I had no idea I would make money hand lettering when I first started. Lettering was a hobby that became my full-time business. I am still surprised that this is what I get to spend my time doing because I never expected to be an entrepreneur. It feels like it just kind of happened as I acted on things I wanted to try. I experimented a lot and learned things that worked and didn’t work. In this post, I’m not going to teach you how to make money hand lettering because I’m definitely not an expert. Instead, I’m going to share my personal experience which might give you some ideas.
*This post contains affiliate links.* This is one of the ways I make money hand lettering. You don’t need to use any of the links, but I share them because they are things that have helped me and I would recommend to a friend. It’s also like the secret behind the scenes since I’ll share all of the things I use. I hope some of the discounts can help you out. I only share links that I personally believe in.
Before I get started, I want to share about a really affordable course that you may be interested in if you want specific details of how to make money creating. My friend Suzy from How To Hand Letter created a course called Your Unique Income. She let me join the course to see if it’s something I would like to be an affiliate for. It’s so good! I was impressed with how simple she made it to start earning money with your hand lettering (or other creative hobbies). Not in a stressful way where you feel like you have to start a whole business, but in simple ways to start making a little money on the side as you are still living your life. It’s great that a hobby can make a little side money, or even more if you choose. She goes into all the details and gives you everything you need to get started. The course is very affordable. You have the potential of earning the cost back in a very short amount of time. Check out Your Unique Income course.
How I Make Money Hand Lettering
Becoming an Affiliate
Since I’m talking about affiliate links, the very first way I ever started making money was by becoming an Amazon affiliate. I started a blog a few months after learning to letter and I decided to add some Amazon links since that’s where I was buying my pens anyway. Anyone can do it so there are no crazy requirements. You really don’t make a huge percentage, but it’s helping others find the best deal on pens I love. It’s no extra cost to them and I earn a little. I know I want some of the cost to go to the artist I love while I get the pen I want. In Your Unique Income course, Suzy explains exactly how to set up your Amazon storefront and extra helpful details as well as other ways you can be an affiliate.
Having a community or audience
In order to share affiliate links, you have to have an audience. I use Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, my website, and an email list to build my audience. With an audience, you can also make money through sponsorships. Companies will pay you to review a product or make a lettering video for them. In Your Unique Income course, Suzy gives you exactly what to say when you reach out to a company you want to work with. She also gives some tips for social media so that companies want to work with you. She has over 200k YouTube subscribers so she’s a great resource to learn from.
Starting a blog
When I started my blog, I just used the free WordPress and I was happy with it for a while. But then I wanted to do some custom layouts and I wanted to sell directly on my website. I switched to Wix and was so pleased with how easy it was to customize everything. I could sell products directly from my website with no extra hassle. However, I have switched from Wix to the hosted version of WordPress (not free) because I wasn’t able to connect to Tailwind on Wix (I’ll explain more about Tailwind). It felt very complicated to get it all set up and I had to hire someone to help me with some custom layout since I do not know technology. It did cost more, but by this point, I was already making money and I knew it would be worth it. It would also allow me to include ads on my blog if I wanted to make money that way in the future. Suzy explains more about that in Your Unique Income course.
What is Tailwind?
I use Tailwind to automatically pin images to Pinterest. The most traffic to my shop comes from Pinterest so it’s worth it to me to be able to schedule Pinterest pins. If you are interested in trying Tailwind, you can get $15 credit (the cost of one month) when you use my Tailwind affiliate link.
Starting an Email List
Another thing I started early on that I’m so grateful I did was an email list. I use Mailerlite for emails. I’ve been very happy with Mailerlite. They are very affordable and you can start free. I started my email newsletter once I started my blog. I just started sharing what I was doing with lettering. I had no idea what I was doing at the beginning and it’s definitely changed a lot. But I have made some of the most meaningful connections in email. I feel like it’s a way I can help my audience in a more personal way. Also, my email list is filled with people who don’t just want to see me letter something on Instagram, it’s the people who really want to learn from me. They’re the ones who trust me and know that I try to create things that help them. It takes time to build an audience through email so it’s better to start early on. If you want to try Mailerlite, you can get a $20 credit when you sign up with my Mailerlite affiliate link.
Starting an Etsy Shop
After a few months of lettering, I had started my blog and I was posting consistently on Instagram. I decided to start an Etsy shop and start selling hand lettered prints. This kind of seemed like the thing to do. But that did not go well for me. I sold two prints in the first three months and they were to friends. A few months later I started selling lettering worksheets and this did much better. One reason was that I was more passionate about teaching lettering than just creating a print. If you want to start your own Etsy shop, you can get 40 free listings when you use my Etsy affiliate link.
