When I was 14 years old, I was dreaming of becoming an artist with approximately 10k followers and selling my art online.
However, it is hard to start my dream. To begin with this goal, I have faced lots of life obstacles, which include unlimited homework from my school, no confidence to post and sell art online, intensive job load, and etc.
Finally, I started this dream with my passion and love.
🌟 Started offline shop ( a booth in convention) in March 2019
🌟 Started Etsy in December 2019
🌟 One-year art hiatus from June 2019 to September 2020
🌟 Set up an online art shop on personalized website in January 2021.
Tools: Adobe Photoshop, Social Media manager (Later, Studio Creator), Etsy Shop Manager, Facebook Business Manager
Skills: Illustration, Graphic Design, Social Media Marketing, Time Management, Project Management
Role: Shop Owner | Illustrator
🌟 Directory 🌟
🍂Unused account 🍂
Reason: I used Tumblr for a while when I studied in my fresh year at my post-secondary school, and it was really fun to grew a few followers during that time. However, I just totally give up on Tumblr at this point due to Tumblr's new algorithm rules, which is marking all posts looked like sexual contents as red flags. I can feel that more than half users remain inactive status on Tumblr now.
Reason: I have discovered that I am not a huge fan of Print on Demand store. 🤨 I like washi tapes, enamel pins, and acrylic charms, but they do not offer those choices. 😫 Their notebooks are not allow to customize. I like heavy drawing paper 180 gsm, but they only offer 40 gsm writing paper.
Below is a self-evaluated prediction:
I get 100 more followers on Instagram every month; 60 more followers on Facebook monthly; 5 more followers on Twitter monthly.
The audiences are separately in three group:
Problems or Mistakes that I Have Met
1. Time management failure
"What should I do If I'm too busy at school/work/life? I can't update social media every day!"
I believe most artists cannot manage their social media accounts every day. I cannot manage all of my accounts, either. I cannot draw and post my art every day if I have a heavy workload or school homework.
I end up trying to use social media manager (Later and Studio Creator) to schedule my posts. They are free with basic functions.Planning everything will reduce the times of been messed-up.
2. Unstable emotion
"I'm so bad at drawing and painting. People do not like me and my art. I probably can't make it for my whole life."
"Why I practice my art skills so hard or I paint for 3 hours but only receive 2 - 3 people's likes?"
Keeping emotion stable to do business is crucial.
There are several ways to solve this:
1. Setting a goal to achieve will help goal-achiever gain positive confidence.
2. Joining art communities and ask successful artists who have experience from the art industry for help can reduce stressed emotion.
3. Stopping despising your art.
3. Scared failures
"I'm so scared to do this. What if I fail? Will people laugh at me?"
Artists never know what will happen when they go to the art market to sell their art. I have persuaded myself a lot that nothing will happen if I fail to turn art into a shop and gain followers.
4. Making huge money immediately
"I saw some artists make $$$$, so I should make $$$$ this year."
Stopping thinking that every artist makes huge profits on their shops. Artists who make a higher profit have more than 5 years of experience in marketing their art. Be patient and be ready that you are going to meet obstacles when you do artworks and open shops.
5. Misunderstanding on customers' needs
I always try to avoid rendering an artwork over 10 hours, but I still not quite sure about products or artworks that customers are willing to buy until I run a store and go to the convention.
I deeply think about the gap between buyers and the artist, and I try to fill the gap. In the future, I will slowly and be patient to explore what people need and also make art that I am also satisfied with.
6. Costing $0 dollar to start your dream
This is a big mistake that I have made. People always mistakenly think about everything online is free and cheap, but actually, it is not. I think running social media costs $0; running online shops cost a very low budget, but it is not. It costs me time and money to slowly build the brand and attract customers.
Opening an online shop is similar to opening a real store, but cost lesser money. Virtual shop owners are still paying website domain, listings, and costs of ordering products. Planning my budget and investing it is decisive, because I do not want to invest too much money but get fewer customers.
7. No art planning on styles and contents
Another big mistake that I have made. I think about drawing whatever I want and posting various styles online will help me build my brand. It may help me to improve my art skills, but it will not help me to gain traffics. Costumers cannot recognize me as an artist who has their consistent style, so they see me as an amateur. I ask myself a lot of questions before I start posting my art and sell my art.
I plan to make a consistent style and palette online, so people can recognize me.
Questions to ask myself
1. I go to my first anime convention, IFF (International Fan Festival Toronto), so I have experiences in planning, budgeting, and making products.
2. I do one-year art hiatus before I seriously consider if I should continue this. It is super important to think first before taking action.
3. I study my favourite artists' art styles and the way they run their art shops. In the end, I make my own art style and build my own art shop.
4. I ask many famous artists advice about how to sell art online, how to run Kickstarter, how to gain followers, and even more.
🌟 Got 100 followers on Facebook in January 2021.
🌟 Got 200 followers on Facebook & Instagram in March 2021.
🌟 Got 20 followers on Twitter in March 2021.
🌟 Got 300 followers on Facebook & Instagram in April 2021.
🌟 Got 400 followers on Instagram at end of April 2021.
🌟 Got 500 followers on Facebook & Instagram in June 2021.
🌟 Got 30 followers on Twitter in June 2021.
🌟 Got 700 followers on Facebook in July 2021.
🌟 Got 800 followers on Facebook in August 2021.
🌟 Got 40 followers on Twitter in July 2021.
I am designing art merchandise part-timely, so the production cycle is 3 - 4 months for one term.
Below is a picture of my warehouse in the basement. (Not my bedroom)
Picture took on July 16, 2021
1 Year Celebration Images
Lesson I learned
Thank you for reading ❤️