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COMMERCIAL ILLUSTRATOR & PRINT DESIGNER

Why Covid-19 affected my Instagram business?

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Hi there,

Today I thought I should share some important and secret briefs that do not reflect on my Instagram Page. Yes we’re gonna talk about finances today. On my previous blog I’ve covered basically all the important notes that you must know before you start selling your artworks online on different marketplaces.There’s a reason why I am focusing on building a strong connection with my audience these days.

I have a pretty good audience on Instagram and you already know that my videos get a good amount of reach too but let me make it very clear ~ Number of views or Number of followers is not equal to the number of money you’re earning. Yes you’re not new in this, I too understood this fact after getting involved in this. The whole game of views and followers only helps you to reach more audience, to make it more clear let me share an example with you – Imagine a dancer is performing on streets expecting some money from the viewers, While he was performing everyone at the street enjoys his performance but only few at the front line may be 5-6 people had paid him and the rest enjoyed, clapped and left. The number of audience that left will be way too high than the number of audience who actually paid. Performing on the Internet technically works in the same way, the number of viewers is always way too high than actual customers. In today’s time when earning is too complicated people think ten times before spending their money especially when it comes to Arts (already a complicated subject).

Before Covid started I was doing pretty good earnings through my Instagram, If I honestly share my figures with you then it’s approx $1000 per month on an average, This may sound very great to you but it’s not. I’ve made mistakes. If you plan to depend only on your “Enjoyed, Clapped & Left” audience, then “YOU’RE AT HIGHER RISK”. I have terminated my contracts with 3 brands because they planned to hold the payments till the lockdown last. I have 4 brands who want to collaborate with me but due to locked borders neither they can send their products nor I can promote them, Hence can’t get paid. Can you Imagine how much is the pressure to handle all your expenses when you are not getting paid? I know some of you might understand the situation here. But I am happy that I have my startups which are holding me up against this fall but this surely is a lesson to me and to you too.

WHAT MISTAKES I’VE MADE ?

While I had time to focus on pitching efficient clients I spent my valuable time pitching brands to promote “their” products keeping my own product aside. HUGE MISTAKE

It is always fascinating to see bigshot artists on Instagram having their studio full of art supplies and other materials which is quite influencing when it comes to having your own studio. I think having a studio is great but if you notice all the artists you get influenced with always try to focus on promoting their own product which is much much more important but what we see is everything else. It’s never about the materials they’re using, It’s always about the art they’re doing, and the techniques of business they are doing. And if anyone get’s associated with a brand, sadly there are many people who ask for free products from the brands. Imagine if you’ve invested your valuable time in improving your own skills, promoting your own product and pitching the right clients. You’ll be at a much nicer place now. (no offence but it’s true)

While I should have focused more on generating passive income from websites like Society6, Patternbank, Freepik, etc I’ve spent hours watching my instagram grow and reading all those nice comments and refreshing the page in every 2 seconds. HUGE MISTAKE.

Yes I know I always said fan base is important when it comes to start selling your artworks online but hold on! There are websites where fan base means nothing, literally nothing. Few examples are Creative Market, Freepik, Patternbank, etc. Yes these websites have nothing to do with your fan base.In fact I can count Etsy also because there are many businesses there that do not have a big fan base on their Instagram page or any kind of social media but they are making sales on Etsy. Yes these websites have nothing to do with your fan base. These marketplaces have their own strategies to promote your products with effective hashtags. That’s it. The more quality your resource has, the more chances of it to get sold / downloaded. Things would be different if I’d focused on these websites other than getting influenced on Instagram. Harsh but true. Thankfully I had overcome my mistake and focused back on licensing my artworks and using such great websites again.

I should have designed my website back in 2017 with an attractive portfolio in it when I got my first pattern design project.

