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How to Make Money as an Artist and Creator

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If you’ve always been told that “you can’t make money as an artist or writer, take heart. It’s just not true, especially today.

While some creators consider their art a hobby and never wish to pursue it for profit, others long to be able to earn money doing what they love. There are many reasons to want to make money from your art.

Table of Contents

How to Make Money as a Writer

The focus of this article is primarily visual artists, however, many of these ideas, avenues of pursuit and resources are equally relevant to writers aspiring to make money as a writer. You can earn from writing for others in the short term as a paid freelance writer, while pursuing your own writing as your part time job.

For more specific information dedicated to getting started as a freelance writer, this article on freelance article writing for beginners is most thorough and helpful. You may also enjoy tuning into this podcast with professional writer, Eric Rosenberg, or some of these other professional writers.

If you’re a creative hobbyist, you may not have considered turning pro  and becoming a professional artist.  Or you may have decided that it’s not for you. As you reflect on the possibility, you might consider some of the many advantages of conscious creation with the goal of building a body of work in the world.

Why Sell Your Art?

  • More people get to enjoy it.
  • Profits pay for art supplies.
  • You get to spend more time doing what you love.
  • The more you earn the more you can create and the more exposure to your work.
  • Supplemental income helps pay bills and create extra income to invest.
  • Extra income brings greater freedom from worry and limitations and greater capacity to do more and serve more.
  • Serious creators can earn a living doing what they love.
  • When you love your work it never feels like work.

You can join the ranks of the many who are making money as an artist… if you’re serious about your art and treat it as

Yes, artists can — and do make money from their art.

Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely.

Earning a living as an artist of any medium is possible. It’s not easy. It’s a lot of hard work over an extended period of time without guarantees or certainty. But so is working for others doing work you don’t enjoy.

There are artists in the iCreateDaily community who sell their work, both through commissioned work and the selling of original art. Those who stick with it while continually learning and growing in their craft as well as the art of business, are those who succeed at reaching their goals.

And yes, it takes time. Often, a long time before it will sustain you. But you’re spending that time doing work you love… that you would do for free. You’re building your future dwelling.

Of the many businesses of any kind in all industries, there are more who fail than make it. Because being an entrepreneur is hard, and there are no guarantees. But as with any business endeavor, the more you work at it the more the revenue grows, and that’s the only way it grows: through consistent persistence over the long haul.

The good news is that when you love your work it never feels like work! So wouldn’t you rather work the hardest at something you love doing? You’re going to be doing it anyway; creating anyway… working anyway. 

To make money as an artist simply begins by creating as you love to while learning and working at the job of business building. One step at a time… one canvas at a time… one page at a time… one song at a time… one shawl at a time.

But what if it takes 10 years?

Or 20?

That time is going to pass anyway. Wouldn’t you rather invest in in yourself doing what you love to do? And consider how much you can learn in a year? If you dedicated just one hour per week learning about growing your craft and business endeavor, that’s the equivalent of a week long course that would help you leap ahead toward your goal.

The Chasm and the Bridge – The Leap of Faith

The bridge from where we are to where we want to go is like that invisible bridge of faith in the Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade. We build that bridge through visioning, goal setting, and learning through focused action.

Table of Contents

Audio Article:

For Artists Serious About Their Work

How to make money as an artist? Get serious about your work and commit to it for the long haul.

The fact that there are thousands of successful artists today, earning a full or part-time living from their art is testament to what’s possible. Not only is it possible to make money as an artist and creator, it’s more possible today than ever in the history of the world.

The reason the iCreateDaily slogan began as: For creators serious about their art, is because that’s what it will take for you to make money as an artist, writer, musician, dancer, product developer, ecommerce seller, online and off-line retail.

If you want to create for the sheer joy, relaxation and soul inspiring benefit of creating, that’s awesome!

When it comes to how to make money as an artist and earning enough to make a supplemental or exclusive living with your art, it will require your dedication and determination over time to bring it to fruition.

But isn’t that true for any career?

