7 Must-Read Books for Aspiring Artists and Entrepreneurs

The Business of Art: 5 Must-Read Books for Aspiring Artists and Entrepreneurs

Update Your Summer Reading List! 7 Must-Read Books for Aspiring Artists and Entrepreneurs

Are you an artist with a passion for business, or an entrepreneur with a creative soul? Whether you’re a painter, a writer, a designer, or a musician, understanding the business side of your craft is essential for success as a professional artist. And I can tell you, it’s not easy finding a way to combine our creative nature to explore, push and design all the while niche down, stay practical and keep our emotions out of it. It’s a tall order, right? That’s why we’ve curated a list of five must-read books that cater to both aspiring artists and entrepreneurs and truly help you find a nice balance between these two somewhat competing energies. 

These art business books delve into topics such as marketing, branding, networking, and strategic planning, providing valuable insights and practical tips for taking your art business to the next level. Each of these recommendations are useful books that offers unique perspectives and tangible strategies for navigating the art business landscape without compromising your creative process. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to up your creative game and career development, these books have a lot of solid tips that are attainable and real and are sure to inspire and empower you on your artistic and entrepreneurial journey. So, grab a cup of coffee, cozy up with these empowering reads, and let the business of art guide you to success, friends! 

Book 1 | “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield is a great book for overcoming the inner obstacles that prevent artists and entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential. Feel familiar? Pressfield delves into the concept of Resistance, the force that keeps individuals from pursuing their creative dreams. By identifying and combating Resistance, readers can unlock their true creative abilities and push through self-doubt and procrastination. We all struggle with Imposter Syndrome, and Steven’s approach helps us understand how to distinguish the fear that we experience and how to prevent it from impacting us as entrepreneurs. 

This book serves as a bit of a wake-up call for anyone struggling to make progress in their artistic or business endeavors. Pressfield’s no-nonsense approach and extremely practical advice provide a roadmap for overcoming creative blocks and achieving success. 

Reading “The War of Art” can be a transformative experience for aspiring artists and entrepreneurs, it happened this way for me. Steven helped me tap into a mindset of perseverance and resilience in the face of challenges that I was experiencing early on, and it’s really an essential guide for artist’s who really want to approach things as serious entrepreneurs with a business plan, having control over the emotional hurdles that we’re bound to all face. A must read, for sure! 

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Book 2 | “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries revolutionized how I approached building and growing my businesses. Ries introduces the concept of validated learning, emphasizing the importance of testing ideas quickly and efficiently to determine their viability. By using a build-measure-learn feedback loop, entrepreneurs can iterate on their products or services based on real-world data, ultimately leading to more successful and sustainable businesses. For artists, this means approaching our creativity a bit like an experiment and finding balance between what you love and what sells. It’s not always the same thing. 

This book is also particularly valuable for aspiring artists looking to launch their creative ventures in a very strategic and cost-effective manner. Whether you’re short on money, time or both, by applying lean principles to your projects, you can minimize waste, maximize impact, and adapt to changing market demands much faster so you’re not feeling stuck in something you’ve invested a lot of time and money into. 

“The Lean Startup” is a must-read for artists and entrepreneurs seeking to build agile and resilient businesses in today’s incredibly fast changing world. By embracing Ries’s methodology and embracing a mindset of experimentation and adaptation, you can position yourself for long-term success in the competitive landscape of selling art online.

Book 3 | “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon

“Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon is a refreshing take on self-promotion and sharing creative work in the digital age. And most of us struggle with this aspect. Kleon emphasizes the importance of showcasing the process behind the finished product, encouraging artists and entrepreneurs to be transparent, generous, and authentic in their creative pursuits. By sharing your work and creative journey with the world, you can attract opportunities, build a loyal following, and establish a unique personal brand – something that will help you stand out against the others. 

