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Should You Monetize Your Craft? Considerations for Artists

Should You Monetize Your Craft? Considerations for Artists main article image
Posted on January 10, 2023 by Miles Oliver
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Making art is more than just a pastime. For many of us, creating is as natural and as necessary as breathing. Your creations aren’t just the brainchild of your leisure hours. They’re a physical manifestation of your heart and soul.

But how do you know when it’s time to transform your creative passions into a career? The reality is that monetizing your craft isn’t easy. However, if you are both prepared and strategic, it can be an ideal way to make a living doing what you love. This article describes the key considerations you should bear in mind if you are thinking of turning your artwork into a business.

The Pros and Cons of Selling Online

The internet has revolutionized the way we live, communicate, and work. And it has also opened the doors to entrepreneurship for millions of people who would otherwise never have dreamt of starting their own businesses.

For modern artists in particular, the internet offers fast, reliable, and affordable access to a truly global market. That means that the potential for turning a profit on your creations is immense, but so too are the risks. 

The pros of selling online, of course, are that you can expand your market reach, operating on a genuinely global scale. This is particularly true if you prioritize your online presence. This includes, at the very least, unleashing the power of social media marketing and maintaining a strong, up-to-date website that showcases your creations and allows for quick, secure, and easy purchases and commissions.

The cons, though, are that you take a risk when you put your creative work on display for all to see. Unless you take pains to protect your intellectual property through patents, trademarks, licensing, copyrighting, and related legal safeguards, you may well find bad actors seeking to steal your work.

Dealing with Negative Comments and Criticism

One of the most significant challenges of monetizing your craft is shifting from the personal to the professional mindset. Suddenly, you’re no longer just a creator, maker, hobbyist, or artist. You’re an entrepreneur. That means that you’re now in the business not only of satisfying yourself and your creative impulse, but also of satisfying your customers.

This, inevitably, brings with it a host of new difficulties, including the fact that you’re not going to please all the people all the time. No matter how talented you are or how much blood, sweat, and tears you put into your creative work, you’re going to face negative comments from time to time. 

The key is to be prepared for them. Building authentic self-esteem is critical to responding to complaints and criticism in healthy and productive ways. This must include learning to set appropriate boundaries when working online, boundaries that should involve taking sufficient time away from the computer to avoid losing your own sense of self amid the online tumult. 

This also involves learning to differentiate between constructive critique and criticism that is unwarranted, irrelevant, or unhelpful. Harness the former to help you improve your craft but ignore the latter to prevent it from undermining either your self-esteem or your creativity. 

Should You Craft Full-Time or Keep Your Day Job?

When you’re thinking about monetizing your craft, one of the most important, and often most difficult, decisions you can make is whether you should devote yourself full-time to creating for pay or whether you should keep your day job.

Maintaining your art-making as a side hustle while you work another job means, of course, that you’re going to have less time for your craft. It also means you’ll have less time to grow your creative business. 

On the other hand, if you give up the security and routine of your day job, you’re going to have to go all-in on making your creative work profitable. And life can get pretty complicated when you try to turn your beloved hobby into a steady revenue stream, especially if the work will be your family’s primary source of income. 

So, you have to be prepared for the emotional, physical, financial, and logistical realities that come when your craft is no longer solely a source of pleasure but is, in fact, a real business centered on profitability and growth. You will, in other words, need to be ready to begin to give your creations both as labors of love and as money-making products.

Financial Considerations

When you choose to launch a business around your craft work, you have to bear in mind the significant financial stakes that are often involved. This is especially true if you decide to give up your day job and turn a side hustle into a full-time creative career. 

One of the most important things you will need to do in this regard is to get used to having an irregular pay schedule and to managing your household and business budget when the expenses are consistent but the income is not. You’ll need to become a master at saving not just for emergencies but also for those inevitable periods when business is slow, customers are scarce, and sales are down.

The Takeaway

Monetizing your craft is a wonderful way to earn a living doing what you love. To make your creative business a success, though, there are some important considerations you must address, from knowing how to operate securely and profitably online to managing criticism, to navigating the financial and emotional challenges of turning your cherished hobby into a steady revenue stream.


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