Creativity is the new cool. With the fast pace of the internet and the gradual demise of traditional employment, you have to be an entrepreneur on top of being creative. Ideas and expression of them are goods that can make money for you, and you have a free marketplace on the internet.
The internet is making creative entrepreneurs out of persons who were previously considered just artists or creators. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen. However, money has to be made and opportunities exploited.
Today, as a creator, you can directly interact with consumers of your craft with little or no resources. A writer can self-publish, a fine artist can sell his art directly on his website without art agents or galleries, and a movie maker can make a movie, put it on his website and make money from it. You can relate directly to your audience and sell yourself and your creations in one breath.
There are arguments that the internet has facilitated the distribution of digital copies of creative products thereby making illegal copying and the distribution of illegal copies quite easy and depriving creators of income. However, on the flip side is the removal of the need for middlemen. The musical artist can easily do without the record label, the internet provides him with the platform to brand himself, get his music out and make money off it. Even works distributed free of charge can generate money for the creator. We will get to that shortly.
It is quite obvious that this age is one of versatility and flexibility with things changing fast and traditional methods being displaced. The internet has created an ‘every man for himself’ atmosphere that is working fine for the previously ignored underdog. The influence of the ‘gatekeepers’ in the creative industries is gradually waning and the focus now is on what the consumer wants. It is a democracy of tastes and creativity. Everyone can make and sell. As a writer, the need to get a literary agent or writer to endorse your work before it sees daylight is fast becoming obsolete.
Some say that the Internet has not really affected the basic business outlook of some creative businesses such as traditional theatres because they require the physical presence of an audience. This, however, is not entirely true as even these sectors can capture their art in video and exhibit same on the internet, especially for promotional purposes. There is also the constant improvement on audiovisual technology that improves the experience of the everyday internet user.
Having gone through all of this, we will quickly run through 3 methods for you to make money off your creativity on the internet.
Free access – You can give viewers free of charge access to your work in order to generate traffic to your website, blog or social media page and in turn make money from the website by advertisements, sponsored content or all the many ways of monetizing a website. This gives you the opportunity to unrestrictedly share your creativity with a large audience, get feedback from them, and interact with them while still making money. For example, as a photographer, you can provide free stock photographs. Create a niche, like “Lagos photos.” Master your niche by creating awesome quality works and boom! You are in business.
Another way to make money off your creativity is to use it for promotional purposes- the internet is almost unlimited in terms of reach. We are told that 40% of the world’s population use the internet and the number is rising. By leveraging on this, you can promote your creative works by sharing samples and demos, interacting with prospective customers and helping them see your works. As a web designer or fashion designer, you can put up pictures and short videos exhibiting what you do. Believe me, if you properly research internet marketing methods and are good at what you do, you’ll earn money.
Lastly, you can also make money by teaching people your craft on the internet. You could do this by selling how-to eBooks and charging for webinars. Of course, people have to see that you are good at what you do before they will pay you to teach them what you do. The best way to let them know the extent of your skills is to give them access to view what you can do and review it, still using the internet. So as a chef, you can sell cookbooks, recipes, and step by step videos on how to cook, after you have shared pictures of your work on the internet and perhaps testimonials from persons who can attest to your exquisite kitchen skills.
The internet opens up a world of opportunities for you as a creative person. You must, however, be ready to flow with the dynamism of our time.