I’m grateful to have discovered my passion early on in life. I fell in love with photography during my first high school class and knew from that moment that all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was take pictures. There’s something so special about hearing the shutter release sound–it’s like music to my ears.

The only drawback was: How could I sustain myself as a professional artist?

Art school and business school will teach you the basics of creative fields or entrepreneurship, but they won’t tell you everything. Here are a few tips about what else you need to do to reach your dreams and turn your passion into a business:

  1. Don’t listen to naysayers. The people I’m talking about are the ones who say, “You’re only going to be a starving artist,” or “Who would buy art in this economy?” Always be aware that there will always be someone who tries to make you look bad. No matter their intention, if someone is trying to hold you back, stay focused on your goals and don’t let them stop you. Maybe try asking them nicely to support your dreams and not bring you down with negative comments. If that doesn’t work out, then unfriending them on Facebook might be the way to go!
  2. Find your niche. Developing a niche for your artwork will make you the expert in that field, and customers will be more likely to purchase from you. If you want to be successful in any field, make sure that you are the best at what you do. This way, people will come to you when they need your services. Once you’ve become an expert in your niche, it will be much easier to expand your content into other areas. If you are just starting in the art world, experiment with a few genres before settling on one. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
  3. Don’t change for others. No matter what it is, people will always have their own opinions about a product. You can’t control what everyone thinks, so don’t let the negativity of others ruin your day. If you receive negative feedback, rather than only accepting it, ask the person what they liked about your work or product. Also, request suggestions for improvement from them. Art is a way to express how you see and understand the world around you. Your voice deserves to be heard. Follow your gut and gain the trust you deserve.
  4. B2B is a real business. Marketing to an individual is just as difficult as marketing to a business, but the latter have more money, connections, and resources available. If you set your sights on working in the art industry, get coffee with some interior designers, art consultants, and representatives from galleries. Make a list of people you know in these fields, then take initiative and ask them to meet up.

Reasons for wanting to transition from a hobbyist to a professional may differ, but it’s important not to forget what your motives were in the first place. Many people go through life without ever discovering their passion. If you’re lucky enough to have found yours, don’t be afraid to let your light shine! With hard work and persistence, you can turn your art into a successful business. It won’t be easy, but following these tips will help you get there faster.

Angela B. Pan is an incredibly skilled travel photographer with an impressive portfolio that has been featured on many well-known platforms such as ABC, TravelChannel.com, and the Washington Post. Furthermore, her blog has received much recognition and was named one of the top 100 travel blogs by the World Journal.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is a nonprofit organization made up of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs that work to put an end to youth unemployment. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions.

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