As an architect, your creativity and expertise are not confined to traditional architectural projects alone. There are numerous opportunities to diversify your income and showcase your talent in innovative ways. From leveraging social media platforms to creating online courses and digital products, architects can explore a multitude of income streams to boost their financial stability and professional growth. In this post, we will explore different streams of income as an architect, opening up exciting possibilities for your career. I will talk about my experience and plans for each one of them.
The foundation of an architect’s income typically comes from architectural projects. This involves working with clients on various projects, including new constructions, renovations, providing rendering services to visualize designs, and presenting architectural drawings and concepts. Architects can also participate in design competitions to demonstrate their creativity and potentially win recognition and prizes. In my case, I am not directly attached to a firm, I work with some of them but nothing more. The good side is that I get to choose the projects I want to be part of. The bad side is that as with any freelance work, there is no consistency. But honestly I prefer it this way, as I have way more time for the other streams of income.
Freelance and Commissions
With a strong online presence, architects can attract commissions through social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, even Reddit. By showcasing your designs and ideas, you can garner interest from potential clients who seek customized architectural solutions. But that’s not all, usually, architects can also use software like Photoshop, Illustrator etc., so you can even accept commissions for digital illustrations, collages, branding design etc.
In my case, I have worked with a lot of people and agencies. And still continue to work with some of them. If you are already showcasing your works on social media, then great you’ll probably receive commissions, but don’t wait for your clients to find you. You can directly offer your services on freelance platforms such as Fiverr, Behance, Freelancer.com etc.
I believe that everyone is good at something and that there is always something to learn from each and everyone. Architects possess a diverse range of skills due to the multifaceted nature of their profession. So they can share their wealth of knowledge by creating and selling online courses on platforms like Udemy and Skillshare. This allows them to reach a broader audience, seeking to learn the principles of architectural design, project management, sustainability, drawing lessons, modelling software (such as AutoCAD, SketchUp, Rhino etc.) and so many other topics.
I have four online courses on Udemy about One-Point Perspective drawing, Two-Point Perspective, Complete Trees Drawing Course, and Easy And Quick Start To Drawing And Painting On Procreate. I really like the idea of sharing my knowledge on topics I feel I am good at, I also like to connect with my students and help them as much as I can. I made these a long time ago. But I am planning to make more of these courses because I really miss that!
Creating and selling digital products offers several advantages that make it an appealing business venture. As I said before, everybody’s good at something. You can create digital products like planners, templates, e-books about any topics you want. The good side is that compared to physical products, digital products have minimal production and distribution costs. Once created, you can sell them repeatedly without worrying about inventory, shipping, or manufacturing expenses.
The internet allows you to sell digital products to a worldwide audience. You can reach customers from different countries and cultures without the need for physical stores or international shipping. And it can be delivered instantly to customers after purchase.
Once your digital product is available for purchase, it can generate income on autopilot. This passive income stream allows you to make money even when you’re not actively promoting or working on the product. In my case, I have only brushes to use in Procreate for architects. I had an e-book before about perspective drawing, but I am working on a new version of it and more complete so stay tuned!
You can literally blog about anything. Find out the topics you are passionate about, and write about it. There are several ways of earning from a blog like displaying ads, earning commissions through affiliate marketing by promoting relevant products, and securing sponsored content partnerships with brands.
My blog is about art and architecture where I share free content about sketching, software, modelling, motivation, architect life etc. I also share some downloadable stuff, life free planners and procreate brushes. I also have a growing community of more than 1000 design enthusiasts in my weekly newsletter where I share motivational tips and practical advice for navigating the artistic path. Sign up if you want to be a part of it!
As I have talked about before, by joining affiliate programs like Amazon Affiliates and other relevant sites, you can recommend products you trust and use in your daily life. When your audience purchases these products through your referral links, you can earn commissions. This is usually a small percentage but when a lot of people buy from these links, it becomes so much more! So just find all the relevant brands from your niche that you trust of course – do not recommend stuff that you don’t like! – and check out if they have affiliate programs!!
Collaborating with other professionals or brands in the architecture and design industry can lead to exciting partnerships. These partnerships may involve sponsored projects, co-creation of products, or mutually beneficial ventures that expand your reach and impact. But don’t stress too much over finding partnerships in the beginning. This is something that is going to happen more and more with time!
Over all these seven streams of income I would say that the easiest is working as a freelancer, finding your clients on sites like Fiverr or Behance. Creating online courses or blogging are also great ways to start. Remember that all these works are not easy and take a lot of time, sometimes it will work and sometimes it won’t.
I think it’s ok to try everything then find out which are the best for you! My plan for the future is to grow my youtube channel and Instagram, to continue partnering with others in the industry, continue to explore and share with you and of course having fun along the way.