Creating a Master Plan for a Passive Income
So … you’ve got this part time artistic hobby that you want to monetize, and you’re wondering how to get started.
Well that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So let’s just jump right into this and take a look at a few methods that you can use to monetize your part time hobby. (If you’re not a big fan of reading, there is a video version of this post at the bottom of the page).
Method 1: Find a platform to sell your finished product on.
The first method you can use is an obvious one. Most artistic hobbies involve a creative process that results in the creation of some type of finished product and all we’re going to do is find a platform to sell that finished product on. So let’s look at a few examples of platforms you might use, for different types of products.
To figure out which type of platform is best for your product, you first need to figure out which category your product falls into, and what I mean by that is, is it a unique, hand crafted, one of a kind product, or is it a mass produced product?
One of a kind products do best on platforms like Etsy or Ebay. The customers who frequent Etsy are usually looking for hand crafted items, where as the customers on say Amazon, are pretty much just looking for mass produced items. Now some examples of one of a kind items would be hand crafted jewellery, sculptures, hand crafted or customized apparel, or original paintings. Although you could technically scan your painting and then sell copies of it at a cheaper price, you’d still have a one off original painting to sell at a much higher price, so Etsy would still be your best bet over something like Amazon. Now that’s not to say you couldn’t sell mass produced items on platforms like Etsy, you totally can. In fact there is a huge market for it. It’s just that the platform itself tends to cater more to hand crafted, custom items.
Now Etsy and Ebay are by no means the only players in this game when it comes to selling original artwork. Depending on what type of original artwork you’re selling, there are other platforms like Shopify, Artsy, FineArt America, Artpal and many more. You just need to figure out which platform suits your particular needs best. If it’s your intention to bring in all of your customers from your huge social media following, then any of these sites will do. But if you don’t have a huge social media following and are going to be relying on the organic traffic that the platform itself brings in, then a site like Etsy, will by far have the largest market place for you to tap into.
As with most of these sites, you will be able to set up your own personalized store front to welcome your customers upon arrival. You’ll be able to display all of your products and each product will have its own individual product page and all of the eCommerce is built right in, so you won’t have to design a website or anything.
Just keep in mind that what you’re doing here is basically renting an online storefront from Etsy. It’s no different than renting a storefront from a brick and mortar shopping mall, other than the fact that it is way cheaper.
What I’m getting at is that there are fees involved. Some sites charge monthly for your storefront and other sites like Etsy charge per product listed. You just need to figure out what suits you best. Also keep in mind that you as the store owner, in most cases, will be responsible for shipping your products to your customers as well as taking care of returns. I only bring this up because when we move on to selling mass produced items on print on demand platforms, that won’t be the case.
That being said, let’s move on.
Now when it comes to mass produced items, depending on what type of product you’re creating, there are plenty of platforms to choose from. So maybe you’re a photographer who wants to create coffee table books filled with your photos, or a writer who wants to write science fiction novels, or maybe you’re like myself and want to create picture books or coloring books for kids. Print on demand platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing (which is an Amazon owned company), Ingramspark, Barnes and Noble Press, or Lulu, would probably be your best options.
Now each of these companies has their pros and cons and I’ll go over that in a later post. For now, just know that there are plenty of options to choose from. And as I mentioned earlier, with these platforms, you won’t have to carry an inventory or deal with shipping and returns which is a definite plus. And all four of these companies have the ability to distribute your products worldwide.
What if you’re an illustrator or photographer who doesn’t want to create books, but would rather sell your work by the piece, like framed prints for instance? Or maybe you want to showcase your artwork on t-shirts, tote bags or I-pad cases. Fear not because there are plenty of platforms for you as well. Some of the biggest names in this category are Amazon Merch, RedBubble, Society 6, Teespring and Zazzle. Again, those are by no means the only platforms; they are just some of the more well known ones.
And just like the most print on demand companies, you won’t have to carry and inventory or deal with shipping and returns; it’ll all be taken care of for you.
And just as with Etsy, you’ll also be able to set up your own personalized storefront to sell your products from. Once again, I will walk you through how to do all of that in a future post.
If you’re a musician and you want to sell your original music you can always upload it to iTunes or Spotify, but those are by no means your only options. There are over 500 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every single minute and someone has to score those videos. So if your thing is creating background music for videos, then websites like Audio Jungle will give you the platform to sell those musical scores from.
So no matter what type of artistic product you’re selling, there is a platform out there that is just perfect for your needs. You just need to figure out which one it is. So take a little time, do a little research and figure out which platform is best for you.
Let’s move on.
Method 2: Create a YouTube channel.
Okay, so the second way you can monetize your part-time hobby is by creating a YouTube channel.
So why a YouTube channel you ask?
