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The Challenges of Being in a Creative Business

Cynthia Bunting, BusinessNewsDaily Contributor

Trever MacDermid is willing to suffer for his art. The New York-based creator of “Underground Signs” has been stopped more than once on the street of New York by a police officer who thought he had stolen an actual subway sign.

“Once I show them my ID, they get the concept. But I’m used to getting stopped by the police. It’s part of the job,” MacDermid said.

MacDermid isn’t the only artist BusinessNewsDaily interviewed who faces challenges in their art business. Below, we share a few:

I think the one of the biggest challenges in being a full-time artist is the pressure to compete with big box stores and items made cheaply in other countries. Unfortunately, too many people haven’t developed an appreciation for handmade artisan creations and tend to do comparison shopping between factory-made (and frankly, inferior) works and those created one at a time by an artist who adds touches that no manufacturing process could hope to capture.
– Deb Babcock,

[The] biggest challenge for a portrait artist [is] direct access to potential clients.
Commissioned portraits do not lend themselves to gallery representation, and there is no true distribution channel. I sell trust and a white canvas, and the promise of a magical experience – a spirit captured in a portrait.
– Robbi Firestone,

Hands down, the biggest challenge for us (and for any full-time artist) is getting exposure and getting exposure in front of the right people who will appreciate our style and have the money to commission a piece to allow us to remain full-time artists.
– Gregg and Megan Deal,

[The biggest challenge for me is] reserving uninterrupted creative time. [It] is the cornerstone of growth and success for my business since its vibrant nature is what differentiates it from others. Unfortunately, this knowledge and practice can get lost in the hectic times of making, marketing and .
– Amber Coppings,

It's important to be creative in finding non-conventional ways to keep my work visible to the public. I also think that with the way marketing is trending, it's wise for all artists to make a constant effort to stay on top of traditional as well as to broaden their audience.
– Claudia Smalley,

The biggest challenge as a freelance artist is constantly being on the prowl for work.
– Dave Dorman,

[My] biggest challenge [is] estimating completion of commissioned pieces. As with most businesses, my customers want the commissioned piece, whether large or small, done right now; many times [I]have no idea how much design time is needed, let alone the physical time needed to create the piece.
– Jeannie M. Bush,

The biggest challenge for an artist today is getting both and moral support to develop their work. Fine tuning the expression of a personal vision is the goal of the artist. The most successful art speaks to the universality of the human condition. This work has reaching consequences and deserves support.
– Kristin Harris,

My greatest challenge would be balancing family and business. I am a single mom of six children. I involve the kids in the business in whatever way I can. They inspire me all time and I use their feedback.
– Alexis Cristianne,

There are two main challenges for me to be a full-time artist. One is to balance everyday life demands with my time being and working in the studio. Second, is to generate a regular cash flow versus "feast or famine" cycle.
– Inga Poslitur,

Without a doubt, for almost every artist I know, the biggest difficulty as a full-time artist is maintaining consistent cash flow. There always seems to be a bit of a roller coaster ride as far as sales goes.
– Bruce Gray,

I think the biggest challenge of being a full-time artist is managing the business end of your work. Most artists are completely right-brained and to think about invoices, marketing, obtaining new clients, balancing life/art, etc., can be challenging.
– Kathy Peterson,

Money is my biggest challenge. I finally get to the point where my art is paying my expenses and I realize I've outgrown the workspace in my apartment. It's time to move my work to another location; get a studio, but that means more overhead, which is scary. 
– Benjamin John Coleman,

The biggest challenge for me (being a solo entrepreneur) is simply knowing when to get help. When you work alone on an average day, you are faced with everything from machinery not working, computer issues, accounting and customers wanting something new and exciting to launch. Know when to call for help for the issues where you can.
– Laura Bergman,

The thing that I believe is the most difficult part of being a full-time artist is how to incorporate promoting yourself while continuing to produce art. Promoting yourself is also a full-time job and you need to utilize all your contacts and resources wisely in order to properly represent your creations.
– Susan M. Bagrationoff,

As an artist running my own business, the hardest challenge by far is marketing — getting my art out in the public by finding venues to show and display it.
– Steven Paul Carlson,