Are you a budding musician or photographer? Do you have a knack for handicrafts? Then why not make some money off of your talents? You can, thanks to the Internet.
Selling digital downloads has always been difficult. Complex e-stores have been needed to manage sales and deliver the goods. If you sell crafts, eBay and Craigslist may seem like your only outlets.
Well, a bevy of websites are here to help. You can sell music, photos and crafts online. There's no messy e-store to manage. And getting started is simple.
More people are buying music digitally. That levels the playing field for small, unsigned musicians.
At Last.fm, sign up to promote your music. There is no sign-up fee. Last.fm is an Internet radio site. Once you upload music, others can play it.
Unless you're the next U2, your earnings will be slim. You get a portion of advertising revenue generated when your music is played. Plans are tiered. Expect to earn 10% of advertising revenue, starting at fractions of a penny. The more people listen to your music, the more you can make.
Amie Street also promotes up-and-coming artists. You begin by uploading your music. Songs are initially offered for free. But prices can hit 98 cents. This is based on how often a song is purchased.
You take 70% of the money earned after $5. The $5 covers storage, bandwidth and transaction costs.
Getting music on big retailers' sites is challenging. It helps to have record label backing. But, for a small investment, you can get on iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.
TuneCore puts your music on 10 major music sites. You pay 99 cents per track to upload and 99 cents per store per album. You also pay $20 a year for storage and maintenance. You keep all the profits.
Also try CD Baby. There's a one-time-ever $35 charge to set up a new CD in their store. CD Baby distributes your music to major download stores like iTunes and Rhapsody. You keep 91% of profits.
Arts and crafts
Etsy has made a name for itself for its handmade goods. You can buy clothes, art, furniture and more. Sellers set their own prices.
An Etsy shop is free. You pay 20 cents to list items, plus a 3.5% sales fee. Listings last four months.
Handmade Catalog is much like Etsy. You can sell a variety of handicrafts.
You can start out with a basic shop for $4.95 monthly or $40 annually. You can list up to 50 items and pay a 15% commission. There are more advanced tiers that cost more and charge less commission. You'll also get promotional tools.
Imagekind specializes in artwork. You can get started with a free account that allows you to offer up to 24 images for sale.
You upload digital copies of images. Imagekind makes prints from your uploads. Buyers can purchase canvases, prints and greeting cards. Imagekind charges buyers a base price; you decide what to charge over this.
A paid account lets you upload more images. You'll also get marketing help. Paid plans start at $7.99 monthly.
The photos you submit must be approved before they can be sold. In some cases, you must also pass a quiz.
Microstock sites sell photos for commercial use. Prices for the photos start around $1, depending on the resolution.
Your commission will vary among sites. Expect to earn from 28% to 65%.