7 Ways You Can Fund Your Creative Dreams

Harry Guinness 12-08-2015

Sometimes you get an idea for a fun creative endeavor, but then you realize there’s one problem… it requires some upfront capital.


For professional creatives (and it’s never been easier to become one 8 Creative Home-Based Business Ideas That Anyone Can Pursue Tired of working for someone else? It has never been easier to work for yourself, right from the comfort of your own home, all with minimal cost and minimal risk. Here are some ideas. Read More ) this is just part of the job, but if you’re pursuing a project as more of a hobby, it can be harder to come up with the necessary cash — but harder doesn’t mean impossible, so let’s look at some ways you can fund your creative dreams.

Rely On Your Day Job

The simplest way to fund your creative projects is to use your own money from your day job. There are many great artists who work full time jobs and use the money they make to finance their creative hobbies on the side.

This can actually be a better path to creating the work you want because the only client you have to answer to is yourself. For example, Jeff Boyce is a police officer who, in his spare time, takes spectacular photos. Earlier this year, he took some time off and went on a road trip chasing storms to create this time lapse:

Having a “real” job is no barrier to making great art. Give your passion the respect it deserves and put a small amount of each pay check into a separate bank account. Every few months you’ll have a modest but respectable budget to play with.

Think of it as an investment in your creative pursuits rather than money wasted on a hobby.


Become a Semi-Professional

As well as keeping your day job, you can also become a semi-professional. Trying to turn your hobby into a full-time job requires a lot of hard work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take on a gig every once in a while or sell what you make online 6 Ways to Sell Your Crafts Online and Make Money Want to sell your handmade crafts online? Etsy should not be your first choice and here's why, along with several alternative sites that might suit you better. Read More .


Take the money that you earn from your creative work, set it aside, and save it for future creative projects. In time, it will become self-supporting. There are plenty of stories where amateur creatives make extra money by selling prints or publishing the occasional article.

Rent Out Your Gear

Throughout the course of your hobby, you’ve probably gathered quite the collection of gear — especially if you’re a photographer or videographer. When you’re not using that gear, it just sits there doing nothing.


One way you can make your gear work for you is to rent it out to other people who need it. For example, sometimes another photographer will need a second camera or a particular lens. If you have what they need, why not make a little bit of cash by letting them use it?

The Internet has made this easier than ever. I’m a member of a few photography Facebook groups 8 Facebook Groups You Should Join Or Create Today [Weekly Facebook Tips] What can you do with Facebook groups to make your life better? Here are some of the best ideas, so you know what to look for, what to create and why they'll be great. Read More and every few weeks someone makes a post looking to rent this or that. Search Facebook and see if there are any local groups for your hobby. Let people know what you have and how much you’ll let them use it for. Just remember to have it insured first!

In Los Angeles, a new startup called ShareGrid is making it even easier. They’re only local at the moment, but they do plan on branching out into other cities soon, so be on the look out. With ShareGrid, anyone can list the gear they have and make it available for other creatives to rent.

Teach What You Do

“If you can’t do, teach; and if you can’t teach, teach gym.”

This might ring true in some fields, but certainly not in the realm of creative work. If your art has a specific look or style, people will always be interested in learning how you do what you do. The easiest path is to start a blog Setting Up A Blog Part 1: The DIY Self-Hosting Method There are an abundance of quality free "sign-up" blogging services scattered across the Web, with big names like Tumblr,, Blogger and Posterous getting increasingly popular as their numbers grow. It wasn't always this way,... Read More and write a few tutorials on your work. You can then set your blog up to make some money 4 Ways to Make Your Blog Pay Real Money Writing a popular blog, getting famous, and then living off the Internet from a desert island beach are faily common dreams for many aspiring bloggers. With the advent of content management systems such as Wordpress... Read More .


You can also get a bit more hands-on by running workshops, one-on-one lessons, photowalks, or anything else that you can think of. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll always find people willing to pay you to share your knowledge and expertise.

Take to Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a great site for funding everything from smart home products 6 Smart Home Kickstarter Campaigns You Should Totally Back Here's a list of six of the coolest currently-running projects on Kickstarter that will help you improve life around the house. Read More to games. You can also use it to fund your creative dreams, just like Scott Jarvie.

Jarvie wanted to spend a year driving around the United States taking photos of different religious buildings, so he took to Kickstarter. His project struck a chord and raised more than $70,000 — enough for him to fulfill his dream.

This obviously won’t work for every creative idea you have, but if you think you can get other people interested, it’s a great way to fully fund a big project.


Grants, Scholarships, and Prizes

There are many organizations that offer grants, scholarships, or prizes for specific creative work. For example, my local council runs a photo competition every year and my alma mater offers a small creative scholarship. Neither of these awards are huge, but they’re enough to fund a small project.


The one problem is that the requirements can be quite strict. You or your artwork might need to meet specific criteria to be eligible. For instance, the local photo competition has a set theme every year and you need to be a student in order to participate.

Even still, keep an eye out in your local area (and online!) for these sorts of awards. Often, the smaller ones can be better to enter as they’re easier to win, though smaller events typically imply smaller prizes.

Do It On Credit

Sometimes you’ll get an amazing idea and need to move fast to fulfill it — for example, you need to shoot at a particular time of the year — but don’t have the money at hand. In this case, the best option might just be to go use credit cards or take out a personal loan.

Many artists, especially filmmakers, have gotten their starts by funding an awesome project with credit. If you’ve got the time, a personal loan (or even a peer-to-peer loan Personal Loans Online -- How Peer-to-Peer Lending Is Changing the Game A number of services on the market right now allow lenders to provide credit, and for borrowers to gain access to funds without dealing with a bank. They're shaking up the finance game. Read More ) will generally offer you better terms than a credit card. Credit cards, however, are obviously more convenient.


It’s important to seriously consider your options before going into debt for a creative idea. If it’s the sort of thing that isn’t time-sensitive, saving money and being patient is absolutely a better idea.

If that just won’t work, then make sure you know how much you’ll need to repay How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt Imagine being debt free. No overdrawn balances or unpaid bills. There is a foolproof way of getting yourself out of debt. It starts with a plan and some discipline. Let's visit the other ingredients. Read More and that you won’t lose your house in the process.

What Did I Miss?

Following through on your biggest creative dreams can sometimes need a budget — even if it’s just $100 to cover travel expenses and studio hire. Money should never be a reason not to follow through on your ideas! You just have to know how to raise those funds.

I’ve mentioned seven great ways you can fund your creative dreams but I’m sure there are many others so, in the comments below, please let me know your favorite way to finance your endeavors.

Image Credits: dreaming optimism Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Creativity, Make Money Online, Photography.

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