Be a Money-Making Artist
There are many opportunities for both digital and traditional artists, designers and photographers to make passive income online by doing what you love. Difference between passive income and active income is that passive income is something that continues to bring you revenue from something that you don't need to repeat. Whereas active income comes from performing a service. I´v been selling my art online for years and tried different channels. Some of them have worked great for me. Some have not. Here I share some of my favorite ways of earning passive income online as an artist.
Sell Your Art In Online Galleries
Selling your art through online galleries can work for all kinds of creators. If you are a traditional artist you can use the online gallery as a platform to sell actual products (prints, postcards, paintings...) Many online galleries also have print-on-demand programs where your artworks can be reproduced and sold to collectors world wide. You can find several print-on-demand companies online and through some of them one can also sell physical artworks. Online galleries can also bring potential clients. Someone looking for an artist can see your works online and like your artistic style and hire you to make a commissioned painting for them.
Where To Start
Etsy is one of the most well-known online selling platforms for small-business owners, handcrafters and artists. You can also sell digital items through Etsy. I sell coloring book pages that are based on my artworks but only sky is the limit what you can sell. You can sell photos and prints that customer can print at home. You can sell all kinds of printable products. Best part about selling digital products on Etsy is that you can determine the price yourself. Adding one listing to Etsy costs about $ 0.30 Selling digital goods through Etsy can bring more sustainable income than getting small royalties through some other sites.
Saatchi art is mainly for visual artists and serious art collectors. Main focus in Saatchi is in the fine arts so if you are a fine artist you might like to give it ago. Saachi art takes 35 % commission of each original artwork and prints that are sold through their page and artist receives 65 % of each sold artworks. You can also sell prints through their print-on-demand program.
You can also try your luck with:
Artgallery.co.uk (bit pricey but can work for some)
Print-on-demand programsPrint-on-demand programs have grown more and more popular within recent years. There are both pros and cons in them. Usually commissions that artist gets from each product sold through p-o-d pages are very small but if you have great variety of products and you take some time to advertise your galleries they can help you earn great deal of passive income.
One of the oldest and most well-known print-on-demand companies. You can find literally thousands and thousands products from Zazzle. You can reproduce your artwork into any product imaginable from ipod cases to holiday plates. Some bigger brands like Marvel and such also use zazzle as one of their selling platforms so for self-representative artist promoting your zazzle shop is essential. One great thing that zazzle has compared to other pod companies is that creator can choose them self the commission percentage. When your sales have reached $50 you get paid via paypal, bank transfer or cheque depending on your contract.
I'v had a gallery on redbubble for few years now. I mainly sell prints there and commissions are rather small (like in most pod-companies) but I like a lot. Page is very easy to navigate and there is very supportive community. Creator gets 30% commissions from each product sold through the site. Redbubble is a popular print on demand page especially among younger customers.
Some other print-on demand pages you might like to try:
Fine Art America
Have you ever thought about selling your art as Greeting Cards? If the answer is yes. Take a look at Greeting Cards Universe
Write About Art
Do you enjoy writing and taking photos? If you have a monotized blog or another platform you can get some decent passive income for creating art tutorials and doing what you love. Video tutorials are also very popular at the moment but money wise they only tend to work for those with millions of subscribers.
Are you more interested about art history or the life of famous painters. Why not write about them. Find the area that you are very passionate about and turn that into your main focus. You can also approach art magazines and ask if they would be interested publishing your articles. If approaching art magazine ceo´s is too intimidating why not approaching art bloggers and art vloggers. Writing can lead into all kinds of collaborations and new opportunities.
Etsy Pro´s and cons
Many times people come to me and ask tips on how to sell art on Etsy. There are no right or wrong ways because everyone has their own journey. I´v been selling my art on Etsy for years and will share some of my experiences with you.
My Etsy shop was inactivated for years. It was not until I graduated as an art teacher and was looking for a job I decided to give it ago. Little extra income could not hurt right? Soon I had a job and was learning how to run a small online business on the side as well.
Etsy is great place for artists simply because Etsy is so popular. There are lots of art collectors in Etsy both individual art enthusiastics and interior designers who are always looking for something new for their clients. Maybe Etsy is not the best place to sell your original oil painting for $10 000 but if you print high quality postcards and make book marks based on your artworks you might find a whole new client base. There are lots of people who like to buy gifts from Etsy (there is even gift wrapping service available).
Biggest advantage on Etsy is also the biggest challenge for the artists. It is great to have this place where you can find so many wonderful artists selling their own work but at the same time because there are so many of us it is easy to get lost and your potential clients can not find you. Promote your Etsy shop. Put links to your Etsy shop into all your social media channels. What is your shop name? make sure that people easily remember it.
Become a Tag Master
My most important advice to any artist who is planning to open their Etsy shop is study Etsy. There are some wonderful pages which will help you + internet is filled with tutorials on how to make your own light-boxes and taking product photos.
Tags are something to consider carefully. When your potential client is looking for a particular painting how do you make your shop to pop up first? think about your target audience and what is the subject of your artwork. If you are specialized on painting cats. Instead of using lame tags like "cat" and "painting" which probably give 100 000 hits on Etsy alone be more creative. How about "acrylic cat art" or "art for cat lovers". The more detailed your tags are the more chances you have being found.
Selling With Images
Most financially most successful artists on Etsy always have lots of listings. When I say lots I mean several hundreds maybe even thousands. More listings you have more likely people will find your shop.Original art has it´s market in Etsy as well but when you have smaller items listed such as stickers, magnets and postcards you are more likely gain a bigger audience base.
Images are the ones that matter. If you sell smaller objects neutral white background is the best. Some artists use different programs to create images showing their artworks in an interior. I don´t do this myself but it might work for some other artist. Lighting is important. You don´t need expensive cameras or light boxes. Phones have such great cameras these days that taking good quality pictures is quite simple you just need to put some effort into it. Nothing turns off the client easier than dark images where you can´t even see the product.
Good customer service is part of professional and succesful business making. Think about your brand. How do you want your artworks and you yourself as a seller to stand out from the others? Here are few tips you can do.
- When you send product(s) to your customers write them thank you notes.
- You can also slip a postcard /greeting card/ little gift/ business card inside the package.
- You can offer special discounts to returning customers
When customers have pleasant shopping experience in your shop they can come back and buy from you again or even recommend your shop to their friends.
Happy customers also leave lovely feedback.
Always remember to describe your shipping methods and packaging in the product description. When selling art offering tracking option is recommended especially when you ship artworks from one country to another. Be very precise in the descriptions. What inspired you to create this artwork? is there a funny story behind it? what does it mean to you? what does being an artist means to you? Art is about interpretation and often clients are curious to know about the creating process. Think about your story.
Don´t only rely on your Etsy sales
As I´m sure everyone knows that no matter are you a full-time or a part-time artist making art is not steady income unless you have managed to build yourself a massive and loyal client base. Don´t rely on your Etsy-sales alone. There are so many venues for artists these days to sell art online and off-line. Try several different places to sell art and find the ones that work the best for you. Keep exhibitions and be active on social media. I´ve been quite fortunate because I´ve got several commissions from people who have ended up into my Etsy-shop and liked my style. Same can happen to you. Your online presence can attract possible clients and lead into commissions. Most importantly remember to have fun with your Etsy shop. Enjoy creating art and sell it to those who appreciate your talents.
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.