Where to Start as an Artist Entrepreneur

Nikki's Journal October 31, 2014

Lately, I’ve been reading so many articles, books, and discussion boards about entrepreneurship, art licensing, marketing, and children’s book illustration that my brain feels like it’s going to explode.

If you’re like me, you’ve been spending a lot of time really mulling over what direction you want to go as a business. There’s literally so many things that I can do, that I don’t even know where to start as an artist entrepreneur. I could:

  • continue drawing pet portraits and expand to drawing people portraits,
  • put my website on the back-burner and really focus on developing an art licensing portfolio,
  • create the children’s book that I already have half-way thumbnailed out,
  • or make a super awesome online shop that will destroy everyone with it’s cuteness and rainbows.

Honestly, my brain has been in a constant cycle of ideas like this for a year now, and my repetitive pre-planning has drained my time away from developing new art.


Although during a grueling point in my research, after I was reading for 10 hours straight with very few breaks, I finally stumbled onto a little realization that wouldn’t solve all my problems, but it finally felt like a step in the right direction. It probably sunk in after reading it a few dozen times, but I realized what a good entrepreneur does is find the problem in the market or a need from the customers, and then comes up with a solution. I’ve been too busy deciding what I want to draw, when instead I should be finding out what my customers need me to draw. …Phew!


Wait a second, that doesn’t narrow things down at all! Now I have to decided whether I want to:

  • help people tell their pet’s stories through my pet portraits,
  • create stories to help children understand and cope with family situations,
  • destroy everyone with cuteness and rainbows…

So maybe this isn’t too different of a problem than I had before.

But it’s enough to stop and think to myself, like every business owner should, “How do I want to reach out to people and help them?” And that, right there, is how I should’ve been thinking from the start.