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10 Online Platforms to Start Making Money as an Artist

by VKT 8 months ago in list

The Good, the Bad, and the Money

Unsplash Photo by @Brucemars

In the computer age, artists have more opportunities than ever to make either a hobby or a business out of their art. No matter what kind of art you make, it can be overwhelming to find the starting line. Whether it be elaborate stationery or digital portraits, there is plenty of room online for every artist to have a chance to make a living or an extra buck.

Let’s crackdown on the many platforms with all of the PROS and CONS to help you decide where to begin your journey.

1. FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE

This may seem odd. The FB Marketplace is populated mostly with books, furniture, memorabilia, and broken TVs. If you sell physical art: sculpture, pottery, stationery, etc., you can start an early following in your area.

BEST TO SELL: Any physical medium.

PROS: Good for hobbyists who want to make just a little extra money.

CONS: People can be unreliable with payment—short and inconsistent client reach.

FEES: Virutally none, except the transaction fees from Venmo/Cashapp/Paypal

2. FIVERR

This platform is designed to connect clients and customers quickly. Their philosophy is built on the concept that you can hire someone for $5 (or multiples of $5, with $5 add ons depending on the job). Just create a “gig” and do some heavy lifting to get it out there.

BEST TO SELL: Digital/traditional illustrations, Portraits, Graphic Design, Patterns, Stationary.

PROS: Pre-made layouts that allow clients to easily make the order pertaining to what you can offer. It’s a vast platform for selling online.

CONS: The site is oversaturated with talent and artists who already have top pick. You will need to share your Gig to get a following. Also, you will definitely not get paid what you’re worth.

FEES: Fiverr charges you a processing fee of $1.00 on purchases going up to $20.00. Fiverr charges 5% after $20.00.

3. SOCIETY6

This is among many other sites that you give your digital art to, they will put it on a mug, a towel, or a freaking ottoman. They have an impressive amount of objects they can slap your art on. But you can just keep it basic if you want to sell canvas’ or prints.

BEST TO SELL: Digital art/illustration, Graphic design, Patterns.

PROS: Little work on your part to sell it. Just tag it correctly, and don’t have any copyright infringements. If you make patterns or graphic design, this is a perfect match.

CONS: You can make an okay amount of money off of each sale, but Society6 makes the bulk of it. If you want to make more, you gotta jack up the price, which might deter buyers.

FEES: Instead of pulling an amount from what you make. They have a standard price for each product; you can add a percentage of margin.

4. DeviantArt

This sturdy dinosaur in the art world lets artists make a buck or two off of uploaded art. You can have buyers pay to download your art (a premium copy for more money). DeviantArt can print your art on their end with a portion given to you.

BEST TO SELL: Digital art/illustration, Graphic design.

PROS: It’s a well-known site with a lot of traffic of people looking for good art. People can personally message you for commissions.

CONS: Over-saturated, it would take a while to stand out. The financial return may not pay you for that time to sell yourself.

FEES: 20% commission rate

5. UPWORK

Upwork works a little differently than the others. Instead of posting what you can offer, clients post what they are looking for, and you apply for it.

BEST TO SELL: Anything. Digital art is most sought after.

PROS: You can choose who you want as a client, lots of exciting jobs are posted. Some of the jobs can pay thousands/hundreds, the clients have to be upfront about their budget.

CONS: It can get pretty taxing having to write a cover letter to apply for each job and telling them why you are suitable for it. Your account only gets attention when you apply for a job.

FEES: Can vary on the amount, 5%, 10%, 20%

6. Redbubble

Much like Society6, they have a plethora of objects they can put your art on.

BEST TO SELL: Digital art/illustration, Graphic design, Patterns.

PROS: Little work on your part to sell it. Just tag it correctly, and don’t have any copyright infringements. If you make patterns or graphic design, this is a perfect match.

CONS: Red Bubble makes the bulk of the money from your art. If you want to make more, you gotta jack up the price, which might deter buyers.

FEES: Instead of pulling an amount from what you make. They have a standard price for each product, and you can add a percentage of margin.

7. Instagram

Instagram has a store option but you need to get approved as a business. And you either need to designate your account to sell your product or create a separate one to do so.

BEST TO SELL: Prints, physical mediums.

PROS: You have a lot of creative freedom and can develop an aesthetic. Everyone is on this app; accounts tend to post local, which can help start out.

CONS: Difficult to set up. The market is oversaturated.

FEES: Instagram doesn’t take a cut from your sale, but you have to pay for advertising on the platform, which is essential to using Instagram as a selling platform.

8. Tiktok

Tiktok is filled with supportive, ready to blow up your art, followers. If you tag your art correctly and post it every day, you can get a following quickly. You can’t necessarily sell directly on Tiktok, but if you can get a viral video of you making your art, you can get paid by the platform.

BEST TO SELL: Anything.

PROS: Lots of eyes are on this relatively new app (compared to others). Artists can post process videos, final product, journey, etc. Lets people get to know you along with your art.

CONS: Oversaturated market, you need to fight your way for just one viral video. Post daily to stay on-trend. Certain times every day offer more views than others.

9. Etsy

Etsy isn’t just for jewelers and knitters. You can sell many different types of art that are slowly growing as a moneymaker on the platform. You can easily sell digital and physical mediums, but if you want to print art, you have to have your own equipment.

BEST TO SELL: Prints, stickers, pottery, stationary.

PROS: Lots of freedom, straightforward to the client of what you can offer. It is designed for the at-home business (if you want to make this more than a hobby).

CONS: I have heard complaints before that Etsy’s payments service can take a long time to pay you. The site says 3 days, but many say it can take longer without anything you can do about it.

FEES: 5% transaction fee on your decided selling price (including set shipping amount). If you use Etsy’s payment platform: Etsy Payments, they take 3% plus a quarter as a processing fee.

10. Word of Mouth

Tell your friends, family, extended family, apartment complex. Make business cards and post on your personal online profiles that you want to sell your art. If your friends and family like your art, their friends and their extended family will see it and immediately expand your client pool.

BEST TO SELL: ANYTHING!

PROS: In the beginning, clients are almost inevitable as many people want to support their relatives. You can manage your transactions with Venmo/Cashapp/Paypal (but they all take a percentage cut).

CONS: Business can slow down outside of the holidays, hard to expand your progress.

No matter what, to make money off of your art, you must maintain your selling platform actively to compete with everyone else. Make sure your art is specific to you and to what you can provide. Sometimes it is good to be a chameleon to what people are looking for, but a strong and established style means consistent work. Try out two platforms to get started. It can get overwhelming to try to tackle too many in the beginning. Focus on what seems to fit your art and make a little or a lot of extra cash.

Good luck!

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VKT

Published Illustrator. Work in Progress Writer.

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