Innovative ways to make money from your art

A reality of modern life for any working artist is diversification. If you want to make a full-time living as a photographer or fine artist, sometimes it’s not always enough to rely on gallery representation or freelance clients. Luckily, as the world has changed, the opportunities for artists to make money from their creativity have also expanded.

In fact, more often than not, it’s critical to think of different ways to monetize your art in order to achieve both creative and financial success. Before just diving in, you’ll want to evaluate your skill sets and what makes you most comfortable.

For instance, maybe public speaking isn’t your thing, but you enjoy explaining your creative process. Instead of forcing yourself into speaking engagements before you’re ready, try creating a YouTube channel where you can share your passion with the public from the comfort of home.

Whatever it is you decide to try, remember that everything is an extension of your brand as an artist and you need to ask yourself if the path you’re on will lead you toward your bigger goals. So, get ready to think outside of the box and diversify your revenue streams with some creative ways to monetize your art.

Sell Prints

You don’t only need to be a photographer to sell prints. Illustrators, painters, and even installation artists or sculptors can benefit from selling high-quality prints of their artwork. This opens up the door for fans who may not be able to reach the price point of an original piece, allowing you to diversify the type of collectors you attract.

You can either print and sell directly or use one of the many online services, like Society6, that allow artists to easily sell prints online, taking a small commission in exchange. Many of these sites also sell products like smartphone cases, scarves, and backpacks with your artwork printed directly on them, letting you offer something to everyone. Check out our guide on how to sell art online for more print-on-demand websites.

Teach Online Classes

If you feel like teaching is your calling, you may want to consider teaching online classes. More than ever, people are seeking out knowledgeable teachers in the creative world to help them take their work to a new level.

Crafters, painters, photographers, and graphic designers are just some of the creatives who will find a demand for their knowledge if they are skilled at sharing what they know. Some people even turn their teaching into full-time work, launching paid membership services where people have access to private tutorials.

If you aren’t sure how to get started, our guide to teaching classes online will give you the knowledge to begin sharing your craft with the world and suggest the best platforms to do so.

Lead Workshops

Maybe you like teaching, but the thought of planning a full course is daunting. Or, you simply enjoy the in-person experience of engaging with students. If so, teaching workshops might be for you. Especially popular with photographers, it can be a great supplement to your income, especially if you have a niche like astrophotography or street photography.

Some photographers, like CumaCevik, run destination workshops where they lead groups to exotic locations and shape the trip around a specific theme. Of course, workshops aren’t limited to photographers. Are you a street artist? You could run workshops on how to use spray paint or cut stencils. Or maybe you’re an expert in hand-lettering?

Give workshops on the basics of calligraphy and typography. Think about your artistic niche and what you can offer that is special and unique. If you plan ahead carefully, you may even be able to organize workshops around your travel schedule and turn a profit while on the move.

Book Speaking Engagements

If you enjoy public speaking, you may be able to leverage this into a lucrative side hustlebooking speaking engagements. Whether for corporate events or as a guest lecturer at universities, there’s certainly a market for creative thinkers to share the secrets of their craft. And, this can often run in tandem with a workshop, making for a full day of activities.

Get started by brainstorming some lecture topics and pull together a short presentation on your work. Then look locally for organizations that you think may be interested and move from there. Remember, it’s not only arts organizations that may be curious about what you do. By thinking outside the box, you’ll be able to land more jobs.

For instance, if you specialize in wildlife photography or scientific illustration, contact natural history museums or scientific organizations who could be interested in hearing about the cross-over between art and science. Want some inspiration for lecture topics? Watch these incredible TED Talks from the world’s leading creatives.

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