How to Make A LOT of Money As an Artist Online
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Starting salary for this creative field is $70,000 and can go up to $150,000 per year. And average salary is just shy of $100,000.
If doing it as a business $15,000 a month.
And you don't need a degree. Just the drive and desire to learn.
Read up on this free guide because we don't hold back on information.
If you are a creative, you are most likely reading this article.
And you know very well that as a creative, your mind doesn't feel satisfied unless you're creating something.
You get antsy if you're doing mundane things that has nothing to do with something artistic.
I get it.
I'm just like you.
This is why I work and get paid well as a creative consistently.
Notice the words get paid well consistently.
Yup! You saw that right.
We no longer live in a world where artists are neglected and deemed as starving or missing an ear like Van Gogh.
Because there really is no rhyme or reason to cut your ear off.
Thank goodness for the digital world where artistic skills are badly needed.
But you also need to understand where the demand is.
Yes, you can sell your paintings online or photos of your cat Mr. Whiskers.
But you either have to have a lot of following for that or you're really good at marketing to get that momentum.
Why go that route when you can do creative work and be in demand for it?
I used to actually be a starving artist. I was all about my craft and nothing else.
Until my stomach yelled at me that I needed to be practical about this whole thing!
My stomach is mean, but I get its point.
"Somehow, the French got this idea of the starving artist. Very romantic, except it's not so romantic for the starving artist." -- David Lynch
I know, I know, I've had so many occupations. I told you--if you've read my other articles--I have occupational curiosity syndrome.
I realized I needed to pay the bills. This whole "I'm all about my craft" thing was no longer sexy.
It gets old.
But I also hated having to work in an environment that wouldn't let me be creative.
I succumbed to the regular working world anyway just to feed myself.
Sometimes I would steal away a bit of down time to create fliers and see what the company thought.
They used it. That at least fulfilled the creative in me.
Working on my downtime allowed me to build up my skills by doing graphic design work even though my background and degree were in a whole different form of art.
But creativity is creativity.
It didn't matter to me. As long as I was creating, I was happy.
Doing graphic design lead me to more and more higher paying jobs.
Companies didn't care that my degree wasn't in graphic design nor did they care that I didn't have that much experience in graphic design.
They just looked at my portfolio that I did during my downtime at a law firm. That's it.
Imagine that, people giving you a chance regardless of experience!
If you haven't read How to Get a Job With Little to No Experience, I highly recommend it. Click here to read it.
I'm an advocate of being a lifetime learner. I've seen the results for myself on getting paid more and more because of the skills I keep acquiring.
I learned graphic design through trusty old Youtube.
It was painful at first because I wasn't used to anything Adobe. I didn't understand how layers worked.
It was as if I was working with an extra-terrestrial object that had symbols for instructions.
I just couldn't decipher it.
Many nights of frustration and wanting to throw my computer into the trash, I tell you.
But I didn't give up.
I kept trying and trying until I finally learned one app, which was Photoshop. Then gradually other apps.
Because I now am proficient at so many Adobe apps, my natural curious self thought, "is there something else I can learn?"
That's where I found Adobe XD.
Had no idea what the term UX meant!
The more digging I did, the more I freaked out because I didn't know about this part of the creative world that paid so much and is so hotly in-demand!!
What is UX Design?
It's the process of designing products that are useful, eye-catching, and fun to interact with.
In other words, those apps that you interact with or those websites you visit are designed by UX Designers.
The more creative and engaging the design, the better.
Here's a sample of a mind-blowing UX design that combines 3-D and interactivity by A-0 Design.
Click on the Image.
You don't necessarily need to know how to code to be a UX designer. It would be helpful, but not necessary.
And of course if you don't know 3D, don't start off designing like A-0 in the beginning stages.
Most sites aren't in 3D anyway.
The Best Things in Life are Free
You don't need a degree nor pay to learn UX Design. There's free information all around you to learn from.
I first learned how to do UX design by wireframing and prototyping on Adobe XD because my work had Adobe Creative Cloud that I could tinker around with.
Unfortunately you have to pay a subscription with Adobe.
And there's something way better in my opinion than Adobe.
Best of all, IT'S FREE!!!
Okay, well it has a free version.
But with the free version you can do a lot to learn how to do UX Design.
What is this said heavenly tool to create better wireframes and prototypes without code you ask?
Figma has a user interface that looks just like Adobe XD. It's pretty simple to use, but powerful.
If you're familiar with how Adobe creative software works, then layers shouldn't be a problem for you.
But if you're not, then some explanation on layers is needed because this is the basis for how programs like this work.
Think of layers as paper.
In one layer or piece of paper exists a square that someone drew. Inside the square is another drawing of a person and a text that says, "Someone drew me so don't blame me if I'm ugly".
That's layer 1.
You can have another layer with other items like icons or emojis, etc.
