I'm writing this post for two reasons. 1. I think it is easy to waste a lot of time on the internet trying to figure out how to sell art or goods online and 2. I see so many people trying to make money off artists and makers. While some artists/makers might need an extra boost by paying someone to help them, I am starting to find a lot of the content out there to be the same stuff over and over and we often don't make enough to pay anyone to help us anyway. I also think that spending endless hours on the planning and not the doing, changing, fixing, posting, applying, photographing, emailing, editing and most of all making, just gives you lots of tiring information. I think artists should take matters into their own hands learn to handle all aspects of being an artist themselves. Here are some FREE resources to help you that I have found very helpful for me.
There's a lot of stuff out there and I stick to the ones that are most helpful and concise. While some of the sites below may also sell products or services, they provide tons of quality free, helpful and worthwhile content about finances, productivity, time management, working with clients and more. The sites below are related to the realm of art, illustration and handmade, because that's what I do. I know this isn't a complete list and there are plenty of other niche sites, I just thought I'd share the ones that I personally use.
And remember, don't waste too much time on the internet!
Design Sponge - This longstanding site is great for those who paint, sew, design and more. The Biz Ladies series is a must, as is the After the Jump podcast (more on that below). Hear from real people who make a creative living and give advice and inspiration on how to do it.
Etsy Blog - An awesome resource for me for years now. Advice on everything for a handmade or art business.
Freelancer's Union - A little bit of everything to do with freelance on their blog.
Lisa Congdon's Frequently Asked Questions - Lisa Congdon has a section on her blog that covers frequently asked questions. Very good advice here! She also has various interviews on YouTube.
Red Lemon Club - Lots of numbered lists on how to be more productive and what you can do right now to make things better for your art/creative business. See the Getting Started page first. I like how to-the-point Alex Mathers is. His posts are really simple and straightforward.
Storenvy blog - There are a lot of great articles on their blog for small creative businesses from inventory management to growth. Some of the content is geared toward those that use Storenvy, but a lot of it is for everyone. Just be sure to click 'Resources' from the menu on the right.
Creative Live - I have watched countless incredible Creative Live courses to learn techniques for a creative business. The catch? They are free when they are live only. If you can't watch them live, you have to pay for the course. They only exception is they will occasionally replay the courses for free. See the Creative Live calendar for upcoming courses.
DaFont - While we all would love to hire a typographer to hand letter everything we do, that's not really in the budget for most. You may not want to get all crazy with fonts on your website, line sheet or blog, but there is probably a nice font here you can use until you can afford to upgrade to MyFonts, Typekit or hire someone. Also, if there is a font you like, but you aren't sure what it is, you can upload an image to What the Font and it can help you figure it out.
Google Fonts - Check out Google's free directory of web fonts.
Illustration Age - Everything illustration.
Illustration Friday - A segment of Illustration Age, where you can submit your illustrations with a weekly themed challenge!
Surface Pattern Design
Julia Rothman on Design Sponge - As always, Design Sponge is awesome. This is a tutorial by Julia Rothman on how to make repeat digital designs for designing fabric and other kinds of products.
Molly Hatch's Creative Live Course - I absolutely loved this course. Although it costs $59, you can watch an 18 minute video free at this link to her course, Pattern Design: From Hand to Screen to Surface with Molly Hatch
Surface Design on Creative Bloq - This is a new-to-me site and they have great free tutorials for commercial art. This one is on surface pattern design.
Re-title.com - Find a gallery to show your work. I actually don't look for galleries to show my work, but just found this great site for those that do.
Bloglovin - If you must devote hours on the internet to reading blogs, you have to keep them in one place so you can do it more efficiently. Bookmark your blogs so you can read the most recent posts from all your faves. I really like this site for my feed.
Brain Pickings - If meaningful quotes by the masters and such is your thing, this site by Maria Popova is for you.
Fecal Face - Don't let the name scare you. I live in the Bay Area and this is my go-to site for art shows, interviews and more. John and Jessica Trippe have been doing this for years, plus, I live vicariously through them by daydreaming about their sailing adventures on Instagram.
The Fox Is Black - Fantastic blog about art, illustration, music and design.
The Jealous Curator - I've been following Danielle Krysa for quite awhile now and have watched her amazing art blog grow exponentially. She has also recently published a book, Creative Block, which is really great, even if you feel like you don't get creative blocks.
Pinterest - I know, there are way too many social sites to join. I know, it's overwhelming. Pinterest is nice because you can "pin" art inspirations and art that you love, along with places you would like to travel to, links to helpful articles, creative process and a whole lot more. I formerly checked out 60 art books from my library at a time (not joking!). Pinterest takes up a lot less space. Here a link to my profile.
*One thing about inspiration is that you get it everywhere, especially away from art. The same goes for the podcasts below. Try listening to something funny, gross or fascinating while you work.
Day Designer - I will always first and foremost be a paper and pencil person. The Day Designer is by far the best day planner I have ever used. It's got a beautiful exterior design and has the best way to organize your day that I've seen.
Dropbox - Share files with clients without bogging down your computer's memory.
Evernote - Evernote is still newish to me, but so far I have found it immensely helpful. I avoided it for awhile, thinking that my iPhone notes and reminders were enough. Um, no! You can organize your brainstorming, capture and organize all kinds of information, clear clutter, plan and remember.
Google Drive - This is how I organize all of my financial documents, calendar, book ideas, teaching projects, store some photos and zip files. I designed my own custom calendar/to do list here. They even offer a bunch of free templates so you can download invoices, contracts and more. You can access your documents anywhere, share files and not worry about having your own computer right in front of you.
After the Jump - Mentioned above and mentioned again. If you are an artist or designer, Grace Bonney's interviews are the perfect inspiration. She also asks nitty-gritty questions and usually ends with, "What would you tell your younger self?" Hear it on Heritage Radio Network or on iTunes.
Elise Gets Crafty - I love this podcast! Elise has a great voice and it feels like a friend interviewing her creative friends. She's professional, yet approachable. Listen on Elise Blaha Cripes's website or on iTunes.
Your Dreams My Nightmares - I love this podcast, of course especially when Sam Weber interviews illustrators that incorporate more hand drawn work. If you went to school for art, you will hear conversations about the good and the bad of that, plus everyone he interviews is pretty much awesome. Also on iTunes.
Res Artis - How would you like to paint while eating croissants in the south of France? Shoot photos on a boat in the Arctic? Well, you can. This site lists art residencies from around the world. Daydream for a few hours on this site... and then apply!
Alliance of Artists Communities - Another site for those that want to create in a different environment from your studio or workspace. Lots of helpful advice.
The Boring Stuff aka Money
Daily Worth - If you want to make a living selling art, you have to know about money. A great site with sections on small business, freelancing, investing, financial planning.
Mint.com - Get your personal finances organized and on budget. Mint even sends you reminders when you are close to going over budget.
SBA - Yup, that's the Small Business Administration. Super helpful for financial and logistics of working for yourself. The site has come a long way and now has good articles as well.
SCORE - Well, everything you need to run a business: accounting, pricing, marketing and more. They have online and in-person workshops. I have attended multiple one-on-one FREE meetings and they are unbelievably helpful. Read more about SCORE here.
Wise Bread - I repeat, if you want to make a living selling art, you have to know about money. This is helpful on being frugal as you deal with the ebb and flow of working for yourself.
I probably missed a few, but that's okay because you should get back to work:)