Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Whether you simply create arts and crafts for pleasure and post them on your YouTube channel or you actively engage your artform as a business, here are ten side hustles that may benefit crafty creators.
What is a side hustle?
A side hustle is a secondary pursuit of financial gain or income, separate from your main career, but not quite a traditional part-time job. I look at my side hustles as gigs that can monetarily pad my passion for creating content and crafts. Many of my gigs are handmade bespoke creations, but thanks to technology and the new age of becoming a social influencer, one can also create multiple streams of passive income opportunities as well.
Why do you need a side hustle?
You don’t if you’re happy being a hobbyist without a need for recognition or return of investment. If, however, you would like to have a financial benefit from honing the knowledge and skills of your art, then perhaps some additional income streams may work for your needs. Also, it’s interesting to note that many artists will discover several of these suggestions may be a natural layer to what you’re already doing in the course of pursuing your passion- you’ve simply not put it to work for you.
Blogging: Anyone with an internet connection can post blogs about a variety of topics like the sparkly blog content at my main website. A blog post might be akin to a personal diary entry, but it can also be a chronological sequence of recipes, product reviews, music/ movie releases, craft tutorials, etc. Some bloggers, especially those from the early beginnings of blogdom, do not make money from their online blogs & just prefer to post what they enjoy, much like a hobby. As more people move to monetize their content, however, there are many ways to let your words work for your bank account while sharing information. Ideally, maintaining a positive and informative blog is what I strive for and I also like to offer links to several resources in making my point.
Teaching: This one is dearest to my heart because it was one opportunity I never anticipated that I’d be comfortable doing or capable of booking, but it’s become the most rewarding lesson for me as a creative person! I love to share my passion for jewelry making and crafts. Teaching my skillset to other handmade artists was a valuable way to increase my own authority as an instructor for my YouTube channel & tutor, maintain inspiration by seeing my students’ creations, and build friendships with like-minded creatives.
Consulting Services: You might not think yourself accomplished enough to become someone’s consultant, just as I didn’t envision myself as an instructor, but your skills and knowledge may in fact be quite valuable to your fellow handmade creatives as well as in general, depending on your experience. The service you provide, your advice for a plan of action, will allow the client to confidently pursue their objective.
Mentoring: I have often mentored people in my professional administrative career as well as my creative vocation. While mentoring and consulting are similar in that you’re providing guidance, insight, recipes for success and empowerment…the key difference is that a mentorship typically is not compensated financially. I still include being a mentor as a side hustle suggestion, however, because it is tied to consultation services you can charge for in addition to bolstering your authority as an experienced professional.
Freelancing: This topic includes a humongous menagerie of opportunities for side gigs, but at the base of it all is that you have the required expertise for providing that certain service or product for hire. Even though you may be in a handmade niche, odds are that you are experienced in creating your own product listings with professional looking photos and language. That is a valuable and marketable freelance skill. The more freelance work you perform, the more creative authority you can claim towards teaching, consulting and mentoring other entrepreneurs.
Collaborating: Working together with people in similar niches are a great way to gain exposure for your brand through another audience, but differing niches are also beneficial opportunities to expand. I’m primarily a jewelry maker and I’ve partnered with florists, baby photographers and veterinary clinics so that I can advertise their services while having my handmade jewelry displayed in their locations. I’ve also collaborated with fellow YouTube creators in the craft niche, which some may consider competition, but I see as sharing a friendship for the love of crafts and gaining new friends all around. There are differing opinions of YouTubers as to whether a small channel should approach a large channel. My opinion? Simply engage with the channel for awhile to build a relationship before asking to collaborate and if they are interested in doing so, they will. It’s simple. If we stop letting our egos control us, we can have a lot more friendly interactions- even outside of the YouTube-verse. Lol.
Monetizing Content: No matter what type of content you create, you can monetize it in a variety of ways and on several different platforms.
Affiliate Linking: An excellent source of passive income is to install affiliate links within your written content as well as on platforms that allow coding for banners and hyperlinks to external sources, such as Amazon. The links you build in a blog post, website page, eBook or description areas at YouTube and elsewhere will continue to work for you if the content link and item being linked remain viably active.
Merchandising your Brand: When you decide to begin merchandising your brand, this does not necessarily mean that you are putting your logo, website and all social links on a t-shirt. It could be a slogan, an inspirational word or an image that people appreciate about your merchandising message. What is your brand awareness? What target audience are you trying to reach? Are you focusing on trends or does your audience prefer quality and useful essentials? Once you’ve decided why you want merch for your brand, then you need to create it and get it out in the world. Remember, even if your focus is on one audience, you could easily win people outside your target reach after they spot or use one of your branded items and fall in love with the message or value.
Digitizing: You may think digitizing content or creations is a straightforward strategy, but it can be a scary concept for a lot of handmade entrepreneurs and YouTube creators. I’ll use the analogy again here of my own experience in jewelry making. I was constantly being asked for custom themed pendants, earrings and charms for my bracelets. As I got more comfortable with Photoshop, graphics permissions and sizing requirements, I began creating my own images for my jewelry designs. After a few years, it dawned on me that all these images I’d been creating could be useful to my fellow jewelry makers and crafters. After working out my level of comfort in viewing them as my competition versus fellow creators, I decided to put my graphics on a sheet or card and begin offering them digitally for printing. So, all the labor I spent on the one image for my customer’s necklace could now be of help to a fellow jewelry maker and continue to earn me revenue each time someone bought and downloaded the file. Digital content is a wonderful revenue stream. Many of my painting friends have digitized their artwork so they can sell them as prints for people to frame, make greeting cards, or even for people like me to use as clipart for my own digital creations. The concept is that you spend an enormous amount of time and resources to create a piece one time, but it can be offered digitally in other capacities, then that effort can repay you in spades- even while you’re dreaming up your next art piece.
I was once asked by a student “I barely have time to create anything with my busy schedule. So, why do all this work just for a side hustle”?
Pick your battles. Or as I say, don’t put all your beads in one basket. As mentioned before, don’t pursue any extra gigs if your goal is to simply enjoy a hobby as play without pay.
If you’re ready for some extra income, however, select the options that make the most sense for you without requiring the huge outlay of precious time. Participate in gigs that naturally fit the layers within your own basket so that it only takes a short time added to your existing creative process, but the resulting additional income is a bonus of a one-time creation. You worked hard to create your art, so let that art continue to work for you!
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