“If you just follow what’s in your heart, and you’re willing to work hard for it, then nothing is impossible.”
~Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance director, choreographer, producer

“If you just follow what’s in your heart, and you’re willing to work hard for it, then nothing is impossible.” ~Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance director, choreographer, producer #FollowYourHeart #MichaelFlatleyQuote #WorkHardQuote #iCreateDaily

One Piece of Art Sold for $91 Million

Recently, a sculptor’s work sold for $91 million dollars. That’s one sculpture by one artist now listed as the second wealthiest living artist. That one artist, Jeff Koon, who persevered over time, and who kept learning and leveraging skills and opportunities.[1]

While the one sculpture made Koon incredibly wealthy, there were all the years of work and failures, learning and refining skills. There was even a departure and a return to his art. Then there was the other job creators have— arguably—equal to that of creating: the sales, marketing and relationship building needed to sustained his life and grow his career exponentially.

You must listen, and you must also…

Promote Yourself and Your Art… and Be Generous!

You know the saying: “What goes around comes around.” In other words… karma… cause and effect… as ye sow… so shall ye reap, plus physics and quantum physics.

Most creators abhor sales and marketing. However, just as the work of the chef includes shopping and prepping, scrubbing pots and cleanup, until he’s successful, so too must the creator do the before and after stuff until she’s successful enough to outsource that.

The writer must write, and also build a following. The artist must create, and also grow an audience of those who love her art. The creator must love also the business of his art, for that will sustain him/her to create more.

Ideas on How to Promote Your Art

  • Create one or more social accounts and publish at least one post per day
    • Invite your family and friends to ‘Like’ your page
    • Ask them to share it with their friends & family
    • Host a giveaway of a piece of art to help encourage people to share your page and grow your following.*
  • Create videos – the BEST coverage and leverage toward growing your following and can include all kinds of video, including:
    • how to’s
    • time lapse
    • sharing information
    • sharing art – yours and others
    • interviews and conversations with other creators
  • Gift a work of art… or if you’re a musician… a fundraising concert such as this pianist.
  • Offer to decorate local venues by displaying your art. Include the sales and contact info. This can lead to sales and commissioned pieces as well as invitations to exhibit in other venues. See mention of how Lululemon stores support local artists in this way.
  • Collaborate with fellow creators, then both of you share that project with your audience, thus both benefitting by gaining more followers and fans. You can read more on that collaborative idea here.
  • Sell to Businesses – Contact local businesses first and pitch art and design ideas that will boost the ambiance and community feel of their business, plus provide free promotion. E.g., entrepreneur and business owner of MarketBeat, Matthew Paulson, invested ~$20k in art for his business decor. Matt is forward thinking in providing an aesthetically pleasing workplace to elevate his employees, customers and clients. Beyond that, Matt and his business will receive LOTS of free publicity and goodwill from:
    • the artists who then share—many times over—their art featured at his business.
    • local media covering the story
    • others like us sharing this story
    • community appreciation and awareness, plus precipitating ideas to other businesses toward doing the same.

Art and Business – How Creators Make Money as an Artist

We LOVE…LOVE… LOVE this concept, (see the last bullet above if you scanned past it)!!! Soak it in and relish the leading edge thinking of this entrepreneur and business leader, Matthew Paulson.

Read Matthew’s article to glean his reasons for choosing to invest close to $20k in local artist creations, and use that to help in making your calls with local businesses.

Start With Local Businesses

  • You could contact businesses who already have local art and interview the owners about that… write about it on your blog or social, linking to them, while gaining insight. A win-win-win:
    • You get to meet and learn about local entrepreneurs in your community
    • You can write an article on what you learned and publish to your website and socials. (We’re glad to share it too if you let us know about it).
    • Your article will serve to
      • share what you learn with other business leaders
      • give shoutouts to your local business contacts, which they’re likely to share further to their networks
      • share what you learn with fellow artists
  • Ask to decorate their offices with your art. If they don’t have a budget to buy it you could:
    • offer to display it there for free for a year in exchange for letting you include your artist bio with an art description and price of you art for prospective buyers and commissions.
    • you might sell your art and commissions, if not to that business, then to referrals and admirers.
    • You could offer to rotate pieces after three months.
    • Chances are good that they may want to buy your art at the end of the year rather than leave the walls blank. OR, your sales and exposure could be so positive that you want to keep providing them with new art.

Intentional daily steps in the direction of your dreams is how to make money as an artist and creator. It’s about blending the art of business with the business of art.

