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What are my "Creative" Income Streams?

 I've talked on here a few times about my work, what I do for a living. I've loosely mentioned that some of what I do is in the creative field, but I've never actually broken down what that is. I know that there are a lot of people out there who are talented creatively but not sure if/how to try and monetize their skills, and so I wanted to share a little overview of how I'm currently doing that, and what my plans are for the future.

I should preface this by saying that I'm not an expert at any of this, I'm really pretty new and unsure of myself on this journey - so take this as an account of my experience, rather than advice

Print on Demand
This was the first way I started putting my work out there to sell, mostly because there's no financial cost to giving it a shot, so it's low risk. Also the websites walk you through what file types, sizes, color profiles etc. to use so there's not too much to try and "figure out" on your own.

I have work up on a number of sites, Redbubble, TeePublic, Society 6, Zazzle, Spreadshirt and Amazon Merch are all of them... I think. TeePublic does the best for me, closely followed by Society6 and Redbubble. Zazzle and Spreadshirt I only have a few bits on and Merch I think I just suck at because everyone raves about it being an amazing platform, and I barely sell anything.

I haven't had any real issues or negative experiences with any of the sites - I mean, there's pros and cons to each site and interface, but for me, I feel like it's worth putting my work up there. I'll probably write more detailed posts on some of the platforms at a later point, but for now, that's a summary.

Each site does better for different things - for me, on Rebubble and TeePublic, generally it's my simple text based designs that do best, whereas on Society 6, it's much more about the visual designs - for me, things that are well suited big surfaces, like duvets, seem to do best.

For me, print on demand is a great thing to be part of - with no monthly fees to pay, so nothing to lose if sales are quiet for a month or two - but it's not something I count on for regular income. Profit margins can be low - £0.30 for a sticker sale maybe,  and while bigger comissions definitely do happen, it's sporadic for me, at least so far. I will continue to use print on demand websites, but I don't put the same hours in as I used to.

Digital Download Shop on Etsy - Timorous Eclectic
This was the second way I monetized my work, again, in large part due to the low barrier for entry and passive nature of sales. When I started the shop I sold downloads of cards and art prints, but have since moved over to digital paper and clipart packs - all hand drawn by me. I love getting to make the digital products - I find coming up with the themes and color schemes so exciting - and again, there's not a lot of risk in putting a product up there and it not selling - well, there's $0.20 of risk to be exact.

Making my digital shop has actually been great for a lot of reasons - I've learned so much about using Etsy, about pricing, advertising, and designing for a target audience. Digital Downloads, especially of paper packs and clipart, is a very saturated market, but all things considered, I feel like I've done quite well with sales and growing. Going forward I will contine to expand my catalogue of existing products, as well as branch out into different printables like greeting cards (again), planner deco and bullet journal elements.

"Physical Product" Shop on Etsy - MeekyMoo Journals
Most recently, I opened a second shop on Etsy where I sell physical products. This shop is only a few months old, and in its infancy, but I'm having a lot of fun and getting good feedback from it so far. It currently sells penpal kits and ephemera sets for using in junk journals, scrapbooks and all sorts of other projects! Each kit is carefuly curated by me, and I spend a lot of time looking for just the right bits and pieces to go with a theme.

This shop is challenging for me, because I don't have a lot of money to go out and invest in stock, so I can only buy a little at a time, then it sells, then I have to wait to find more stock before I can list again - so I'm struggling to build it up the way I'd like to. I had been building a little bank account for it to try and allow me to create new products more efficiently, but the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc with my ability to source stock, as well as with my income!

There's so much I want to do with this shop, so much I'm excited to share with people - but development is on the back burner a little at the minute with the COVID-19 situation. I know I want to sell prints of my work on here at some point, as well as postcards and other items related to Happy Mail.

Plans for the Future
In the longer term, I want to work on creating more of a personal brand. Using platfoms like Instagram, and this blog, to share my work and hopefully build a following that would allow me to produce a monthly subscription service of some kind - whether it's stickers and other products I've designed, or a curated selection of ephemera!

While posting my journal spreads on Instagram doesn't directly earn me any income, my hope is that the in the longer term it might open doors for me, or allow me to connect with people and get a greater understanding for the content and products they'd most like to see from me.

So that's where I'm at just now in my Creative Income Journey - how I started, what I'm doing now, and what I'm hoping to do a little further down the line.  I hope this post was interesting or helpful for you if you too are on a journey to try and monetise your creative skills. Please let me know in the comments below, or reach out to me on Instagram @meekymoojournals


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