UPDATED: Added an extra tip!
This is the scenario: You are a skilled Photoshop artist, or perhaps you are a great photographer. If that’s not true, then you may be a cool designer or at least have some nice Photoshop tips or tricks that nobody knows. And you need money.
No matter what your skills are, if you are capable of creating something with a certain appeal with Photoshop or even other graphics application, there are many ways that you can turn that into money with certain ease.
In this article you won’t find any get-rich-quick tips. In fact, to quit your day job and make a living with this information may take you a long while. But, as with most in life, it depends on you. I will only show you what’s out there and make your startup a little easier.
Take into consideration that most of these tips do not require that you have a web site of your own, but with all the free services available, I believe that there is no excuse for not creating your own web site. Two interesting services are: Wordpress.com (free blog hosting) and Google pages (free web pages hosting).
Tip #1: Create Photoshop brushes or other goodies and sell them online.
Photoshop brushes are hot, hot, hot. Hotter than anything. Designers and artists are hungry for brushes. Photoshop brushes are total winners. Sadly there are a lot available on the web for free. The good news is that only your imagination is the limit. Take a look at what’s out there and create your own collection. Perhaps, instead of creating a collection of a million low quality brushes, you can create a good high resolution, high quality, brushes set or collection and sell them at your web site. Although textures, patterns, actions, and other Photoshop goodies are not that popular, you can always build a nice collection with those. Don’t worry if there is a lot of competition out there (and believe me there is), you simply have to offer a higher quality product than the rest and, most important of all, sell it better than the competition.
Once you have your product, you have to sell it. There are a lot of shareware and downloadable software payment processing services that will take care of all the payment process and also of the file hosting and delivery. Some of them even offer some exposure for your product and affiliate program solutions.
.: Payment processing services
» ShareIt and RegNow
Formerly independent companies, now both belong to Digital River’s network. These are among the most popular payment processing and software distribution providers. They host your application and provide marketing solutions too.
The most popular electronic payment processor. Since it is so popular, it increases the chances of an impulse purchase. Many people don’t consider their PayPal balance as money. They are more willing to spend money from their PayPal account than paying with a credit card.
» Payloadz and E-junkie
Both services offer a great load of options and features, some of them for free. I can’t talk much about E-junkie because I didn’t try them. But opening an account and submitting a file to PayLoadz is amazingly fast. They even have an ebay store.
Tip #2: Create your own gift store with your artwork
There are a lot of services where you can sell gifts (mugs, ebooks, t-shirts, calendars, you name it) with your own artwork or content on a print-on-demand basis. That’s the beauty of it. You don’t need to spend a lot of money building a stock base of products. In fact with these services you don’t need to spend ANY money. Just select the product you want, upload your content, select a few options, set your pricing and you are ready to go!
It is advisable to purchase some of your own items to check the quality of the output. Check following links to read more about these services: CafePress alternatives (talks about the alternatives to CafePress and the quality of these services). T-Shirt Forums (users share their experience in this T-Shirt design and marketing forum).
.: Print on demand services with e-store capabilities
» 99 Dogs
» Print Mojo
» Spread Shirt
» Brandi Jasmine Art Links
This site hosts a large amount of CafePress help links and alternatives along with other art related links.
Tip #3: Participate on contests.
I call this an easy way to earn money only because it is easy to submit your artwork to contests. The problem is that in this case your artwork has to be the best. In some cases, it is not the best artwork the one that wins, but the best idea. Anyway, here’s a little list of contests sites that can give you some earnings or at list some cool prizes.
.: Art and design contests sites
The mother of all Photoshop Contest sites. Worth1000 (a picture is WORTH a THOUSAND words, got it?) hosts some corporate contests with cash prizes.
» Photoshop Talent
Photoshop Talent members award you with points that are exchangeable for money. Not much money here, but if you are a regular submitter (and winner) you can make some. Prizes go for the winner and 2nd and 3rd place runner ups.
» Photoshop Contest
There are no money prizes here, but the prizes are cool. Graphics tablets, training Dvds, iPods, etc..
» Photoshoped up
No prizes here. You earn points but it is not clear if they will turn into prizes in the future. But if you are a car tuning freak, this is the place to go.
» Graphic Competitions
This site is a directory of worldwide graphics competitions.
» Site Point Design Contests
Site Point’s forum of design contests. Great prizes.
» Elance, Get a Freelancer and Freelancer Network
Not exactly contests sites. A project is posted and freelancers post their quotation and skills to win that project.