The reason to have layers is to basically help group things together and make it easier to know which is which.
And whatever you do on another layer does not necessarily affect the other layers.
Unless you're working with other programs like Photoshop and you don't clip the layer.
But we're talking about UX design here so this doesn't apply.
So you can name Layer 1 as "drawing" even though it has a text on it.
Since this particular article isn't a tutorial on Figma, don't get bogged down with the details.
I'll give a free tutorial on how to do Figma so be sure to subscribe here to get that notice.
UI VS UX
You've probably heard of UI.
If you haven't, that's okay. You're not the only one who has been hiding in a cave.
Bears do too.
And so have Sabertooths.
They're both illiterate and one species is extinct.
So let's not be so hard on them.
UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) have been used interchangeably. But they actually mean different things.
Let's see if this can be simplified because it can get complicated.
That is, people try to overcomplicate things...that shouldn't be that complicated.
An app or website begins with the UX Designer. The UX Designer is the one that designs the look and feel of the app.
Whereas in UI design--though also has an artistic component to it--is the one that makes sure the design, interactivity, animation really all works and that the end user will have an easy time navigating through the app.
The UI Designer works with the Developer (the ones who code the app and puts all their mathematical genius to work) to implement and make the app come into fruition.
A person can be both a UX Designer and a UI Designer.
Lifecycle of UX Design
In every creative industry there is always a process that takes a concept into an actual product
Know that you're not building an app that only you and your grandma will be looking at because she will always be proud of whatever you do.
Unless your grandma is sadistic.
Then she needs prayers.
In the regular working world, you will be working with stakeholders and businesses that hire you for your creative services. So you'll need to know the process of UX Design.
Gather all the requirements from the company
Research on competition, UX trends while adhering to guidelines
Compile ideas, sketches, wireframes
Design images and prototypes
Test usability and identify improvements
COMPONENTS TO THE DESIGN
We'll focus on #3 and #4 of the Lifecycle process to help you understand a bit more and gain knowledge for the day.
I don't think I need to explain ideas and sketches because you've been doing that since you were a kid.
And most likely doodling during Chemistry class.
So let's skip to wireframes.
This is a wireframe:
And this is a wireframe:
Wireframes are basically layouts of the app you're designing.
They are blueprints of where things are to be located and the components needed on each page.
These tools enable you to build a wireframe for the Web, mobile, and a tablet/iPad at the same time. Those are the different sizes on the image above.
Now that you understand wireframes, let's look at what Prototyping is.
This is prototyping:
Don't panic, you are really seeing a bunch of nonsensical intersecting lines!
But it's not as complicated as this image shows.
What those lines represent are the actions that happen and where that action leads to.
For example let's say there's a button that says "Sale" and you hit that sale button. That action needs to lead to somewhere. So you lead it to the sale page.
The way to lead it to another page or to an area of that page is by connecting it with these "wires". It's a simple click and drag process.
No need for codes.
Figma, like other designing tools, has plugins that you can add which are really awesome. Instead of having to make your own icons, there's a plugin for that.
Search through their plugins and go wild with it!
There are also free UI Kit downloads you can add like this Skeuomorphic elements for FIgma:
Click on image:
UI kits make your job easier because they're templates that you can work out of. This is so you don't have to design from scratch.
Another prototyping tool in the market is Framer. It has the same UI as all the other tools. And it's free like Figma.
The key difference is in the prototyping stage. Framer has more features and functions in prototyping and animation.
The good news is you don't have to choose one or the other because Figma and Framer have a partnership so you can move freely between the tools.
Now that I got you all hot and bothered over Figma and Framer and UX Design, there's a caveat that needs to be addressed.
You can't easily turn those prototypes into an actual working website.
Figma and Framer don't have hosting solutions. They're just prototyping design tools.
They are meant for you to do wireframes, prototypes, and testing so that you can show clients how the product would look like and prospective employers your portfolio and capabilities.
And they're also meant to hand off the code generated from your design to the Developers to work out of to make the mobile and/or web app.
But to make it an actual website yourself if you're not a developer is a different story.
There are several ways to go about this.
You could either host your Figma or Framer design with Anima. Which, incidentally, Anima is also an animated plugin in Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch.
You can also turn your design into html by looking at the tutorial here. And then adding your code to the website host of your choice.
Since I am a total noob when it comes to coding, I don't even want to attempt to try to explain it.
Hence why I would either go with doing it through Anima or recreating on Webflow or Wix's Editor X.
Or hire someone to do it for me.
Because that's me and I like to hire people.
I've used both Webflow and Editor X and both are really good builders. The kind that excites you to build.
But there's such a steep learning curve for Webflow. And in my opinion it lacks a lot of things that your clients may need in a website.
Like adding comments on your blog for example.
Or having to take extra steps to integrate automated emails with third parties.
