As you work on building your art business you will discover a lot of people are vying for your money. Of course they may have value that will increase you efficiency or help you sell your work. But let me warn you, most of them are money pits.
What is a money pit? It is something you invest your money into that doesn't return the favor or you can get elsewhere cheaper.
Let me give you an example. I see this all the time, a course teaching you something that costs $2,000 with the promise you can recover the cost using their formula, eventually making you more than $2,000. So the cost is a great deal!
What they don't tell you is that the same advise in their course is in a book, sometimes even with the course creator as the author for as little as $15! What they won't say is that the information is already out there free in this lovely place called the internet. And what they won't tell you is that what you really need is to take more action instead of spend more money. They also won't tell you that getting that $2,000 back will take a few years!
The course is what I call a money pit, because I can get the same knowledge free or at a cheaper price.
I know this because if you really ask business owners that built from scratch, it takes 3-5 years before they see a profit. You can't skip the growing phase, just like a baby can't become an adult in a year.
That is a LONG time to struggle to get a return of $2,000 and meanwhile you will find that running your business also costs you fees here and there. So that $2,000 could have gone a long way in more important places, like actually paying fees to sell something. Ha! That $15 or free information should be your best friend until you start hitting that profit threshold.
There are too many money pitfalls you can get into, I can't mention them all here. But I can tell you how to spot them and avoid them all together. Let's talk about this.
As a business owner your success is based on effort, either it is yours or you pay someone else for theirs. If you can do it yourself, don't pay someone else. That is a money pit.
Spend your effort wisely by putting it where you get the most rewards. Not all problems hold the same weight. Your business will not run or be perfect from the get go. It will have problems, but the big ones are the only ones the deserve your effort and possibly your money to solve. Avoid a money pit by solving the big ones first and putting in the effort to learn and solve problems yourself, instead of throwing money at them.
Know your business and who your customers are. If you are trying to reach everyone, everyone isn't interested. Don't put effort or money trying to reach people who are not interested in what you have to offer. This is a money pit.
You have to do your research on what will cost you the least to get the attention of your customers and give you the most profit. Everything that costs more than the least amount you could pay, is a money pit.
There is perceived value and real value. Don't put money into perceived value and you avoid money pitfalls.
I can't find anything better at explaining this as the perceived value of warranties. Let me share an example. There are used RV trailers that cost around $10,000-$15,000 or you can get a new one for $50,000+ with that special WARRANTY! People do this all the time, they choose the $50,000 trailer afraid that something will break. They perceive the value to be in it's newness and the warranty, so they pay an astronomical price for it. When something does break it isn't covered by their warranty or it would have cost $200 to fix it themselves. They just payed almost $40,000 for a warranty that gave them the real value of $0 or the cost of what broke $200. Nothing that broke in their new trailer would ever cost more than buying another used trailer or fixing it up to being like new. So it will never be worth $40,000 in reality!
Avoiding money pits is playing the game smart and with strategy. If you know what you want, get the most value within what is the reality. If you stay in reality and don't get caught up in your emotions or in your own skewed validations, you will be able to see what is real and with clarity.
For artists some money pits will be unique. Avoid fees to enter contests, art shows, galleries who don't reach enough "buyers" to cover the fee and time. Remember that sometimes their audience are artist not buyers and how they profit is from artists, not from selling your work. Ask, what am I paying for and is it worth it?
So now you know what NOT to do, now let me tell you HOW TO make money. You make and you sell, it really is that simple. There is so many ways to go about that, but you will find what works for you, when you try. You invest your time in things that give you a return. For me that was Youtube, the investment was time and money- but it would return that to me and more.
You have to reach people and tell them what you have to offer them. Get yourself out there and don't be afraid to invest yourself in it AS LONG as it gives you a return on the investment. Be yourself in the process. You don't need to turn into a salesperson, you just enjoy what you make and offer it to those who enjoy it too.
As long as you are making more than what you are paying to be an artist, you are on the right track. Now how can you lower your costs and still make more money, that is the next step. Offer value, but don't pay for the unnecessary things until you can really sacrifice it.
I hope this helps you make great business decisions.