I am so excited about this blog post. As you might have noticed, I am switching my focus from ‘’Making money with Etsy’’ to ‘’Make money as an artist on Etsy’’. And man, I love this switch. Since I made the switch, I see a huge increment in my engagement!
Let’s talk about artists (You!). You probably have heard these sayings from an artist: ‘’I can’t sell my art, no one will buy it’’ or ‘’My art only becomes valuable if I am dead’’. Let me tell you this (If you want to leave after you have read what I told because you can’t handle the truth, that’s okay).
If you lay there in your coffin, and your mom/dad/cousin/neighbor, etc. go to a pawn shop/gallery/whatever to sell your art because Y’all think it is more valuable once you die.
- Keep in mind that you haven’t even tried to market your art, you only have created it. -
So, one of your family members walks to the counter and says ‘’This is an original Chelsea Van Egmond, she died now, so I want to sell her art.’’
The worker is going to say: ‘’Who the heck is that?! I can’t sell art from someone I don’t know’’.
Yup. The hard truth. If you want to make money as an artist, the time is now. But promise me one thing: Practice before you sell. Now you have pledged that to me; I am going to tell you five ways you can make money as an artist.
This blog post contains affiliate links. By clicking on some of these links, you can get a free trial, and I may receive a small commission. This allows me to continue creating content like this. Don't worry; I only recommend things I swear by.
Selling prints of their art on other products
I used to do this with my artwork, and I am planning to do it again: Selling my artwork as prints on other products. This is one standard and effective way to make money as an artist. This means you can keep creating what you love, and people pay to see your creations on products they order.
I hear you now: OMG COOL! I am going to open a Society6 account. Don’t! Fking don’t! If you want to make money with your artwork, don’t choose a website like that.
First of all, the market is SATURATED as what! Every artist sells their art on Society6. And they only have the same products. Everyone can print their design on shirts, pillows, etc.
You also don’t have any interaction with your customers. You can’t convert your customers in returning customers, because Society6 owns them all. They own everything. The products, the customers, and even the products you make.
To make it even worse, if you purchase something from Society6, a logo from them is bombarded with your product.
Why should you care?
Okay, someone named Lexa bought a pillow from Selena her shop on Society6. Lexa receives the pillow from Society6. A couple of days later, she has a friend coming over. That friend asks where she got that pillow from.
Guess what Lexa answers:
‘’I got if from Society6.’’
Is this going to help Selena getting customers on repeat? No.
And the worst: Society6 only gives you a 10% cut.
What to do instead?
You create your own storefront. And you own your own products by syncing a Print on Demand store.
I have a print store that I love called Printful. Printful is a print on demand company where you own your products. You can print your designs on shirts, pillows, phone cases, etc.
Printful is completely white label. Meaning, there won’t appear a logo from Printful on the products you create.
Printful allows you to decide your own profit. You can choose yourself how much you want to make from each product with their easy interface. You can integrate Printful with almost every e-commerce platform: Etsy, Shopify, Squarespace, Wordpress, Amazon, you name it!
Get started with Printful here >> It's free, and you won't be charged until you have an order.
So, it’s time to digitize your artwork and sell it on other products.
Don’t know where to start? I got a free course for you called Automate Your Etsy Sales that will teach you how you can add a passive income stream with the help of Printful.
Selling a course
Have you ever thought about selling your talent? There are people out there that admire your art, and they are dying to know how they can create art like you.
For example, I have a course called Printable Design Crash Course, where I explain to people how they can digitize their artwork with a few simple clicks. They can turn it into vectors so that they can scale it without losing quality.
Let’s say you are good at digital painting. Why not sell a course where you explain how you do that. You can record video tutorials where you go in depth about digital painting. I use this recording software and this microphone.
Learn them techniques you haven’t learn them before. Edit the videos, divide them into modules, and tadaa! A course.
An advantage of a course is that it is passive income. This means that you have to create the class once, but you can sell it over and over again. In this way, you don’t have to trade dollars for hours anymore, and it is easy to scale your business.
You can easily host a course on Teachable. You can even get started on Teachable for free yo!
You could also choose to host a course on Skillshare. Click here to claim your free 60-day trial.
Patreon is an online platform where you can create subscriptions for your fans. In this way, your fans will pay you to see exclusive work from you.
Let’s create an example:
Jordan loves to hand letter. He has over 50.000 Instagram followers of people admiring his work. He gets questions every day, where his followers ask for tips, tricks, behind the scenes and the tools he uses.
Jordan really wants to answer all those questions, but doesn’t have time to do that for free. He decides to go to Patreon to create an account. From there, he can create different subscription options, for different fans. Evey subscription options come with different rewards. A higher subscription option comes with more rewards than a lower subscription option.
