5 ways to cut costs as an artist (2021)

Let’s face it… being an artist is expensive. It seems that new costs are always popping up left and right, and it can get quite confusing trying to figure out which expenses are actually necessary. The industry is full of people trying to sell you services and take every penny they can, so you have to be careful to make sure you don’t spread your resources too thin.

To someone who’s getting started as an artist, it can be quite confusing and overwhelming. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered - our quick guide to saving money as an artist will set you right on your path to being a more frugal and efficient artist.

Without further ado, here are five things that you can do to start saving money as an artist now!

1. Learn photoshop basics

As you’ve already probably figured out, graphic design is both necessary and expensive. Finding a good graphic designer is essential to creating a solid artist brand. However, if you’re not making a living from music yet, it isn’t feasible to always pay graphic designers for new artworks. This is where your Photoshop skills may come in handy. Even knowing how to modify templates and change small things will take you a long way and save you lots of time and of course, money.

The internet is full of many resources you can use to start learning how to use Photoshop, which means that there’s no excuse for you not to learn it! Creating your own basic artworks and modifying existing ones is a skill that you will take with you through your entire music career, and beyond.

2. Don’t waste money on ads

Many people swear by ads and say that’s all you need to get that first piece of exposure. While some artists have certainly made their way to the top with the use of internet advertising, this is not always the case. It can be very easy to spend money on ads that don’t work if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Growing organically is difficult, but certainly possible if done correctly. Ads can help you leverage your organic growth, but they can’t supplement it. Growth ultimately comes from a place of quality. It’s more important for people to show your content to their friends than for a computer to show it to them over and over.

If you do use advertising, make sure you are very careful with tracking your spending and the performance of the ads. Otherwise, you’ll just be throwing money away into an endless pit. There are many resources to check out online where you can learn how to leverage your ads spending, so make sure to look through those before making any big decisions.

3. Don’t get a manager until you need one

Unless someone is working for you for free and you have some kind of deal for a payout when the project starts to earn money, don’t work with a manager. A manager is needed mostly when it comes to dealing with third parties, negotiating deals, etc. However, if you’re starting out, you probably don’t need this, and you certainly shouldn’t be paying a percentage of your income to someone for this. It is good to have people who stand by your side, of course, but make sure you don’t get taken advantage of by someone who is great at talking but doesn’t accomplish anything.

To learn more, check out our full article about whether or not you need an artist manager!

4. Don’t obsess over equipment

Sure, state of the art studio monitors are great, and having a club CDJ set up at home would be awesome, but do you really need these things? Some of the greatest artists of all time accomplished much more with some of the most basic software and equipment out there than most have with state of the line studios. Just focus on the music itself, and focus on making it the best it can be. Eventually, studio upgrades are certainly possible if it becomes important, but they aren’t a requirement to start a stable artist career.

Of course, you do need some form of equipment to make music, so make sure to get yourself some decent studio monitors and a good sound card, at least. Most equipment beyond that doesn’t matter until you enter the big leagues.

5. Be wise with your income

Getting paid from your first gigs is a great feeling. However, you need to make sure that you are smart with the way you spend your hard-earned cash. It’s easy to go ahead and frivolously spend your gig money on something and trick yourself into thinking that you’re reinvesting in your career. Think twice before you spend any of the money you made, and remember how hard you worked to get it. You’ll be amazed how quickly it can go if you’re not careful.

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