Let me start off this learning blog with a little history on my background as I get the question often, “How did you get started as a professional artist?”. This is an e-mail I sent out answering that question and giving a few of my best tips:
I started by doing a job for very cheap for a friend and the word slowly spread. I’ve gotten a lot of work from local contractors because people ask them first and if they don’t do that kind of work then they really like to be able to give their clients the name of someone who can… so, I would start by doing at least one nice project for someone and then getting the word out to local paint contractors and builders and also designers in the area. I don’t know how big your town is but it’s nice if you have a good sized town to market yourself to. If there doesn’t seem to be a market then that means that it’s all yours if you can just get yourself known. I didn’t go to school for this either. I have found trial and error and love for the process to be the best teachers. I paid my bills with deck staining jobs and re-paints when I started out. It might be a good idea for you to get in with the right people by doing some of that as well. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that a business is built on talent. It’s a matter of earning trust and familiarity with people.