photo bob ostrom

How Much is being Cheap Costing You?


Being Cheap Actually Costs you Money

As artists a lot of us tend to be, how shall I put this nicely?…. frugal, thifty? Cheap!  OK, there I said it, a lot of us are just plain cheap! In the name of trying to save money we often shoot ourselves in the foot and end up actually losing money instead. We think that by holding out and not spending money on ourselves, our business, education, promotion or software that somehow we’ll beat the odds and come out ahead.

Art is a business

Art is a business just like any other business and in order to thrive we need to stay competitive. Part of staying competitive means investing in ourselves and our business. In the many years I’ve been in business I’ve had to learn this lesson more than once. Sometimes it’s just a simple reminder other times it’s cost me dearly. I apologize for the rant but if there’s one bit of advice I would give someone who is interested in making a living as an artist it would be – Don’t be cheap. Invest in yourself and invest in your business and you will see the returns. Being cheap will simply end up costing you in the end.


photo bob ostromBob Ostrom is an award winner illustrator who teaches Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign in Raleigh NC and for some strange reason has chosen to use the third person for this author bio. If you are interested in taking a class with me or an online tutoring session please use the link below to sign up for more info.





  1. Great rant, and great timing for me. Something I’m debating is actually setting up a “real” store for my art, instead of the Etsy shop I’ve had for years.

    I now have 51 items on Etsy, and am lucky to sell one piece a month. So far in 2013, I’ve paid $65 for listings.

    On the other hand, I could build a much nicer store on Shopify and still sell digital downloads, but I’m looking at $15-$30 a month there. I’m not adverse to investing money (I already pay for Creative Cloud), but as art is my side pursuit, not sure I can justify that one.


    • How do people find you on Etsy right now? Do you have a marketing plan in place to drive visitors to the new site if and when you launch?

      • Right now, I think some come from my promoting art on Twitter or Instagram. Sometimes I ask people who buy things how they found me. Often, they say things like “I was just searching for XYZ and found your artwork.”

        For me, “discoverability” is why I’ve stayed at Etsy. Just setting up a store feels like I’m on an island shouting at nobody. Then again, I should also try building up Twitter followers, etc.

        Or maybe I just don’t have sellable work 🙂

        • Good analogy. If you feel like nobody can hear you shouting from your island then think of your marketing as a sign. You put up a sign sign and then another and another until eventually your island becomes a travel destination where thousands of happy tourists visit each day.

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