“The only reason for you to be online is to make money,” – this is probably one of the most striking statements that I’ve heard lately.
Although to some extent it might appear as an exaggeration, let’s face it – it’s true.
Or to make it more politically correct, if it’s not the only reason, then at least we can say that it should be the primary motivation why we are exposing ourselves and our works online.
“There’s a myriad of opportunities to make money online, and one of the most profitable ways is by having a high-income skill. If you’re an artist, then you are already one step ahead of the competition. You have the skill; you just have to find out how to squeeze money out of it.”
Thinking of ways on how to sell art online and make money as an artist can be overwhelming.
You may not know where to start or where to focus your attention.
That is why I’ve decided to write this guide and hopefully help you jumpstart your online career or business as an artist.
It might appear like a selfless act, but it’s financially motivated.
I’ve also learned that giving value to the community, imparting one’s knowledge, providing solutions, and making other people’s lives easier are prolific ways to position yourself (or your brand) and earn money online.
If you want to be an authority at something, you can’t just keep your knowledge by yourself. You need to share it and be a force to be reckoned with.
Without further ado, below are ways on how to make money with art skills and how to sell art prints online.
5 Ways on How to Make Money With Art Skills
Sell Art Prints Online
I can write an entire article covering this topic. As such, I’ve decided to create a separate section below that covers this common predicament of how to sell art prints online.
Create a Website
Setting up your website is one way of telling the world that you mean serious business.
People would also see you as more professional, which could potentially lead to more cash flow coming in your cash register.
Moreover, having your business website can also increase your chances of being seen online.
But of course, you need to ensure that your site looks the part – it should reflect your brand and should be professional-looking.
There are a lot of website packages out there that offer different benefits and features.
You can check out this guide on choosing the right website package for your art business.
At the beginning of 2018 alone, 64% of small businesses rely on their website to connect with their customers.
So before you continue with your usual routine and convince yourself that your business doesn’t need a website, you might as well realize that right now you still belong to the 36% who doesn’t have one.
I am not even sure if it’s still 36% because when the survey was conducted, the result showed that 58% of those without business websites are already planning to launch their site in 2018.
Start an Art Blog
Your website, which serves as your online portfolio can either have a shop and a blog, or just a shop where people can directly add an artwork (or merchandise containing your artwork) to cart and pay upon checkout.
If you will ask me, I prefer what most people do – keep their blog and their store in a single domain.
This way, your blog has the potential to drive more backlinks and traffic to your site, which can increase your rank on Google.
Check out this article for a more detailed explanation whether you should install your blog on a separate domain or not.
Once you’ve figured out which works best for you, then you can focus on building your content for your blog and in optimizing your website for the search engine.
There are several ways for you to monetize your blog, which can contribute to your passive income from your shop.
Your art blog can serve as your tool to cement your image as a professional artist.
One way of establishing yourself as an authority in this field is by creating high-quality content that your followers can benefit from.
You would love your blog to be regarded as a golden source of information, and resources for newbies and expert artists.
Imagine if your target market bookmarks your blog and sees it as their go-to website for valuable information, updates, and news in the world of art. That would mean more traffic to your site and more business for you in the long run.
Your blog is also a perfect avenue to market your services, other art products, and courses that you offer.
You can also share links to your social media accounts here. And you can install social media plug-ins where your viewers can simply click if they want to share your content to their Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram account.
Another effective way of earning from your blog is through affiliate marketing.
Feel free to check out this comprehensive guide about affiliate marketing for beginners.
I guess at this point, you kind of noticed that there are indeed a lot of ways for you to make money from your art blog. If you want me to write an article dedicated to this topic, please let me know in the comments below.
Teach Art Online
You don’t need a degree to be able to teach art and make money either by offering online or offline classes.
And before you even doubt yourself, believe me, you have valuable knowledge and experience that you can share and make money from.
If you want to test the waters before you decide whether or not to fully immerse yourself to teaching, you can start with a tutorial video on YouTube.
Share your video to your friends on social media; share it to different groups, and forums.
Once you get the hang of it and you noticed even just a slow and steady growth in your viewers, you can pursue in launching your online course or offer a one-on-one actual offline class in your area.
Well, this is applicable if you need some validation. But by all means, you can directly devote your time and effort in making your online course, advertising it and selling it online.
Some of the more popular platforms where you can sell your courses and teach online are Udemy and Skillshare.
And obviously, you can always make money by making videos on YouTube.
If you want to interact with your target market in flesh, you can also organize a workshop in your area, and promote it on your social media accounts.
Accept Commissioned Work
As an artist, I can say that one of the most fulfilling ways on how to sell art online and make money is by doing commissioned artworks.
And to some extent, it can also be the most heartbreaking, especially if you become so attached with your masterpiece but you have to let it go.
