How to make a stable income from your art

Question for you! Do you want to monetize your art and turn it into a profitable career? Do you dream of creating art whenever you want and have it bring in a consistent income every month? 

If so... What’s holding you back from making that a reality? Are you struggling to get clients on a consistent basis? Riding the feast and famine rollercoaster where one month you’re rolling in the dough and the next you can’t find a client to save your life? 

If the thought of making a consistent income from your art feels impossible, this post is for you.

Someone in my community recently reached out to ask me a really good question and I want to share my thoughts on it with you. 

I know it has the potential to help you see how you can start making a stable income from your art without working your buns off or waving vacations goodbye for life. 


First off, the question: 

“If your art career is doing so good why are you doing these pay-to-learn courses?
Just a question--and I know how you are gonna answer, "I want to help you guys!"--but can you give a more detailed answer? Like how you can only get so far in art until teaching art or business is the next step.”


Such a good question, and one I also pondered about when I first set out to turn art into my career a few years ago. I knew I wanted to make a living from my art, and that I could get clients to commission me. But that was it. 

Or, rather, I thought that was it. 


Enter: The hamster wheel & the feast and famine rollercoaster

I eagerly opened commissions, got clients here and there and trial-and-errored my way to making some money from my art. 

The problem? I was on a hamster wheel. 

a hamster running on a wheel

I spent most of my days drawing for clients. Barely had any time to draw for myself and when I did I felt super guilty because I knew I should be spending that time on client orders. 

Vacations ceased to exist in my universe. 

“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” — that’s great but this hooman needs to rest and recharge like everybody else. 

But you know what happened when I took that very much needed time off? No work, no money. The flow of money stopped when I stopped working.

I was in the infamous feast and famine rollercoaster. Some months I’d work with many clients and hit my revenue goals. Other months I’d be scraping by if I worked with fewer clients or took a vacation.


The key to making a stable income from your art 

So after a long time of dealing with that feast and famine cycle, I decided it was time to stop.

If I wanted to make a living from my art AND still be able to live my life, something had to change.

I started digging and learning more ways to make money as an artist so I could earn more without working my buns off. I already tried that recipe and let me tell ya, 1/10 would not recommend

Afterwards I came across this stat that says that wealthy people have an average of 7 income streams. Say whaaat?

That's what helps them generate consistent and scalable revenue! My mind was blown. No wonder I was having such a hard time with one income stream. 

When you have multiple streams of income, you’re able to stabilize your income because if something happens to one or two of your income streams, you still have the others bringing in money.

But what happens when you just have the one income stream and something happens to it? Your entire livelihood is at stake.

Like when I needed to take a break but couldn’t, or else I wouldn’t be able to make ends meet that month. 

I recommend that you set up 3-4 income streams as well so that you can have a consistent income every month. It's time to ditch both the hamster wheel and the rollercoaster.


The importance of passive income streams

It's also important to make sure your income streams include a mix of active and passive income. 

Active income is money you make by doing an actual task (ie. drawing a commission). On the other hand, passive income is money you generate without you being there to do the work:

For example:

  • Creating a course once and selling multiple copies of it
  • Selling prints through on-demand print shops
  • Selling digital downloads, brush packs, etc.

Why is that important? Because it makes sure you continue to have money coming in even if you get sick, take a vacation or you lose any of your income streams.

My current income streams are commissions for clients, selling prints, courses and digital resources, and affiliate marketing.

Now, commissions for clients are what brings me the bulk of my revenue but I'd never recommend you to only offer commissions. Especially if you want to have a stable income coming in.

Why? Because it needs YOU.

  • What happens if you get sick and can't draw? You don't get paid.
  • Or, you take a vacation and you don't work on orders? You don't get paid.
  • And if you get carpal tunnel and drawing feels like being stabbed in your wrists 24/7? You guessed it, you don't get paid.

 When you’re trading time for money, there’s a limit to how much you can earn and how much free time you can have. 

But when you have other sources of income bringing you money regularly, it's okay if you need time off because you know you'll still have money coming in to pay your bills 😉 


The key to scaling without working more 

Passive income also helps you be able to scale your revenue beyond what you'd be able to make just offering commissions. Because you're a human, there's only so many hours you can work in the day and energy you can put in.

Even if you raise your prices or take more clients, there's always going to be an income ceiling you will be struggling to break through. 

the banker tells homer simpson he needs more money and he asks how to get it

But when you have passive income streams there's really no limit to how much money you can make from them because it's not dependent on your time.

With passive income you can stop trading time for money and you can start generating more money even while working less. 

My mom developed carpal tunnel on both hands from her work (even though she isn't an artist) and my hands hurt a lot when I draw for more than 5 hours in a row (I used to be able to draw for 10 hours straight when I was in my 20s!).  

I'm very aware that commissions are a great income stream but I can't rely on them exclusively or else I might find myself out of a job if my hands get worse.

Having multiple streams of income helps me make a consistent living from my art without being tied to my computer 24/7 and knowing that if I ever need to stop working on commissions, I'll still have money coming in every month.


Over to you - Will you be setting up new income streams?

I told you it was a great question! They were also right in their guess that I also do it because I want to support artists like you that want to make money from their art but can’t figure out how. 

I like being able to share what I've learned to help you get more people to see, love and buy your art.

For instance, when my friend Tommy started his channel he was struggling to get views on his videos. He wanted to turn his passion into his business so he could make a living doing what he truly enjoyed (building puppets and making puppet shows!). 

I showed him how to grow and scale his channel and he implemented my recommendations. This helped him grow to nearly 400,000 subscribers in a few years and it made me want to help others do the same, but not just with Youtube.

But, my love of helping aside, the main reason why I create these courses is because it's important to diversify your income if you want to have a stable and scalable income as an artist. Online courses are one of my current 5 income streams that combine my skills and my passion to generate money 🙂

How are you combining your own skills and passion to generate money?

want to make a stable income from your art?

Enroll in my brand new mini course and learn the key to making a stable income from your art without overworking yourself or sacrificing all of your spare time.

Thriving Artist Income Accelerator Mockup

I hope this post has inspired you to set up a few additional income streams to put your art and skills to good use!

Leave a comment below to let me know which ones you have right now and which ones you want to add! 

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About Lucia

I'm Lucía and I help creative people embrace their passion for art and empower them to become the artists they always wanted to be. I work with growing artists to help them unleash their potential, improve their skills and protect their art.


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