Art Biz Blog

Business tips for artists on Social Media, Marketing Mindset and Creativity.

10 Ways To Make Money Online As An Artist

Everyone these days seems to want to know how to make money online as an artist. As I write this blog we are in a Pandemic (yes, COVID19) and being able to operate online has become essential for so many of us.

But what if you are used to relying on any of these as a way to make money?

  • Galleries or exhibitions.
  • Art fairs.
  • Craft or art markets.
  • Art workshops.
  • Art classes.

These are good, solid forms of income in your art business and there is nothing wrong with those, until something world-changing happens, right?

So, what do you need to do differently or change in order to still build a solid art business in a crisis?

Well, I believe it all starts with your Mindset. Being an entrepreneur means learning when and how to ‘pivot’. At what point in time do you say:

“this old way isn’t getting me the results I want, so I’ll need to do something different?”

Change your thinking to change your life.

There are a few different types of ‘art business model (which I teach in my online course ‘Build Your Artists Business Plan); some of them involve being 100% offline, some are 100% online and some are a combination of both.

Right now, if you are 100% offline, you’ll need to make a ‘360’ and look at what you can create online. That’s why I’ve put together this list of 10 ways to make money online as an artist.

A quick note: These ideas are here to inspire and stretch your mind where sales are concerned. Not all of them will be suitable for you; for example, you may be a great artist but not a brilliant teacher…Or your artwork might not work on products or for licencing – so be realistic and do reach out for help or advice if you’d like to.


Make money online as an artist selling products:

1. Virtual exhibition or open studio

    • Set up your work in your home or any other available space.
    • Make each piece available to buy online somewhere you own.
    • Use your smartphone to do Live Videos from your ‘exhibition’.
    • Consider an Artist Talk or similar.
    • Create an Offer with a deadline for that time only (a reason to buy now).
    • Direct people to your Buy Now buttons.
    • Do a great job marketing.

2. Online galleries or own web-shop

    • Set up your own fully customisable Shop within your website.
    • Look for online galleries to submit your work to.
    • List all your work, with description, sizes, P&P, benefits, price etc.
    • Consider a Special Offer (time-limited) to launch officially.
    • Be clear on P&P options or offer to give a bespoke quote.
    • Do a great job marketing.

3. Create prints from original artwork

    • Either take great high-resolution photos of your artwork or hire a photographer.
    • Or take your work to get scanned.
    • Work with a quality art printing company.
    • Decide if you will offer them mounted or unmounted.
    • Sign each print and consider a ‘limited run’.
    • List these on your online sales platform (your website, galleries etc).
    • Do a great job marketing.

4. Set up for print on demand

  • As above make sure you first off have high quality, high-resolution photos of your artwork.
  • Or a digitally produced image.
  • Research and decide if you want to arrange fulfilment via a 3rd Party company yourself (drop shipping), or you’ll go with an ‘all-in-on-solution’ that takes care of everything (like Society6 or Zazzle or Nuvango or Red Bubble).
  • The all-in-one will be super simple and quick to set up, but you will only get a very small cut of the profit.
  • Where-as if you consider arranging some local companies to fulfil for you, you’ll likely have a bigger margin and total control via your own website.
  • Do a great job marketing.

5. License your art to manufacturers

  • This is another great way to make an income from your images, as can be considered as ‘passive or residual’ income.
  • Consider registering your copyright when you create something new or a collection (as it’ll be much easier if you need to file a lawsuit).
  • Offer a variety of work within a theme, or patterns if you are more of a designer.
  • You’ll receive royalties for as long a contract as you agreed on.
  • Always maintain ownership of your work (No exceptions).
  • Get researching, planning and use your best negotiation skills to find a win-win partnership.

Make money online as an artist selling services:

6. Online workshop or class

    • Just because you run workshops from your studio, doesn’t stop you taking them online.
    • Adjust your prices, if you used to offer materials and venue perks.
    • Live stream via Zoom, Facebook Live (in your own private group), OBS Studio or other live streaming software.
    • Record your workshop to turn into an ‘evergreen product’ which you can sell from your website.
    • This works well for a one-off or a 6-week class for example.
    • Do a great job marketing.

7. Online courses

    • A much bigger project but well worth the effort.
    • Fully plan out, decide on teaching mode, record, edit, upload to preferred online course platform. (We recommend Kajabi, as this is an all-in-one platform, taking care of your email, sales pages, opt-in pages, courses, and money).
    • If done right 1 or 2 courses could become a full-time income for your art business.
    • Do a great job marketing.

8. Online membership

    • This is perfect for you if you already teach your art, coach with art, do art therapy etc. and you’d love to create a community around what you do.
    • You’ll decide what to offer your community each and every month (or week if you prefer).
    • Set the price low to keep your customers for the long-term. (Starting at around $20 per month is standard).
    • Use a platform to host this on and you are away.
    • This can also build to become a full-time income over time.
    • Do a great job marketing.

9. 1-2-1 art coaching, consulting, therapy etc

    • If you offer any kind of 1-2-1 services, you can still do this online.
    • Use Skype, Zoom, Messenger or any other online video conferencing platform. (Ideally, record your session as clients see this as a massive benefit).
    • Try and create 2 to 3 levels of ‘packages’ rather than individual sessions, as your customer will be able to choose and see more value with what you offer.
    • Consider payment program here as this will create a stable flow of income.
    • Do a great job marketing.

10. Freelance as a designer, illustrator, or offer commissions

  • If your skills lie in illustration, cartooning, photography, design or anything similar, then setting up online as a freelancer can work really well.
  • There are plenty of sites where you can find work, submit your designs and much more.
  • This may not be an overnight thing, but you can definitely build up a career as a freelancer.

There are the 10 ways to make money online as an artist that I focussed on. But there are a few more things to be considered too, and if you’d like more information, let me know as I’m recording YouTube videos on all the topics (and more) in this Blog.

Extra Online Income Streams:

  • Create an E-Book or Book and self-publish on Amazon.
  • Build your own channel on YouTube (and monetise via AdSense, courses, affiliates etc).
  • Work with brands and sell via affiliate links (you know, all those paints you buy?)
  • Set up and grow an art blog (including all the above as possible income streams).

What’s the NUMBER ONE challenge with all of this? 

You’ll need to massively up your game with marketing, (as you may have seen in the italics) especially for online of courses. Marketing online is a whole different ballgame to offline and requires patience, persistence and consistent action on your part. But once you have this under control, then the world is your oyster and these 10 ways to make money online as an artist will be within your grasp.

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