How many times have you typed into a search engine, “Make money from home.” It seems that the internet is flooded with money-making articles, webinars, and expensive online courses. The search alone can be so overwhelming that you just want to shut the lid on your laptop, head to the kitchen, and drown your sorrows in that carton of ice cream in your freezer. Let’s face it. Since 2020, we have watched the unbelievable rise of gas prices, apartment rent, and the cost of a ‘Happy Meal’ from Mcdonald's. So many people have lost their jobs. The homeless rate has gone through the roof. And here we are now in 2023, feeling the repercussions of the last two years.
I have dreamt since I was a teenager, how to make a living as an artist, selling my artwork. Of course, I heard over and over again about famous artists who didn’t actually become famous until after they were dead. So essentially, it wasn’t the artist who eventually became famous, but it was their artwork that became famous. Hmmm? My first experience with this discouraging untruth was when I begged my parents to send me to a fashion design school. It was FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising). We visited the school and I immediately fell in love with the beautiful illustrations that adorned the walls as my mom and I walked through the foyer of this fancy, dark interior building. Throughout the presentation and the tour, I pictured myself just living and thriving in this space, and going on to become a famous fashion designer. I thought to myself, “This is why I’ll never be a starving artist!”
On the drive home, I was beaming with excitement. Mom said to me, “It’s a beautiful school, Yolanda. It was also very expensive. We’ll have to discuss the cost with your dad, okay?” I looked at my mom and nodded my head slowly. I could tell by the look in her eyes that as much as she wanted this for me, she knew the answer would be, “We just can’t afford it.” The car ride was quiet and I could feel my excitement dwindle down to sadness. Mom broke the silence with her desperate attempt to give her teenage daughter a glimpse of hope.
“You can take many of the same art and business classes at the junior college and still get a great job in fashion design!” I don’t know who was trying to cheer who up the most, but I looked up at my mom with a forced smile and said softly, “Sure.” I know my mom wanted this so much for me and now as an adult myself, I can just imagine her pain of not being able to give her child something they desired so much.
it must have torn her heart out! Both my mom and dad worked so hard to put my siblings and me through school, buy us the nicest clothes and keep us safe since we grew up in such a rough neighborhood.
“Thank you, mom and dad!”
Fast forward to 2023, I never went to FIDM and never became a famous fashion designer. In my 20s, I took a job as a graphic technician at a local newspaper and worked there for nine and a half years, editing ads, and text, and cutting color overlays for full-page, car ads. It was at this job that I was first introduced to using a Mac computer. When I wasn’t at work, I was home filling up mounds of sketch pads with fashion illustrations and doodles. I even started painting and did a few commissioned paintings for friends. I created my first business card on the Mac at my job and sent it to a printer. By word of mouth, I did several commissioned paintings, and each time my confidence grew. I still wasn’t a famous artist, but I wasn’t starving either…and I was far from dead. I learned the value of pivoting early in my life and found a way to thrive in the space that I was in. It wasn’t until my late 30s that I started noticing the fun, sassy illustrations on greeting cards and wondering how to get my artwork on cards by big companies like Hallmark and Shoe Box Greetings. So, I did what you most likely did which landed you on this blog, I googled, “How to get my art on greeting cards.” From there, I dived head first into the deep ocean of art licensing ‘how-to’s’ and learned how to swim. It’s said that knowledge is power, but I have to disagree. Applied knowledge is power!
In 2015, I attended one of the largest licensing trade shows held in Las Vegas, called Licensing Expo. Another huge art trade show, Surrtex is held annually in New York, for surface pattern designers. I encourage anyone with a desire to venture into the world of art licensing, to learn more about these two GIANTS in the art licensing industry. These trade shows are an open invitation to meet and greet big brands and create some amazing partnerships! I know that this experience was just what I needed to light the fire in me to pursue art licensing.
My passion for art licensing introduced me to affiliate marketing in such a subtle but effective way. Many of my illustrations are set up on an online platform called Creative Market. I knew that this was a platform for creatives that I wanted to be a member of, after reading about the amazing success of one of their artists, Nicky Laatz. If you ever wondered if you could make a living as a successful artist, I encourage you to read her amazing story How Nicky Laatz Designed Her Way to One Million Dollars.
As I was creating success for myself, I had my slow months and my great months. Instead of feeling discouraged in the slow months, I decided to click the link for Creative Market’s affiliate partner program and learn more. As an affiliate partner, I would be helping other artists achieve exposure and success, and in turn, receive a commission for myself…a commission that adds up. Being a creative myself, I have always notated on all of my affiliate marketing platforms, such as Pinterest, that as an affiliate partner, I do receive commissions. This lets my audience know that as I am advertising for other artists, I am also receiving commissions.
It’s a matter of ethics that I know I appreciate when others advertise my work. I am living proof that when you show goodness to others, goodness multiples back to you. If you want to know more about opening a Creative Market account or joining their partner program, this colorful banner below will show you more…
So, back to my first question at the beginning of this article, “How many times have you typed into a search engine, Make money from home.” Truth is, there are so many ways to make money from home, but first I encourage you to ask yourself what it is that you enjoy doing. My reason for suggesting this is so important. If you pick up a work-from-home assignment, as a copywriter because the money looks good, but you know that you don’t have a passion for words or editing, then you might find yourself struggling to not only complete assignments, but to bid for enough assignments to supplement your income. Take a breath and ask yourself, “What do I enjoy doing and can I make money doing it?” Do you love shopping? Mystery shoppers actually make decent money. What about cooking? Why not offer to prepare healthy lunches for your neighbor’s kids, and/or your co-workers for a reasonable price. Hey, if Hello Fresh® can do it, then so can you! Here’s one that’s right up my alley: paint & sip parties! You don’t even have to have a creative bone in your body. You just need to be able to follow a paint template. A paint party of 10 people at $35 per person is $350 for one two-hour session, minus the cost of the supplies. Offer to hold these paint & sip parties at people’s houses, and save money on venue deposits.
As I mentioned earlier, applied knowledge is power! Find out what you love and research how to achieve it. Work at your passion as much, if not more, than you work at your 9 to 5. Life is really tough right now and I know how easy it is to get discouraged enough to give up. There are seasons to my growing business where at times I am thriving, and in other seasons, I see a little movement. That’s not a time to give up. Instead, it’s a time to refocus on why I love what I do and study others in my industry who are extremely successful and learn from them! I hope this light’s a fire deep inside of your soul causing you to be more intentional and thoughtful about what you want to see in your life and believe that you do have the power within to make it your reality. That car ride home from FIDM, I could have gone home and thrown all of my sketch pads into the garbage. But I didn’t. I kept drawing, growing, and showing up to events where I would seek and gain knowledge, to then apply to my life. It's this process I will repeat the rest and for the best of my life.
Blessing, my friend,
Below are just a couple of links that I have researched for work-at-home opportunities. Due diligence on your part is always important.
Work at Home Moms: https://www.wahm.com/
The 5 Best Mystery Shopper Companies to Work for in 2023: https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/best-mystery-shopping-companies-to-work/