Because as a creator, you have a product that you want to sell and the only way to sell that product is to find someone who wants to buy it. Now there are two ways to go about doing this. You can either bring your product to the people or bring the people to your product. And by bring your product to the people, I mean by listing it on sites like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon and just hoping it will sell.
Yes just by just listing your product on the Amazon Marketplace you’ll be exposing it to millions of potential customers worldwide, but you’ll also be throwing it on a shelf with millions of other products, making it almost impossible to find.
Now when you bring the people to your product, you essentially narrow the focus, creating a sort of tunnel vision for your prospective customers, so that they only see your product. Doing it this way can reap far better rewards in the end.
So how do you go about doing that? Well that’s where the YouTube channel comes in. There is no better way to grab someone’s attention then by giving them something for free and whether that something be entertainment or education, YouTube is the perfect platform to do just that.
People have always been fascinated by the process of how things are made. The how to video culture started back in the 90’s with television networks like Home and Garden television and the Food Network. And to this very day, videos showing the process of how something is done, pretty much makeup the foundation of YouTube.
People love watching the creative process that goes into making something. And once they’ve seen that process … well its only human nature to want to learn how to do it. You have a product that you want to sell and that product is created as a result of doing your particular hobby.
Chances are, the people who would want to buy your product, would also be the ones interested in watching you create it.
And once they’ve seen you do that, wanting to learn how to do that hobby themselves, is just the logical next step. So what you need to do is create a YouTube channel that will become a hub of information for anyone that might be interested in learning about your particular hobby.
On your channel you’ll be uploading three types of videos. The first type is the process video. Now before you throw out the argument that you don’t want to be on video, don’t worry, you don’t have to be. There are plenty of YouTube channels creators who have become extremely successful without ever showing their face.
If your hobby is a traditional-style hobby, meaning that you create something physical with your hands, then just have your video camera focused on your hands. If you’re like me and you work digitally, then simply record your monitor screen using screen capture software like Camtasia. Either way, your pretty little mug doesn’t have to appear anywhere on screen if you don’t want it to. But keep in mind that the more you let people get to know you, the stronger and more loyal your following will become.
As far as equipment goes, you don’t need anything expensive to get started. There are thousands of successful YouTube channels out there that use nothing more than a smart phone to shoot their video. 99% of all the smart phones that have come out in the past 10 years have the ability to shoot HD footage, in fact most can even shoot 4K now days. So wipe the fingerprints off the lens of your iPhone, get yourself two 100 watt, bright white, LED light bulbs and pull the shades off of your lamps so that everything is well lit. Then simply prop up your phone so that the camera is pointing in the right direction and you’re pretty much good to go.
Now you might be thinking wait a minute, it takes me four or five days to finish a project. Who’s going to want to watch a 10 hour video of me sculpting? Well, no one. But with some creative editing and just by speeding up the video by about a 1000%, we can shorten up that video to under an hour and I’ll show you just how to do all of that in an upcoming post.
Once people have seen your process video, many of your viewers will want to learn how to do whatever it is you’re doing … and this brings us to the second type of video that you’ll be uploading and that is the tutorial video.
These tutorial videos don’t have to be very long, anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes in length will do.
Regardless of what your hobby is, there are always going to be certain tips or tricks that’ll help you to do it better. And you as the expert in this field are simply going to pass those tips on to your viewers in the form of short how-to videos.
The third and final type of video that you’ll be uploading to your YouTube Channel is the product review video. Once again chances are whatever your hobby is; there will be certain tools or equipment that will be required to perform it. And these review videos will give you the opportunity to recommend the best ones for the job. Remember, your YouTube channel needs to become a hub of information for your particular hobby.
So let’s just say someone was interested in pursuing your particular hobby. First of all they’d want to see it being done. That would be your process video. Secondly they’d want to learn how to do it, that’s your tutorial video. And finally, they’re probably going to want to know which tools are best to use while doing this hobby and that they would learn from your product review videos.
That’s it, that’s your whole YouTube Channel. Show your process, give help tips and recommend useful products to those who want to try out your hobby. If you want to upload additional video content to your channel, you absolutely can, but these 3 types of videos will be your core content.
So now that you have a YouTube channel, exactly how do you make money off of it?
The first way is obvious. You are going to be showing the creative process for every product you make, so at the end of those videos you are just going to let your viewers know that the finished product in that video is available for sale. And you are going to leave a convenient little link in the description of your video which takes your viewers directly to your online store.
So in essence, your process videos are nothing more than promotional videos for your products.
The second way you’re going to make money off of your YouTube channel is by monetizing the videos through ad placement. Now this won’t actually start until you have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time, so this isn’t something that is going to happen right away. But if you continue to upload videos on a regular basis, it will eventually happen and then you can start making money off of your channel just by placing short little ads at the beginning of every video.