This universal principle works:
The more you put out into the world, the more that flows back to you and in more ways than you might imagine.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Giving Gives Back

Artist, Kevin McGeenan posted a contest giveaway on his social media platforms and in the iCreateDaily for Creators Facebook group. That one act of giving, led to so much more.

All extra free exposure for the price of one painted magnetic miniature art piece. To make money as an artist has to start somewhere consistent daily goals and efforts add up over time.

This one was extremely difficult for me to draw. Lots of corrections. A lot of angles. Does anybody know the name of statue and where it’s located?”

Kevin then offered to send one of his hand painted fridge magnets for free to 1st person with correct response.

"This one was extremely difficult for me to draw. Lots of corrections. A lot of angles. Does anybody know the name of statue and where it's located? I'll send one of my hand painted fridge magnets for free to 1st person with correct response."
Sketch by Kevin McGeeney – do you know this statue? Answer is at the end of this article.

Some Example of Kevin McGeeney’s Magnet Art

Kevin says, “Here’s a fun idea. Painting little fridge magnets. Here are 4 I’ve sold.”

They are 3×3″ miniature canvas with sheet magnets on the back and using acrylic paint. I sell for $10.00 a piece largely because it takes me about 45 minutes for me to complete one. “

Art by Kevin McGeeney

The artist must bring art and creativity to his/her business for it to thrive.

The most successful creators are those who also bring creativity and artistry to the business of their art.
~LeAura Alderson,®

The most successful creators are those who also bring creativity and artistry to the business of their art. ~LeAura Alderson, #lifegoals #Dreams #Motivation #BucketLists #Ideas #Quotes #Money #IWant #Happy #ThingsToDo #Inspiration #Thoughts #Travel #Adventure #Fun #Friends #Awesome #People #Families #Heavens #RoadTrips #Wanderlust #Mottos #icreatedaily

The World Needs Your Art

We believe that the world needs your art. The world needs more creators bringing beauty, ideas and imagination to life. And… the world needs more creators helping other creators to do more of that.

To create is human destiny and connects us with divinity.

Helping fellow creators is our passion and our mission. The hard questions we regularly ponder at iCreateDaily daily have to do with this:
“How to help creators (who wish to) monetize their talent and creations?”

We’re on a mission to help you succeed in doing more of what you want and need to do. We’ve written before about this being a new age of art… a new renaissance or “Art Inno”.

We believe in you. We believe that the world needs your art. And even more than that… you need your art.®

We believe that the world needs your art. The world needs more creators bringing beauty, ideas and imagination to life. #CreateArt #Artists #Creators #iCreateDaily

7 Steps on How to Make Money as an Artist

It’s not secret, and no magic solution. The short and simple answer on how to make money as an artist can be summed up in these seven simple steps.

  1. Learn new skills
  2. Create consistently
  3. Ongoing improve in your craft
  4. Ongoing learning from those ahead of you
  5. Grow an audience
  6. Contribute to others
  7. Sell your work

Simple, but not easy. It’s no coincidence that the word earning is embedded within learning.

Earning a living as an artist is hard.
Earning a living as an artist is possible.

Doing work you don’t love is hard.
So put in the hard to live what’s possible.
~LeAura Alderson, Cofounder-iCreateDaily

The most successful creators are those who also bring creativity and artistry to the business of their art. ~LeAura Alderson, #HowToMakeMoneyAsAnArtist #StarvingArtist #ProfessionalArtist #LoveYourWork #iCreateDaily

Knowledge is Empowering

We all know the challenges of earning a living from the arts. You’ve probably heard of high failure rates of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The statistics are not a pretty picture when it comes to business success in general. However, if you’re aware of the road ahead, it’s easier to navigate the potholes. It’s easier to settle in and enjoy the ride when you know it will be a long journey.

Startup Business Failure Rates as of 2018

These statistics include all kinds of businesses in the USA.

  • 20% of small businesses fail within 1 year
  • 30% of small business fail within 2 years
  • 50% of small businesses fail after 5 years
  • 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business

SOURCES: [2][3]

But there are ways to succeed.

All who have succeeded before you have created pathways and processes that others can model to also succeed. To learn how to make money as an artist is to follow the examples of those—past and present—who are doing it.

If one can, then anyone can.

