Passive Income for Artists: Monetize Your Art Skills

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Artists in all industries suffer from job consistency, this means an artist could have a job for a month, 6 months, and 1 year then the project closes, the company suffers financially then layoffs occur and this is the norm in these industries.

Freelance is always an option for all artists and we spoke about that in our guide to Freelance Artists but also the freelance journey is a non-consistent one, where you can have a job for a couple of months and go dry for months ahead which can be frustrating and stressful.

The idea of passive income is a must in every artist’s life if you ask me, as this will be the bridge or gap that helps you during those rough times we are all facing.

In this article, I will explain more about it so you can incorporate that into your life as well.

For people who want to learn through video, there is this course on Diversifying your income streams as an artist – Link Here

What is Passive Income for Artists?

Let’s first define what passive income is, in life, there are 2 types of income all people receive and they are as follows:

  • Active Income
  • Passive Income

let’s go over each one of those with examples so it can be easier for you guys to understand.

Active Income

An active income is an income that is received upon a trade of time and money, meaning a 3d artist gets a job in a games studio he signed a binding contract that specifically says that this artist will give 8 hours of his day for 1 month in return for this amount of money per month.

It’s simple you put in the hours you get the money, if you don’t put in the hours you don’t get any salary or benefits.

Passive Income

A Passive income, on the other hand, is income received without any direct trade of time, this means you can actually be playing with your kids and money is being made, you can be sleeping and earning money.

Passive income is not tied to time or effort directly, of course, work has to be done initially but once that is done it continues to make income with minimal effort.

Passive Income vs Active Income For Artists

Active IncomePassive Income
Directly Tied to time and effortNot tied to any constraint
Limited Income based on contractNo limits on how much you
can make
Risk of loosing income any time
due to contract termination
Risk of losing income any time
due to contract termination
Heavily regulated with contract
terms and conditions
You are the boss and owner

Passive Income Ideas For Artists

Alright, you got excited, passive income is awesome but how can I start with it, what are the ways I can have passive income?

below I will list some of the ways that work well for me and other artists as well, of course, there are other possibilities but these are more catered for artists.

Online Asset Store

If you are an artist it is a no-brainer that you should have an online store to sell your art, whether it is printed canvas, 3d assets, 2d brushes anything you make.

i am sure you have so many things that are just sitting on your hard disk that other artists would find very useful, not only you will be helping others but you will also make passive income!

I strongly advise creating a store on a widely known website and not creating your own store, the reason is, those sites that thousands if not millions of visitors every day so the odds of you selling your art assets are very high on the other hand if you put it on your site it will have way fewer eyes on it.

So to suggest some of the stores that I personally use and work for me:

The process is simple, arrange what you want to sell, create some cool photos to represent them, write a few lines of descriptions, and then upload them to these sites, and boom! you will start making money soon.

Courses and Tutorials

Teaching what you know can be a very lucrative passive income source, every artist has a special talent within or something that he knows how to do very fast and very efficiently, some even have a very good professional experience they can share.

Brainstorm ideas on what you can be teaching and in what subject you can bring value the most and start recording that course. Not only it’s a good source of income but also a very good thing to do to help others.

After having that course ready, there are several ways you can turn it into passive income, you can either sell directly with a price tag or have a subscription-based model so your student can also access all future classes if they pay a monthly fee.

Affiliate Marketing for Artists

This can be a bit hard to grasp at first as it took me a while to understand myself, but in a nutshell, Affiliate Marketing is when you become a salesperson for a product and help them sell more.

For example, let’s say you are a fan and professional user of Adobe Photoshop and you want to recommend it to your student or community, instead of just sharing a normal link to Adobe site, you can share an affiliate link, which is a special link that tells Adobe that you sent customers their way.

Then any sale that is made through that link you will make a small commission of it, the person who bought the software will buy the software normally without any additional charges, but Adobe will pay you a percentage of the sale because you brought them, customers.

Now this goes not just for software but also but tutorials, courses, assets, etc.. you just to find out if they have an affiliate program.

Artstation Affiliate Program

One thing to add is that with Artstation Pro you can turn any product you see on Artstation into an affiliate product by copying a special link, then any sale that is made you will get 3% of that sale.

Subscriptions

In case you are a famous artist or have a loyal fan base that follows you, you can monetize with subscriptions, and the best example I can illustrate and I am sure most artists know about this platform is Patreon.

The way to do this is first you need to provide value for your audience, always keep in mind, in order to make money you must provide value, and this can be for exclusive content for subscribers, for example:

  • Tutorial with PSD file included with its layers
  • Live QA
  • Recorded feedback on a fan’s work
  • Brush packs

and much more, just see what your audience wants and provide that to have, some artists earn thousands of dollars on a monthly basis following this subscription model.

Prints

This can be a good source of income for artists and don’t worry you don’t have to do the printing yourself, there are lots of Print-on-demand online sites that take care of that for you, you only need to provide some very cool art and the rest is easy.

If you have a funny idea you would like to make a shirt off or have one of your artworks on a mug, that can potentially earn you good income.

This course goes through the Print-On-Demand process if you like to learn more about it – Link Here

Conclusion

Active income is necessary don’t get me wrong but artists should not only benefit from that but also from passive income, diversification helps and grows you as an artist and as a brand in the long run.

Passive income streams are a priority in every artist’s life, you will find it very useful in those rough days that we all face, my advice is to start as early as possible and start building a following that likes your work and want to learn from you.

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