This idea of multiple income streams is something that keeps coming up for me as a smart biz strategy. I talked about it at the SEA at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Conference last October, in a roundtable, and at the Self-Employment in the Arts Conference (SEA) just last month, in a panel.
The obvious income stream for jewelers is to sell jewelry, but how can we add more income streams? Writing books, selling tutorials, teaching live classes or online classes are all examples of types of extras a jewelry artist can sell.
My friends who sew or quilt all sell patterns and/or kits.
Why add more income streams?
To reach more and different customers. Not everyone is in the market for jewelry, but that same person might be in the market for lessons in jewelry making.
I’m a big advocate of digital information products: a download for sale that you create once, and sell again and again. Patterns, tutorials and ebooks all fall into this category. The even more exciting thing about digital products is that you can set them up to sell on automatic pilot. My kindle book is completely taken care of by amazon. I wrote up, uploaded it to amazon and they take care of the rest. My only job is marketing. Isn’t that awesome? What could you create that you could sell as a digital download?
Quilter Ebony Love came and talked to our group, Berwyn Makers, about her business model. She talked about making each quilt “work as hard as possible.” Where she used to make one quilt and sell it, now she’ll design and make a quilt for a fabric manufacturer, then that quilt might get pick up for a magazine cover (check, that happened), then she might be invited to write a how-to article inside the magazine (check!) and then she can sell kits of the pre-cut fabric on her website to go with that magazine article (check!).
Of all the artists I know, Ebony is making her artwork work the hardest!
The picture above is my newest foray into the digital/automated sales world. My body of work, “Our Ladies of Perpetual Housework,” is currently on exhibit at the West Englewood Branch of the Chicago Public Library. People love these works and always smile when they see them. While most people wouldn’t have a place to display one of the original sculptures, they might like to own a postcard or sticker, or mail a card to a friend, or wear it on a T-shirt.
After much searching of options for offering these products, I chose Red Bubble. You can see my collection here.
What about you? What are your income streams? What’s an area you’d like to move into?