How to make money from your personal work

Just because it’s self-initiated doesn’t mean you can’t earn from it. Jeffrey Bowman shares his tips on making personal work pay

Make it collectable
I’ve dabbled in many types of sellable work, from tees and badges to prints and zines. The most successful – or at least the instant sell – has been zines. You’re producing an item that contains more than just one bespoke piece of work, is part of a limited run and could become collectable.

Start your own store
It’s vital to have your own shop, even if it’s not selling a lot. It’s the first port of call when directing people to your products. You can have one-day online sales and it gives you the flexibility to sell things together, set up special offers and utilise Twitter. I had to take my online store down as I sold out of everything! It’s now in transition while I develop new work.

Look for print services
A number of online companies have set up stores that you can use to sell prints, such as Society6, which takes care of the printing and postage. Some companies and organisations stock artists’ work and sell it, and others, such as Toy, offer print services.

Do your homework
Selling through other people is fine if you do your homework and don’t jump into anything. If you’re sending physical objects, they’ll take 25 to 30 per cent of the sale. If they buy straight from you, you’ll need to give them a reduced (‘cost’) price. If an online print store sells your work and deals with the printing and postage, expect about 15 to 40 per cent of the sale.

Keep it smart
You need to push your products as there’s a lot of competition, but don’t oversell. Be smart with promotion. Drop offers at the right time on Twitter – at the start of the month when people get paid, and Christmas. Be clever about it, and be smart about production costs and methods. Select the right paper stock and print reproductions for your print. It’s worth parting with the cash.