How to Become an NFT Artist and Making Money with NFTs
By Valkyrie Holmes
I’ve been getting more and more into blockchain and crypto in general over the last year and wanted to do a bit of a deep dive into NFTs. I’ve briefly touched on what they are in THIS article but I wanted to create something that could help people become more familiar with NFT collections and the possibility of making money with NFTs.
I’d like to put a disclaimer at the beginning of this article. Just because you follow everything in this guide DOESN’T mean you’ll get rich off of investing in NFTs or flipping them. These are just some helpful tips you can use to create your own collection or buy them off of marketplaces to hopefully make a quick buck. It’s a risky environment and I would hate for anyone to get the wrong idea about crypto because of a few bad experiences with the NFT market. So embark on this journey at your own risk.
STARTING OFF AS A CRYPTO ARTIST
Just to give a brief description, NFT stands for “non-fungible token”, meaning a piece of media that is put on the blockchain that can’t be altered. It belongs to a certain crypto wallet and every piece is unique. You can think of a lot of NFTs as artwork sold online only the difference is that the people buying them have the only unique copy in the world.
The blockchain verifies the uniqueness of digital media (that’s where the non-fungible part comes in) and makes sure that it can’t be duplicated. The blockchain is also fraud-proof since it’s monitored by a network of computers also known as nodes. Every transaction is recorded on the blockchain and allows for the tracking of owners through the history of an NFT.
NFTs have been all the rage for the last year, from NBA Top Shot selling their most highlighted moments of the season to CryptoPunks becoming the first successful collectible NFT. NFT art is incredibly saturated because again, it’s so new. There’s been a slow evolution of the NFT industry over the last year, starting with NFT 1.0 which was all about collectibles. NFT 2.0 started to focus on art or tokens with function or utility that could be programmed to have another function. Finally, we’re in the NFT 3.0 stage where your NFTs could have the ability to interact with other NFTs outside of your wallet. For example, you could own an NFT in the form of your favorite video game skin and sell it outside of the game.
The biggest advice people would have for new creators is to be as creative as you can and curate art from a place that actually makes sense. What I mean by that is, the people are what make the collection, not the profit that comes from it. Remember, the crazier the story or the context behind a collection, the more press it’s going to generate. Convey a story with your art and try to reinvent what was previously thought of as “impossible”.
CREATING YOUR OWN COLLECTION
Suddenly, artists have more of a platform to sell their art collections as opposed to the strict art world or online auctions. Anyone can create digital art as long as you have a medium to do so. That could be anything from photography to drawing to 3D modeling and more! And it’s not just small art pieces, you can even do little animations, and a lot of the time, any collections associated with brands do really well (take Adidas for example).
You want to invest time to learn about the market and study trends. A friend of mine spent twelve hours researching and made thousands of dollars in a day but that’s only because he had been looking at the projects for several days before! Of course, he also loses money on NFTs but it’s all about learning in the beginning.
Each new collection is a mini project with its own identity, so treat it like that! You want to invest time into creating the best possible product you can and trust me, people can tell when the story is half-assed. Another thing to mention is that it helps a collection grow if it’s associated with a consistent niche. That helps create more of an audience for your collection but keep in mind that it should be fairly broad and simple.
Pick something you enjoy and not necessarily what’s popular or trending. You set the trends! It’s also a good idea to create art every day. Beeple, a mega-popular NFT artist, sold 5000 pieces of his art in one collection for 69 million dollars, all composed of the art he created daily for 13 years. This is the single biggest piece sold in NFT history!
Another thing about collections that’s important to mention is the fact that you can set a fee of royalties for passive income every time someone sells your piece. You can sell anything that can be digitized and take a cut of the profits every time it’s sold to a new user! Pretty cool, right?
Before selling your art, you need to make an account on a marketplace for NFTs. There are a lot of common places to put your work but here are some of the most popular:
OpenSea.io: This site is pretty good for beginners and contains the widest arrays of art. It’s open, democratic, and there’s no verification necessary. There’s also no coding involved and there’s a one-time gas payment. The only problem is that because it is such a large space, it could be difficult to get something off the ground.
Rarible: This one is also open and democratic and there’s less traffic to the site. It’s more art-focused but it’s also used to mint individual pieces more than collections. Exposing work to viewers is way easier on this site, though.
Foundation: This site has a higher minting cost but is better quality and more exclusive. It’s the same thing with SuperRare.co and NiftyGateway.com.
Once you create an account and have your art collection, now it’s time to market!
MARKETING YOUR COLLECTION
A following is CRUCIAL for any NFT collection. You want to be spending time every day devoted to building up your following, from daily posts and interactions to daily creation. It’s a good idea to create your own website to supplement traffic to the collection and display it everywhere. The biggest thing about marketing is staying consistent.
Social media and community outreach is super important. Community-focused projects last (take Bored Apes Yacht Club and CryptoPunks for example). Word of mouth is super important as well and the larger the community is, the easier it will be to market. You decide what the community identity is, reward early members, and keep giving back to the community because the bottom line is: they helped make the collection what it is!
When I say “reward early members”, I mean doing things that incentivize getting in early to your collection and spreading the word. A lot of the time, it could be in the form of airdrops. Airdrops are basically minting a couple of NFTs and distributing a collection before you sell them, which is a good way to gain some traction. Incentives are also good for collections like crypto prizes, special NFTs, raffles, etc.
Again, the hype is the most important. Take the Ku Collection for example. They released things in batches of five every week for a collection but before they even did that, they were posting blurred pictures of the NFTs for the week before and requesting bids for them. They did a roll in of “early access pre-sale”, “public pre-sale”, and “public sale” to promote the hype.
MAKING MONEY WITH NFTS
Collectible NFTs like NBA Top Shots and Sports Championship Series can be held to see if the value rises. Once it does, most people sell for profit like stock investing. That’s called “flipping” NFTs and it’s an extremely risky environment to get into.
You have to be extremely meticulous and do your research. There are a lot of collections that look super successful and then tank when the company goes under or the creator gets exposed (that happens a lot more than you think).
Check out this video:
This guy minted NFTs for a week and lost money, gained money, and ranked the experience.
There’s definitely money to be made in the industry but keep in mind that nothing is set in stone and it’s really just gambling at the end of the day.
NFTs are super interesting and hold a lot of potential but make sure you’re
a) doing your research, b) doing a lot of marketing for your collection, and c) keeping in mind that this is a slowly evolving industry. There will be updates all the time and it’s growing at a pace that was seriously overwhelming for a long time.
Good luck to you all!