How To Make Money As An Artist — The Unedited Truth

So, you’ve decided that you want to follow your passion in life. The next questions are: How to make money as an artist? Making money in a creative field is one of those interesting conversation topics that people tend to not touch. There’s a range of possibility that doesn’t tend to exist in other jobs: you can leave college and become a millionaire from your art, or you can struggle to get by for the next 30 years. There aren’t too many other fields in which that’s so often the case.

But it’s never been a better time to be a creative professional. In 2018, the digital age requires so much more art and content creation that has ever been needed before. Not to mention the fact that it has revolutionized commerce and created platforms on which you can build your own brand, rather than sitting around waiting to be accepted into someone else’s.

But that doesn’t mean it does not sometimes work, too. Here, the most important points you need to know about how to make money as an artist.

  1. Decide whether you’re going to get a job full-time, or open an LLC and work as a contractor/consultant for different companies or individuals. There are opportunities for both in almost any creative field imaginable, but it depends on how you want to live.
  1. Start small and network. Get your first clients by pitching, connecting and showing your skill set piece by piece. Your online presence is your résumé in 2018: people want to see what you can do. That’s the only qualification you need in fields like this.
  1. Brand yourself beautifully. Make yourself search accessible. Have a personal website and social media platforms that explain clearly and succinctly what you do and how you can do it for others.
  1. If you’re going to work for yourself, learn how to be creative every single day, even when you might not “feel” like it. To make money as an artist, you are going to have to accept that the work might not always feel like a passion project, and more often will likely just feel like a job.
  1. Create opportunities for unlimited potential income streams. Open up an online shop where you can sell your art, or begin a class in which you instruct others on how to do what you do. In other cases, you can take on clients to mentor and train. Either way, having a place in which people can pay for your art or your expertise is essential.
  1. Get smart about budgeting. If you’re independently contracted, remember that you have to pay your own taxes each quarter and that you might need to take on multiple projects to ensure you have enough of a cushion.
  1. Know that your rate should go up as your level of experience does. The more sought after you are, the more you can justly charge for your services. Remember, you are a professional like anyone else, and deserve to be treated as such.
  1. Have fun! Brainstorm new stores to sell your work in or new ways for people to consume your material. The world is your oyster thanks to the Internet, and it never been so easy to create a living from what you love doing the most.