If you have the determination to succeed, you will.
~LeAura Alderson,®

The most successful creators are those who also bring creativity and artistry to the business of their art. ~LeAura Alderson, #Determination #Success #Creators #DeterminationToSucceed #iCreateDaily

However, that doesn’t mean pouring exhausting hours, month-after-month and year-after-year without success. But either way, here’s the thing:

If you don’t start building your dreams now, will you regret it a year from now…
or 10 years from now..?®

If you don't start building your dreams now, will you regret it a year from now...
or 10 years from now..?®
Build Your Dreams Now –

6 Reasons Most Creators Fail

  1. Not identifying a viable market and customer “avatar”[4]
  2. Inconsistency of disciplined creation
  3. Not investing time and money in growing your skills
  4. Unwilling to learn how to navigate the social platforms
  5. Lots of activity without enough planning and thinking it through
  6. Lack of goal setting and working goals daily

Artists need to think not only about what they want to make but also why a consumer would want to buy it.
~Steve Chou, Serial entrepreneur,

Artists need to think not only about what they want to make but also why a consumer would want to buy it.
~Steve Chou, Serial entrepreneur, #Artists #SellYourArt #MakeMoneyAsAnArtist #HowToMakeMoneyAsAnArtist #iCreateDaily

Creating isn’t Enough

Excerpt from article by Steve Chou

“The main reason why artists fail at business is because they don’t identify a viable market to fill. Creating art is a self-indulgent activity. Artists listen to the inner voice that drives them to create.

Overall, it’s a really great thing. Art has the power to move us, to transport us to new worlds and to inspire us. And creating good art is difficult. It takes a lot of introspection and searching. But creating good art isn’t enough to make a viable business.”
Steve Chou, Founder-Seller’s Summit

But creating good art isn’t enough to make a viable business.”
~Steve Chou, launched two 6-figure businesses while working full time

But creating good art isn’t enough to make a viable business."
~Steve Chou, launched two 6-figure businesses while working full time

Best Options for Success

With most endeavors you undertake, the more you pour into it, the more you’ll get out of it.

There are many platforms and avenues of pursuit today for artists and creators to get your work out into the world. Most of these require a tremendous amount of work and time over severals years to truly build to profitability.

All of these are important for growing your business if you plan on being in it for the long haul. For shorter term profitability, the last one has the greatest potential soonest.

Channels for Creators to Grow and Sell

  • ART SHOWS & FAIRS: A lot of work that may pay you for your time there, but is rarely a profitable venture.
  • PODCASTS: Starting a podcast? It can take years to get enough listeners for sponsorship deals.
  • BLOG or WEBSITE:  A blog can take years to get a real readership that will monetize
  • YOUTUBE CHANNEL: Takes years to grow it to profitability.
  • BOOK/S? Writing a book can take up to a year or so to publish (on average), and only the very few ever profit from their books.
  • RETAIL STORE: A brick-and-mortar (B&M) retail store is very costly with tremendous time and responsibility commitment.
  • ONLINE STORE: Vastly easier than a B&M, but requires marketing and growing an audience.
  • COURSES can take 2-3 months to create, and with the right marketing plan, can sell for years to come.

All of these platforms and avenues for selling your work are viable, with multiple ways to earn money from each. To be financially successful and learn how to make money from your art, requires education along with sales and marketing.

Artists Who Teach Earn More

Many artists earn more from teaching than from their art. Creating and selling courses has the greatest opportunity to monetize your skills and knowledge more quickly than just selling your art. So if you enjoy sharing your knowledge with others, this may be something for you to pursue.‘ is an excellent and reputable education platform that makes it super simple to create, market and sell your own course, even if you’ve never taught before. Their program easily walks you through every how-to.

Consider how you create your course once, and then your course does the teaching FOR YOU.

For more education resources for your creative and entrepreneurial journey, this article has lots more resources for you, including free courses from CreativeLive. Some of their upcoming classes are geared to teach you how to grow your business and how to make money as an artist.

Artists can often make more money teaching art than selling it.
But teaching what you know frees you to create what you want.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Why You Must Succeed

Because your…

  • …work matters
  • …art matters
  • …dreams matter
  • …freedom matters
  • …life matters
Why you must succeed: because your work matters... your art matters... your dreams matter... freedom matters... your life matters. #iCreateDaily #Success #Dreams #FreedomQuotes  #Inspiration

5 Tips to Success

  • Believe you can achieve
  • Set goals and work them daily
  • Elevate your standards
  • Step outside of your comfort zone
  • Learn and apply… learn and apply

This article on common mistakes of startups published on, applies to creators as well.

