What kind of money do you need?

Before investing lots of time in researching funding and finance options, it’s best to spend some time working out exactly how much – and what kind – of money you need. We all need different levels of income to develop our practice – you need know what level is right for you.

Money Saving Expert has a great online budget tool to help with this.

Looking at your income needs across a year is a good way to plan as some costs will be seasonal (like holidays, appearing at fairs or taking part in open studios). Key cost areas you should consider include:

  • Living costs – rent / mortgage, insurance, regular travel costs, utilities, childcare, social life and hobbies, holidays, clothing, food etc.
  • Savings and debts – loan repayments, savings, pension contributions, life insurance etc.
  • Professional costs – memberships or subscriptions, professional insurance, website hosting and development, materials, networking or research trips, studio rent, courses etc.
  • Specific plans – projects planned (like residencies, exhibitions, new work) should be included

Budgeting enables you to work out your costs, but you should also calculate a rate of pay that suits your stage of career, past experience and aspirations.

What kind of money do you need?

There are three main types of money you might be looking for: development capital, working capital or revenue.  Each is used for different things:

Development capital Working capital Revenue
Use for:
  • Growing your practice or developing skills to produce different kinds of work that will generate more income in the future.
  • Making new work or projects
  • Equipment
  • Paying bills on time
  • Covering up-front costs before money comes in
  • Making a batch of work for a specific project that you will sell
  • Living costs – rent, bills, food etc
  • Core artistic costs – materials, studio etc
  • Professional development costs – research and development, training courses etc
  • Grant
  • Crowdfunding
  • Business start-up grant
  • Loan– if you are sure it will allow you to make more money in the future and are able to pay it back.
  • Savings
  • Shares in your business
  • Cash!
  • Credit cards / overdraft to cover short-term up-front costs
  • Loans for short-term expenses where future income will enable you to make repayments, and a profit
  • Credit union
  • Job
  • Fees
  • Income from licensing or intellectual property
  • Income from sublets
  • Income from sales

For more detail on ways to generate different forms of income, see our and ideas on making the most of your assets.

Similar How to articles

Related opportunities, listings and Artlaw articles

Featured project

Peer Mentoring workshop at the ICA


Z-Crits are informal, fast-paced online crit sessions for artists. Registration for Z-Crits session 7 is now open. Peer Mentoring workshop at the ICA Z-Crit 7 Deadline for Registration: Monday 18 Octo… Continue Reading Z-Crits

Read more