Here at MAKE SOUTH BEND, we believe that creativity is an important part of everyone’s life. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a natural talent or if you’re in a boring job. Having a creative hobby or trying a new skill is a great way to expand your horizons.
But we also understand that for some people, having a creative hobby isn’t enough. Creativity is the fuel that drives their whole being. We dream of making our artistic passions and making it a full time career.
But getting started is easier said than done. The “starving artist” trope exists for a reason, after all.
However, there are a number of ways that you can start monetizing your creative projects this weekend!
1. Set up a Patreon Account
The Renaissance was one of the most prolific periods in art history. All across Europe, artists and musicians worked hard to create amazing works that are still celebrated today. From Michelangelo to Leonardo Da Vinci to Raphael to Donatello—and even all of the artists that don’t have Ninja Turtles named after them—the Renaissance had the greatest concentration of important artists of any period in history.
But they didn’t do it alone.
Most artists were sponsored by patrons—wealthy individuals in European society that sponsored the work of artists to create a richer, more creative world.
And if you’re anything like us, you hear that and think, “must be nice!”
While the specific details of patronage have changed a bit, the idea has made a comeback lately, thanks to the website Patreon.
Patreon allows friends, family, and fans to commit to a monthly donation to allow you to continue creating your art. Many artists use Patreon to help supplement their monthly expenses, offering exclusive perks to their patrons in exchange for supporting them.
Setting up an account is easy and free.
2. Use Square to Make a Free Store Page
If you have dreams of making and selling your own handmade goods, it can take a while to get off the ground. You might be able to sell in a boutique or local gift shop, but it might be weeks or months until your goods end up on shelves—and longer until money ends up in your account.
However, there are a number of options to set up an online store quickly and cheaply so you can get to selling faster.
There are many different marketplaces you can use, but our favorite is Square. You can set up a free webstore within minutes and get buyers to your shop right away.
While your at it, sign up for a free Square reader so you can take debit and credit payments right from your phone. It will take the headache out of taking payments at art shows.
3. Post Your Songs on Bandcamp
This one is for you musicians out there.
We all know that streaming has completely changed the way that we consume music. And if you’ve got any work recorded, you might even have it posted on Spotify. And as accessible as Spotify makes your music, there’s one big drawback…
It doesn’t pay. Like, at all. On average, Spotify pays around $0.005 per play. You might be excited out of your mind to see 1,000 streams on your song. But when that only nets you $5, it’s a bit of a let down.
By those numbers, Bandcamp is a much better bang for your buck.
Bandcamp is a music website where musicians can upload their music for free. Listeners can stream these songs from the Bandcamp site or app, or purchase them directly.
Bandcamp allows you to set your own prices, and can even facilitate pay-what-you-want prices. Bandcamp does take a 15% cut of digital downloads, but that’s a small price compared to the miniscule earnings of streaming.
While your at it, make sure you license your music properly. Not only will it protect you from copyright theft, but it will allow you to license your songs for use in commercials, TV, and other media, should a music supervisor stumble upon you with their media planning tool.
4. On Demand Print Services
Screenprinted items are a great money maker. T-shirts, tea-towels, totes, and more can be a great way to sell your designs for a healthy profit.
But screenprinting can take a big investment to get started. If you print a bunch of shirts, you might find yourself sitting on the bulk of them for months.
However, there are a few print-on-demand services online where you can sell your designs on shirts, totes, sheets, and even shoes without an up-front investment. Users select a design, select an item to print it on, and then that company prints it right then and there. Our favorite is Redbubble.
While it might take a while for you to find people willing to purchase your creative works, there are a number of people who are already looking for your creative skills.
Freelancing websites like Elance or Fiverr connect creative experts with clients who are looking for those skills. Start an account for free and browse requests to find a project that matches your skillset.
Freelancing can be a great side hustle for anyone, but if you’re hard-working and dedicated, you can make a full-time career out of it (like Nat has).
6. Sell an online class
Over the last five years that we’ve been open, we’ve learned that people love learning something new. We’ve had thousands of people through our classes over the years, all of them excited to learn a new skill.
And while we’re always looking for teachers for new classes, planning that can take a while. In the meantime, there are a few sites where you can start teaching video lessons quickly and cheaply.
Udemy, Teachable, and Skillshare are all good options. Start an account today and start teaching!
As the old saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” While you might be a long way from doing your art full time, you can start making money with your creativity right now!
And if you’re interested in more advice for a more creatively fulfilled life, go join the Killer Creators mailing list :)