I tried drop shipping with mugs, pencil bags, and foiled prints. Drop shipping is when you upload your design to a company that will print it on a mug or shirt and ship it for you. I learned that this wasn’t my thing. I didn’t sell very many and I just wasn’t really excited about it.
If you are really serious about selling on Etsy and you want to learn the details of how to drop ship your designs and even sell wholesale, my friend Shelley has a course called Etsy Entrepreneur. It’s a pretty big investment, but it has everything you need to build up an Etsy shop where you sell your custom designs. It even includes helpful tips like how to digitize watercolor, what companies to use, and all the details of setting up your Etsy shop. If that sounds like a good fit for you, you can use my link to get $75 off.
Finding what excites you
After trying these different things, I learned that the thing I was most excited about was teaching hand lettering. I created a lettering workbook, Fearless Lettering, and it was finally something I was really passionate about. it was really easy to share about it and market it because I knew it would really help people. It was finally something that helped me stand apart from others. It was unique to me. This showed me that you have to try different things, but there isn’t just one right way to do it. What works for someone else may not be what works for you. What are you really excited about? Start with that and see if you stay excited about it. If not, try something else. The possibilities are endless and it really takes a lot of experiments so just enjoy the creating process.
I sold Fearless Lettering as a physical workbook which turned out to be a lot of work because I had to find a place to get my 123-page workbook printed on super smooth paper. I loved those workbooks and so did my audience. However, I ended up spending so much time printing and packaging orders and then going to the post office to ship. It was a labor of love and I couldn’t keep it up all by myself. I also moved away from my amazing printshop so I would have had to find a brand new place to print which takes a lot of time since it can’t be printed on any paper.
I decided to focus more on my digital workbooks. This has many advantages since you can print them as many times as you want which is better for practice. I get really excited when coming up with an idea for a new workbook. I listen to my audience to know what they need help with.
Teaching Hand Lettering
Since I was a teacher before I started lettering, I love the teaching aspect of hand lettering. I taught in-person workshops at Hobby Lobby. If you want to teach, check your nearest Hobby Lobby. Anyone can teach and they don’t take a percentage of the tickets like other venues. I had so much fun even though it does take a lot of time to prepare for each one. A lot of my audience started reaching out to me saying they were sad they couldn’t come to my in-person workshop. So I decided to create the Hand Lettering for Beginners online course and workbook to be as similar as possible to what my in-person workshops look like. I now have a few different courses because I really enjoy creating them.
Teachery for online courses
I use Teachery to host my courses and it is the best course platform! It is run by Jason Zook who is amazing. The customer service is so good and feels very personal. You pay monthly or yearly and they don’t take a cut of your class (just credit card fees). When I researched platforms, it was the best I found and I have been so happy with it. You can have as many classes as you want for no extra cost. Because I love to teach, courses are something I’m really passionate about so getting Teachery was a no brainer. If this sounds like a good fit for you, you can use my Teachery affiliate link.
Teaching on Skillshare
Another option if you like teaching but aren’t ready to create a full course in Teachery, you can try Skillshare. That link will give you two months free to try it out and you can see the classes that I have. I really like Skillshare. I love being able to take any class I want. It’s also an easy way to make a little extra when you are a teacher. However, you don’t make very much compared to having your own class. It also takes a while to build up an audience to watch your classes, but it is a great way to earn a little extra on the side for shorter classes.
The takeaway for making money hand lettering
The big takeaway I have for you is to try all the things but do what you feel most passionate about. It’s not just about making money, it’s about making an impact, helping people, and being able to support yourself doing that. Do what makes you happy, not what people are telling you to do. Everyone told me I had to use Facebook and I know that you can make money there and build an audience, but I don’t like Facebook. I avoid it in my personal life so I didn’t want to have to use it for my business. I’ve been fine without it. Maybe you love Facebook and hate Instagram. Whatever it is, you want to build a community of people that you can help. It doesn’t have to be somewhere that doesn’t make you happy.
If you have made it this far and you want to start making money with your hand lettering but you feel a little overwhelmed, I would recommend enrolling in Your Unique Income. It’s such a great way to get specific steps of how to start without feeling stressed about doing it by yourself. Plus it’s so affordable, you don’t have to worry about making a huge investment up front. It’s also great if you aren’t sure about going in on a full-time business, but you just want to start making a little money on the side to buy more pens or something. You can watch the whole course in just a couple of hours, and then start taking action right away. I’m so glad Suzy made this course because I think it’s something that a lot of people wonder about. It’s something that can definitely help.
What do you want to do with your lettering? Is it just a hobby or would you like to start earning some money on the side?
If you’d like to see the video I made on YouTube, watch it here: