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10 Artsy Business Ideas For Creative Entrepreneurs

Woman sat at a desk drawing on a tablet to create images for an art business.
Written by MicroStartups

Whether you’re a talented artist or you’ve got an eye for design, there are plenty of creative business opportunities out there that can help you to turn your passions and ideas into a reliable source of income. 

But where do you start? And how can you make a profit from your passions? We take a look at 10 of the best artsy business ideas for creative entrepreneurs to get you started.

Graphic designer 

Eye-catching images are essential for helping marketing campaigns and advertisements stand out from the crowd, so if you’re good at drawing then becoming a graphic designer could be a lucrative creative business opportunity. 

You could have the opportunity to work on anything from digital designs, website graphics, social media posts, brand logos and images, to illustrations and offline graphics for magazines, books, and posters.

While bigger businesses are likely to have an in-house graphic designer, there are plenty of small businesses that will be looking to work with freelancers on individual projects or a more long-term basis. You can start out finding work on sites like Upwork, where businesses will post adverts for graphic work that they need, or reach out to local businesses or your existing network and let them know what you can do. 

Website designer

If you’ve got an eye for design and good technical knowledge of HTML and CSS coding, then you can put these skills to use as a website designer. 

There are lots of straightforward website builders that can provide a basic template website — but most growing businesses are going to want a more unique, tailored approach to their layout and design that requires more advanced skills.

If you’re confident in your coding abilities you could set up a business building completely bespoke websites from scratch. Otherwise, you could offer design services to improve and update a business’s existing website. Talented website designers are in high demand, so as your experience develops you’ll find businesses are willing to pay good money for your time and services. 

Photographer

If you’ve got a great camera, know how to capture good photos and can use editing software to perfect your images, then you can turn these skills into a photography business

It’s one of the best creative small business ideas because there are so many different routes to go down — you could do events like weddings and celebrations, or you could do personal photoshoots, portraits or professional headshots. You could even do real estate photography. Lots of businesses need professional-level photography of their products or services as well, so there is a lot of scope here. Just be aware, however, that it is quite a competitive market.

Alternatively, if you’ve got the skills to share you could run your own photography course. Or you can sell your photos as stock images on a range of different websites. 

Photography is a really versatile skill with a lot of potential to turn into a successful business. To get started, you need all the right equipment and tools to ensure you can produce high-quality images, and it’s good to have a substantial portfolio of your work to show off to potential clients and customers. From there, the world is your oyster.

Makeup artist 

You don’t need any specific qualifications to set up your own business as a makeup artist. Although there are lots of courses and qualifications available which could give you an advantage, the most important thing is having in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of cosmetics and skincare — and being able to use makeup to create a range of looks and appearances.  

As a freelance makeup artist, you could end up doing makeup for weddings, fashion, television shows and films — gaining valuable experience and meeting lots of new people. On the downside, you’ll probably be working long and irregular hours, and will often have to travel for different jobs. 

Depending on your experience, you could start off by practising with friends and family or offering an introductory discount to new customers. Once you’ve established a customer base and reputation, you can make your rates more competitive and start to earn a living as a makeup artist. 

Calligrapher

Starting a calligraphy business is another great way to make some money from your artistic skills. There’s a lot of demand for calligraphy skills and it takes relatively little investment to get yourself set up. 

If this is an artsy business idea that you’re interested in but you need to perfect your lettering, there are plenty of online courses or books that will get you up to a professional level quickly. Then it’s just a case of setting up an ecommerce website or listing your services on sites like Etsy. 

You could offer custom wedding invitations and stationery, design your own greetings cards and prints, or work with businesses to produce creative marketing materials. If you’ve got some money to spend on the equipment you can sell a range of personalised products from mugs and glasses to t-shirts. 

Visual merchandising 

If you’ve got an eye for detail and understand how to put together visual displays, then becoming a freelance merchandiser could be a great creative business idea. Visual merchandisers put together window displays and arrange store layouts and stands, with the aim of attracting customers and persuading them to purchase the products on offer. 

Larger retailers will often have an in-house display team that creates design plans for all their stores, but smaller shops and independent stores will often work with freelancers to put together their displays. 

Once you’ve got some experience, you can advise on how to improve the store’s appearance, which products to highlight and focus on, and how to create engaging and eye-catching displays. 

Framer 

Framing is another creative small business idea that can be very lucrative once you’ve established a good reputation. You will need to invest in some large equipment and find a shop or workspace to operate from, but once you’re set up you’ll be able to grow a successful framing business

As a framer, you’ll be able to frame anything from artwork and prints to memorabilia. You could also branch out into framing mirrors, creating collages, and selling smaller picture frames, art supplies, or cards and prints in your framing shop. This is a nice opportunity if you like a combination of being creative and hands-on.

Sell designs and prints 

Lots of people are looking for affordable artwork and prints that they can use to decorate their homes and office space — particularly at the moment, when we’re spending so much time indoors. 

If you can put together some eye-catching designs, then you could set up a creative business selling them online. You can either print and post your designs, or you could make them available as a digital file for customers to download and print themselves after purchase. 

Make your designs available in a range of sizes or offer customisable options to maximise your sales. For example, you could design posters from favourite quotes or films or design prints that use maps of specific areas. Marketplaces like Etsy are perfect to start selling creative designs online, but as your business grows you can move your store to your own website to increase your profit margins. 

Tattoo artist

Tattoos are becoming more and more popular, and there’s ever-growing demand for artistic and creative designs. 

It can take some time to complete the required training, apprenticeships and qualifications, and you’ll have to grow a reputation, but in time a career as a tattoo artist can be incredibly lucrative. Popular artists can charge hundreds of pounds per hour and will get booked up for months or years in advance. 

And if you don’t want to physically draw the tattoos on people yourself, then you could still set up your own creative business selling designs to tattoo artists and studios. 

Creating signs

Signs are one of the most important elements of branding for retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses — it helps them to stand out and creates a unique image. If you know about lettering, typography and design, then you’re on the right track to setting up your own creative business as a sign maker. 

You’ll work with businesses to come up with signs that align with their branding, and then use computer software to put together a design. 

Signs are usually created from a range of materials, so you may need a workshop and tools — or you could produce painted signs. You’ll often need to understand basic electrical wiring as well to ensure that your signs are installed correctly with enough lighting. 

Creative small business ideas: conclusion

Artistic talents and creativity are a great foundation for launching your own business — and most of these creative business ideas are really easy to set up and can be started from home

Once you’ve got to grips with how to run your own business, setting up a website, finding your target audience and marketing your products or services, you’ll be able to start earning a living as a creative entrepreneur.   

About the author

MicroStartups

A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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