Can your art become a real business? These days more creatives are looking for alternate sources of income through their art. If you have employment, which is good, you may still be looking for something on the side that is fun to do. Perhaps you want to exit formal employment and start your own business making art? All of this is possible, as I have discovered myself. Using the right tools and resources makes this much easier.
I thought it would be fun to share my NEW favorite tools and resources for side hustle success with you. *
As mentioned these are tools I have added to my digital resources. They may not necessarily be new to the market. I already have a page dedicated to general Resources if you want the complete set-up. Please also note that I only suggest these tools because I am using them.
Okay on to the New Tools:
I know this is not a tool as such, but I want to get this out of the way first. Please find a place where you can work. A corner, a shed, a room - anywhere that you can leave your desk, easel or workspace undisturbed and ready for your next work session.
Trust me if you are constantly having to pack up and put your things away you will quickly lose motivation for your side hustle. Not good!
Your Online Home Base
A website is still necessary. It is your shop front, gallery, a place to share your ideas, spread your wings, build credibility and it is all yours. Priceless!
Right now I am working with Webwave. This service lets you design and build your own website quickly and easily. No coding and complicated stuff. I have no patience for complications. Webwave has all the bells and whistles including hosting.
They offer a generous free plan too and you can run your website this way for a while until you are ready to upgrade to your own domain. I would do this as quickly as possible as it is your brand. Fortunately you can purchase a domain within Webwave or from other providers. You have the choice.
Their premium offering for your own domain hosting, including email on your domain, starts at only $10 per month. If you decide this is right for you then grab a 30% discount right here.
If you are an artist then try to register your own name as a .com address. You are your own brand so make your name part of the brand. Then add on something about what you do. In my case I added “fine art” because I wanted to be known for fine art.
You may be into writing, cooking, woodwork and so on. Can you include any descriptive keywords to your domain name? It can help to make your website more discoverable.
Where to register a domain? Well you can register one with your website software provider, but I suggest a dedicated domain registry. This way it is easy to move to another website software service if you want to without the hassle of transferring a domain name.
That said I can suggest namecheap.com. Good prices as the name suggests and easy to get a domain registered and linked to your website.
Perhaps the most important thing to start with is an email service for your business. No I do not mean gmail. I mean building a list of clients, fans and supporters who add their email to your newsletter service. I emphasise this in all my entrepreneurship lessons for one massive reason. Your mailing list belongs to you and your business. Not a social media company.
Once again I look for great value for money above shiny bells and whistles that never get used. For me Sendfox ticks the boxes. Reliable, minimalist, but all the important stuff to grow your mailing list. You can start free, but currently they are running a lifetime deal for $49.00. You can find Sendfox at Appsumo.com. It is the easiest choice in my opinion.
Schedule Online Video Meetings
Everyone is doing this right? Meetings, consulting and coaching online is all the buzz right now due to lockdowns and work from home lifestyles. Sure lockdowns will end, but work from home is here to stay.
You want a solution that provides:
Easy one-stop-solution that will not scare off your clients? I am using Meetfox for one-to-one consulting. Get paid with Paypal or Stripe, set up your calendar schedule and record the video meetings. Very neat!
Teaching and Demonstration Tools
As you may know I teach painting too. My school is based on New Zenler. It is an entirely self-contained platform for any teaching business. Host courses, live events, webinars, teach and it even has a blog and email service built in. If online teaching is your thing and you want to be in control of your business then New Zenler is the answer.
Now there are teaching platforms like Skillshare, but these are not your platforms. So you cannot control how they operate. If they close you lose your business. You also do not own your client’s emails therefore you accept a risk when you join.
On the plus side these platforms like Skillshare carry the costs of hosting and attract a market. You can focus on creating content. My advice is start here and grow into your own platform somewhere like New Zenler.
Once you are up and running with your teaching program you will need a few handy tools to make the teaching process a breeze.
One service I love to use is Markup Hero. What this does is allow you to instantly select an image and make notes on it and send a link to the image to your student or client. They can then view your notes.
I have Markup Hero as a browser extension which allows me to take quick screenshots of anything on my browser window. Then draw or annotate the image and send it to my student. This makes teaching much easier.
Speaking of screen capture I often use a screen recorder to create lessons. A screen recorder records whatever you do on your computer screen. Plus it records your voice and you via your webcam. The resulting video makes an excellent lesson or presentation.
I have been using Screencast-o-Matic for years. Price is right and the service has grown considerably. A much more affordable yet powerful screen recorder than the competition.
Images and Marketing
Creating attractive images is also massively important. Great images are used for:
And so much more.
I have been using a new service called Pixelied
With Pixelied I can upload my photos or use an existing template. Often I use both by adding my image to a template.
Add text and format the image for whatever purpose you want, resize the image for easy internet use and then download it. Simple.
Honestly there is no end to image use and I am working on images everyday. So try Pixelied for a cost effective image tool. They have great pricing and free options too.
What About Video?
Glad you asked because video is king for artists. An affordable and powerful video editing tool is Filmora. You can get a lifetime license and edit your videos with ease. Yes there are more expensive professional options, but for most of us this works well. Watch my YouTube videos for example and see for yourself.
I like Invideo. Many templates, easy editing and within minutes I have a video for social media. Simple yet effective. I even created a course on how to use Invideo for different sorts of marketing videos. Actually I have done some freelancing for others creating marketing videos for them too all with Invideo.
That is the thing about many of these tools. Once you use them you can help others too. These are powerful skills that provide real value to your business and to others who may want to employ you as a freelancer. If you purchase a premium version of Invideo use the code malcolm25 to get a nice discount too.
Another option? Motionbox is a video design platform that features an arsenal of tools that cuts down the effort of creating any visual content.
Easy Social Media Scheduling
Okay you have the images and videos done. How about a sure fire way to schedule your posts to all your social media accounts? Also monitor the performance of your posts and find the best times to post?
The answer for me is Promo Republic. This service even allows scheduling to Pinterest! Of course all the other big social media channels are included. You also get a social media calendar that helps to plan your social media posts in advance.
Use analytics to monitor performance and learn how your posts can be changed to improve effectiveness. Yes these services do help you save time and money by doing everything in one place.
Learn from Podcasters
A fun resource of artists putting their knowledge out there for free is on podcasts. Here is a handy article with a list of 15 Artist Podcasts you should be listening to. I am proud to have a podcast on this list too. Take a moment to browse this resource and enjoy a few lessons from popular artist podcasts.
Well those are my latest tools and resources that I have added to my art business. Sounds like a lot and it is, but these tools make a real impact. You do not have to do everything at once. That is impossible. However I have incorporated these tools over time and now rely on them as part of a regular business. That is the way it works. The most important point is to make a start.
My final tip is to keep learning. This is perhaps the most important advice anyone can give. Never stop learning. I have put all my art business knowledge into a bundle of training called the Creative Side Hustle Bundle. Take a close look and decide on your next step.
All the best with your creative endeavours.
*These are tools that I am using and I am an affiliate for them. This does not increases prices to you.