I hope you guys are all doing well during this crazy time of lockdown. It is indeed a frustrating experience, especially for writers and artists who rely on using booths to sell your products.
These days, we are finding that changes need to be made. People are still people, they want entertainment and now is the time for all creative folks to step up. I mean it, they need us to write stories. They need us to create fantastic artworks. They want to know what we know.
After all, how many folks out there can make a profit off of skills that we use as both career and hobby?
I don't know about you, but I have spent the last 8 weeks preparing my website and learning new tricks to help my online business. I was already preparing for this before the virus spread and trapped us all like rats in our own homes. I already planned to be a creative coach and media consultant. It's my deal. It's what I love to do. I want to help people.
However, I also understand that we can not all afford a coach, be it creative or life coach. We need one, that's for sure. Heck, I need one from time to time to get my butt in gear. But today, I want to share my knowledge of working from home for the creatives out there.
Ways Creative People Make Money From Home
Now we all know the basics. Open an online shop, sell on Instagram, be an affiliate... blah blah blah..
But most of the blogs out there don't break it down so let's do it here.
I did an article on this a few years back on Online Shops for Artists, you can find it Here if you are interested. But those were for people who didn't have a website and wanted something where they had to do very little in the shipping portion of their business. This time, however, I am gonna get into something a little deeper. And I will try to be quick about it. We need all the time we can to get things going.
If You Have a Website with a Shop -
Printful - Print on Demand. You can link this up to all sorts of places. Wix, Wish, Etsy, Amazon, and the list goes on. I recommend this for people who are into having their art on shirts and mugs. There is also an affiliate program that I will talk about later.
Printify - Pring on Demand. This one I recently started because they have journals and notebooks. I love that. I adore having my artwork on the cover of journals to help inspire people to create and make awesome stuff. This too has an affiliate program. You can also link this up to the same shops as Printful and more.
Sticker Mule - Inventory Source. This is where I get the stickers that I sell at my booth but if you are able to do shipping, I recommend their services. Plus, they do these really cool bundle discounts which help a lot when you are new to vending.
Order A Print - Now this one I have not used yet but it is supposed to easy to link to my Wix Website. I would love to know if any of you guys have used this service and if so, please comment on my blog post. Share your experience
If you do not have a Website with a Shop:
Redbubble - They are my go-to shop and I appreciate all they do with their sales and quality. They also now offer Affiliate. Currently, this place offers masks.
Society6 - I will be honest, I completely forgot I still had this shop. I will have to go and play with it again to learn more about their new platform.
Zazzle - Printing shop just like the others. They do have some unique items that the other shops do not have. Which is pretty cool.
CafePress - Back in the day. Man, it's been a long time since I have visited this shop but I remember I used to sell Christmas ornaments from their catalog.
Spoonflower - Another shop I abandoned and now will probably have to revisit. This is great. You can sell fabric and wallpaper with your art on it. It's also great for crafters who need fabric and wants something totally original. As of right now, I only have one design up but that may change in the next couple of months.
There are other sites that I did not cover and that's because I have yet to use them. From a quick search, I found other shops like CustomeInk, Gumroad, Threadless, Teespring, and more...
I even came across this website called Easy Digital Downloads. I'm curious about this one. I let you guys know if I get the chance to test it.
Advertising and Affiliate
Sometimes selling your own work isn't going to cover all expenses. I totally get this. In fact, I fall into this trap as well. Currently, I am in the land of fanart and I'm enjoying myself immensely but the drawback to this is the lack of merch that I can sell on my website. That's alright. I have other ways to fill in the gaps. That, my friends, is what is called Affiliate Marketing.
For those of you knew to Marketing and know crap-solutly nothing, I got your back. This is a referral method for big companies. They use us, small-time bloggers and artists, to boost their reach. They pay us for it, mind you. So it's not all that bad and plenty of great places will offer this ability to give out a little cash.
Example. I am an Amazon affiliate. This means that if I share an Amazon link on this website, I could earn referral cash if you click the link and fall into shopping mode. It's good for both of us and you know, I am always up for a little cash boost. Who isn't?
Various websites will have a program you can sign up for and this page will show you all my active affiliate links as well as some other cool stuff - Links Page
Amazon Affiliate links on my website are for products I recommend. and I have a recommended reading list that is primarily set up through affiliate links. You can add them to images or you can just post a link, which will look something like this
(BTW, this link is real. It will lead you to Affiliate Marketing for Dummies. I love those books.)
Referral Links are just like Affiliate links and many places will offer this. All you have to do is search online for .. let's say... Hot Topic for instance. Just google it and affiliate programs will pop up everywhere. Sometimes with cool Banners that you don't have to make! Like Sticker Mule, they offer advertisement banners.
Beyond Amazon Affiliate!
Ok, now we addressed the giant elephant shopping platform in the room, I would like to share with you two things I have learned about the platform.
Merch By Amazon - No joke, you can just skip the others and set up Merch By Amazon. Though I personally have not had success with this, I blame the fact that I have not been focusing any energy into updating or working on the products here. No affiliate with Merch By Amazon but I will talk about Amazon's program very soon.
Amazon Publishing - Now writers, you should know about this. This is right up your alley but artists... You may benefit from this too. I am currently working on a series called "Design Your Own Tarot" and I am also in the process of writing books about artistic confidence. They also publish comics and graphic novels.
Artists Support Sites
You should know these but they deserve a spot on this blog post. We need the ability to share our work out there and sometimes these other platforms are far too much for the mind to handle without some help. Trust me, I have been there. I get a little batty from time to time when I'm researching.
Most of you have one of these. If you don't, you are probably thinking about it. Why not, It's kinda cool to have and if you have things to offer as an incentive to folks who donate to your cause, then by all means. I personally deleted mine due to not being able to maintain it. However, things have improved since I've been gone. I am impressed.
How it works is simple; You create donation tiers from $1 to whatever you want and depending on your audience, you can earn decent backing for your projects. Just make sure your incentives are great. This is where many artists fall behind. Granted, a lot of models and podcasts are up there these days but artists could still find a use for this platform. Also, new integrations. Which is something I wish I knew before I bailed. Live and learn.
When I left Patreon, I already had a Ko-fi. You will be seeing that link all over this website in my footer. I like this. It's simple. It's easy and it's less pressure. You donate when you want without subscribing and worrying about missing a pledge.
You can set up commissions with addons. Limit the number of commissions and accept the love of your friends and followers. So if you are feeling this, I recommend making an account. Also, if you are feeling it, you can always send me a Ko-fi donation to help keep this blog supported.
Crowdfunding and Donation Links:
Finally, this is the last of the artist support topics I want to cover. I put it here with Patreon and Ko-fi because it is similar. Now there are plenty of these floating around. You can do what I do and add Paypal links for simple donations. If you visit the top of my blog page or my podcast page you will see links for those.
You can also sign up for big crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or Indigo or Kickstarter. I have not used these recently so I have very little experience. However, I do donate to some projects from time to time and it's wonderful. With Instagram and the advancement of Social Media, these sites have become easier to promote. Which is fantastic. I am tempted to give it a go for when I am ready to promote a book.
Now that I have effectively fried your brain with information, I hope this helps you get through the crisis. Please consider donating to your fellow artists if you can and if you can't try to share their shops, links, and projects. Every little bit helps and we are all going to make it through.
If you wanna help me out... well, you have plenty of options and if you need help. I'm always here to give you a boost and some guidance.
Stay safe everyone. We are almost free.