Posted: Nov 25, 2019
Category: The Musician Business
**Guest post written by Nicholas Rubright, founder and editor at Dozmia, and lead guitarist for the band Days Gone By.
"Music is expensive. Especially for those of us who want to make a career out of it.
You have to pay for equipment for your live shows, studio time, and touring costs.
These things add up quickly. Sometimes, the income from even a full-time job isn’t enough to get the finances you need.
Thankfully, we live in the age of the internet - where there’s opportunity to make money from anywhere that has an internet connection!
Here are 5 ways to make money online that are great for musicians who need extra cash - even while on tour.
If you’re a musician, you already have a teachable skill - your instrument.
If you play guitar, bass, or drums, you can charge an hourly or fixed rate to teach online. This can become a regular source of income for you if you get enough students.
For guitar players or singers, this one can easily be done while on tour as well.
If you’re going to teach online, you need 2 things - a platform to find students, and a lesson plan to follow.
If you already have potential students that are interested in learning from you, great! You can just teach them via Skype or Google Hangouts.
The downside of leveraging platforms like these, though, is they take a cut of the income from your lessons.
Using your own website to teach music lessons can help you avoid this altogether.
If you prefer to use your own website for this type of business, however, you’ll need to brush up on your digital marketing skills to drive traffic to it and get sales. Here’s a video about eCommerce marketing to get you started on this.
After you’ve decided on how you’re going to get your students (i.e. on a platform or your own website), you need a lesson plan. SmartMusic published this awesome guide on creating lesson plans for your music students.
Once you set up your lesson plan and start finding students to teach, you’ll be able to make money from anywhere.
This can even turn into a fully livable income if you work hard enough at it!
Retail arbitrage is the process of finding under-priced items available at one retailer and selling them at full price elsewhere to profit the difference.
For example, if you find clearance items at Walmart, you’d purchase them and then list them on eBay for their full price.
If you’re good at finding clearance items in retail stores like Walmart and Target, this business is definitely a fit for you.
As an alternative to traditional retail arbitrage, you can also operate this type of business online without ever actually coming into contact with the products.
A popular business model that applies this technique is known as Amazon to eBay dropshipping, and it works a bit like this:
This is a business that can be operated entirely from your laptop, meaning you can easily run it while on tour.
Even better, there’s software that can automate most of it.
If you’re interested in leveraging eBay for this type of business, check out this article from DropshipXL that outlines some of the pros and cons of dropshipping on eBay.
If running this type of business on eBay doesn’t seem like it’s for you, then you can always start a more traditional dropshipping business by making deals with wholesale suppliers.
This is less of a side-hustle, though, and is likely going to require a significant investment of your time.
Online surveys may not be a great way to generate significant income online, but they’re great if you need a little extra cash.
Basically, when brands want to know what consumers think of a new product, they conduct market research.
This market research often involves paying people to share opinions with them in the form of surveys.
It’s very easy to get started with this. Simply sign up with one of these sites that send out these surveys on behalf of brands:
Here are a few extra tips if you want to take surveys as a way to make some extra money:
If you’re the lyricist of your band and are great with words, then freelance writing might be a great way for you to make money at home or on the road.
To give you an idea of how much you can make, the average entry level freelance writer charges anywhere from $0.03 to $0.30 per word.
If you can complete a 500-word blog post in 2 hours (which is totally doable) and are charging $0.15 per word, this means you’re making $37.50 per hour.
Not bad, right?
With the rise of content marketing budgets, writing is in very high demand these days, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding work.
So, how do you find work as a freelance writer?
My go-to source of writing work is Upwork. There are tons of businesses on there looking for people to write blog posts, email copy, transcriptions, and more.
I’ll level with you - getting your first job on Upwork is tough. People often want to see reviews and work samples before hiring a writer.
Because of this, I advise working for much less than what’s considered average for your first few jobs to get some reviews and experience on your profile.
My first writing job on there took me 3 days to complete, and I only made $50 - but it got me my first review, which made getting future jobs much easier.
Freelance writing is tough to get into, but if you can grind it out for a while, you’ll soon be able to make money from wherever you have an internet connection.
If writing isn’t your area of expertise but you want to dive into the world of freelancing, managing the social media accounts of different businesses may be a better fit for you.
Sure, you still have to write a little bit, but your work will be limited to a few sentences rather than full-fledged articles.
The difficult part about this job, as with any sort of freelance work, is that you have to build up your work history to be able to show potential clients that you can drive results for them.
So, how do you get work history before getting work?
Luckily, a huge part of promoting your music is by leveraging social media!
If you can produce some measurable results for your social media music profiles, this will be enough to convince potential clients to work with you.
The main objectives of businesses are going to be growing their followers and increasing engagement of those followers. Do this with your music profile, and you’ll have work history under your belt to prove to potential clients that you’re results driven.
If you need to build your knowledge base around social media marketing, these blogs are a great start:
When you’re ready to start looking for clients, check out some freelance gigs on Upwork."
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