Starting your
art career and
a side hustle

- by Always Art Staff

Starting your art career will not immediately make you financially free, it takes time and dedication to get to that point. Having financial backup is vital. In most cases, you have that from a job. Leaving your job and deciding to solely pursue your art career is very risky, especially if you do not have any financial support.

Many artists engage in their career while still being a full-time time employee. It is definitely difficult, as you come home from work and still have to create art. But it helps you practice productivity and make your creative process more efficient. Established artists recommend not leaving your job for your art career until you can no longer balance doing both. That point usually comes when your art career generates stable income. Some artists consider their art career as a side hustle until it flips. On the other hand, there are artists who want art to be their main career and have a side hustle to support them financially until they make it.

Use your skills to get a side hustle

If you are good at graphic design, you can be a freelancer and take on projects in that realm. There are many websites for that such as Fiverr, 99designs, Upwork,, etc. Use any skill you have to help you make money: e.g., illustration, drawing, editing, etc.

Ideally, you should focus on one skill so that you can remain focused and reduce overwhelm. The goal in doing all of this is to help you realize your dream art career, so have patience, and keep reminding yourself of that. Do not underestimate freelance projects; they help teach you professionalism, email etiquette, communication, invoicing, respecting deadlines, and other essential business skills. It will greatly benefit you in your art career.

Get a job in the art industry

Having a job related to the art industry allows you to meet new people and expand your network to include individuals that can help you in your art career. Your network will play a critical role in your artist journey. Even building the knowledge about the industry is valuable, as it might assist you in making smart decisions as an artist.

Sell your own merch

To summarize, you can create and sell your own merch by developing designs and putting them on products (t-shirts, mugs, pillows, etc.) with the assistance of dedicated services, and sell them on online marketplaces or your own website. See our full article about selling your own merch.

The bottom line

There are pros and cons to any option you choose to pursue for financial stability. Try to choose the one you are most comfortable at because you will be doing it for a while before your art career is fully financially supportive. You may either hate your job or enjoy it so much that you do not want to leave it immediately—many artists experience those feelings. Transitional phases are not smooth, but they help you grow as a person, learn new skills, and experience life, all of which are useful to you as an artist looking to make impactful work.

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