How to craft for a living

I spoke on a panel at Alt Summit last week about freelance, and being a contributor for websites. The room was packed – it’s fun to see how many people are interested in freelancing online. Freelance craft design is one of the major parts of my job. Being a contributor has allowed me to make the money I need to run great content and grow this site (especially at the beginning!). I advise everyone who is looking to really build a strong site, to consider freelancing. Landing the right freelance positions will give you experience, allow you to be paid (really well), and give you the freedom to then grow your own site and work.

Since I get so many emails about this topic and we had a great Q & A about it during Alt, I figured I’d answer a few of the questions regarding what it looks like to be a professional crafter:

How do I land great freelance/contributing positions?

There are two tips I can give you to finding and landing great positions. One is to do great work and get your work out there! Start creating awesome stuff, get professionally shot photos of it, and put it up online (on your site first and then share it with anyone who will listen). Blogs these days function in large part as a continuous portfolio, so creating a site packed with origional content you are proud to share is the first step to being hired as a freelance crafter, writer or designer.

Second and equally important, make friends! Most of the opportunities I’ve been given have been because a blogging friend put my name up for a position they heard about. And now, when I hear about positions, I love sending over names of friends and bloggers who have become a part of my circle. Being a part of the blogging community, going to conferences like Alt, emailing bloggers who I want to connect with, and being active on social media are all great ways to build relationships that will eventually lead to jobs.

How do I balance working for other sites and keeping A Subtle Revelry running?

I talked a lot about this on our panel, but basically it comes down to the fact that I love what I do. I am passionate about well created craft design and I am a bit obsessive about planning and scheduling. I’ve talked before about the things I do to maintain a creative mind and this year I’ve been able to finally hire some amazing contributors and crafting help – which is allowing me to see through even more ideas. At the end of the day my freelance jobs are what has helped pay for this site over the last two years, so they are just as valuable to me as the content I produce daily. Remembering that delicate balance makes all the difference in the world.

What can a freelance crafty gal make per hour?

During the panel questions we danced around this answer, because it is honestly hard to say. Setting rates is a very personal thing and based on a lot of factors; experience, blog traffic level, how big the site is you are working for – many factors play into it. Every job I take has a different pay structure and different set of responsibilities. What I will say is that I get paid very well for my freelance work, and when I break each project down into how much I make per hour, I am pleased and grateful for what I do.

I justify this because I realize the sites that hire me are not just paying a per hour employee, they are paying for original creative ideas and well produced posts. They are paying me to build their brand when I post for them, and original creative work is something that is worth a lot in today’s online world. I would suggest if you are starting out and looking to get your work noted you could start posting at $50-$100 a post. As your work gains credit and your site gains traffic you may be able to charge somewhere in the range of $200 – $500 a post for original creative work on certain larger sites and magazines.

Have you ever contributed to another sites? I’d love to hear any tips and ideas you might have. Good luck! xoxo

Illustration by Chelsey Andrews for our Alt panel.

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Posted January 28, 2013
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24 Responses to “How to craft for a living”

  1. I always appreciate your tips on such subjects Victoria and I love it that you go deep into details, facts and directions. Thank you !
    P.s : I’m looking forward to be one of your lovely contributors one day :)

  2. Thank you very much for the great tips :D

  3. Michelle says:

    I just recently found your website, and I love it! Thank you for this post; such thoughtful tips.

  4. Casey says:

    Thanks for the helpful information! I do craft posts on my own blog, but it never occured to me that I could do something similar as a paid contributor on other websites. It’s definitely something I should think about as I try to cut back at the day job and focus more attention on my small business work. Thanks for planting the seed!

  5. Macy says:

    Your panel at Alt was so helpful! Thank you for the recap!

  6. Kathleen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am so grateful for any information like this.

  7. Great post Victoria! Wish I had been there to hear it – next year! :) And your illustrated pic is super cute.

  8. [...] How to craft for a living from Victoria of A Subtle Revelry [...]

  9. I’ve only recently found your lovely blog although I’m positive I was already familiar with your name and have most likely seen beautiful work that you’ve sent out in the universe – several projects felt familiiar! Thank you for this great summery. It’s been informative, as well as a call to action! I’m taking baby blogger steps — stumbling but stepping forward excitedly! I’d love to be in touch with you!

  10. Liz says:

    I missed ALT this year so I truly appreciate this post.

    One thing I would add about freelancing in general is to become really, really awesome at one thing. I think sometimes we all become “generalists” instead of “specialists” and as a result, it’s easy to get lumped in with hundreds of other bloggers.

  11. Megan says:

    I really enjoyed your panel at ALT, and appreciate your candor in discussing what can be touchy issues. I’m so glad that you have the guts to say real life numbers. Pricing is personal and depends on a lot of factors, and I’m still in fantasy territory when it comes to contributing, but for when I am ready I’m grateful to get a ballpark from someone with so much experience!

  12. Laura Trevey says:

    Wonderful re-cap of your speech at Alt. I enjoyed listening to you speak, your enthusiasm is contagious!

  13. [...] three (this year) I went into the conference as an experienced blogger. This wasn’t a year where I anticipated [...]

  14. JIll says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I am a DIYer and want to share my projects with the crafting community, however as a busy mom I am not interested in having my own blog at this time. Is it possible to create an identity as a contributor without a blog? What if I set up a flicker page? Should I start making free guest contributions before asking for a fee? Thanks so much for your input.

  15. [...] and Coming Blogs How to Craft for a Living Organizing Social Media + Advanced Blogging Collaborating with Sponsors + Earning Revenue Planning [...]

  16. kristen says:

    Thank you so much for this! So encouraging and inspiring! Even for just lifestyle regular bloggers like me! You are always a light and your work really is just so creative and beautiful. thank you.

  17. [...] I am sharing lots of juicy details about building your brand through freelance work next Tuesday night on the Alt Channel. It’s only $15 and you can sign up for the class right here. Get a sneak peak by reading my post on being a full-time crafter right here. [...]

  18. Giosel says:

    Hello, love your blog and your tips, i would be glad to contribute in any craft matter you need help with. :)

    Thank you for sharing