Many artists and craftspeople actually make a living through affiliate marketing – those that are making a living.

If you’re an artist, or craftsperson –  blacksmith, quilter, musician, painter, filmmaker – you could even be in the trades; plumber, carpenter, painter, etc. You could be making money from your craft, AND you could be supplementing your income, or making even more from affiliate marketing. 

Affiliate marketing can enable you to make a living while doing the thing you really love

If you’re involved in these kinds of pursuits, you’ve probably been exposed to affiliate marketing even if you didn’t recognize it. Now it would be really hard not to have been exposed at all to affiliate marketing these days – most people probably just realize what it is. 

So let me give you an example

If you’ve listened to a podcast, you’ve probably noticed that when the podcaster reads the ads from whoever is sponsoring the episode, they give you a “discount code” to use.

That discount code is a type of “affiliate link”. That code allows the sponsor to identify where the sale came from – who referred the person who made the purchase. I’m certain that many of those podcasters are not only being paid upfront for the ad, but they could also be getting commissions on the sales that result from their ‘discount codes’. 

This is basically what affiliate marketing is. You either have an audience, build an audience, or tap into someone else’s audience. You tell them about a product or service. You give them a link to follow (or a code to use in the example of the podcast) that enables the company selling the product or service to identify that you (the affiliate) sent that lead to them.

When that lead results in a sale, you get paid a commission. And if it’s a good affiliate program, they also compensate you for future sales that result from that lead. 

This is how artists and craftspeople make money from affiliate marketing. They are already trying to build an audience. They are sharing their work on social media, making YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok videos. They are showing people their work, and hopefully getting people to pay them for some of their work. 

Building an Audience

Some of the most popular videos on Instagram and TikTok are about arts and crafts. And in the case of tradespeople (who can certainly be creative and artistic people) – home remodels, or how-to DIY videos are hugely popular. If you want to build a following quickly on Instagram, buy an old mansion or castle and make videos about remodeling it. 

The problem is, that a person can get thousands of views on social media without really making any money. You might have a whole host of fans who love your work, but that doesn’t mean you can sell enough of it to make a living. Or maybe the amount of labor it would personally take you to do so would quickly burn you out. 

Another popular category of videos is comedy – so you’re a performer, actor, comedian – your art is making funny videos. How do you turn that into a living?

Well one way for all these different types of creative artistic people to make a living while pursuing their passion is NOT monetizing their passion – you don’t have to monetize your hobby. But you can make a living with affiliate marketing. 

What I mean is you don’t have to make a living by mass-producing your art. You can make a living by telling your audience about other products that you believe in, and getting paid a commission for the sales of those other products. These products could be related to what you do, or just be products that you like.

Again just look at podcasters

If you love a podcast, you like and respect the people who make it. If they say, ‘Hey I like and use this product, check it out. And support the show by using our code at checkout.’

You don’t think, ‘Hold up, what’s this scam?’

So, if you’re a creator of some type, and you’re trying to build a following, a fanbase, an audience, whatever you want to call it. You don’t need a million, or even 100,000 followers to make a living. You can make a living with an audience of only 1,000 people. 

You can do that through affiliate marketing. If you have 1,000 followers the large corporations are probably not going to come knocking on your door to pay you to promote their products. But you can start looking for products with affiliate programs to promote. You may already be using products with affiliate programs you’re unaware of. 

Some of these affiliate programs won’t necessarily make you money, but they could cover the subscription costs you’re already paying. And that’s a start. 

So start looking for those affiliate links

And if you don’t know what those are: 

  • If a product or service has an affiliate program
  • You sign up for that affiliate program (sometimes just having a subscription for a service will basically mean you’re already signed up for the affiliate program as well)
  • Get an affiliate link – that’s the link created by the company you’re promoting that is specifically for you. When someone uses that link and makes a purchase, the company can tell that sale came through your link, and will credit you
  • Often people won’t even be able to see your affiliate link – it will just look like any other link (but you have to make sure you are using your specific affiliate link)
  • Share your link on your social media, website, YouTube videos, QR codes, emails, wherever makes sense to get it in front of your audience

I’m a filmmaker, painter, and writer

I’d like to make a living solely by doing those things. And in order to do that, I’m working on building my audience.

And I’m also learning how to make this affiliate marketing thing work so that I am more likely to be able to make a living doing the things I love.

If you’d like to learn more about how this works, you can leave me a comment, email me, or just subscribe to my newsletter (CLICK HERE), because this is what I’ll be continuing to talk about, documenting my own journey as I go along.  


Learning the skills used in affiliate marketing can also be applied to selling your own work. Or selling a course you make teaching people how to do what you do. If that’s what you want to do.

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4 responses to “Artists and Craftspeople should be Affiliate Marketers”

  1. Nathan,
    I loved the connection you made between marketing and creative pursuits.

    It’s a great perspective for artists, craftspeople, and individuals in various trades to diversify their income streams while pursuing their passions.

    The analogy to podcast sponsorship deals is a fantastic illustration to explain the concept of affiliate marketing!!

    The idea that individuals don’t necessarily have to monetize their passion directly but can leverage affiliate marketing to generate income is powerful and practical.

    Recommending products or services we believe in, creators can monetize their platforms without compromising the integrity of their art or craft.

    I love that idea as I am exploring the artist side of me

    I appreciate you and your emphasis on authenticity and genuine endorsement in a world saturated with traditional advertising and sponsored content.

    Thanks for sharing your journey of being an artist, I look forward to learning more as you document your experiences and insights in affiliate marketing.

  2. Nathan,

    Great connection! The fact of the matter is their is no field or trade that cannot make money through affiliate marketing.

    Besides through the arts there are a ton of hobbies. One that I hope to harness in the future is working with motorcycles.

    The great thing is if you can think of it there’s probably an affiliate program for it.

    Great Job

  3. Hey Nathan, thanks for shedding light on how artists and craftspeople can leverage affiliate marketing to supplement their income or even make a living. Your explanation of how affiliate marketing works, especially with examples like podcasters, makes it easy to understand. It’s inspiring to see how creative individuals can turn their passion into profit through affiliate marketing, regardless of their follower count. I appreciate your insights and look forward to learning more about your journey in future posts. Thanks, Atif

  4. Nathan, I think you bring light to something that seems so obvious, but we don’t think about: there are so many examples of affiliate marketing around us that we don’t even think about it. You bring up such a valid point here… we don’t even question when a craftsperson or like provides us a recommendation, especially if we know it’s something they use. We just don’t formally call that “affiliate marketing.” The irony here.. is there are many that will automatically think anything having to do with affiliate marketing is a scam, often times without really understanding what it is. Great article.. and thank you for shedding some much needed light on something so obvious, but often misunderstood.

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