How to make money selling art online

How to make money selling art online
Image source: Getty Images

Can you make money selling art online? Absolutely. You just need to know where to start. So, here’s how to prep your work for sale and find an audience.

Choose what you’re going to sell

The first thing you need to do is decide what you’re actually going to sell. You can sell:

  • Original art
  • Digital copies
  • Physical reproductions

You can usually charge more for original pieces, but the downside is that they might take longer to sell. You might consider selling reproductions or digital downloads alongside your original work to boost your earning potential.  

Once you’ve decided what to sell, you need to work out how you’ll sell it. But what options do you have? Let’s take a look.

Pick a business model

To make money selling art online, you need to find your audience. So, you need to decide how you’ll get your work out there. Here are your three main options. 

Online marketplaces

You can sell your art through popular online marketplaces, like Amazon Marketplace and Etsy. You won’t need to worry about the technical side of running an online store, but you won’t have control over how you display your art. Here are some extra tips for selling through online marketplaces like eBay.

Independent website

If you want total control over the whole selling process, you could set up a website. From here, you can run your own online store and communicate with customers directly. The downside is that you might not want the responsibility of running your own store and managing the website, because it can be a lot of work. 

On-demand suppliers

You might prefer to sell art through your own website, but leave the shipping to an outside supplier. This is a good idea if you’re selling prints, because the supplier will hold the inventory for you and send out orders as they come in. The downside is that it might cost you more than simply buying your own raw materials.  

Price your artwork

Next, you need to value your art. But how do you decide on a fair price? You could start by looking at what artists charge for similar pieces and go from there. 

To make the most profit, remember to factor in costs like:

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  • Shipping
  • Marketing
  • Raw materials

A bonus tip: personalising artwork is another way to make extra money selling arts and crafts.

Take quality photographs

Show your work in the best light by taking high-quality photographs of each piece. Remember to protect your pictures from copyright infringement, though, before you put them online. 

  • Add watermarks to pictures. 
  • Include a clear signature somewhere that can’t be removed.

Showcase on social media

You’ve settled on a business model and put a price on everything. Now, you’re ready to make money selling art online – so it’s time to find your audience. The best way to get exposure? Social media. Here are some tips for making the most of platforms like Facebook and Twitter to sell art. 

  • If you paint something specific, like penguins, you could join Facebook groups for people who love penguins. Chances are, they’ll appreciate your art if you talk about it.
  • You can post high-quality images to Instagram. Add multiple relevant tags to get exposure across the platform.
  • Start a Pinterest board and post images there. Link to your online store or website so people can easily buy your work.
  • Network with other artists and art enthusiasts. They can help promote your work to wider audiences. 

Social media makes it so easy to reach people around the world, so it’s worth setting up some accounts.

Offer commissions

Let people know that you’re happy to create custom artwork. Encourage customers to leave reviews to boost your exposure.

The best part about offering commissions? You can negotiate a price that reflects the time you’ll spend working on the project.

Selling tips

If you really want to make money selling art online, here are some extra hints and tips to boost your profits.

  • Use meta descriptions and alt tags to boost your art’s exposure on search engines.
  • Tell the story behind your work – always add a short description with each piece. Descriptions can help people connect to your work.
  • Shop around suppliers and try to find the best deal. Ask about bulk discounts and don’t be afraid to negotiate.
  • If you plan on building your own website, always compare pricing plans, first.   

Make money selling art online

Any artist or designer can make money selling art online. It’s just a case of getting started. Most importantly, always use watermarks or another tool to ensure you get credit for your work, and use social media to get exposure. 

And remember, it’s not just art you can sell on the internet. If you’re looking for extra cash, here are other items you can sell online.

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