Woman sitting in front of a laptop with stickers

How To Get Started With Making Your Art A Side Hustle

Since the pandemic has started, it has been a trying time for a lot of us. The harsh reality of getting let go from jobs and the decrease in salary makes it hard for most of us to pay bills. Henceforth, most people would choose to do a side hustle to get extra money. I, myself, am also starting to make art my side hustle (and still am!). I started doing this at the beginning of the year by offering to do art commissions on Twitter to help my parents with the bills. Here are a few tips and tricks I used. 


1. Find your own niche.

You do not need to know how to draw to sell your art in my opinion. If you are creative and have good marketing skills, you can sell anything you want to. However, it is a plus point if you do know how to draw.

Person weaving a tapestry art as a side hustle

If you find yourself stuck and not knowing what to draw, a website that I use is Pinterest. It is a great website for art inspiration. Personally, what I search for on Pinterest would be outfit inspiration as I draw pretty stylised people, so getting to know how to dress them up would be nice. Another way is that you can search for artists on Instagram or Twitter and look through their art. Accounts such as @miyukierse or @artistramz (if you’re into anime!) on Instagram are my inspiration. 


Note: Please be wary not to copy or trace the art you find. Always make it an original, no one likes a copycat.


2. What kind of products do you want to sell?

There are many types of products that you can sell online based on art. Some of the most common ones are stickers and prints. You can choose between physical products or digital items, based on your liking and what you would like to sell.

Woman sitting in front of a laptop with stickers

There are so many things for you to make from art, just pick a medium you are comfortable with and love doing and allow your creativity to shine through. Art comes in many forms, after all, some people prefer traditional art, while others choose to do digital art or even handcrafted objects! They are still art regardless of their forms and medium.


3. Setting up your shop.

Once you figure out what you would like to sell, it is time to set up shop! There are multiple websites only that offer print-on-demand services and other websites that allow you to directly communicate with your customers. 


Such print-on-demand websites include Society6, Redbubble and INPRNT. These websites handle the production, manufacturing, shipping and customer service for you. All you have to do is upload your art onto these websites and the rest is handled for you. However, you do earn profits but in terms of royalties. For example, let’s say you sell an $18 print on Redbubble, you earn about a 20% profit from the sales. However, each platform has its own terms and they can get a little confusing, have no fear though, I am here to help! 



    • Pros: You are able to change the markup on your products
    • Cons: There is a lot of competition and artists on there 



    • Pros: It is free and easy to use
    • Cons: Artists there earn a small amount as Society6 takes more of the profit



    • Pros: Good quality prints are printed by them so your art does not lose its appeal
    • Cons: the platform does not promote your prints for you, you will have to market them yourself


If you would prefer to be more hands-on and settle shipping, manufacturing and customer service on your own, there are platforms such as Etsy and Shopee where it allows you to run your store and all profits would go to you, of course. Moreover, there are also pros and cons to these platforms too.



    • Pros: International customers and includes built-in analytics to help track your metrics. 
    • Cons: Every listing costs $0.20 and will last 4 months 



    • Pros: High traffic channels as people trust this platform. 
    • Cons: Transactions over the borders are not allowed, so if you have a shop in Malaysia, you may only sell them locally.


4. Grow your platform and market your products.

Advertising and marketing are great ways to help you gain recognition for your side hustle. Platforms like Redbubble automatically help you advertise your products but to gain more recognition, it is still down to you at the end of the day.

Person using social media to market their art as a side hustle

A few ways to grow online are to create art accounts for Instagram or Twitter and post your art there too so that people from all over will be able to see it. Other than that, you can get other social media to promote the fact that you have a shop, like TikTok. 


However, in my opinion, art is creative, art is you. It would be fun to run your account and have full control of how you do things. Do pay attention to the algorithm though to boost your engagement. There are certain ways in which can help you boost your account and the algorithm, namely:

    • Posting your work in progress (WIP),
    • Taking a BTS video of your work, if you have a hands-on store, having BTS packaging videos are good too,
    • Be consistent in what you post and not disappear for months at a time,
    • Do not post at awkward timings, you can check when your followers are most active with Instagram insights.


5. Side hustles should be fun, do not overstress yourself!

To be very frank, side hustles are not easy. It requires about a few hours of your time each week to tend to and on top of that, you might already have a full-time job to take care of. Side hustles are supposed to be fun and yes, it may stress you out but getting a sale is one of the happiest feelings you will ever feel as it proves that you have made it. 

Person working with a laptop

As an artist myself, I agree that it is very easy to burn out and get pressured to post. So here are some things that I like to do to avoid burnout!

    • Have prompts written out in advance so no last-minute brainstorming would be needed. 
    • Grab a couple of Post-It notes and place them somewhere accessible so that you are able to jot down new ideas if needed.
    • Set bi-weekly goals to help you get motivated.


Lastly, do not forget to take breaks and take care of yourself. You cannot run a side hustle if you are unwell. 



All in all, running a side hustle is stressful yet rewarding. Remember, no pain no gain! If you do not work hard, you might not even be able to achieve your goals. If you would like to check out some of my art, look up herondalies on Twitter and Instagram! I also recently opened up a Redbubble store under the same name. I hope these tips would be useful to you and make you more confident in progressing to the next step of actually opening up a side hustle!

Marketing major by day, self-taught digital artist by night. Usually can be found hunched over her laptop trying to draw or play games.

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