Shop Talk

How Freelancing Is Like Running A Redbubble Shop

It’s been thirty seconds since you created your latest masterpiece.

You selected the best colors and found the perfect reference images. You think to yourself, “Someone might pay for this!” The life and thoughts of a creative freelancer.

As an artist, finding ways to make a living is half the battle, and there are nearly infinite ways nowadays to do that. But it takes confidence, it takes dedication, and ultimately, it takes some work.

There are a few similarities and differences between running a shop on Redbubble and a traditional freelance career.

Freelancing is a one-(wo)man show. Just like any iconic personality-driven stage performance you have to take on every role. Hello, big shot CEO, personal assistant, and mailroom intern!

Your activities may include going to conventions to set up booths displaying your wears. You might hire an agent to find you gallery shows, or search on social media for clients to commission you for specific pieces. The work is active and pretty non-stop.

You consider opening a standalone online shop. Collecting buyer information, packing orders, creating newsletters, manufacturing the products, shipping them, and managing their delivery or return are just a few additional things you’ll need to consider. It’s a ton of work, leaving little room for creativity.

Boy walking through mystic forest landscape photography by Michael Schauer

by Michael Shcauer


by hotamr

Humpback Whale in Iceland - Wildlife Photography by Michael Schauer

by Michael Schauer

Like freelancing, running a shop on Redbubble takes a little bit of work. But unlike the day in and day out toil of staying afloat out there on your own, Redbubble takes some of the pressure off. It’s no sitting on the couch eating nachos, but it makes things a little easier.

The benefit of running an online shop on Redbubble is that it saves you time. From taking care of all of the technical and operational logistics to making it easier for customers to find and buy your work. Seasonality is also a big bonus to using Redbubble as customers look to the site for themed and holiday inspiration.

Like freelance work, it does take staying on top of trends, styles, and opportunities to get the word out there about what you’re doing. However, your art is not for someone else’s purposes; it’s all you. As they say, “you do you, boo.” In my career, Redbubble has been the easiest way to get paid as an artist.

Okay, story time.

virtual actuality by Nykiway

by Nykiway

My first experience selling with Redbubble was a bit surreal. I still remember it. It was four days after I uploaded my first work. The thrill of my first sale launched me into creating more and more work, trying new techniques and different effects. Over time I saw which of my works were top sellers and I spent some time trying to find out why. It was an exciting journey.

My Redbubble shop helped support me as an artist when other outlets were a bit slow and showed me that I can make something for fun, and still get paid for it.


Have you been keeping up with your shop?

Hero image by hotamr

View additional posts by Nyki Way

Nyki Way

My name is Nyki Way, I’m a freelance illustrator, and I live in a happy victorian flat in the heart of San Francisco.