Authors, musicians, painters, actors… what do they all have in common?
Well, for a fact… we all know that the struggle is real.
A lot of talented people use imagination, talent, or skill to create works that seek to provide an aesthetic value. But despite the romanticized and exciting image and lifestyle revolving around an artist, their lives are pretty tough.
But what if I told you, a lot of financial and social problems can be alleviated or even fixed. And you can earn a decent income and increase your followers. You just need to follow a more modern approach to art and problem-solving.
Why are the conventional methods of making money or buuld an audience as an artist is outdated?
Conventional methods of making money and a name for yourself as an artist is a thing of the past. The path to success no longer revolves around getting in touch with the right person to publish or display your work. You can do it by yourself in a matter of hours.
- If you are a writer, self-publishing is the new way to go.
- If you are a musician, you’ll have a bigger audience through Spotify or Soundcloud.
- If you are a painter, uploaded images of your work online will open wider doors than any art gallery.
Of course, conventional methods are still a thing. But not for everyone. There is a huge amount of luck needed to find the right person at the right time to spread the word about your artistic talents.
The digital world has opened more doors for artists than ever before.
As a former artist myself who loved to write books and play music, I sought 2 important things with my work. On a realistic level, I needed money as we all do. But most importantly, I needed an audience who appreciated my work. Needless to say, things didn’t go very well. That is until I took matters into my own hands.
When trying conventional publishing, through a literary agent who submitted my work to a publisher, I ended up waiting for days, weeks, and months. Looking back, I think I was lucky if I got a rejection letter, because 90% of the time, my work got ghosted.
But lo and behold. One glorious day, my prayers were answered and my agent finally took his shot and scored a deal with an indie publishing company. It took 13 months 2 weeks and 3 days in total to get my first book, the Swindler Diaries on the shelves. At least that is what I believed would happen.
But the sales were sloppy and slow, and after 1 year, my book faded into a hollow memory.
A Solution through Digitalization
Many people are skeptical or fear the word “digital” thinking it is something techie. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Nowadays, you don’t need to code, just have an understanding of how certain platforms and the world of business works.
Over time, I decided to put some marketing, tech, and business skills to the test. I launched my own website, began an email campaign, some social media marketing, and put all my efforts to the test. And even though my book did not become a best-seller, it still outperformed an entire publishing house in less time than it took my agent to find a publisher.
The point of this story is that artists today not only need to have some technical skills, but they have to be determined to follow a different route. One where technology and marketing can be the difference between success and failure. Opening new doors through the internet was perhaps the best choice I’ve ever made.
An artist can be any person who expresses him/herself through a medium. The word is also used in a qualitative sense of, a person creative in, innovative in, or adept at, an artistic practice.
Art in the 21st century
Whatever passion you pursue, if you want to be successful, people need to know who you are, and there is no better tool than the internet. Either having a website, a Youtube channel, or several social media groups with many followers is a must-have. Imagine the time, when you want to find out something about your favorite celebrity or artist you look up to. The first thing anyone would do is Google something about that person by entering his or her name or a renowned work.
Now imagine if you had your own website or channel with the same possibility. With a simple Google search, your name and work will appear. It is perhaps the best way to unveil who you truly are to the world.
What new methods should artists pursue?
Whatever passion you pursue, if you want to be successful, people need to find you on the internet. Either having a website, a Youtube channel, or several social media groups with many followers is a must.
10 Ways for Artists to make money and build an audience
There are multiple ways to make a living through selling something
Build your own website. In order to show off your skills, as a painter, author, photographer, or musician, you need people to find you. By having your own website with its own domain name, people will be able to find you on Google search when they want to know more about you or buy something from. you.
Having your own website might require dedication and some work, but the pay off is immense. You can get started with Bluehost or Dreamhost, where you can choose your company name for free and get your website running in a few minutes.
There are of course other hosting services I would recommend. It really depends on what you’d like and how much you’re willing to spend.
2, Use Social Media Tactics
Create a Public Facebook or Linkedin Group and start inviting people you know. This way you can build an audience by yourself without needing any technical knowledge. In the beginning, it will be your social media connections that help you grow.
