Every once in a while, I'll be in a conversation with someone when the topic of how I took the leap into art will come up. It seems that there are many people out there that feel imprisoned by their 9-5 jobs & fantasize about pursuing art or another passion full time. The current state of the economy also makes this transition even more of a challenge.
I am not an authority on the matter, but can only relay my own personal experience. I would never have been able to take the leap into art full-time without another line of income. I am fortunate that my husband has a steady full-time job and supported me in my decision. It was a tougher leap than I anticipated. Because I was working from a bare-bones budget, I had to really research marketing and promotion to grow my business. There are many helpful books to help you get started. I will write about them in a future post.
Everyone's situation is different. I have found that adding a steady office job to my daily routine has helped me grow my art business substantially in the current economic climate. When I left my previous job, I never really thought about returning to work for a company, but it has been the greatest blessing. Having a steady source of income has helped me buy better materials and afford more promotional events than before.
My operating budget (pre-day job) was on a shoestring. I could afford basic materials, but found that I was having trouble affording adequate promotion and marketing tools. I took advantage of every free and low-cost marketing tool that I could think of, word of mouth being the best tool for reaching custom portrait clients.
With my day job, I can now contribute more to my family income and also afford to take part in more art shows. The more art shows that I have attended, the more local patrons that I have been able to reach and networking connections that I have been able to make. Art shows boost word of mouth advertising exponentially.
To get back to the point of this post... Do not underestimate the value of additional income. I encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing an art career not to wait. Start researching the business of art while working a day job. Build your art portfolio in your free time. Don't wait until the right moments come together to start pursuing your passion. You can take the leap at any time. The choice is not black and white in nature.