Monetize Making: Share Your Knowledge & Earn More
by Taylor Slattery | September 28, 2020
The old starving artist cliché doesn’t hold much much water these days. The internet has opened the door to a whole new world of opportunity and there are more ways to make money as an artist than ever before. Are you living up to your maximum earning potential? You may be leaving money on the table without realizing it.
With some persistence and clever marketing, you can find a way to monetize just about every aspect of your artistic practice. There are millions of people in the world all at various stages of their creative journeys. Sure, there are plenty of people who are further along than you or more skilled, but there are plenty of artists at or below your level who have found ways to make money online. These are the people you should look to. For those who are at your level, what are they doing that is contributing to their success? If they’re illustrators, they may be selling prints of their work online or traveling to conventions to make a name for themselves, network, and sell merchandise. For those who are below your level, who are they looking to for advice and what sorts of questions are they looking for answers to? As someone who was recently in their position, what problems were you grappling with and what helped you to overcome them? Create content for that version of you and get it out there.
Share your process. Make videos and start a youtube channel or share short snippets on Instagram. Slowly gain the trust of the community by demonstrating your value and over time this will lead to new opportunities. Once you gain a decent-sized following, you can create a Patreon where you share sketches or step by step walkthroughs of your work for those more curious about your process. Perhaps you’re a photographer, in which case you might create packs of presets for Adobe Lightroom for those looking to replicate the look of your photos. You can also license your unused photos to stock photo sites and collect some income on the side.
Find ways to use your strengths and combine them with your artistic pursuits. If you’ve got an outgoing personality, introduce some comedy into the mix. Make entertaining videos and cultivate a fanbase that’s willing to support you no matter what you do. If you’re more introverted, maybe get started by using a site like Redbubble that allows you to sell a wide variety of merchandise featuring your art and hope the work speaks for itself.
There are no gatekeepers anymore. With enough grit and patience, it’s possible to make a career doing whatever it is you love. You needn’t look any further than Youtube or Instagram to see how to do it. All that’s left to do is get started.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.