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Ideas and suggestions for how to survive a recession:
1. You must have a website. Own your own site and create and manage it yourself. This saves time, money and, in the long run, you have artistic control. See The Artist Magazine‘s articles that walk you through the process—“Get on the Web” (September 2006), “Enhance Your Web Presence” (September 2007) and “Top of the Web” (March 2008)—or click here to find out how to purchase a downloadable PDF containing the articles.
2. Create an art blog. Here you can express your creative thoughts and show off your current projects to the world. It’s easy to set up using Blogger, a free blog service. Talk about free publicity! If a blog doesn’t work for you, consider starting an e-mail newsletter, in which you can offer monthly raffles and let clients know when you have new work or shows.
3. Visit sites such as Zapp or ArtFairCalendar.com for free information on upcoming shows, fairs and festivals. If you get into an art fair, be sure to go to the free teaching/learning seminars and workshops, where you can learn more about submitting digital images (including DPI requirements), and about framing and matting—and where you can network with other artists.
4. Advertise. Put an image of your work—with your website included—in your car window or on the bumper with a magnetic sign.
5. Use free publicity from your local weekly paper, daily newspaper or your state’s magazine is icing on the old art cake. Send out PR releases via e-mail in the middle of the week when reporters/editors are less busy.
6. Take classes. Do a Google search for “free art classes online.” You can also brush up your skills with affordable online art classes such as those at ArtistsNetwork.TV.
7. Consider a home office deduction on your income tax return if your studio is in your home. More information on this deduction can be found on the IRS website and at Bankrate.com.
Note: On July 31, 2008, the Home Office Tax Deduction Simplification and Improvement Act of 2008 was introduced in Congress. If passed this bill will simplify the deduction for use of a portion of a residence as a home office by creating an optional standard home office deduction. To check on the progress of this bill, go to Opencongress.org.
8. Shop around for your printing needs. Sometimes the smaller printing shops in your neighborhood will be cheaper and give you better results than the larger operations. For business cards, try Vista Print. They offer 250 business cards for free.
9. Get a sales tax license in your state (the logistics vary state to state). This license obligates you to collect all applicable state and local taxes when selling your art, but it also gives you a sales tax exemption on items purchased for resale. It will save you money when you buy supplies or have framing done. Keep all your receipts—even if you’re a hobbyist. You can deduct your expenses on your tax return.
10. Check out the Freecycle Network, where people give away free stuff. Join up and search your area’s listings for art supplies.
Sue Viders is an art marketing consultant. Contact her at [email protected] if you have any other money saving ideas. Her emerging-artist daughter, Cheryl Cusick, also contributed to this list.
To download a PDF with five feature articles all about posting and selling your art on the Web, go to www.artistsnetwork.com/article/web-savvy-artist.
Learn more about selling your art: