In this weeks post, I wanted to go into further detail about my experiences with my shop and various things I wasn’t prepared for when I launched my website. Let’s talk about websites and other sales platforms that can get you started on your hustle game.
Monthly/Yearly costs were a big one. I reasoned with myself that my sales would balance the cost out, no matter how good or poor I was doing. I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely prepared for the whole ordeal but I managed and so can you.
If you’re building your own website you will be paying for the domain, as well as any website building subscriptions you use like wix (what I use), squarespace, weebly, wordpress, shopify. Etc. You may also be considering paid advertising, having a company email, a booking service, or any number of other things.
Lets start small.
To sell, you must use a business subscription to any of the above. They range in price but on average are about $40 a month. Your domain is going to be $20-40 a year.
Don’t bother with a company email, or newsletter subscriptions. Most websites offer 1-2 per month and that’s more than enough to get by when you’re first starting out. Don’t worry about any additional subscriptions your website builder might offer, you don’t need them right now.
It’s the same for advertising. We’ll get into that a little later on, but don’t pay it any mind right now.
I own two websites and after taxes I pay just shy of $100 per month for my website use, and additional costs. I’m working on consolidating those expenses to a more palatable expense.
There are other sales platforms you can consider if you’re not ready for a website. I’ve used all of these and have some very strong opinions about some. These are all valid platforms for selling your graphic design in an easy manner and some of these integrate with drop ship printing companies which makes distribution very easy.
Patreon- A monthly subscription for your audience. You can offer various tiers of product and reward for their pledges. There is a small percentage expense that Patreon takes out of your account but it’s not terrible, and if you have a large audience it's almost unnoticeable. Patreon now offers long term patrons printed item rewards as an incentive to stick around. It’s really easy to connect with your audience and provide worthwhile content. It’s also really easy to over promise and become overwhelmed with providing physical rewards. Be aware of what you can and cannot do before making it part of a reward. This can be deposited to a bank account or to PayPal.
Ko-fi- A website based on the preface of donating enough for a coffee to your favorite creator. They now offer the ability to add commissions, shops, and various other “donation” means. I see a lot of streamers use this as a means to tip them for their work. I’ve also seen artists use this to send out physical and digital copies commissions, primarily sketches and quick light work. Ko-fi takes 5% from your shop/commissions unless you pay for their gold membership. They don’t skim off the top and directly deposit to your PayPal. This is an ideal way to get started without having an official website.
Etsy- Etsy and I have a love hate relationship. Etsy is an incredibly easy to navigate program, they have new shop and display similar interest shops to buyers. They also will include your work in their advertisement, driving people to your shop. This is all in case that you have high traffic and sales through your shop. New businesses can drown out in the ocean of etsy creators, and it can be really intimidating. There’s also a lot of unspoken fees per sale, when starting out balancing what you charge with what you need to make sure you’re paying out to etsy can feel really intimidating. Small businesses do well with etsy’s fees but as your shop grows so does Etsy’s payout. I’ve heard a lot of other people talk about how frustrated they are and with some of the financial glitches etsy has had over the last year. I have not used etsy recently and do not know their current payout method.
Redbubble- I will never use redbubble again. They do not offer many protections to artists and they will gouge artists, especially ones without the audience to sustain with low prices. Redbubble offers graphic design apparel, items, and stickers. They will handle the shipping and the payment making it very easy to get started. They do skim off the top of your sales and will send you money at the end of each month. There is an average for products for artists that feels pushy, and raising your prices seems to hurt the traffic that moves through your shop. That being said, I made only a dollar or two on sales through redbubble. Do Not Recommend.
Threadless/T-public- and Literally any other website similar to redbubble but not. Most of these websites I have the same complaint with as redbubble but a lot of these offer more protections for artists and copyrights. I used T public for some time and while I still only make chump change the websites have kept my shop open and my designs still sell from time to time without any effort on my part. I still don’t recommend starting with a website like this, it's demoralizing and hard to feel the thrill of success.
All in all a website is not the ONLY options available for you. I truly recommend Ko-fi for a casual hustle for art, and additionally patreon for more motivated creators. I love my websites but I also run the above, I believe the larger my reach the better I’ll do. I also believe you can do this too!
Next time we’ll break down printing companies for Stickers and Apparel. Until next time fiends, Yaz