What's the Best Investment For Your Creative Business? Advice from 5 Successful Artists & Designers

If you are (like me) still in the process of building your business, you know what it feels like to run out of something. Time, money, help from others... resources are limited, and you have to make tough choices every day about what you invest in. Do you spend the two hours you have free scheduling social media, or developing your craft? If you have a little extra money, what do you spend it on when there are so many things you still need to do?

Last month, I shared the first of a four-art blog series where I asked established artists & designers to share advice for those of us just starting out. Today is the second part, and it's a good one! Today, we're going to talk about what's the best investment to make when you are a beginning artist or entrepreneur. Below, you will find the sage advice of Stephanie Fehrenbach, Ingrid Sanchez (a.k.a Creative Ingrid), Ashley Rayne (a.k.a The Wild Hippies), Jessica Roux, and Monica Lee-Henell.

 
 What's the best investment you can make in your creative business, when you're just starting out? We asked 5 artists & designers to share their wisdom! More at danielleandco.com.
 

You can check out their advice below, with a little description of each artist and links to their websites and Instagram. Let's get to it!


"What is one investment you recommend a beginning artist and entrepreneur make in their business?"

 
 Stephanie Fehrenbach shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Stephanie Fehrenbach, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Stephanie Fehrenbach

Stephanie is an Ontario based artist who works with oils, watercolors, and other mediums and who I've always especially admired for her floral paintings; they are just so vibrant and full of movement!

InstagramWebsite

Invest in your website for sure! Your website is a reflection of you and your art, so make it the best you can. You don’t need anything really fancy, just a clean layout that’s simple, easy to navigate and lets the art shine. I use Squarespace and I love it! You don’t need to hire a designer -  the templates are beautiful and super easy to use for a non-techy person like me!

Good supplies are definitely worth it, but that being said...start where you are! You don’t need everything to be perfect right out of the gate. You’ll gradually build up a set of good materials as you go and start selling more work. Don’t wait for perfection to get started. Buy the best you can afford and keep making your art.
 Ingrid Sanchez shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Ingrid Sanchez, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Ingrid Sanchez

Ingrid (or CreativeIngrid as you might recognize her) is a Mexican artist based in London, who creates a prolific amount of work that is so bold & vibrant. The process videos of her painting large florals & abstracts are so captivating, I always look forward to them!

InstagramWebsite

Seriously, the best investment is time. A lot of people ask me about the brand of my watercolours or the size of my brushes. That is not important, but practice is. Because I say a lot, “practice, practice”, people think I don’t want to share the “secret”, but this is the secret. It’s not free, practice requires time, a lot of it. It’s a huge investment because no one is paying you and sometimes it can feel like a waste of time, that is why patience has to be present.

I will say to the beginners to take different workshops with different artists in different styles. That will really enrich the practice. To the entrepreneurs, something similar - invest in knowledge, hire someone with experience to teach you how to do things, that will save you a lot of your precious time.
 Ashley Rayne shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Ashley Rayne, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Ashley Rayne

Ashley (better known as The Wild Hippies) is a hand-lettering artist who is all about the positive vibes! Her colorful, cheerful artwork is shared on Instagram & available on Etsy. Her sense of humor is what sets her apart from other artists online, for me!

InstagramShop

My advice to someone just starting out would be to take it slow. Do not go out and spend all your money on the newest tech, tools, or help. Make a list of everything you need, and a separate list of everything you want. Buy some entry level supplies until you are ready to upgrade. Buy only the essentials you do not already have. And take advantage of social media! Yeah, a website is great, but it can be expensive, and is a lot of work. Social media on the other hand is free and easy to set up.
 Jessica Roux shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Jessica Roux, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Jessica Roux

Jessica's work is subtle and lovely in a way that's hard to describe without having seen it first. With very consistent use of colors and technique, she focuses on nature in a unique way. What draws me in is how she illustrates animals with so much life and detail.

InstagramWebsite

Having a great computer setup is important to me - a big, color calibrated screen running Photoshop, Illustrator and Lightroom, a Wacom tablet, a high quality scanner, and a fine art printer are all great investments to make that will reward you for years to come. 
 Monica Lee-Henell shares advice on investing in creative business, on danielleandco.com
 Work by Monica Lee-Henell, shared on danielleandco.com as part of a blog series on advice for artists, designers & creative entrepreneurs.

Monica Lee-Henell

Monica's work feels ever-evolving, but always in a beautiful direction. I've followed along with Monica's work for years, and her vibrant, moody abstract and floral paintings always make me stop scrolling in Instagram just to admire them for a moment.

InstagramWebsite

Photoshop and a good understanding on how to use it. Whether you are taking your work online, creating your website or reproducing your work, good Photoshop skills are worth every penny.

The answers from each of these artists are different, and at first may seem contradictory. What I take away is the importance of picking something to focus on and invest in. As opposed to picking alllllll the things to invest in, and feeling overwhelmed and scattered. When you have limited resources, it's better to do 1-3 things really well than 4-15 things mediocre.

This is advice I'm taking with me into 2018! I spent 2017 trying out a lot of new things and experimenting. While I think full video tutorials are awesome and fun to make, I realized they doesn't play on my strengths and took a lot of time away from painting and blog writing. Those are the very things most crucial to my work! So, I'm letting the idea of weekly video tutorials go. Instead, I'm going to focus on quality blog content and building my online shop. This also keeps me from rushing out and getting expensive video equipment, and helps me to use what I already have.

Stephanie recommended using Squarespace as an affordable way to have an amazing-looking website without the cost of a designer. I absolutely agree; Squarespace is what I use too, and it is so clean and intuitive, I can't recommend it enough.

What's one investment you are making in your business? How have you narrowed down your focus, to be sure you're directing your resources where they are needed? Please share in the comments below!

- Dani