Selling your knowledge as a doll artist
In the article “How to turn your doll making hobby into a career?”, I mentioned how important it is to diversify your income sources. One of the ways to do that is to offer your knowledge alongside your creations. Today I want to talk about the methods you can use to monetize your knowledge as an artist.
This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I wouldn’t promote anything I don’t absolutely love!
New style of learning
Online learning or E-learning is a rapidly growing industry. According to Stratistics MRC, the Global E-Learning Market is accounted for $165.21 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $275.10 billion by 2022. People are eager to learn and they want to do that from the comfort of their home. Another reason for such growth is incredibly high costs of traditional schooling. In the case of doll makers, you’ll rarely be able to learn this craft in your local art school. That’s why most of us learned everything by trial and error or by searching for information online. To this day, there’s still not enough material about less popular doll making niches, for example, porcelain dolls or marionettes.
Sites like Skillshare or Creative Live (that I love and use myself) popularised online learning. Especially amongst the casual learners who have some time in the evenings, the weekends and want to pick up a new hobby or two. Because of that, you don’t have to explain what is a PDF tutorial or an online class anymore. This is incredibly helpful for people like you and me who don’t have big marketing budgets to reach new audiences.
To give you an example of how online learning changed the route of my career for the better, I have to share what I offer for my students. At the moment I have a few PDF tutorials and sewing patterns for hobbyists who want a quick crafting project and dabble in sculpting a little bit. Also, I’m offering more robust and long-term learning experience - doll making classes. All of these products bring almost half of my income annually. If online learning won’t be a thing, I probably won’t have a full-time job as a doll artist.
An example of one of my PDF tutorials
The ways to offer your knowledge
The easiest and almost free way is to create PDF tutorials or patterns and put them on your Etsy shop. If you’re a practicing doll maker you probably have a unique style and skills that other artists don’t. Show the world your ways and get paid for that! To create PDF tutorials you can simply use software like “Pages” or “Word”, there’s a good online option as well called “Canva”.
If you want to tackle a bigger project you can think about creating an online class. For my classes, I use Teachable, which is an incredible platform which has all the tools you need to make it work. You are responsible for the content, they’re responsible for all the technical stuff like accepting payments, store students’ accounts and host your course. Skillshare offers a very good platform for teaching as well, they even have the ways to market your course for their huge audience so you don’t have to!
I’m thinking about joining Patreon in the future. Which can be a great way to connect with your audience more closely and share your knowledge for a small monthly payment. Be creative and work hard on creating the content, your students will appreciate it.
What’s holding people back?
A few years ago, when I've started to blog about my creative process, share knowledge for free with a few paid products, I’ve heard so many fears and distrust from other people. Mostly about the possibility that others will learn all my secrets and push me out of the business. I’ve never believed in this notion and I don’t believe it now. Being a doll maker is not a very easy or incredibly lucrative job so copycats rarely occur. All of us are very different with unique styles and ways of sculpting, painting and even aesthetics. Currently, I have more than 200 students who know all of my techniques. I share the knowledge and progress pictures for free with thousands of people on this blog and I didn’t have a single incident of copying or stealing my work. I know it can happen, but it rarely does. Especially if you are an ever-changing, creative and original artist. The dry techniques and rules without creativity mean nothing and you can’t really teach creativity.
Another common reason that holds people back from sharing their knowledge is a deep rooted self-doubt. It’s the fear that you don’t have anything new or good to teach others. We all have doubts and even imposter syndrome from time to time. But think about the day you’ve just started your journey. How much did you know? What techniques you’ve mastered on the first day? We all start somewhere and if you’re working on your art for a while now, you definitely have something to offer.
I hope this gave you a glimpse into the world of online learning and how many possibilities there are for artists to thrive and live off their art. If you’re curious about this route - start small! Create a simple pattern and tutorial for your Etsy shop. And let me know in the comments how did it go!