Artists are always very creative, this includes how money is spent. All expenses can add up quickly, especially the tools and supplies needed to make the work we love. While our creative brains are good at problem-solving and finding the most budget-friendly way to achieve our goal, here are four key business expenses that are worth saving up for and spending some money on. These expenses have a variety of price points so make sure to do your research.
1.Website and Coding
Your website is the epicenter of your brand. It’s where you have the most control over how you are perceived and what you tell your audience. Websites can be expensive and daunting for artists who are not very tech-savvy. There are various ways to get a simple basic website up on your own including teaching yourself code, working with more user-friendly platforms like MNartists.org or WordPress, or using a cookie-cutter website like Squarespace. However, paying for someone to assist you with website development and coding can go a long way. A coder can easily widen your options for look and functionality to your site.
$Cheap Version: Reach out to a local college or technical school to find a student who is learning to code. During school, students have to make multiple websites during their college courses. You can get a very nice website for a fraction of the cost by hiring a student or a recent grad as opposed to a web firm or professional.
2. Photo Documentation
Having good quality image documentation affects so many aspects of your career. Imagery is uploaded to your social media accounts, website images, marketing materials and sent to galleries for exhibition opportunities. If you plan on making prints or merchandise out of your originals, good quality images will be needed to execute this. Poor quality images or low-resolution files can inhibit you even if the work itself is good quality.
If your work is particularly difficult to photograph, get in contact with a photographer who specializes in documenting work. Consider reaching out to someone who does corporate product photography if the lighting is key to making your work look nice or if you make three-dimensional work.
$ Cheap Version: For Minneapolis artists, consider renting out community photo spaces like Shoot Space or Downtown Photo Video. Other artist housing places have community photo rooms like A-Mill artist lofts that you can have access to if you are are a resident.
Insurance is a necessity. This can include business insurance, studio space insurance, health insurance, and insurance for traveling artwork. It’s important to weigh your risks and decide which insurance will be the most beneficial to you. Imagine the worst-case scenario; how easily could you bounce back from a break-in at your studio, health set back or a piece of art-damaged during shipping? Decide your priority forms of insurance and begin there. You can always change your coverage as needed.
$ Cheap Version: Choose the bare-bones basic insurance just in case your worst-case scenario happens. This ensures nobody will sue you if a serious accident happens and won’t completely financially set you back. You can also contact your auto or homeowners insurance company and bundle some options to get a better price.
4. Tax and Accounting
Get a tax or financial adviser if taxes do not come easy to you. As soon as you register as a business entity, it would be best to start having tax assistance as you will most likely use a Tax ID number and need to claim company income and sales taxes.
$ Cheap Version: There are cheap ways to learn budgeting, basic finance, and other tools to help with the monetary side of running your business. Local non-profits and workforce centers often have free or low costs classes. However, never cut corners with taxes. If you are even the slightest bit unsure if you are completing your art or business taxes correctly, seek out and get professional help.