Later you can create an email campaign through your website, where people can sign up. If you don’t want to bother with building a website or engaging in an email campaign, for the time being, it is completely fine. There are two amazing solutions that you can use for free.
My first advice is to go to Pinterest. It is perhaps the most rewarding platform in the world for artists to gather curious eyes around what you make. Pinterest is perhaps my fastest growing social media channel with a lot of opportunities.
In that case, you can resort to asking your friends to invite their friends or acquaintances to join you. Given that you provide some sort of value for them, they will spread the word themselves.
3, Youtube is a Powerful Tool
4, Give something for Free
Of all the ways to build an audience and get people to follow your work, I think this is the most inviting for everyone. Create quality content to give it away for free in the beginning until you build an audience. The word “free” sparks curiosity and gives confidence to people who do not know or trust you yet. This also gives a guarantee that people will not spend money on something that might be a scam, low quality, or a waste of time. Free give-aways like artwork, ebooks, tutorials, lectures, consultancy are the easiest ways to market yourself and build awareness of your artistic talents.
5, Join Online Communities
An alternative way to mingle with your audience or circle of artists is to join online communities. This is an easier way to engage with people by applying to someone else’s community, like a popular person/organization or an influencer’s community. You can comment or share your own thoughts. People can see it and respond to you OR you can respond to their comments. In the end, if you’ve provided some sort of valuable info, you can share a link to your own website so people can check it out.
Meetup is perhaps one of the best platforms to join or host events that are close to your niche. If you live in big cities, chances are, there is an event related to your interest right now.
It is quite easy to sign up and people are usually welcoming. The aim of Meetup is to nurture a community that you can revisit in the future. Therefore I’d advise you to sign up for some of these events and meet with likeminded people. Who knows, you might find a client, publisher, partner or a friend to do business with.
6, Reach out via Email
This might sound like a tedious task, but its effective in the long term. Once you have established a website, a channel, or a product category, you can start emailing others in your niche. A simple:
“Hi there, I wanted to reach out to you regarding your (…….) I have had similar (……) and I was wondering if you’d be interested in taking a look at my work. Hopefully, it can be useful or interesting for you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
This is usually an email template I use. Usually, the result is that I get ghosted or ignored. But out of 10 people, one or two writes back with a kind email and you can build up from there.
be aware that you should not pitch or sell anything to anyone. You are networking. So think of your emails as if taking your first step towards making someone your acquaintance.
7, Build an Ecommerce Store
This is also a step that needs some time and dedication. But its not hard at all. Once you have created a WordPress website with Bluehost or Dreamhost, you can download a free plugin called Woocommerce. With this, you can start uploading some of your content that is available for sale or for free if you want to spread the word faster about your work.
This is an all-time beloved method. Podcasting is an industry with an advertising revenue forecasted to exceed $1B by 2021. Podcasts are becoming more popular because they’re easy to consume. People can listen to podcasts on the go, at work, in the car, at the gym, or at home. Since iPhones and Androids have microphones, they have everything you need to record the audio.
Audacity is a great software for audio editing and it is free. I’d suggest downloading it first.
9, Coaching and Mentoring
Sharing is caring. The same principle applies to knowledge and skill. And if you are good at something, don’t do it for free. There are many platforms to upload courses and lessons like Skillshare, Teachable or Kajabi. However, they are all paid-to-use platforms.
10, Start Selling Online
We have mentioned earlier to use an E-commerce WordPress plugin called Woocommerce. However, if you don’t want to worry about designing and building a website, you can sign up for other platforms where you can design your own products. Printify and Etsy are great places to use your creativity to design mugs, shirts, bedsheets and many other products.
The number one key strategy I can give you for building an audience is this: GIVE! Giving to people is what makes them keep coming back to you. This can be in the form of products, services, or even messages, emotions. People remember how you made them feel and because of that giving to them will build trust and compassion.
This process is of course, quite long. So patience and persistence are needed. But most of all, don’t be afraid to engage in new technologies like building a new website and sharing your work. Be open to criticism as it helps you learn more than from praises.