One of the biggest question marks when entering a new industry (especially when there are no standards!) is this: what’s the real earning potential? The truth is, it’s hard to discuss because the industry is all over the board. There are so many different ways to work and it seems that no one only does just one thing any more. All of these designers are running complex multi-faceted businesses. Plus, let’s be honest, it feels weird and vulnerable to talk about how much money you make, amiright?
It’s very rare that anyone just does one thing anymore – it seems like we’re all running businesses with many moving parts. For me, my income is pretty evenly distributed with roughly 1/3 coming from licensing, 1/3 coming from my website and membership and the last 1/3 coming from teaching.
The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines estimates that a surface pattern designer makes between $25,000 -$ 78,000 +/- with an average salary of around $46,000. I would agree that this is a solid average and estimate, for licensing work alone. Start adding to it though, and the ball rolls a little faster!
The first year I put my business into motion, it made around $15,000. We had been living close to the poverty line for 3 years and those dollars were HUGE for our small family. In 2016, the business hit six figures and has been able to double that income from the year prior, every year since.
All this to show you two things:
1) Building a multi-passionate + multifaceted business can serve you well.
2) This takes time, but eventually the ball does begin to roll!
I also have exciting news! The presentation I did at Skillshare’s Headquartes in New York last month is now available to view online!
During this quick (under 20 minutes!) talk, I cover:
My secret to making progress on my biggest goals.
The essential steps to finding your signature style.
The one question I ask myself before I publish anything.
How teaching has impacted my business and career as a surface designer.
The key mind shift changes you need to become a flourishing artist.
How I’ve implemented multiple streams of residual income in my business, and what exactly those looks like.
What my early years were like, how we struggled and how much money my business has made each year since 2013.
Plus, find out what makes me cry on video at the end!