10 Ways A Small Independent Artist Can Make Money Off His Own Brand

By small we mean you, the underdog artist struggling to make ends meet and working a 9-to-5 while you’re bombarded daily with useless advice that you can wipe your arse with. Useless because these gurus’ strategies are only effective for who’s established on the market, which in most cases translates to more than 100k fans. The catch though is that anyone with over 100k followers makes money. You don’t even have to think about it. Sponsors knock on your door because you’re a hot commodity and cost less than JLo or Cardi B to promote the same product to even more real fans as the superstars only have a max of 1% engagement rate. So here are 10 ways you can monetize your fanbase even if you only have 1000 fans.

10. Sell Smart Merch And Smart Products

Smart means you investing the least amount of money possible while maximizing your profits. So that equates no upfront inventory. DO NOT buy a thousand T-shirts and hoodies and then feel overwhelmed trying to sell them, package them, ship them. Instead, head to either of these print-on-demand services that range from mugs, shirts, hoodies, keychains, mousepads, and books (Gelato, Printful, Printify, Amazon KDP) and let them take care of the heavy load. You just design the products and embed them on your website. When your fans will buy your products, they’re covering the production costs and you get your clean profits without ever worrying about packaging, tracing, shipping, or fulfillment. And not to mention you can always create digital products to sell as well without any monetary backing. It’s the new age of less waste, more profit!

9. Ask For Donations Without Begging

Thanks to Twitch Streamers and TikTok personalities, it’s become okay to say “If you like my content I would appreciate your donation! This is my Cashapp, this is my PayPal.” Don’t EVER come across as desperate or needy. Be nice, polite, and remind people that they have the option to give you an extra hand if they feel especially generous today. Some people feel better about themselves helping out someone they like than donating to the church. Seriously. Your job is to remind them of the option.

8. Accept Challenges For Money

This one is a lot of fun! We wouldn’t have discovered it had it not been for the ever-growing TikTok! There are thousands if not millions of creative influencers who do live sessions and actively get paid for different things they’re willing to do. We’ve witnessed a guy sleeping and having his Alexa set up in a hilarious manner where if a fan donates $20 or more, she starts playing Rock music and the poor man has to jump every time and turn her off. We’ve also seen girls saying: “Will only talk if you make me laugh. Jokes start at $10.” while holding up a cardboard with her $cashtag. We sincerely believe THIS is the future of entertainment. LIVE actions and reactions from people we’re heavily invested in. Old movie stars are constantly losing their appeal while nerds, cool kids, and creative minds are making bank. The future is now and you can ride high the wave before it becomes common practice.

7. Offer Exclusives Directly To Your Fans

Most independent artists we know have their own recording studio or at least a minimal setup at home to perform their job as an artist. So use what you have to support your present and your future. Offer an exclusive album/project to only 100 fans at the price of $100. Or 10 fans at $1000. That’s $10,000. Essentially you would be replicating what Wu-Tang Clan did with their Once Upon A Time In Shaolin album on a smaller scale. If you’ve built a personal relationship with your fans and you trust them, you can also sell memorabilia: clothing you’ve worn, autographed items, never seen before printed photos, your favorite books, etc.

6. Start A Small Go Fund Me

Big campaigns require a lot of effort on your side to convince people of the validity and potential success of your project. Whereas smaller campaigns are more personal, feasible, and easier to manage. If you start a Go Fund Me of $3,000 for a music video, you’re very likely to achieve it if you tell your fans: “If each of you donated $3, I could shoot this professional music video tomorrow. Help me give YOU better, high-quality visuals.” Oh yes, remember to always make it about the fans and not yourself.

5. Get Involved In Reputable Affiliate Marketing

Don’t just start talking to your fans about products that have no tangency with who you are as an artist. Focus instead on products you genuinely enjoy and constantly use. Then find their official affiliate links and get to earn commissions on sales or conversions. Yes, you can get paid for people signing up just like you would for selling an item. We recommend Amazon Associates.

4. Start Your Own Cameo Service

If you’re living on planet Earth then at least ONCE you’ve heard of Cameo. The platform advertising itself as “Personalized Videos Featuring Your Favorite Stars.” How about you telling your fans about this service or even officially dedicating a section of your website’s menu to it WITHOUT needing to be approved by Cameo? You can totally do it and charge as much as you wish thus bypassing the criteria required to be a celebrity. It is enough that you are adored by a thousand people, or less, to start making money. Don’t limit yourself by everyone else’s standards. You make the rules for YOUR brand.

3. Offer One-On-One Conversations And Live Calls For A Good Cause

People don’t like supporting selfish or egocentric personalities. So take a page from Prince Harry’s book: donate a portion of the proceeds to the less fortunate or to a cause you believe in. You can charge for 15-minute live calls with your fans and publicly announce how much of the fee will go to charity. This approach will offer your fans the chance to catch two birds with one stone. They get to talk to you one on one AND they get to make the world just a lil better through your charity initiative. And don’t you DARE not keep your word. You deserve all the karma biting you in the arse if you lie to people.

2. Ask For A Monthly Subscription Fee

And don’t use Patreon for it. Use your own website, your own platform, your own central hub. WordPress makes it incredibly easy and intuitive to navigate a monthly paying system if you desire to implement this method. You can offer exclusive content such as personal blog posts, behind-the-scenes photos, cover records, remakes and remixes, secret stories, private letters, photos with quotes, etc. And no, we don’t intend pornographic content but rather diary-like thoughts and songs that create an even stronger bond between you and your supporters. Heck, Rihanna included letters in HER book, why shouldn’t you?

1. Talk About Limited Collaborations Opportunities

This one will make you the most money the fastest but it can only be done when at least 50% of those thousand fans are constantly engaged with you and your posts. That would show over 500 likes and comments on any given post of yours on your social media channels. This real, organic momentum will give you enough exposure for the artist friends of your fans to notice you and jump on the opportunity to work with you. You have to be open to these limited collaborations for a very limited amount of time but publicize the fact rather heavily. Again, never sound desperate. You have to be casual about it and turn it into a curiosity rather than a need to make money. “I want to get out of my comfort zone and meet new talent. Until August 20th, you can send your collaboration requests to this e-mail: xyz. Looking forward to uniting forces and creating epicness!” will get you a ton more inquiries than “Until August 20th only, discounting my collab fee for 50%!!! Hit me up now!” The obvious difference need not be discussed any further.

 From Avant-Pop to Rap and Rock music, these 50 talents need and deserve support more than the ones you hear on the radio. So pay us back for the free articles by hearing THEM out. Thank you.

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