This book is filled with really valuable advice for artists and entrepreneurs looking to leverage the power of storytelling and content creation to connect with your audience. Kleon’s practical tips on self-promotion, networking, and building a community around your work can help aspiring creatives stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

Book 4 | “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron is like a classic artist’s guide to unlocking creativity and overcoming artist’s block. Cameron gets right into it with actionable steps and introduces the concept of Morning Pages, a daily practice of writing three pages of stream-of-consciousness thoughts to clear the mind and spark inspiration. Through a series of exercises and reflections, artists can identify and dismantle the limiting beliefs that hold them back from realizing their full creative potential.

This book is a transformative tool for artists seeking to cultivate a consistent and nurturing creative practice. 

Julia touches on self-care, self-exploration and self-expression in a way that might be really new for you. A must-read for artists looking to reignite their creative spark and reclaim their sense of purpose and fulfillment, especially as you grow and expand your business. 

Book 5 | “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber

“The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber is a powerful book on building a successful and sustainable business. Something that grows slowly but had endurance. Gerber introduces the concept of the Entrepreneurial Myth, the misconception that most businesses are started by entrepreneurs. I don’t think anything is more relatable when it comes to my own business. Many people believe that entrepreneurs are naturally gifted business people who instinctively know how to run a business. In reality though, most successful entrepreneurs are ordinary individuals who have learned and developed the necessary skills over time. They’ve pushed themselves into spaces and skills that they never imagined ever doing, and that’s what makes them successful. 

Book 6 | “Atomic Habits” by James Clear

“Atomic Habits” changed my life. And it felt like I grew a whole new mind. It explores the science and psychology behind habit formation and how small changes (atomic habits) can lead to remarkable results over time. As an overthinking, I often trick myself into thoughts that aren’t necessarily good for me. Self-doubt, fear, anxiety, indecisiveness… Those thoughts become habits. And those habits stress me out. This book was life changing for me because it took what I had already imagined to be a bad thing and taught me how to turn it into a super power. Being mindful of the ability to take a few small things and turn them into one big thing, I began to see this trait as something I have leverage. You’ll read about forming habits that reinforce the identity you want to build for yourself, almost as if you’re manifesting it. And then little bit by little, that becomes fact. 

Book 7 | “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

I just had to include this book. While it’s not a business book perhaps like the others, it delves into the essence of creativity and living a creative life without succumbing to fear. Gilbert encourages embracing curiosity and passion while dismissing fears that may hinder creative expression. Gilbert advocates granting oneself permission to create and prioritizes the joy found in the creative process over the outcome. And as busy people, we’ve all at one time or another made a decision or sacrifice in order for something or something else. She also explores the intersection of art and commerce, urging artists to strike a balance that supports both their creative pursuits and practical needs. Again, learning to balance what you love with what sells. 

Never Stop Learning – The Best Advice For Any Creative Entrepreneur On Their Art Career Journey

When it comes to growing a profitable business in art, this is so important. Industry professionals will tell you – take the course, learn the systems, listen to the podcast, read the book, enrol in that membership. Do your due diligence and find the right courses, mentors and teachers to help you learn. You’ll rarely ever regret taking an online course or listening to a podcast. And while the concept of the starving artist still sadly exists in the perception of many people, it’s absolutely not the reality. The distinction comes from learning how to turn your craft into a business. 

Continuously improving your skills and expanding your artistic knowledge not only enhances the quality of your work but also opens you up new opportunities. Stay up to date with the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in the art world. Don’t stop. Experiment with different mediums, explore new artistic styles, and push the boundaries of your creativity. 

In addition to technical skills, focus on developing your business acumen. Learn about marketing strategies, financial management, and art business best practices. Understand the legal aspects of the art industry, including copyrights, contracts, and licensing. By honing these skills, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the competitive art market and make informed decisions for your business.

Want Help Growing The Business of your Dreams?

If you’re considering help but want to just chat first and ask some more questions, that’s ok! I offer a complimentary 30 min strategy call to help you with anything you’re curious about and different ways to grow your business online. You can book a call here.

Thanks for reading!

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