I know this may sound stupid but I own my domain since 2010 almost 10 years now and I recently managed to complete my website with still few things left to add on. I know now I am jeopardizing my virtual image here but I have readers who believe in me and I want to be as transparent as I can. Also I think by sharing my mistakes will help you widen your goals and visions on long and short terms. One thing I did great was I made my Behance portfolio long back ago which is still helping me to get some graphic design projects. If you wanna have a look here’s the link – https://www.behance.net/nikhatillustrations

I should have started building my email list around 1 year ago.

I realized I should have started my email list way back before I started with just one follower. Yes, Email lists are very important and the only way to pitch your product to the customer with the customer’s own will. Yes, It’s the way where the potential customer allows you to market your product directly to them in their emails. The chances of converting a potential customer to your paid customer is way too high in email marketings. In some cases email lists can be your biggest source of income too. People open your emails, click on links and you can track the whole thing and plan your next campaign accordingly. I hope now you know where we’re heading.

I hope mistakes that I made years ago which took me so many years to test, try and fail again and again will help you save some of your valuable time and will help you to get into the right direction. Getting influenced from Instagram or any social media is good but depending on only one platform can be risky. Do let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions would be appreciated.

Nikhat

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35 thoughts on “Why Covid-19 affected my Instagram business?”

  1. Hey nikhat,
    I think what you said is really helpful. I wouldn’t have thought about it that way if you didnt mention it. I am surely gonna keep it in mind and i think that mistakes are a part of the journey and your mistakes made you what you are today…an amazing artist and a great influencer.
    Thank you so much for being who you are.
    I hope you overcome your problems and god bless you❤️
    Have a good day!

    1. nikhatillustrations

      Thank you Vidhi. I am glad that I had finally overcome with my mistakes and now leaning towards more important things. 🙂

  2. Thank you for such an informative insight! I think an offline presence would also help reaching potential clients. There are still people who would like to see and touch the product first and then buy it. So, as much as an online presence helps, the offline does too!

  3. Hello Nikhat,

    Its Highly appreciable your concern for others and caring nature. At these times,its really hard to find people with no benefits. I am glad to have met you, even though virtually but you give out the aura of a true friend and reminds me of a malayalam saying ” chengathi nannayal kannadi venda. ”

    Regards,
    Thauheeda

    1. nikhatillustrations

      Thank you so much for these beautiful words, although I don’t understand Malayalam language but I’m sure it’s beautiful too. 🙂

  4. kritika sachdeva

    Hey Hi nikhat
    Read your blog!, And now i’ve noted down everything.
    It was so good to read how you’ve pointed out your mistakes and wrote about it to help us all. It takes real guts. I think not every artist is able to show their past steps and where they’ve come through. And it actually helped a lot. Also, the most amazing fact that I was looking for some clarity. And I’m quite glad that I came across your blog. It was really helpful. Thank youuuuuu nikhat❤️

  5. Thank you so much for this blog. It was just today that I was getting intimidated by all the popular people in this business with thousands of followers and thinking to myself am I even doing the right thing by pursuing my art.I will surely try to focus on all the pointers mentioned by you and hopefully make it work. Thank you and keep inspiring.

      1. Jagruti Tiwary

        Thankyou for sharing this to us .
        Huge thanks to you
        As people often do not tell their mistakes but you did to help us ☺️
        Thanks once again

  6. Emily Fleming

    Thank you for this perspective. I have never thought of a online business to be like that.

    1. Sanjana Verma

      I love reading all these insightful things from you. It’s hard to find genuine people like you. ❤️ Hope everything becomes great for you soon. ❤️

  7. Hi Didi !
    I never thought that online business would be like ths on the other side of the coin ! Thanks for the information .

  8. This is so true..I waste a lot on time just focusing on instagram..but this..this is something I would I have never thought about..you explain things so nicely..thank you..making people know your mistakes to help them learn from it is very courageous and kind hearted!!