Sell Art Online

We’re most familiar with these first few online platforms for artists and creators. However, there are many, so be sure to check out the additional options in the link below.

Print-on-Demand (POD) Platforms for Printing and Selling Your Art on Merchandise

Many of these platforms can create similar products for you, from apparel to home decor, journals to mugs, shower curtains to cushions. Each has its nuances, pros and cons.

We recommend you peruse each one and then settle on the one you like best in terms of your own user experience when visiting.

  1. GearLaunch – create custom apparel, cushions and bags
  2. Printful – see our review on Printful here.
  3. RedBubble – Create all kinds of products and sell from Redbubble
  4. – submit your designs to be featured
  5. TeeSpring – create custom apparel
  6. Zazzle – Productize your art
  7. Spoonflower – upload your designs and earn commissions

Check this guide for more print on demand resources.

Lynda Suzanne Wright is an artist, photographer, writer… creator extraordinaire, and she had her art made into custom curtains using Society 6 Print On Demands services.

Lynda Suzanne Wright is an artist, photographer, writer... creator extraordinaire, and she had her art made into custom curtains using Society 6 Print On Demands services.
Custom curtains from art by Lynda Suzanne Wright through

If you have your own inventory of products, then you may be ready to start your own shop. There are multiple options there as well.

For more on creating products from your own art, you may benefit by reading this article on Print on Demand services.

Selling Your Creations

The simplest and safest way to start sell products, art and crafts that you’ve already made is to do so from the existing social platforms. Now, you can sell your products without even creating a shopping cart, such as through Facebook and Instagram.

There are many advantages to starting there, which warrants its own article. For now, consider selling from your:

Top Seller Platforms – Sell What You Make on These Platforms

  1. Amazon – Yes! Artists can make money on Amazon. You can sell through Amazon Handmade, however, the most successful sellers sell through the main Amazon platform.
  2. Etsy – A more popular platform favored by makers, we’ve done a few podcasts featuring Etsy sellers.
  3. Fine Art America – sell your art from their platform
  4. Facebook page or profile (the FB terms are business page or personal profile)
  5. Instagram – post photos of your best work with art descriptions and your artist bio in your profile.

This article may help if you’re confused by the Facebook options and terminology.

How to Make Money as an Artist on Amazon

Those artists who are also savvy at leveraging their efforts and learning the basics of outsourcing, can do exceptionally well.

One example of a highly successful artist selling on Amazon, is Susan Lordi, of Willow Tree. Susan is employing numerous success principles that are serving her exceptionally well.

Similarly, Fantasy artist, Amy Brown, has been licensing her art designs for years now. We share more about Amy is this article on artist bios.

Tip for How to Earn Money as a Creator at Scale

If you’re already selling any of your creations, identify which item/s are most popular by which ones sell the most. For example, if you’re a potter and you #1 selling item is a garlic keeper, then you’d want to make multiples of those and begin marketing efforts to that item. To help with that, check out brand development and content distribution.

You could also learn how to do Facebook ads via online tutorials and target what you think would be the best demographics for that item, such as those with discretionary income who like to cook and purchase online.

Exceptional and Consistent Branding

BRANDING: Susan and her team at DEMDACO have created exceptional branding. Her line is about positivity, caring, sharing, and health, all conveyed through simple yet elegantly wholesome carved figurines with timeless and universal messages.

Our analytic tools indicates that in 2018,Susan’s Willow Tree brand, averages around 700 units per month over more than 60 different products. The most popular item in her Willow Tree line sells over 3,500 units per month, and the least popular sells 10 per month. Those numbers are a little higher now in November 2020 (at 3,670 & 45 respectively) as this is being updated, but the calculations below are close enough to give us an idea, and we’d rather proffer conservative calculations anyway.

Now Susan is in partnership with DEMDACO, which means that the profit is shared. We don’t know whether DEMDACO pays her a royalty fee or a percentage on each item. Susan and DEMDACO also have to pay Amazon’s seller fees and percentages.

Susan Lordi’s wood sculptures exude a gentle grace, warmth, kindness and love.®

An Average Rough Estimate of Amazon Profit = 33% of Retail.

