Welcome to Archie’s first ever blog post! The title of this one is pretty self-explanatory, so let’s jump straight into five tried and true tips that will help you double your income from commissions!
You probably saw that one coming 😉 Unfortunately though it’s a step that many artists overlook for far too long. Your rates put a price tag on your worth so it’s understandable you might feel uncomfortable asking for more if you’re dealing with your own feelings of inferiority. There are so many fantastic artists out there sometimes it’s difficult to feel your style is desirable and your creations are truly unique.
I promise; you are worth more.
By charging more, not only are you helping yourself, but you are helping other artists by putting an appropriate value on talent. Undercutting the market as a strategy to get more clients, or because you’re not confident in your ability, might work in the short term but you’re only hurting your long-term prospects. If you’re still hesitant, think about it like a 9 to 5 job, you would typically expect a pay review once a year, right? Have you improved as an artist over the last year? Of course! So why shouldn’t you get a raise?
Have a revisions policy
It’s super important that expectations between you and your client are aligned before you get underway. One of these expectations is how any revisions will be performed. Without clear expectations you might find yourself wasting time performing an endless number of revisions for clients at no additional cost. Revisions are often a necessary part of the job but unless carefully tracked can become a time sink that inhibits your ability to work on new pieces. When making a revisions policy you should think about:
1. How many revisions do you allow a client to request per piece?
2. How long after delivering the commission do you allow requests to be made?
3. How much of a change to the original piece do you allow?
4. How much additional time will you need per request?
Artists who fulfil commissions on Arty will already know that we provide a sample revisions policy for every commission that you can use as-is or tailor it to your exact needs.
Only work with the clients you want
With your higher rates and stronger process, it won’t be long before you can afford to be pickier with the clients you take on. By working only with clients you want to, you’re going to maximise your time, keep your creative spirit alive while working with people you enjoy spending time with. How do you get the clients you want though?
1. Standardise your requirements: Have a standard message you can use via E-Mail, call, or however else you contact clients requesting the information you need from them before getting started. Reference pictures? Palette preferences? This shows your client you are serious, enthusiastic, and dedicated. If they’re not that should be a red flag.
2. Deliver on time and to budget, always: You must exceed your client’s expectations, “it’s okay” should be a crushing response to you as an artist. A good reference can go a long way, but a bad one is sure to go further.
3. Don’t shy away from confrontation: Not many people enjoy confrontation, but you need to ensure you can stand your ground when necessary. If you take all the punches, you’ll be left with boring projects that don’t inspire you. Whether it’s during the design phase, revisions and approval, or anything in between tell it how you see it and push back on ideas or feedback that you don’t agree with. It takes practice but knowing when to step in and give your “artist’s opinion” will help keep you energised and enthusiastic on commissions.
Set up a referral program
The last movie you saw, did you pick it at random, or were you following the advice/recommendation of someone else? If a client recommends you to their friends, there’s a higher chance those friends will come to you for work instead of a different artist. And the best part is, your clients’ friend is probably pretty similar to them – so if you enjoy working with your current client, you’ll likely enjoy working with their friend.
Encourage your clients to talk you up! Even if you don’t want or require your clients to credit you whenever they post your art, you should still let them know that you’d appreciate a shout out if they enjoyed working with you. A referral program is going one step further and offering an incentive to your clients for recommending you. A couple of ways of doing this include:
1. Offering a 10% discount on their next commission for referring a friend (new client), or;
2. Giving them a freebie for the referral. Perhaps a quick sketch of their OC?
Not only will your clients appreciate the gift, but it will encourage them to continue sharing your name. Be careful not to give too big of a referral bonus, referred clients should always have a positive effect on your income, but trading 10% off for a brand-new client is definitely worth it.
Let someone else worry about the non-art stuff
Unfortunately, accepting commissions is not all about art. You also have to worry about invoicing, receiving payments, currency conversion fees, securely delivering the finished product, and in the worst case; disputes. You also have to be careful of scammers and frauds who are looking to get free art from you. Dealing with all these things take time away from you finding new clients, delivering your existing projects, and making more money. Sure, outsourcing the non-art stuff is probably going to come at a cost, but you’re freeing up time to focus on the stuff you love and the stuff that actually makes you money; art.
In Conclusion (or the tl;dr)
This was a long blog! To recap, here are five ways you can start to increase your commission income:
1. Raise your prices, duh!
2. Create a formalised revisions policy
3. Follow processes so you can afford to be pickier with your clients
4. Make use of your existing client’s good words with a referral bonus
5. Outsource the non-art stuff with a service such as Arty
Pretty simple tips, right? By following them your income is going to skyrocket like you’ve never seen before! So, what are you waiting for?
If you enjoyed Archie’s first-ever blog, please consider sharing it with your friends! 💕