Well, that’s just part of being an artist. You should just be grateful and be glad that your artwork has the chance of being displayed and appreciated at someone’s house or office; or that it will be given as a gift to your client’s special someone, and so on.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to the fact that you have really grown as an artist.
People trust you so much that they would entrust a special project for you.
I am not saying though that if you still haven’t received an offer to do a specific artwork, then you are not good enough.
Chances are you haven’t been commissioned to make one – may it be a portrait, caricature, a fashion illustration, or oil painting on canvas – because people don’t know that you offer such services.
So before you resent yourself and undermine your talent and skills, make sure that you’ve advertised yourself and what you can offer as an artist.
Make use of social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, and even influencers.
You can also rely on referrals, collaterals, and other forms of online and offline strategies to reach out to your target market.
I also find it useful to check at online platforms where artists and potential clients meet for commissioned artworks such as the following:
Other Places to Sell Abstract Art or Any Forms of Artworks Online
There are a lot of online platforms where you can sell your artworks, whether you specialize in abstract art, digital art, mix-media, charcoal portrait, oil painting, colored pencil painting, and so on.
It’s up to you if you want to focus on selling entirely from your website or a single platform, but I would recommend that you don’t limit your options.
Just like with investments, the key here is diversification. You won’t want to put everything in a single basket.
In other words, it is better that you sell your artworks on multiple websites and social media channels.
Apparently, by doing so you are multiplying your sources of income. Remember that each platform has a different level of traffic, number of active users and demographics.
Also, some websites are free, some have registration fees, and others have cut on each sale that you make.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that sites that offer free services are better than those that require payment.
Sometimes you will end up earning more from selling on paid platforms because more often their users are buyers and not just shoppers.
Below are other places where you can start selling your artworks online:
Etsy is a popular e-commerce website for artists and entrepreneurs who sell hand-made items.
There are listing fees, and a lot of sellers offer similar products. However, there is a huge engaged audience waiting for you in this platform.
Check out this article if you want a more detailed guide on how you can start your Etsy store and increase your revenue.
As of the second quarter of 2019, eBay has reached 182 million active buyers worldwide.
It’s definitely hard to disregard this massive audience of buyers. And you’ll never know these people could be your loyal customers.
Hence, you should really look into selling your artworks on eBay.
Artists can make money using a crowdfunding platform like Patreon. Here, artists can start building their membership-business where they can develop a direct relationship with their most loyal fans.
There are several ways in which artists can generate income from this site, which includes the fees paid by the fans, the potential of getting commissioned artworks, and so on.
You’d certainly want to check out this article if you are intrigued by how artists make a living on Patreon.
How to Sell Art Prints Online?
If you’ve reached this point, I believe you can already get rid of the stereotype that artists can’t make a living by creating what they love.
Apparently, there are endless opportunities to make money by selling and making artworks.
This time, let me share two more ways on how to sell art prints online, as well as several sites on where you can make money from your custom prints.
1. Sell Your Art Prints on a Print On Demand Service
POD or print-on-demand is an order fulfillment method where you can earn from selling your custom prints on different merchandise like shirts, mugs, picture frames, phone cases, books, and many other items.
Below are some of the more popular print on demand companies that you can look into:
- Art Storefronts
- Fine Art America
With POD, you don’t have to worry about the upfront cost. Also, after you’ve uploaded your design on the site, they will all do the works for you.
You just have to wait for your commission. The downside is that the profit is low. Nevertheless, it can be a good start to make money from your custom prints since the site already has huge traffic and followers.
2. Digitalize or Photograph Your Original Artwork
If you are having troubles of letting go of your original artwork, or if you are having a hard time selling it because of your selling price, then you can consider this option.
Selling digital copies or printed versions of your work can help you earn quick income, especially during tough times and when original artwork sales are low.
You Can Make a Living as an Artist!
I’ve just shared some of the most lucrative ways of how you can make money as an artist either online or offline.
I’ll just leave it now to you whether you’ll want to gather more information, or you’ll start implementing some of the ways that I’ve mentioned.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – you don’t have to read or watch as many articles or videos before you start acting on your goals. You can learn as you go along, and you can already earn as you learn.
Peter Fitzer earned almost half a million dollars from selling more than 25,000 Print On Demand products on his first year.
Lisa Clough, an artist on Patreon with more than 1,650 patrons, is earning $7,594 per month from this account alone. She also sells original artworks on her website and earns from her YouTube account.
We might say that Peter and Lisa are earning that much because they have a lot of followers, or that they’ve been in the business for years.
But we can’t discount the fact that they also started at the bottom and built their way up.
If they were able to make it big as an artist, then anyone can do so as well. Who knows? You can be the next success story.
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