  9. sraboni samanta

    hi nikhat , m your follower and i love that you always says practical things , i was about to start and i always and i will follow your tips . I always wanted to pursue art line but as my orthodox family they don’t allow me but now i have lil courage to do . could you please suggest some books which can help me to understand everything about pattern , as i don’t know graphics design so wanted to learn some besic if you could help me kindly suggest some books too , i know there are lots of video and blogs available but sometimes i prefer books to , And m waiting for your next video on photoshop ?.
    Love
    sraboni

  10. Hello
    Nikhat Mam,
    This is very helpful for me. As m doing small scale business (appearl) and part time job too. This Pandemic #Covid19 effects my business and job both. After checking your blog! came across to know about the problems which I am facing can rectify. Noted down some important points.
    Thanks, for sharing . Looking forward for more blogs.
    Regards Amenah ?.

  11. Thanks Nikhat
    This was so nice of you to have revealed your secrets. Not many artist do. I am hoping to have a art career soon. This helped me in understanding business part which is beyond likes on instagram. Thankyou
    Much love to you ♥️

  12. This truly is very informative and written in such simple words, beautifully explained and awesome helpful tips.
    Thanks a bunch for sharing ❤

  13. Jashan grewal

    I really liked what you wrote in this blog..It was a big eyeopener especially for me who have just started her journey in art field. Will keep in mind all the important things you have shared.

  14. This was a great blog. We all learn from our mistakes as this is a part of our journey, and you have put them so nicely for others as well to learn to from them. You are a great human being. Thank you so much.

    1. This is a very big eye opener Nikhat Ma’am, you have been my inspiration on promoting my art work on society 6 and redbubble. I just have 130 followers on instagram, but when I first posted my design on Society6 my friends and family were overwhelmed. I just stopped counting my followers on instagram and started to love my designs on societ6 and redbubble. I ll make sure I never lose this track and achieve my goals..
      Good luck with your efforts and art…
      Thanks alot for sharing this Nikhat Ma’am.

  15. Hello Nikhat,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    The dancer example gave an reality check. This blog will help a lot more artist and me also, I will see that my focus will be on my artwork.
    You also helped to clear many myths I had in my mind.
    I am thinking of days when I will be a known artist and if someone asks me who is your inspiration, I will mention your name?
    Thank you. Best wishes to you.

  16. Hieee.. Nikhat. Thnq for telling so much about your experiences and yeah it’s very useful for art lovers who want to start their start up business.. It’s true fans give us hope and confidence on our art works.. But not financially.. I know bcz it’s not easy to buy art supplies.. I will keep in mind ur advices.. Love u..

  17. Hi Nikhat,
    I follow you on Instagram, I’m a textile print designer.
    I really appreciate your genuineness and the way you are opening up to your followers!
    I love what you are doing and helping, you are such an inspiration!
    Plus I do have one question: Can I post the same art work on all the online platforms at the same time?

    Thank you!
    Cheers!
    Monika

  18. Priyanka Abbott

    Thank you so much Nikhat for such detailed information on your blogs. I have a few questions :
    1. I got rejected on patternbank, can I attempt again ?
    2. Can you suggest some books on floral/botanical/animal illustrations for reference/inspiration ?

  19. I m glad you shared your true thoughts and experiences, ! I don’t know about others but it’s truly will help me ! ThankU so much ??

  20. Hie nikhat ! You are so much creative and influencing! I have started drawing and painting after a long long time after watching your videos on instagram. I also take part in your florathon challenge, that’s a different thing i didn’t complete any ☺️coz i am a mom of 3, but i take part coz its fun. I get to do something creative which makes me happy from inside. I want to grow up in this and sell my artwork in future. Can you help me by guiding me what I should do for that.

  21. Glad to see this article.. this would definitely help me to keep points in mind while working as an artist and also you are so kind that without any insecurities you shared this at a big platform with number of artists would need to be appreciated ?

  22. Hello Nikhat!
    Absolutely loved this whole blog! I have been following you for quite sometime now and your strategies are helping me a lot. Thank you so much for passing on the knowledge.
    I had one question about email lists.
    As I have never done, how do I simply get started? I just need a small insight because I have never heard of something like that and it looks like it’s very important to run a business.

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