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The Business of Art

Project Plan

Your basic project plan needs to document the answers to several questions which will then inform your business plan and future growth of your business.

Product Outline(s)​

  • What product or products will you be selling?
    Having a clear idea of the products you will be offering will make it much easier when it comes to planning the supplies and items you will need to create your items. 
  • What form will those products take?
    Different types of art and crafts can be sold in different ways. Art prints can be sold as digital or print reproductions or you can sell originals only.  Certain crafts can be sold already finished or as DIY kits. These decisions will impact how you deliver your products into the hands of your customers.

Basic Market Research​

  • Who buys the kinds of products you want to sell?
    Figure out who you can market your product to and where they live and exist. Are they on Instagram? Is there a dedicated platform out there for your style of art or craft? Find your customer base.
  • Who sells the kinds of products you want to sell?
    Finding your competitors will give you a good idea of the who and where for your products. Where are they selling and who are they selling it to? 

 Production Needs​

  • What materials will you need?
    If you are doing digital copies of your art, then you might need a scanner (if you freehand on paper), or maybe just a computer. If you're doing prints, you will need high-quality printers, ink, and paper or you can outsource. If you're creating other types of crafts, how much material does each take for each one? Can you outsource their production?
  • Do you require specialized equipment?
    Figure out what equipment you need and what type. Where will you find the equipment and how much space does it take?
  • What kind of space do you need?
    Some items may only require a corner or room in your home. Others may require the use of your entire basement or rental space. Figure out how much space you can realistically dedicate to your endeavor. 


  • On spec or keep inventory?
    If you are creating items as they are ordered then you need to figure out how much material to have on hand and how much time it will take you to make each item. If you are going to keep inventory ready, then it will require a higher upfront cost, but you will be able to sell more items in less time. If you are outsourcing the production of your products, what is the cost?
  • How will you get the products into the hands of your customers?
    Shipping is expensive, especially if you decide to ship internationally. You must also think about packaging. 

Sales Venue(s)

  • Will you be doing point-of-sale (in-person)? Where?
    A storefront is incredibly expensive and requires huge upfront investments. Craft fairs and cons are a good option for many, just remember you must have enough inventory to last you the event and figure out how to get your products there and back. You also need to figure out what kind of payments you will take (Venmo, PayPal, Cards) and get the necessary equipment and software to make it work. Remember that there are fees associated with these. 
  • Online Sales?
    Make sure your platform is safe and secure for your customers and gives you options that make your life easier, not harder.

Other Questions to Ask

What kinds of payments will you take? Cash, Card, PayPal, Venmo, etc? 

All states require that you collect sales taxes, regardless of whether you are selling in person, or online, how will you keep track?

Terms of Service
READ THEM, make sure that what you are agreeing to when you sign up to sell on a website is something you can live with. Are they keeping or licensing your art? What are the fees you are paying? How much of your money are they keeping?

Local Production Pathways

These are just a few of the local places you can have your art produced. Do your research to find the perfect one for you.

Creative Production Lab
Available to all UNO students, faculty, and staff


Omaha Makers

NE Innovation Studio

Sites That Do It For You

The sites below are just some of the options that can help you get an online business started. The level of help they provide depends on your subscription to their services and all of them have different fees and ways of paying the artists and creators. Many of them help you keep track of shipping, taxes, and help you with your inventory and accounting. Do your due diligence and research all the pertinent information, including terms of service, you may need before you make a choice.

Best known online store for crafters and artists​

Good for both online and in-person sales, keeps everything in one system​

"Print on Demand", upload your art, customer picks item, they do the rest, you receive "Artist Margin"​

Also "Print on Demand" (allows you to set your own profits), or sell original items and you do the shipping

Higher-end mix of Etsy and ArtPal​

Alternative to Squarespace, offers similar services including online and POS options​

Helps you monetize your music, verify its originality, and get your content on other music services

More like a social media site for creators, followers can sign up for different levels of memberships. You are charged a percentage of what you make on the memberships, plus other fees. Great way to start building a following. 

These links and resources are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by UNO Libraries of any of the products, services, or opinions of the corporation or organization, or individual. UNO Libraries bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. It is your responsibility to verify and investigate providers and services. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.