Art Business Ideas

For many artists, the prospect of starting a business can be daunting. After all, you’re relying on your own artistic abilities and marketing skills to earn a living. Nonetheless, for centuries, musicians, painters, architects, sculptures, poets, and a myriad of other artists have used their skills to enrich the world and turn a profit at the same time. That's why we created this guide for the best art business ideas.

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Art Businesses


Young Adult Book Business Image

The popularity of the YA genre has grown in recent years, with some book series having been adapted to film. This has pulled many readers and moviegoers into the genre, expanding its market appeal. However, a young adult book business should still try to appeal to its target audience by catering stories, themes, and even illustrations to teenagers. A successful YA author would be helped by connections in the publishing industry, but the primary skill you will need is the ability to write a captivating story that appeals to a specific demographic.

For writers of just about any genre, startup costs are generally low, however, you will probably want to hire an illustrator. Creating an interesting cover for your book is one of the best ways to draw in new readers, so this will be your highest cost starting out. While the earning potential is quite high for this business, it hinges on the popularity of your books. Since the YA book market is saturated, your writing will really need to stand out to get people’s attention.

Learn how to start a young adult book business.


Photo Editing Business Image

A photo editing business helps individuals and businesses touch up or alter their photos for special occasions, business events, social media, or publications. Most local businesses need the help of a photo editor, so there will almost always be a market for photo editing services in your community. In order to start a photo editing business, you will need to have a working knowledge of lighting, composition, basic photo editing techniques, and photoshop.

The costs of starting a photo editing business are generally low. To being, you will just need a computer and editing software. Beyond that, you will want to invest in marketing your services. Your rates will vary depending on your skill and the complexity of each project. However, photo editors who have made connections with small businesses usually have a steady stream of clients.

Learn how to start a photo editing business.


Photo Restoration Service Image

Photo restoration involves editing and improving old photos to fix damage caused by time and light. By changing old physical photos into a digital format, you can correct imperfections and then reprint the new and improved images. This service is mostly used for old family or historical photographs. A photo restoration service is perfectly suited for anyone who is a stickler for detail and has extensive knowledge of photo editing. A background in photography is also a plus.

In order to begin restoring old photos, you will need to make some heavy investments upfront. You will need a high-end computer and digital scanner, in addition to software like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Apple Aperture. Once these initial costs have been accounted for, ongoing expenses are reasonable. The earning potential is average, as you will need to find a large number of clients to sustain a higher income. However, you can make a very good living with the right marketing strategy.

Learn how to start a photo restoration service.

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Photography Business Image

Photography is the art of capturing moments in time using still images. There are many different specializations in photography, so finding your niche is helpful for growing a successful business. Most photographers fall into two categories: client-based or freelance. Naturally, a passion for making and editing photographic art is a must for either group. No formal training is required, but a degree or coursework in photography is a great start.

Though startup costs are reasonable, you will need to invest in a good camera, computer, and editing software. Depending on your niche, you may need a studio space and lighting equipment. Otherwise, the ongoing expenses for a photography business are very low. Whether you want to work for one publication or freelance, there is always a market for talented photographers, so your business has the potential to turn a healthy profit. Some seasoned photographers charge as much as $500 per hour.

Learn how to start a photography business.


Graphic Design Business Image

A graphic design business creates visual compositions for signs, advertisements, websites, or any kind of digital content. This can be accomplished through logos, color, typography, and general layout. Graphic designers need to have a great eye for how images complement each other, as well as an understanding of visual appeal from a marketing standpoint. Most graphic designers also have a degree in their field.

Many graphic designers choose to work from home, so startup costs are not generally high. As with most businesses that create digital content, you will need a good computer and editing software. However, it can take time for graphic designers to build a portfolio, so you will need to plan for low income at first. Nonetheless, once you acquire a few clients and market your skills to the right people, you can grow your business and maximize your earning potential.

Learn how to start a graphic design business.


Mural Painting Business Image

Muralists paint beautiful works of art on walls, the sides of buildings, floors, or any large surface that will accommodate them. Most mural painters work freelance and are able to acquire clients from a wide variety of sources. Any individual or business that has a physical location could use the services of a mural painting business. Needless to say, if you want to be a muralist, you will need to be a skilled painter with an impressive online portfolio.

Startup costs are low, and generally include supplies, a website, marketing, and travel expenses. How much you charge your clients can vary between projects. Some muralists like to charge by the hour, while others prefer to charge a certain rate per-square-foot. In either case, your earning potential will depend on your ability to acquire new clients and your reputation as an artist.

Learn how to start a mural painting business.


