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8 Ways to Make Money as an Artist, Musician, or Creative Type

Published by Salvador Briggman. Find him on Twitter.

I’ve already discussed how to go full-time on your passion, but let’s talk about some of the concrete ways that you can generate a healthy income from your craft.

I’m about to share some of the websites and tools that you can use to monetize your fanbase and attract new fans.

Whether you want to become a professional musician, a full-time artist, or just get paid to do what you love, I think that these websites will be tremendously helpful!

1. Patreon

patreon homepage

It will probably surprise some of my longtime readers that I’m mentioning Patreon first. If you haven’t heard, Patreon is a subscription-based crowdfunding website. You can get paid directly from the fans that love the work that you’re putting out!

You can set up a campaign so that you’ll be paid per month or per creation. Those creations could be podcasts, YouTube videos, songs, comics, and more.

patreon homepage2

Patreon takes a 5% platform fee and then charges standard payment processing fees.

Keep in mind, it’s not like you’ll just throw up a page and suddenly start getting donations. There is a strategy behind putting together a great campaign and educating your fans about Patreon.

2. Kickstarter

kickstarter homepage

Kickstarter is another awesome crowdfunding website that you can use to monetize your craft and get funding to create a new artistic or creative project.

What I love most about Kickstarter is the community! That’s why, a few years back, I created a forum dedicated to creators and backers and that’s why I continue to spread the word about the website.

This site has a very passionate community that will rally around projects that they love. The most popular categories on Kickstarter are design/technology and gaming. It’s also used a lot of the time to finance films, plays, and publishing projects.

The platform charges a 5% platform fee and also charges payment processing fees.

If you’re interested in Kickstarter, get on my email list! I provide lots of free content on how to launch a killer campaign.

3. Indiegogo

indiegogo

Indiegogo is Kickstarter’s competitor. I’ve written about them extensively and have even interviewed members of the company on my podcast.

Indiegogo is another website that you can use to raise money for a new creative project. That could be your band’s next album or a new collection of poetry that you’ve been working on.

I started writing about crowdfunding in 2012 and in the past few years, I’ve been impressed with the progress at Indiegogo. They now have InDemand, where you can continue to raise funds after your campaign has finished, and cool functionality like a “secret perk.”

Indiegogo also takes a 5% platform fee, along with payment processing fees.

4. GumRoad

gumroad

I use Gumroad to sell ebooks that I’ve written. You can also use their tools to sell songs, artwork, or novels.

Using the website, you can set up a pre-order, offer digital prodcuts for sale, or sell physical products. In my experience, they give great analytics about your customers!

If you’re a bit less advanced on the technology front, but you want to sell products through your social media profiles, this could be one way to do it!

It looks like they now charge $10/month + payment processing. When I joined, they took a 5% fee.

5. TeeSpring

teespring homep

You can use TeeSpring to create and sell merchandise related to your work!

The website also lets you set a “goal” in terms of the number of products that you want to sell, along with an end date for your campaign. These are key ways that you can create a sense of urgency among your fans and get them to buy now, rather than later.

Of course, you can also use other websites to make merch for your fans, like MyCustomBandMerch, BandsonaBudget, or even VistaPrint.

6. Sell On Your Website

Your website should be the hub of all your work. In the past, it used to be VERY expensive to set up and manage your own website. Now, it’s dead simple.

You can use one of the following tools to set up a professional-looking website.

If you’re looking to set up a music-centric website, you could also use:

If there’s one thing that you do when you set up your website, create an email-opt in bar, button, or form. Your goal should be to capture the contact information of everyone who comes to your website.

In the long run, your email list will become a powerful way to drive product sales and let fans know about your live events. You can use a tool like MailChimp or Aweber to build your email list.

Even if you’ll be selling your products or offering your services in marketplaces, like we’ll discuss below, you should still have your own website.

7. Sell Through Marketplaces

Depending on your craft, these marketplaces are going to differ. If you’re a musician, these might include SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, and more. If you’re into handmade crafts, you might list your products on Etsy.

Marketplaces are a powerful way to get in front of a whole new group of fans that has never before experienced your artistic abilities. Usually, most marketplaces will reward popular creations. Therefore, it’s important that you direct your existing fanbase to that marketplace to help you trend better in their algorithm.

8. How The Math Works

The fastest way to go full-time as a creator is to identify your target monthly/yearly income and work backwards.

There are four types of income:

  • Core product sales (song, book, etc)
  • Events/services related to your work.
  • Merch and other products related to your work
  • Services or products NOT related to your work, but related to your skill set.

Let’s say that you initially want to make $30,000 per year. That’s $2,500 a month in profit.

If you have 1,000 die hard fans, they would each need to spend $30 on your work in the course of a year for you to go full-time. Maybe that’s two albums per year if you’re a musician.

If you’re putting out a product, like a painting, that sells for $300, you’d need 100 sales throughout the year to keep afloat. That’s a lot of painting.

I think that the easiest way to start off is to develop multiple income streams and to put out a lot of free content. Free content is a great way to develop a following on social media (Instagram, Twitter, FB, etc).

This way, you’re not 100% dependent on a sole source of revenue. If you’re looking to go full-time as a musician, here’s a sample revenue breakdown.

  • $3,000 = 10% from song sales
  • $9,000 = 30% from events and gigs
  • $3,000 = 10% from merch, etc.
  • $15,000 = 50% from teaching guitar lessons, renting out equipment, creating video course, etc.
  • Total: $30,000

As you can see, you’ll be doing things to generate revenue that aren’t related to your work, but are related to your skill set.

Over time your goal should be to decrease the revenue from these activities and increase the revenue from songs, events, merch, and more.

I hope some of these tools are useful! Let me know if I left any good ones out.

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