How to make money as an independent artist

Making money as an independent artist can be challenging. There are so many ways to make money in the music industry – selling your music, selling merchandise, touring and playing shows – but it all depends on how much time and effort you’re willing to put into it. Here are some tips that have worked for me:

Be an artist – not an entrepreneur

The most important distinction between being an artist and an entrepreneur is that you should never confuse yourself with the former. You are not making art to become rich or famous—you are doing it because your heart compels you to create, whether it’s through painting or playing music or writing novels. The fact that you can make money doing what you love is a wonderful byproduct of this passion (and one we’d all like), but it shouldn’t be your primary motivation for creating in the first place.

If you’re going into business with the goal of making money alone, then yes: there will be times when it feels like a slog towards some distant horizon where success finally lies in sight. But if there’s no joy in what you do regularly? If it feels like an obligation rather than something that lights up your soul? Then maybe entrepreneurship isn’t right for you after all!

It doesn’t matter if everyone else thinks they should be entrepreneurs; instead, listen carefully within yourself and ask yourself honestly whether this path makes sense for who exactly YOU are – not just as someone who wants their own creative agency but also as someone who cares about making decisions based on their values and principles above all else.”

Build the strongest community possible

Community building is critical for independent artists if you want to make money as an artist. If you don’t have a community, then it’s going to be next to impossible for you to sell anything.

When I say “build a community” I’m talking about three things:

  • Your email list
  • Social media followers/friends/following (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Website visitors

Raise your prices when you can

When you can, raise your prices.

Don’t raise them too high, don’t raise them too quickly and don’t raise them too often.

  • Raise your prices when you have a reason to do so*

Stop wasting time – do what works and do it efficiently

You’re probably doing a lot of things to promote your art and music that aren’t working.

Stop wasting time – do what works and do it efficiently.

Time management is essential to being an independent artist. You need to be hyper-focused on the things that work for you, which means cutting out all the rest. If you don’t know why something isn’t working then stop doing it immediately (unless it’s a necessary evil like taxes).

If you’re not sure if something works for you, try it for two weeks straight (this way there won’t be any excuses). If at the end of those two weeks, what you’re doing still isn’t giving results, move on! Do more of what does work and less of what doesn’t; this will save time in the long run while increasing productivity and creativity in your practice as an artist or musician

Know where your time is best spent

You’re a smart, talented person with a lot of things to do. You need to know where your time is best spent so you can get the most out of it. Here are some questions that will help:

  • What are your talents? What do you enjoy doing the most? Do other people tell you that they admire what you do, or have skills in those areas themselves?
  • What parts of your job do not come easily to you and make life difficult for others because they have to pick up the slack from them instead?
  • Is there something else more important than this particular task which would take less time and energy but yield better results overall? Ie- if a tree falls in an area that needs foresting, should I spend my limited resources on gathering firewood or growing trees elsewhere which would provide shelter for wildlife and humans alike (and possibly work as renewable energy sources)?

Nail down your brand and voice

  • Find Your Voice and Brand.

Brand building is a process, but it starts with identifying what makes you unique as an artist. What’s your message, personality, style, values, mission? Once you’ve got that down, it’s time to put it into action across all of your social media channels. The more people see how unique you are (and how much they enjoy interacting with you through social media), the more people will want to buy from or support you in some way.

  • Get yourself out there.

You may feel like there are so many other artists trying to do what you’re doing—and there are! But if no one knows who they are or what they’re doing either (because they aren’t getting any sales), then being “just another indie artist” isn’t such a bad thing after all! Every day is an opportunity to get another person interested in what makes YOUR art special—and if someone likes something enough that they feel compelled to share it with others (or even just buy directly from YOU) then YOU’RE WINNING AT THIS GAME!

Shed the fear of selling

The first step to making money as an artist is to get comfortable with selling. Okay, so this might be the hardest part of being a creative entrepreneur. You have to be okay with asking people for money and selling your work at a higher price than you would if you were just playing it safe and trying to make enough money in your day job. What’s more scary than asking someone for money? It might feel like they are taking something from you that doesn’t belong to them—and they could be! But really, they are paying for something that only belongs to you—your art or talent—and if there was no one willing to pay for it, then no one would ever get their hands on it either way.

So what does this mean? If someone buys something from me I should feel good about myself? Not exactly…

It means I need some serious mental training in order not only become comfortable with asking people directly but also being okay with rejection when someone says “no thanks.”

time management, brand management, & sales are all very important to making money as an independent artist.

The first step to making money as an independent artist is time management. Artists need to be willing to dedicate time to their art, and this includes setting aside regular blocks of time for marketing and sales. You also need to set aside blocks of time for research, development, and learning—the better you understand your work and the industry in which it operates, the easier it will be for you sell yourself or your product.


We hope this post was helpful for you. The truth is that it’s never been easier for artists to make money, but it hasn’t always been easy either. The key is to stay focused on what matters most to your business and your goals, then use the tools available (both online and offline) in creative ways that work best for your unique needs.

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