10 Strategies for Making a Living With Your Art

When making a living with your art you often need to look to more than one avenue for income.  Following are several ways to generate income. Not all will be suitable for everyone; a good fit depends on your skillset and artistic style.  

If you can express your creative steps or techniques using the written word and photos or video then you can present these in various formats to reach those interested in acquiring similar skills.  I offer step-by-step tutorials (print and electronic), books, videos/DVD, a newsletter and a blog.  While most of these generate income, my newsletter and blog are used for me to share information from time to time, just because. In my newsletter I share the latest releases, classes, etc., My blog focuses on instruction and includes tutorials developed by members of my Design Team and myself.   Some use ads to generate income from their blog, I do not currently do this.

You can share your entire process from conception to completion or you can share any portion of the journey.  Stand-alone techniques and theory are also popular. 

For those who can't make it to your location, you can take your lessons to them.  Online classes allow you to reach students where they are.  They save travel and lodging expenses and learn at their own pace.

Offer class samples and demonstration surfaces for sale
When you are teaching or demonstrating always use a marketable surface.  You may need to refine, frame or finish the piece after class but this can then be sold to supplement your income.

Not all art is suitable for licensing so you will have to explore this avenue to see if it's appropriate for your work.  There is an abundance of information online to help you get started.  Artist Joan Beiriger, and agent Lance Klass offer some helpful tips in this area.

This can be one of the most difficult areas to realize a profit when you consider the hours invested in a piece.  On the other hand, if you publish materials based on the works you can generate income in multiple ways from the same art.

Product endorsement
When publishing, if you have a favorite brand of paint or brushes, etc. check to see if the manufacturer offers payment for endorsing their products.  I don't suggest you choose products based on whether or not the manufacturer pays for publication as credibility is important.  Select your supplies based on quality and go from there.

There are probably specific tools or products that facilitate your success.  Offer these for sale. This provides easy access for your students or readers while supplementing your income so it is mutually beneficial.

8 Consumer & Trade Shows
A variety of venues exist so you may need to try several to find the right fit.  Some shows focus of finished work while other are primarily supply oriented.

Establish a Local Storefront  A local "brick and mortar" can help you reach a regional customer base.  Most folks have an aversion to paying for shipping from a business located in their hometown.  If you aren't able to establish a storefront you might consider a "local customer pick up" option for your online business.

Whether you have an online store complete with a shopping cart or just a simple webpage, having an internet presence is a must.  When seeking a product or service the first stop is often the internet.  Businesses without an internet presence are overlooked.  At minimum you need to have your location, contact information and hours of operation.  From there you can expand to product information and eventually an online store if that is the route you choose.  Make sure your page is accessible to all--not just those with a social media account.  Make it easy for your customers to connect with you. You can create a page on blogspot (and other sites) for free and no one needs to log in or set up an account to reach your page.  
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