Estimates are that the average net profit for Amazon sellers is 33%, with 1/3 in product cost, 1/3 for Amazon Fees and 1/3 net return on investment (ROI) profit. Of course there are those earning much more as well as those struggling with less.

Back to Susan Lordi and Willow Tree, here’s a rough estimate, (based on analytics tools and generalized averages to provide an example); these are not actual calculations from Susan, her company or partners, however they could definitely be realistic numbers in general for an Amazon seller.

3 POSSIBLE SELLER SCENARIOS (this does not take into account any fees for licensing or partnering with a manufacturer or distributor)

3,500 units/mo x $5.92 (at 33% profit for a $17.95 retail) = $20,732 est. net ROI per month on ONE best selling item

78 units/mo x $10.21 (at 33% profit for a $31.63 retail) = $796/est. net ROI net ROI per month on ONE least selling item

700 units/mo x $10.44/mo (at 33% profit for a $30.36 retail) net ROI net ROI per month = $7, 307 brand average

Now consider this, fellow creator: no matter the exact numbers, this scenario from high to low to an average is the amount an artist could receive for ONE item created ONCE, then reproduced many times over and sold month after month, year after year, from the one creation. Now THAT is LEVERAGE!

And yes… it didn’t happen overnight, but it’s an example of what’s possible if you keep creating daily with intention and goals in mind.

How to Build a Million Dollar Brand on Amazon by Ryan Moran

  • Create 4 different products
  • Retail price range of $30
  • Sell a minimum of 25 each per day = 100 / day x 30 days = 3000 units / mo.
  • 3000 units/mo x $30 = $9,000 x 12 months = $1,080,000 gross revenue for a net of ~$356,400/yr.
    You could live off that, right?

When you’re a business owner, it becomes clear very quickly, how costly it is to do business, and why businesses must charge what they do.®

Source Your Own Designs

Another way for creators to leverage time is to create one original, then outsource the making of that to others who can do so cheaply at scale. Many private Amazon sellers today, source their product manufacturing to China for a fraction of the cost to get it made domestically in the US.

Like Susan Lordi, you can create an original, then parter with a company like DEMDACO to bring it to market. Or, if you’re up for the challenge to get it manufactured yourself, it’s the harder path but the greater profit over time.

One artist, one original, times many multiples leverages for a multimillion dollar company. That’s no starving artist!!

Courses and Coaching for Artists and Writers

  1. The Abundant Artist (TAA) – Fantastic membership community with coaching and programs designed to teach you how to make money as an artist. TAA says:
    “Double your online art sales or get that first sale!”
  2. Creative Live – Courses for all creative arts, with a concentration on visual arts, including technical instructional to business growth subjects. Many courses for free if you attend during the offering period; for purchase thereafter. “One class can change everything. Whatever your level or passion, we’ll help you take big leaps, fast. These all-time favorites are a great place to start.”
  3. Author Accelerator – Offers a free 7 Day Writing Challenge to help you build a strong foundation by showing you how to drill down into the most important elements that drive your story or argument forward. Author Accelerator also trains and certifies writing coaches, and offers coaching and retreats for authors.
    “Working with a writing coach is the best way to do your best work.”

Platform for Creating Your Own Courses

  1. – Teach what you know! Teachable is especially geared toward helping creators turn what they know into cash.
    “Join creators who have made over $300m in sales.”
  2. CreativeLive – has courses from creators over different art and craft genres and mediums teaching how to succeed at their craft as they have.
  3. YouTube – Yes… it can take awhile to grow your audience, but it’s free and easily accessible and the more you do the more you can earn.
    • Create time lapse tutorials that will help to grow your channel more quickly
    • Create an Amazon Associate’s affiliate revenue and include your affiliate links to the products you use and earn a commission on those.
    • Your videos will attract attention from
      • Prospective Students who want to learn more from you
      • Prospective art clients who want to buy your creations

When you succeed, you will not regret the hard work.
You will only regret it if you never try, no matter what.
~LeAura Alderson,®

When you succeed, you will not regret the hard work.
You will only regret it if you never try, no matter what.
~LeAura Alderson, #lifegoals #Dreams #Motivation #BucketLists #Ideas #Quotes #Money #ThingsToDo #Inspiration #Thoughts #icreatedaily

What’s Possible for You Too

Three years ago, Lydia May started posting YouTube videos teaching people how to paint dot mandala art.