Here are the subscription options Jordan can create:
- $1/Month: See my artwork before anyone else sees it
- $5/month: Behind the scenes, and all the $1 rewards
- $7/month: Materials tutorials, and all the previous rewards
- $10/month: A timelapse of my artwork, and all the previous rewards
- $20/month, A hand-letter tutorial, and all the previous rewards
- $50/month: 2 high-quality prints, a custom piece, and 30% discount on my items, and all the previous rewards
So that is how Patreon works, pretty easy, right? You sign up for an account, you tell people what you do, you fill in your bio, and you are ready to go.
Patreon is ideal if your followers want to see more of you, and you can give that to them, in exchange for more money, which convert your followers into fans.
Sell custom brushes
I both love digital and traditional painting. A couple of years ago, I found a guy named Eric online. He has his own Deviantart account, going under the name TsaoShin. I admire his digital drawings so much, and he did something amazing: You can download his digital brush packs FOR FREE! That is insane! I still use them every day, and I can barely believe the kit is free.
Now, Eric also has a full-time job, so he doesn’t have to make a profit from those brushes.
But if you want to make a profit from your brushes, you can choose to sell them. You can sell them by creating an E-commerce platform on Squarespace, Wordpress, or Etsy.
Gumroad is also a great example. I guy I also admire, Rossdraws, sells his own brushes on Gumroad. Gumroad is a platform where you can sell things for a fixed price, or you can pay what you want. So, Ross offers his brushes for free, but you can choose to pay something for it. Now, don't be a d*ck and grab his brushes for free and run. Show that you admire his work and give him a small donation.
Now, brushes are only an example. You could also sell other tools people can use for commercial use. Brainstorm some ideas, and I am sure you can come up with a killer idea!
Update: I have created free line art brushes for Photoshop. They also come with a free 20-minute video tutorial which will show you how to master line art!
Join affiliate programs
Affiliate programs are a great way to make money as an artist by promoting a product you love. Here is how they work: Let’s say you love the art supplies on Amazon. You can sign up for their affiliate program, and you will get a custom link. Here is an example:
Normal link: Amazon.com/Pencils
Affiliate link: Amazon.com/Pencils_134
You see? An affiliate link contains a custom number to track your commission. If a customer buys something on Amazon using your link, you will get a commission. The commission depends on the affiliate company.
Okay, congratulations, now I have the link. But how can I make money now with my affiliate link?
There are several ways to do this:
- You can write a blog post about your favorite art supplies, and then include the affiliate link.
- You can record a youtube video about your favorite supplies and provide the affiliate links in the description.
- You can snap a photo on social media and include the link in your post/bio.
- Send an email to your email list.
BONUS: Sell custom work.
I couldn’t decide if this option would fit in the post, but I just decided to do it. There are a lot of people out there who want to buy custom work. Aka work that no one has.
Why not test the waters and provide custom work? I opened a brand new Etsy shop made for custom work. I listed a custom pet portrait, and guess what?! I got a sale within 24 hours. So if you think people won’t buy your custom work, my sale is proof they will.
I recommend starting drawing some custom work first to fill up your portfolio. I drew a labrador from the internet (Which I don’t sell) to show people that I can draw realistic portraits.
After that, maybe you can do an offer like the first five people get 10% off. And then, don’t do discounts anymore, you are worth more than that.
Also, price what you are worth. I see so many pet portraits for $25! If someone takes 5 hours to complete that portrait, they will earn $5/hour. That doesn’t make you a full-time income. I sell portraits for $100, and people still buy mine. Don’t be afraid people won’t buy because of your price too high.
People who price too low give other people the impression that their product quality is crap. Of course, there are always going to be people who say that your work is too expensive. There are always people who are going to ask you for a huge discount. And there are always people who are going to ask if you could draw a pet portrait for ‘’Exposure.’’
Dump those people and say no. You know what you are worth, and exposure doesn’t pay your bills. ''You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.'' << My boyfriend said that when I said that I shouldn’t eat chips in the morning. Praise him.
I am not the only one who is saying this. Jenny, the owner of Fuzzy & Birch, is an Etsy EXPERT. I have been a member of her paid membership, and I couldn’t get my first sale under 24 hours without her.
These are the ways you can make money as an artist that work. I would love to know what your favorite way is, and which ones you use. I use 1, 2, 5 and 6!
Please pin this post on Pinterest. It would be really appreciated, and this helps me keep driving traffic to Join The Creative Side and helps to get my post out there in front of other artists.
Lots of love,