top of page

How Artists Can Maximize Their Income Streams vs Common Mistakes to Avoid

Hey there, fellow artist! We all know how tough it can be to make a living doing what we love. Don't worry if you're not sure where to start. There are plenty of options to explore, from selling your artwork online to offering commission work or teaching workshops. Let’ check out the most popular and effective

Streams of Income for Artists

  1. Selling physical products. One of the most obvious ways for artists to generate income is through sales of original paintings. You can sell their work through galleries, online marketplaces, social media platforms (Artfinder, Saatchi Art, Amazon), and your own website. Sales can be an unpredictable source of income, but with the right marketing and audience targeting, they can provide a steady stream of revenue. The big bold minus for me here were the high postal expenses and unreliable services. (Sometimes postal manage to flip the picture, packed in layers of cardboard). So that’s why I focused on selling digital products.

  2. Selling digital products Selling digital products has become a popular and lucrative way for creators, to generate income. Digital products are typically sold online and can range from clipart, graphics, patterns, invitations, wall prints ebooks, and more. Unlike physical products, digital products do not require inventory and shipping, making them an attractive option for those (like me!) seeking a low-risk and scalable income stream. My favourites platforms are Etsy and Creative Market (and there are much more!)

  3. Commission Artists can also earn income through commissioned work. Once you out your art online (Hi, Instagram!) , sooner or later you will start to get custom requests. You could go further and register on freelance platforms like Upwork (they usually take a fee from your earnings). Commissioned work can range from creating a custom painting to designing a pattern for fabric. The advantage of commissioned work is that artists can charge higher rates for their time and talent, and the work is usually guaranteed to be sold. (Here comes a tip - always take a prepayment for your services). You could ask for a flat fee or set an hourly rate.

  4. Teaching and Workshops Isn’t that popular? Teaching could be a great way to share an artist's knowledge and skills while generating income. Many creatives have developed their own teaching programs or offer workshops and classes through art schools or online platforms (Skillshare, Coursera etc). You definitely have something to share!

  5. Licensing Artists can also earn income through licensing their work. This involves giving permission for their artwork to be used on products such as books, fabrics, greeting cards, posters. Licensing agreements can provide artists with ongoing royalties or a one-time payment for the use of their artwork.

  6. Print on Demand Sites. Print on Demand (POD) sites (Spoonflower, Zazzle, RedBubble) have revolutionized the way creators, artists, and entrepreneurs can sell physical products online. Instead of investing in inventory and printing equipment, POD sites allow individuals to upload their designs, artwork, or photos onto products such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, pillow covers and more. These products are then printed and shipped to customers on demand, reducing overhead costs and increasing scalability.

What could go wrong

While there are many ways for artists to generate income, there are also many pitfalls that can lead to stress and financial instability. Here are some common mistakes artists make when it comes to generating income:

  1. Not Diversifying Income Streams Another mistake artists make is not diversifying their income streams. Relying on a single source of income, such as sales or commissions, can leave artists vulnerable to financial instability if that income source dries up. By diversifying their income streams, artists can ensure a more stable and sustainable career in the arts.

  2. Diversifying Your Income Streams To Much. Now it’s getting confusing, I know! It’s very tempting to start all those appealing projects and register on all those on0line platforms and sell, sell, sell! It is so common for many artists, particularly new designers, to attempt to launch multiple income streams simultaneously without a concrete strategy for scaling each one effectively. We have very limited amount of working time a day. Especially if there are few kids nearby. We just have our limits. Accept it , choose something one to start and grow and once you feel confident, add another stream. (Or hire a team!)

  3. Focusing Solely on Sales Focusing solely on sales may bring in quick revenue, but it can also lead to a lack of creativity and innovation. And let's face it, no one wants to buy a boring or poorly-made product, no matter how good your sales pitch is. Do you constantly check your bank account instead of creating the next masterpiece? Well, it's time to take a step back and remember why you started in the first place. By prioritizing your creative process, you'll not only enjoy the journey more, but you'll also attract more customers who appreciate quality over quantity.

  4. Not Investing in Marketing. Are you the type of creator or business owner who thinks that marketing is a waste of time and money? Do you believe that your product or service will speak for itself? Well, I hate to break it to you, but you're missing out on a huge opportunity. Not investing in marketing is like throwing a party and not inviting anyone. Sure, you may have a great product or service, but if no one knows about it, then what's the point? Investing in marketing doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. There are many cost-effective strategies, such as social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing, that can have a big impact on your bottom line.Don't be afraid to put yourself out there, spread the word, and attract new customers.

  5. Undervaluing Their Work Do you feel guilty for charging what your work is truly worth? Undervaluing your work not only hurts you financially, but it also sends a message to potential clients that your work (and time!) isn't valuable. Remember, you've spent years developing your unique style, and perfecting your technique. You deserve to be compensated for your time, effort, and expertise. It could be frightening to charge what you're worth, even if it means losing some potential clients. That’s why it's important to research industry standards, factor in your experience, and consider the time and resources required to complete each project.

In conclusion, don't be afraid to explore new opportunities and diversify your sources of revenue. Just remember to take it one step at a time and focus on what's important to you. With a little bit of planning and hard work, you can create a successful and sustainable income portfolio as an artist.

Want to save this post to find it later? Pin it!


template for patterns169_edited.jpg

Let's meet on YouTube!

Watch my watercolor tutorials, made to inspire you and your creativity!

Beginner-friendly but with some advanced tips. 

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • TikTok
  • Facebook
bottom of page