Today, she has over 232K subscribers to her YouTube channel and over 16,636,806 views on her library of videos. Over 16M!!!

Each of these can also send traffic to her website, where she can grow her email list and further grow her audience and her opportunities to sell and earn… all while helping others do what they want to do. Learn what she knows and enjoys teaching.

Our Original Estimates Were Way Off

If each of Lydia’s videos earned JUST 10¢ per viewer from ads (some will do less, many will do more), that’s $1,613,680 she will have earned in just three years.


UPDATE: Lydia responded to our Facebook post and said:

Lydia May – Dot Mandala Artist

Oh wow! Thank you very much for the mention! It made me smile. 😊💕 While your post is true and I would absolutely recommend both YouTube and starting your own business to anyone who wants to work HARD, there is a huge misconception about how much YouTubers actually make. 

Move the decimal over 3 times to the left for an accurate rate of what getting those numbers actually generates for the creator. Regardless, it’s SO MUCH FUN! I’m living my dream and I’d not trade it for the world. I feel you can do anything you put your mind to and work consistently towards. Just keep pushing.

All the best ✌🥰🎨💗 -Lydia

So… that would make it closer to $1,614..? But remember, she would’ve earned little to nothing the first year or two, but it would’ve increased in year two and again in year three.

But to earn from doing work you love is a start that compounds over time. Just don’t quit your day job. Yet.

Here are a few articles for perspectives to consider. Bottom line? You’re planting an orchard, which takes years to reach fruition, but then it produces for many more years beyond that with little to no effort.

Efforts compound.

YouTube Earnings

How much do YouTubers Make?

Starting a YouTube Channel

Mostly Passive Income

Here’s a a really beautiful thing: once the video is uploaded and properly optimized to grow your traffic organically through SEO, there’s really not much else to do except check in and respond to comments. Meanwhile, over time the best videos increase in views over time without any additional effort on the part of the creator.

It’s like planting an orchard of fruit trees. Tend them well early on until they’re well established, then very little is needed for them to go on to bear fruit for many years to come.

Now we don’t know exactly how much Lydia has made. We’re musing over what’s totally possible. If you decide to go this route you can start by tuning into lots of free education, beginning with YouTube’s own FREE tutorials on how to make money on YouTube.

Tutorial on How to Make Money on YouTube

The Eighth Wonder of the World is Available to You

Chances are that Lydia May actually made little to nothing for her entire first year. Perhaps not even much until the third year. But the beauty of the YouTube model, similar to websites, only often faster, is that it continues to grow and gain traction and compound over years.

Compounding is considered by investors to be akin to one of the wonders of the world. The 8th wonder of the world, to be exact. Did you learn this in school? Have you heeded it in your life? Judging by how more Americans are in debt today than ever before, it seems like this lesson did not get drilled in to the mass consciousness. But we can anchor it in ours.

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” 
~Albert Einstein, physicist, Theory of Relativity, 1879-1955

The average YouTuber earns between $3-$5 in ad revenue for every 1,000 views. So an estimate for Lydia is that at 16,636,806 views ÷ $1,000 = $166,368 over three years = $55,456 per year for three years. (But remember, these are just average calculations as it's likely that she earned nothing for the entire first year or so before she began to pick up speed. What if it her earning were actually 1/3 of that? it's still a very decent income for doing what you love!

Unlike Facebook videos and stories, that are gone relatively quickly, videos continue getting served up in Google and YouTube search results over many years, (on timeless topics such as art instructions like hers).

BUT… as the infomercials say: “But wait… there’s more!” 

Benefits of Sharing What You Do and Growing Your Audience

  • Lydia also has her Etsy store featured on her YouTube channel
  • She could also have a website
  • She could also have an email list to serve and sell to
  • Sponsors pay Lydia to be a brand ambassador for products she enjoys using and to feature their products during her sessions
  • Sponsors often ship products to brand ambassadors for free

Each of these create (or can create) additional revenue streams for Lydia.

All that in less time than a college degree… and without any debt, yet LOTS of revenue!!

And Lydia didn’t work insanely hard. It looks like she just published an average of two videos per month. That’s it. Showing people how to do what she loves to do, and while also creating more art to sell in her store.

