pockets and endless bills.

Never did my income cross the $20,000 mark in those first five years.

Painting or sculpting all day only sometimes pays the rent. There were times when my bank account showed just $12,000 to $13,000 for a whole year’s work.

It’s like creating non-stop but barely scraping by—your passion is there, but it needs fuel to keep going.

You’re not alone if these numbers sound way too familiar.

Lack of business knowledge

You’ve got the talent, and you’re creating fantastic art, but something needs to be holding you back from making it big. Let’s face it: most artists need to learn how to market or sell their work.

You might create masterpieces yet feel lost when it comes to business planspricing strategies, or promoting your art online. It’s an everyday struggle—you’re not alone.

An art colleague of mine faced this very challenge. He knew his art could sustain him if only he mastered the business side of things.

After years of hard work and learning, he turned his passion into a thriving career with earnings of over $200,000 annually for many years!

His story proves that with the proper knowledge, becoming a successful entrepreneur in the arts is entirely possible.

Personal story of overcoming challenges

Lacking business knowledge can be a formidable barrier, but personal experiences show that obstacles can turn into stepping stones.

Imagine serving as a teacher for over three decades and realizing your true passion lies in creating instead of teaching art.

Now, instead of teaching full-time, I do some part-time teaching on the side, which allows me more time for my art.

The first five years hit hard—my bank account barely reached $20,000 annually if I was lucky. Yet, it wasn’t just about money; I needed to learn how successful artists made their mark.

Networking and absorbing every piece of art business knowledge became my priority. Slowly but surely, artistry blended with entrepreneurship skills began to pay off.

Strategies for Success in Art Entrepreneurship

Two Strategies to Become a Successful Artist

Mentorship example

The speaker mentored a young artist, Brooke Cormier, in 2017. Brooke made over $30,000 in her first year as a full-time artist after transitioning from landscape architecture to art without formal training.

Five years later, she has established herself as a successful artist with equivalent prices and over a quarter million social media followers.

Her paintings and prints are now sold globally, showcasing the power of mentorship and determination.

Brooke’s success exemplifies the value of mentorship in navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship in the arts.

Her journey underscores that with guidance and perseverance—despite initial barriers—it is possible to achieve remarkable success.

Educational opportunities for artists

After learning from successful artists through mentorship, artists like Tim Packer can provide valuable educational opportunities for aspiring artists.

  1. Learning from real-life success stories: Artists can gain valuable insights and knowledge by studying the career journeys of successful artists like Tim Packer, who have overcome challenges in the art business and achieved significant success.
  2.  Attending workshops and seminars: Participating in workshops and seminars conducted by established artists can provide practical guidance on navigating the art market, managing finances, and honing entrepreneurial skills.
  3.  Seeking online courses: Accessing online courses tailored to art entrepreneurship can equip artists with the necessary business acumen to thrive in the competitive art industry.
  4.  Networking with experienced professionals: Establishing connections with seasoned professionals in the art world can open doors to valuable educational opportunities, mentorship, and collaborative partnerships.
  5.  Engaging with artist communities: Involvement in artist communities provides a supportive environment for sharing experiences, gaining insights, and accessing resources that foster artistic and entrepreneurial growth.
  6.  Exploring educational institutions offering arts management programs: Pursuing academic programs specializing in arts management provides comprehensive education on navigating the business aspects of the art world.
  7.  Proactively seeking mentorship: Actively seeking mentorship from accomplished artists who have successfully turned their passion into a sustainable enterprise paves the way for invaluable guidance and growth opportunities.

Advice for Success as a Commercial Artist

Treading the bumpy path of art entrepreneurship can seem daunting. However, remember that your unique talent as a commercial artist has immense potential to be bottled up in a robust business model.
Brace yourself for this vibrant journey and fear not the plight of starving artists, shared comically yet disturbingly often! Your creativity is not just your craft; instead, it’s your greatest business asset.
Intelligent networking is the lifeblood of successful art entrepreneurship. Embrace opportunities to mingle with fellow creatives, clients, or gallery owners who appreciate (and pay for) what you bring to life on canvas.
This way, you’re strategically placing yourself in their mind’s eye—and what ‘hangs’ there tends to come easy during decision times!

Advice for Success as a Commercial Artist

Personal story of resilience and success

Tim Packer, a former struggling artist turned successful entrepreneur after leaving his steady job at the age of 39.

Earning less than $20,000 annually for five years, he faced financial hardships with determination.

Despite those tough times, he achieved over $200,000 in earnings through strategies learned from influential artists and abundant reading.

After mentoring a young artist named Brooke Cormier to quick success, Tim now hosts webinars and offers educational opportunities to guide fellow struggling artists on their paths to success.

For more information, Tim Packer, you can sign up for the “Becoming a Successful Artist” course and membership in the Hungry Artist community.

You can also subscribe to the Tim Packer Academy newsletter; check out the latest edition for an exclusive link to streamline your registration process. Take advantage of this invaluable opportunity!

Final Thoughts on Art Entrepreneurship

Patrons in an Art Gallery
Patrons in an Art Gallery

In summary, art entrepreneurship presents challenges such as financial struggles and a need for more business knowledge.

However, there are strategies for success, including mentorship and educational opportunities.

I encourage you to research and gain more knowledge to gain valuable insights into marketing and selling your art.

Take advantage of every opportunity to learn from real experiences and take your art career to the next level!


2. Can I major in something else and still pursue an arts entrepreneurship minor?

Yes, you can! Many undergraduate students take an arts entrepreneurship minor alongside their major, learning how to innovate and create opportunities in the arts world.

3. Are there required courses for an arts management and arts entrepreneurship program?

Definitely! Students must complete specific required courses that focus on innovation, collaboration, and sustainability within the non-profit and for-profit art sectors.

4. What kind of careers can graduates from Meadows School of the Arts expect?

Graduates with this skill set often emerge onto paths like theatre management, conservatory leadership or creating their own artistically driven organizations.

5. Do I need a certain GPA to get into SMU’s program designed for entrepreneurial artists?

You bet — admission into SMU’s programs typically has GPA requirements to ensure students are ready for the rigorous coursework ahead!

6. Is it possible for international students or those studying entirely online to take these programs?

Absolutely! Opportunities vary by school, but many places offer certificates in arts administration online which encourage initiative – so whether in-person or virtual – international students are encouraged too!


  1. “Art Entrepreneurship.” Edward Elgar Publishing, 28 Feb. 2011,
  2. Tim Packer Fine Arts. “Understanding the Business of Being an Artist.” YouTube, 5 Mar. 2022,
  3. Tim Packer Fine Arts | the Home of All Things to Do With the Work of Canadian Landscape Painter Tim Packer.
  4. “B. Cormier Fine Art.” B. Cormier Fine Art,
  5. “But What Does Arts Entrepreneurship Even Mean?” ARTS Blog, 3 Jan. 2020,
  7. “8 Successful Art Careers for Artistic Entrepreneurs.” Milan Art, 1 Dec. 2023,
  8. Tim Packer Art Academy.

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