The third way you’re going to make money off of your YouTube channel is through your product review videos. Most of the major market place websites on the internet today, offer something called an affiliate program. In its simplest terms, it’s a referral fee for sending customers to their platform. We’ll use Amazon as an example.
The way it works is, the program is free to join, and once you join, you will be issued a referral identification number. Now what you’re going to do is pick a product that you want to review on your YouTube channel and make sure that that product is available to purchase on Amazon. Amazon will then assign you a customized URL link to that product page. This customized link will have your referral ID number at the end of it. Now all you have to do is simply copy and paste that link into the description section of your review video and if one of your viewers clicks on that link and buys that product, you will receive a commission from Amazon for referring them. It’s that simple.
Now it’s important to note that the referral fee you are being paid comes from Amazon’s profit, so your viewer is not going to pay anything more for the product by buying it through your affiliate link.
The product is going to be the exact same price that anyone else would pay for it on Amazon. What’s great about this is that you can let your viewers know that if they purchase the product via your affiliate link, not only do they get a great product, but they also support your channel at no extra cost to them. It’s a win, win situation. In a future post I’ll even show you a way to use your product review videos as a means to help promote your YouTube channel outside of the YouTube platform, bringing you not only additional income, but additional subscribers as well.
Okay, so far we have covered two ways to monetize your part-time hobby. The first was by finding a platform to sell your finished products on and the second was by creating a YouTube channel to help promote those products.
Method 3: Sell hobby related promotional products.
Now the third and final way, is going to be by creating simple mass produced products that will help to promote your hobby. Remember, your YouTube subscribers are not only potential customers for your finished artwork; they’re also fans of your hobby. So there is a good chance that they may be interested in purchasing merchandise that is related to your hobby. Just think of this method of monetization as up selling.
Let me give you an example. When a musician walks into a music store and buys a guitar, the musician is the hobbyist and the guitar he purchased is the tool required to perform the hobby. But the $40 t-shirt he buys that says Fender on it; that’s the up sell. Walk through the house of any hobbyist and I guarantee you’ll find something whether it’s a t-shirt, a mug, a key chain or something with a logo on it which proclaims to the world, hey this is my hobby.
You’re not only going to provide entertainment, education and advice to your YouTube subscribers, but you’re also going to give them the opportunity to let the world know that they are passionate about their new hobby.
So how exactly how are you going to do that?
Well, you’re going to get creative and you’re going to come up with a funny saying, or catchy phrase, or some type of artwork that pertains to your hobby. Then you’re going to use one of those print on demand websites I spoke of earlier and you’re going to stick that artwork on anything it looks good on. And once you’ve done that, you’re going to sell those mass produced items in your own personal online gift store.
Now you’re probably thinking “but what if I’m not a t-shirt designer”? You don’t have to be. You have a hobby that you are passionate about and as someone who partakes in that hobby; I’m sure at some point in time you have purchased a product, whether it be a t-shirt, mug, iPhone case, or just something that in some way promoted your hobby. So as a hobbyist, you should have a pretty good idea of what you would be interested in buying for yourself. So all you have to do is come up with a couple of rough design ideas that you’d like to see on a product. Then if you are a designer, create the graphic that you would want to buy. If you’re not a designer, then simply hire a designer to do it for you.
There are plenty of websites out there where you can hire designers. In fact there is a website called Fiver where you can get original graphics created for as little as $5. And yes, sometimes you do get what you pay for. But I’ve seen professional looking work come out of Fiver for around $20.
Then once you have the finished design, set up a store front on a print on demand platform, like RedBubble, Zazzle, or Society 6 and just sell your own hobby related merchandise. You can upload a design on to pretty much anything and I’ll be walking you through the process on how to do that in an upcoming post. Then all you have to do is promote your merchandise on your YouTube channel.
Look I realize that I’ve covered quite a bit of information in this post and that for some people it may seem a little overwhelming. But I am going to be going over how to do all of this stuff, individually, step by step in upcoming posts.
And once you have all of this stuff in place, it just becomes a matter of feeding the machine.
With the exception of some video editing and some social media stuff, most of your time will still be spent doing the hobby that you love to do. You start a project, you record the process, share a few tips with your subscribers and give them some advice on the best equipment to use. Every now and then you throw out a funny t-shirt and that’s it. Then you move on and start your next project and you do it all over again. You just keep feeding the machine that is your business.
I promise you that all 3 of these methods are actually quite simple to do. And if you hit that subscribe newsletter, I’ll prove it to you over the next few weeks. I really hope you decide to come along for the ride.
If you do, I’ll see you at the next post.
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