I’m an artistic and creative soul and over the years I have either painted or knitted, sewn or crocheted, or been creative in the kitchen or garden.
Being artistic hasn’t amounted to a living wage for me; can one even earn enough money from any creative activity to be self sufficient?
Well that all depends on one’s ability to compromise between being creative and earning a crust.
It’s a dilemma that artists are familiar with - the perpetual struggle to sell their work as the finished piece has to be something that someone, with money to spend, wants to buy.
If one can be creative and produce something with a practical use then that’s a bonus. For example, if I find a fabric I love and can create a product that someone needs for a specific purpose then I have a supply and demand match. But to make this into a serious business one either has to produce multiple versions of the same creation or sew things that are easy to sell but not necessarily a pleasure to make.
Assuming you find your happy balance, can you make enough money? If you don’t want to become a formulaic producer or an employer then be realistic about what you might earn and decide if this is reward enough. Creating for money, as a sole entrepreneur with full artistic control over your work and with sole responsibility for your own purchasing, book keeping, marketing, shipping and so on will likely not net you a minimum wage for the hours you will undoubtedly plough into your venture.
If you do need to earn a decent wage and you’ve committed to being a maker as your business then research potential customers to see what demand there may be for your creations and figure out the time needed to create products and run the business side. You’ll also need to calculate what time you can give (if you have other commitments) and how much money you need or want to make, over and above your production costs. You’ll need to do a business plan and see if it’s even feasible.
If being creative doesn’t need to put food on the table then enjoy what you do in a way that meets a demand whilst funding what you love to do. My own preference is to make ‘one of a kind’ art or products or limited collections, with my own designs and using fabrics or paint colours that I love. Consequently, if you ask me to make you a set of grey cushion covers I’ll say ‘no’ 😂
Being an artist and bag maker for a living wage isn’t feasible for me personally as I want to prioritise enjoyable creativity along with other things I choose to do. However, selling my work does help me fund my creative habits and gives me purpose; for that I am forever grateful for the ongoing support I receive from those who purchase my work ☺️
~ be honest about the time you can realistically commit to all aspects of your work
~ think about what you enjoy most about creating and how you can make that work from a business perspective
~ find a compromise in what you love doing versus what people want to buy as there’s only so much room you and your friends and family will have for your creations 🥴
Enjoy what you do and you’ll make someone happy with what you make 😌