Simple Tips on How To Sell Your Artwork and Become a Paid Artist

by Gayle Etcheverry

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a paid artist? Do you have paintings sitting around you’d like to sell but don’t have a clue how to do it? I used to feel the same way until I started to research different avenues available on the web. The internet has opened the doors and made that dream a reality for many artists to become paid working artists. I too have successfully sold many paintings online and I thought maybe other artists would like to hear about some of the things I’ve learned.

Before we begin, would like to state that the information below is geared toward people who find the idea of ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of fun and do not care if it is done the professional way in a gallery or not. If this applies to you then please read on!

You can start off by creating a personal website to showcase your artwork. Nowadays, you can build it yourself with custom template sites (such as Names Direct.com or Go Daddy.com) or you could hire someone to do it for you. I suggest you do it yourself, that way each time you want to add new content to your site you won’t have to pay someone else to do it.

In order to build a website, you will need a personalized domain name. To find a company that sells domain names just do a google search for ‘domain name availability’ and you’ll find hundreds to choose from. Try to pick something that sounds like you. For example, I have two domain names; GaylesPaintings.com and GayleEtcheverry.com. I decided to use two domain names because often people have a hard time spelling my last name.

If setting up a website seems a bit too daunting, then consider starting a blog instead. Blogs are free services where you can upload photographs, links and text about your artwork. A few of the bigger most popular sites are Blogger.com and WordPress.com. Your fans, friends and family can stay updated on all of your new additions with a feature called an RSS feed. This could be a great place for you to make your start!

If you don’t already own a digital camera, you might want to do some research and purchase one. You can find a great camera for under $300. It is the perfect tool for uploading pictures of your art to your computer and then to the web.

There are several different places you can sell your artwork online, and in my opinion, the two most popular sites used by artists are EBay and Etsy. One great thing about these sites is that they already have a large customer base that visit daily. In fact, many people LOOK for artwork on these sites because it is affordable, original and can be shipped right to their home. These sites do charge to use their services, but it is much less than the normal 50% commission charged by art galleries. Also, they work directly with PayPal so you won’t need to worry about getting a merchant account to process credit card transactions! Then, you will be able to make links between both your website/blog and EBay/Etsy listings.

You could always sell your artwork right on your website if you feel comfortable doing so. Many artists currently do this instead of the typical sites like EBay and Etsy. Currently, I sell my paintings through my website, however sometimes I will post a painting through EBay or Etsy. I do suggest if you are new to this that you just start out on EBay or Etsy. It will help bring in new customers.

One of the most important elements to your success will be from networking. A strong networker connects with others and together they actively search for quality referrals for each other. (Note: These can be from completely different fields of work, such as real estate, plumbing, child care referrals.) Top sales expert, Zig Ziglar was once quoted saying, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

From now on, you should always be ready for the possibility of networking with people you meet out in public or online. You’ll ask others what types of business referrals they are looking for so you can better help them find new business. Then, be sure to tell them you are looking for people who like to purchase original, unique artwork from artists such as yourself! Immediately tell your friends and family your plan to sell artwork online and ask that they tell their friends and family too. Keep this number in mind – for everyone one person you know, they have at least 10 referrals for you! Be sure to have your own personalized business cards on hand at all times. These should have your blog/website address and contact information on them.

The Internet is filled with thousands of free social networking websites where you can meet people from all over the world. A few of the most popular sites are Myspace and Facebook. There are other sites that persuade members to promote their businesses in their networks – these are the sites for you (one great example is JasonsNetwork.com) Join these kinds of sites and spread the word on your art, post your pictures too. You’ll meet thousands of possible future paying customers!

This may sound a bit cheesy, but it is very important to stay confident and never give up. Continue to make your art, upload them to your website and plug away at promoting yourself. Ask people if they would like to join your subscriber list to stay notified of each new piece available for purchase. When you send these emails out, be sure to add active links to the artwork you are promoting and encourage your supporters to forward your email to anyone they feel would be interested in your art. Again, stick with it, it may take a little bit of time to get the word out there in the world, but in a little while you’ll build your subscriber list and begin to sell your art. You’ll be a paid working artist in no time!

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