Wix actually has its own email automated responder that is a lot cheaper than any other automated email system in the market so you can do things in-house.
And automated email responders are super essential to a business. If you haven't read why it is, it's covered in this article here.
Webflow also takes a while for anyone to get back to you in terms of customer service so you'll have to search through the forum to get an answer.
With Wix's Editor X--though Editor X just launched this year--it has become a competitor to Webflow.
Even the most die hard Webflow UX designers have to admit it's pretty awesome.
Editor X is way easier to navigate, has great customer service, and they have some things in Beta that you can now implement in your site, something that Editor X couldn't do before and only Webflow could, like the Interactions tool.
An example of this would be:
I still recommend you using both Webflow and Editor X because it's best to learn different platforms.
Because this will make you even more awesome!
And highly sought after in the UX design industry.
How to Get UX Design Jobs
Everything starts with what you can do. And to showcase that, have a portfolio on hand
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics careers in UX Design will have a 3% year-on-year growth through 2028. And CNN Money predicts an 18% growth.
If you haven't read two very important articles on How to Get a Job with Little to No Experience and How to Get Hired in 2020, you must. Because in those article are tips and strategies to get recruiters to chase after you.
A very important fact to remember is that people do not care about your experience as much as what you can do.
So can you do UX Design?
Yes, if you worked hard and learned how to use Figma or Framer or Webflow or Editor X and then have 5 to 10 examples that you can showcase as your portfolio.
Then yes, you can!
If you are an eager beaver and rearing to go with these softwares, then Youtube is your friend. This is where I learned most of my software skills from.
My recommendation on where to start first would be this:
All of these have free accounts for you to play with.
The reason I placed Webflow last is, again it has a steep learning curve. But worth learning once you get the hang out of the other three.
Also get familiar with other people's work. Look at really great examples of UX design like the ones you see on Behance.
Absorb other people's creative work and then make a splash with your own style.
Once you have one, and I mean one project for your portfolio ready, get a website and showcase it there. Then keep adding every time you have a new project you just completed.
This doesn't necessarily mean projects you did for others but also just ones you did for yourself.
The more on your portfolio the better your chances of getting hired.
And when you follow the steps of the two articles I linked above, you're chances of getting hired just got better.
Also it's best practice to get feedback on your work so you can keep improving. Ask feedback from other UX designers.
You should never stop improving on your skills. The only time your stop is when you're asleep. Even then your brain is still thinking.
Another tip is to see if there's someone who would love for you to do their website/app for them. Your call if you want to do it pro bono (free) or not. But also don't shortchange yourself.
It's always good to add their reviews on your site and the work that you did for them.
Although UX Jobs are ubiquitous (everywhere), here are some sites to browse through:
Doing UX Design as a Business
Nothing is more satisfying than owning your own business, especially ones that are in-demand
Doing UX Design as a business is a very good business to have.
Even as a side-hustle you'll be doing pretty well. How much you earn is basically up to you.
You have to know how much you're worth. Most business owners whose businesses are service oriented do better when they do value-based pricing versus hourly.
Value-based pricing is a strategy of setting prices based on consumer's perceived value of a product or service.
For example, let's say it will take you 20 hours of work to finish an app. And you charge $50/hr which would amount to $1,000 for that work.
But you know your skills are worth way more.
So instead, let's say you've done this for sometime and you know the value of your work and you believe that the requirements they have should be priced at $4,000. Then they will either take it or not take the deal.
However, when you tell the amount of work involved and what value you can add to their app, they will perceive you as someone who lives up to that value and at least they know you won't charge more than $4,000.
Doing hourly could also be bad in the eyes of clients who don't know how far your hourly can go. Because you could work at this forever.
So if you know how long it will take you. Let's say you can already guesstimate that it will take you 20 hours. Give them a cushion of 4 weeks for example.
That way you have a cushion in case problems arise when you work on the project.
A much better pricing model would be to charge a flat fee plus if there are extras that they need then you can charge the remaining in an hourly rate.
One of the keys to owning a business is networking.
And the place to do B2B or Business to Business networking is through LinkedIn.
I'll be covering how to garner more business through LinkedIn and the art of networking soon, so stay tuned for that and make sure you subscribe here.
There are other free business networking sites like Shapr that you can join as well.
A little disclaimer: please be careful on sites like those because there are catfishers (people pretending to be someone they aren't) who are there to scam people. So be mindful.
Otherwise, let people know what you do and showcase your portfolio.
I've had people wanting me to work on different creative projects on Shapr.
A lot of them I had to turn down because I had too much on my plate.
Here are other places you can find clients:
UX design is a challenging but fun occupation and business. If this is something your really want to go for, then don't hesitate and take a step towards this career.
We at Xynergystyx are routing for you!
Be sure to subscribe here for more because we can't help but give away free information.