Make Money Online as a Creative With These 3 Side Hustle Ideas
Whether you're a photographer, graphic designer, musician... whatever your day job, you can generate some extra income with these tips.
When I started out as a photographer, I focused solely on working with clients in the 'real' world: taking their headshots, outfit photos, getting whatever pictures they needed. It was a great way to build my skills and client base, but it left me reliant on people booking shoot after shoot with me. If a few of my regulars didn't book in a given month, I would barely scrape by.
Today, I still regularly do photoshoots, but I've also diversified my income with some online gigs. This means that I'm not stuck for cash if I have to wait a couple of weeks for my next booking. In this article I'm sharing some of the ways I've done this.
These suggestions are probably not going to overtake your main income, and that's okay! It's called a side hustle for a reason! You're main gig is still going to be your day-to-day creative job, but these additional mini-jobs can supplement your main income.
Let's dive into these money-making side hustles...
1. Write articles, like this one!
I'll start with this, because it's what I'm doing right now! Writing tutorials and sharing your experiences can be a great way to generate some passive income.
It's okay if you don't see yourself as much of a writer. You don't need to be an award-winning journalist to make money from writing. All you need to do is to make sure your posts are adding value to the reader's life. Ask yourself: what sought after skills do I have that I can write about? What do people in my industry want to learn?
Let's say you're a graphic designer who's a dab hand at Adobe Illustrator. Share what you know about that! You could write a beginners' guide to Illustrator; or why you should upgrade to Adobe Illustrator CC 2020; or how to create your own font... The list goes on.
Okay, we've established that you probably have something to write about. But where should you publish? And when does the money start rolling in?
There are a few of ways to go about making money as a writer:
Submit your work to an online publication that pays for articles. Get started by checking out this list. But note that you might need to do a lot of research to find a publication that accepts articles in your particular niche.
Start your own blog, with advertisements. This is pretty easy to do, plus with this option you'll have the freedom to write about whatever you want. Simply choose a blogging platform (like Blogger), set up your website, and get posting. Of course, don't forget to enable advertisements on your blog! However, bear in mind that you're going to need a lot of blog views to get a substantial income from this.
Write on an open publishing platform, like Vocal. If you didn't realise, this post is this example in action! I've been writing on Vocal for three weeks now, and I've been slowly racking up views and building my earnings. There are other publishing platforms out there, but what sets Vocal apart is that you're not only paid for the views: if someone loves your work, they can tip you! In three weeks I've earned $30 in tips from generous people out there. So far, so good!
If you still think you're not much of a writer, perhaps you'll fare better at the next tip...
2. Teach your skills over video
At this stage you hopefully realise that if you are working as a creative in any field, you already have in-demand skills. Skills that you can teach to newbies, for $$$!
If writing is not your thing, why not teach over video? Again, there are many ways to go about this. Let's start with...
Post tutorials on YouTube. Once you build a following on the platform—surpassing the monitisation threshold set by Google—you can start showing advertisements and making money from your video. Like blogging, though, you'll need a high amount of views before you really start making bank.
Create a class for an online course marketplace. In my experience, this is a far quicker route to a big payday. Personally, I teach on Skillshare. To do the same, you simply need to create a series of how-to videos on a topic, with at least 20 minutes of content altogether. Each month I get a couple of hundred dollars from my Skillshare classes, and I spend next-to-no time promoting them. Not bad! You can also sell your course on a platform like Udemy, though you might need an existing following to get any traction there.
By the way, if you want to see an example of what works on Skillshare, check out my most popular class with a 14-day free trial!
3. Pick up odd jobs on freelance marketplaces
Finally, you can search for small online jobs and market your services on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. If you can edit photos, videos, podcasts, create graphics, illustrations, whatever... you have a service you can sell.
This perhaps is the most intensive option, as it requires constant work to bring in a consistent income. But a lot of creatives make a substantial amount from it, so it's definitely an option!
I had some luck selling on Fiverr, but that was a couple of years ago. These days the platform is oversaturated and so it can be hard to win clients. That said, plenty of people make hundreds of dollars a month on these platforms. Heck, all of Fiverr's official top sellers have earned over $20,000, so big things are possible!
There you have it, three ways to make a little extra cash as a creative! Now get out there and make some money!
Since you're here, you might enjoy my article Transform Your Instagram Into a Portfolio in 5 Easy Steps. Also, give me a follow me on Instagram @byclairep and @shotbyclairep!