Pottery Business Image

Most people see pottery as a fun way to make useful creations like dishes, ornaments, and even sculptures. However, pottery can also develop into a strong business model with the right combination of talent and business know-how. A potter should be able to design, create, and market their wares to the public.

Well-made pottery products are extremely popular, but they take a sizeable upfront investment to produce. Startup costs can vary depending on where you set up shop, but you may need equipment like a wheel throw, kiln, and other tools of the trade. These costs can easily be justified with the right venue and creative talent, as your skills and local market will be the primary factors for calculating earning potential.

Learn how to start a pottery business.


Stained Glass Business Image

Stained glass can be used for a myriad of projects and structures, from small decorations to elaborate cathedral windows. However, stained glass is not easy to make. This business requires a great deal of knowledge concerning glass production and design.

Though you will need a large workspace and a variety of glass-cutting tools, the startup costs are not very high. Additionally, consumers and clients are willing to pay higher rates for specialty skills. If you are able to create beautiful works of art and can find a high-traffic venue to sell them, then a stained glass business can be extremely profitable.

Learn how to start a stained glass business.

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Jingle Company Image

Jingles are short slogans that help draw attention to brands, products, or companies. They generally come in the form of short, catchy songs that play during television or radio commercials. Writing these songs takes an understanding of the brand or product in question, as well as the ability to think of attention-grabbing lyrics and melodies. Jingle writers need to be able to read and write music and edit audio files.

If you have a passion for music and a computer, you can start a jingle company. You will need to invest in special editing software and sound mixing equipment, but otherwise, the startup costs are very low. Depending on the type of clients that you can find, the ceiling for potential earnings is very high. Some jingle writers report earning as much as $20,000 for a single project.

Learn how to start a jingle company.


Tattoo Parlor Image

Tattoos are an extremely popular form of art and self-expression. The US tattoo industry is valued at approximately $1.5 billion, with new tattoo parlors opening all the time. However, creating high-quality tattoos requires a unique skill set with a strong foundation in drawing. Most tattoo artists begin their careers apprenticing for an experienced artist before starting their own tattoo parlor.

While every tattoo parlor needs basic equipment, the startup costs can vary depending on your location. Some artists work out of their home, however, this is not always possible depending on the health regulations in your state or city. As a result, it is most common to rent a space that gets plenty of foot traffic to drum up new business. Tattoo artists generally charge a high hourly rate or a variable rate per project. In either case, tattoo parlors have a lot of growth and earning potential.

Learn how to start a tattoo parlor business.

Learn more about starting a business by visting the U.S. Small Business Administration.


Art Lessons Business Image

Art lessons are a fun way to teach your craft and earn a living at the same time. It is a business that can be operated out of your home or a rented space. You can also take your skills on the road and travel to your students for a higher fee. While just about anyone can conduct art lessons, it is best to already possess knowledge related to various art styles. A degree is also a huge plus, as it will give you more credibility with your students.

Both startup costs and ongoing expenses are low. If you choose to rent a workspace, this will greatly increase expenses. Otherwise, you will just need to buy a variety of art supplies and advertise your services. Though it will take time to build up a large pool of students, classes with high attendance numbers can bring in thousands of dollars per session.

Learn how to start an art lessons business.


Acting Classes Business Image

Acting can be a lucrative career, but good actors need a lot of talent, practice, and the ability to take constructive criticism. Acting classes offer children, aspiring adult actors, and even seasoned veterans a chance to hone their skills for the stage or screen. You don’t necessarily need a degree to teach acting classes, but you will need to prove yourself to your students. Regardless of the acting niche that you want to teach, you will need to have experience and/or connections in the industry.

Startup costs are difficult to gauge because some acting teachers work out of their home with minimal equipment, while others rent theater space with professional props, lighting, and sound. Nonetheless, you can start teaching classes from home and simply invest in marketing your services. The earning potential is not stellar, but it can be greatly increased based on your credentials and the investment you put into the venue and marketing.

Learn how to start an acting class business.


Music Lessons Business Image

Much like acting lessons, music lessons are a great way for amateurs to learn how to play or for experienced musicians to perfect their craft. Music teachers can specialize in any number of techniques or instruments, from beginners piano lessons to advanced music theory. No matter your area of expertise, you will need to have years of experience as a musician or music teacher to start a business.

Startup costs are low, but if you teach lessons with an instrument, you will need to pay to purchase and maintain it. Other costs include music stands and sheet music. Because you are training people in a particular skill, you can charge anywhere from $30 to $60 per hour for your services. With enough regular students, you can make a decent living. The key is to develop connections at a school or similar institution where you can draw from a reliable pool of students.

Learn how to start a music lessons business.

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