If like me you have come to making art as a second (or in my case third!) career it means you are probably trying, if not to reinvent yourself, then at least some sort of renewal.The idea of a creative life seems a popular choice for those of us in that position, with more of our life behind us than we can anticipate in front. It isn't surprising. You make what you want to make, you interest yourself in what you want to be interested in, and you do all of this when you choose to, not at the behest of any boss.
It's a grand dream isn't it?
Unfortunately self interest is fine so far as it goes, but what is missing from this picture is the need for enough people to share your interests, to like what you make of them and in so doing give you enough money to carry on pleasing yourself...
I can't find the source now, but I recall reading recently that the average income of an artist in the UK was less than £10,000. Bearing in mind that this includes people like Damien Hirst, it is clear that for most artists, while they may dream of making a living from their work is that is what it is likely to remain.
That doesn't mean you can't approach your work as an artist as if it were a business. In fact it means just the opposite. Most self-described artists will be supplementing their income in various ways - by teaching or by working in some unrelated activity.However, the more time spent teaching or answering the phone in a call centre the less time you have available for your own art. Somewhere along the line, you need to strike a balance.
Finding that balance is something only you can do. It will mean taking a long hard look at your life in the round - and who you share it with. You will need to look at your financial reserves which may mean thinking about your artistic ambitions and how they mesh with your need to eat. Finally you will need to organise yourself to maximise the return on your investment of time in making your art.
The "Business Planning for Working Artists" e-book I am working on will look at this last question in particular, but a key element will involve thinking about who you are and who you want to be. Only when you have dealt with that issue can you start planning your business. After all, you want your art business to support you, not the other way around.
You can get a free copy of the e-book when it is ready by signing up to my newsletter using the form in the side bar on the right. Don't forget, if you sign up by 20th January you can get a free print too. See this post for more information.