See Lydia’s YouTube Page.

What’s Possible for You?

Is there anything that you know how to do that you love to share with others and help them to do too?  Maybe it’s something that others often ask you about how to…? 

Check out Lydia’s YouTube channel for inspiration and reflection on what might be possible for you.

How to Make Money as an Artist?

  1. Set goals and work them daily
  2. Establish habits that serve your goals
  3. Create daily to grow your portfolio while honing your craft
  4. Share your work consistently via your favorite social platform/s
  5. Build a following of fans who love your art
  6. Learn from those who are successful artists
  7. Implement what you learn consistently over time
  8. Never give up

You may also enjoy this article on secrets of successful artists.

Freelance Artists, Writers and Creators

Apply to create a freelance artist profile on the top freelancer platforms. Sure… you’d rather do your art than to create for someone else. However, far better to create art for someone else than to wait tables, right? All good things in good time.

The more commissioned and freelance work you do, the more work you’ll have and the more financial freedom to then pursue doing more of your own art.

Freelance Companies

This article includes lots of info on freelance opportunities for creators, and this one might be useful for setting that freelancer goal. Generally, our top two picks here are based on the companies we use most to date: FreeeUp and UpWork.

If you’re looking to hire freelancers, FreeeUp, our go-to for hiring freelancers along with UpWork.

A Return to Artisans, Heart and Connection

In this era of rapid multiplication of anything, there will be increasingly, a return to individual connections and the value of handmade… artist-driven creations.

Now is the time to do your art and grow your audience of those who like you and what you do. Once again, quality over quantity will come into play as people cherish more the things they purchase from creators they know.

This is the era of the artist… a New Renaissance.

Add Story to Your Art… and Art to Your Story

Increasingly, the art with stories and narrative attached will sell over just the beautiful.

Consumers want to connect. People are craving deeper more human connections. With story, quotes, snippets and bios—both your artist bio and art description or story for your art—they will connect with you.

The more you add story to your art… and art to your story, either your own, or collaboratively with other creators, the more readily will you grow your audience.

Freelancer artists and writers, who add depth to your creations through titles, descriptions and stories tend to sell more art.

Give your customers meaning and you will grow a meaningful audience.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Why You Must Pursue Your Dreams

We’re concluding this article with one of our favorite talks by a successful creator, who kept on creating in the direction of his dreams.

Neil did not attend college, yet he made his way in the world doing all the things on his list of “want to’s”.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed at how to make money as an artist and where to start, start simply, one goal at a time. Begin with the social media platform you use most often and create your business account (or a regular schedule for sharing if you already have one. Then share again tomorrow.

Over time, you’ll develop a natural rhythm and a tribe of followers who love your work. If you make steady progress each day this year, chances are by this time next year you will have begun to make money as an artist.

RELATED: An excellent article on on how to get started and get paid as a freelance writer.

Neil Gaiman’s Speech: Make Great Art

Tune into this exceptional and widely viewed commencement speech to the University of the Arts graduating class of 2012 Philadelphia, titled: Make Great Art.

The rules on what is possible and impossible in the arts were made by people who had not tested the bounds of the possible, by going beyond them… and you can.
~Neil Gaiman, English novelist, comic books, films

He did not go to college and yet Neil Gaiman was invited to give this 2012 commencement speech titled ‘Make Good Art.

Take a 20 minutes inspiration break to help you find your way beyond the possible.

If you’re considering Redbubble, here’s a helpful YouTube video by an artist as to the pros and cons of selling on RedBubble. There are numerous other takes on this topic as well that you can find on YouTube.

Book Resources to Help You Make Money as an Artist

Podcasts on Artists and Selling Art

If you’re making money as an artist and would like to be added to this article, send us a note, we’d love to hear your story and include it here.

“Compound interest is The Eighth Wonder of the World. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” 
~Albert Einstein, physicist, Theory of Relativity, 1879-1955

compound interest quote by Einstein
Einstein quote and meme on The 8th Wonder of the World. Photo source – Canva Pro

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Wishing you the very best success!

About Kevin McGeeney’s Art Sketch

ANSWER: (to the question above as to the source of the subject of his portrait):
It’s The Freedom Statue on top of the U.S. Capitol building!
Did you guess it right? Let us know.

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