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Ten Artistic Ways To Make Extra Cash
Street Painting can Pay!
Choose the Odd Jobs You Love!
I'm writing this Hub in reply to an excellent Hub by pgrundy: http://hubpages.com/hub/Top-Ten-Ways-to-Make-a-Little-Money-Fast -- she listed ten wonderful, effective ways to earn money without an actual job. These Non-Jobs can sometimes turn into full time careers with all the freedom of self employment.
The key to doing this for the long term is to pick one you really love doing, whether it's gardening or painting like Bob Ross or playing the guitar. Pam mentioned online writing as a good career in itself, so one of my ten suggested cash sources overlaps her Hub -- because it fits both categories, really. But I will try to give a slightly different slant on it. For your best options, read both Hubs and read down Pam's comment thread where still more suggestions came in from commenters.
In general about getting by on Non-Jobs -- it really, really helps to have more than one type of gig available. The most successful are the ones who either specialize and build a good solid niche in something they love doing till it becomes a career in itself -- or happily drift from one gig to another doing whatever needs doing and earning when money is needed. I've done both. To turn something into a long term career, pick one and keep doing it well till you're successful, through trial and error.
To find out what that is, try anything you're halfway good at or want to learn and then keep all the ones that a) make money or b) are so much fun you don't care if all it does is support itself as a hobby. At the very least, you'll get to where all your hobbies are sources of trickle income instead of money sinks at budget time.
Advice in general: keep accurate records. Pay your taxes. Keep receipts for anything you purchase to resell or make things to resell or use to earn money. This would be your computer, your printer, your office equipment, phone, office supplies, art materials, gardening tools, musical instruments, Tarot cards, the books you need to learn the stuff, the supplies used (art supplies ALWAYS pay for themselves once you can draw recognizably) and if you check it out thoroughly, possibly some of your housing expenses depending on whether you have a space dedicated just to the work.
Some of these take more capital investment than others. But all of them have some entry level possibilities where you can teach yourself to minimum competence with free online and offline instruction. Start with the ones you're already doing as a hobby or pick up inexpensive basic instruction while doing things like the dog walking, garage cleaning, laundry, gardening, resume writing and other odd jobs already within your skills.
Remember, every single hobby you already have is potential self employment... and you are probably already an expert!
#1: Street Art!
If you can draw or paint a recognizable person, place, animal or thing, you have a start on a street art career. Art careers can begin anywhere and many good artists are self taught. What sells in street art is cheerful, traditional subjects, especially portraits done on the spot (you have to be able to do people from life and from photos), but also local landscapes and architecture, pretty landscapes from imagination (the Bob Ross style of oil painting really works for this!), decorative still life like florals and bunches of fruit, animals -- especially the most popular animals like dogs, cats, horses, wolves, eagles, stags and local wildlife. Bird painters can specialize.
Choose a medium where a nice looking piece can be created within half an hour on the spot. One style is to create a very good detailed pen drawing of a local landmark or beautiful scene or still life or animal, then have a print shop print a lot of them on good heavy watercolor paper. Color the prints, sign and number them. One of the street artists in New Orleans only had five or six original drawings but they were superb -- I think each one took her a week of redoing it in pencil before she inked it and prepared for painting. She'd then color them for the customer on the spot in sizes from wall art to greeting cards. She cleaned up and drove a nice car and owned a house. So street art of this kind can be very lucrative!
The longer you do it, of course, the better an artist you become and at some point you can look at other directions like galleries, serious art competitions and so on. But some street artists still prefer just sticking to doing street art because it's fun.
Set up in parks and artistic districts, or do art fairs. Some street artists rent spaces in malls, this can be costly but it seems to pay very well for those that do. Don't try for the mall gig till you make the free or cheap fairs and art markets work well enough you have the cash to completely lose your nut -- to not earn anything that first week in the mall or first month in the mall and have to cover expenses. I think that the traffic near coffeehouses is actually better than within shopping malls, people are more interested in real art near coffeehouses and galleries and boutiques.
Check local ordinances and find out a) if it's illegal, b) there's nothing for or against it either way, or c) it's licensed and there's a special area set aside for it. If it's licensed that is the BEST situation -- then you will find experienced others already making a living out there and have a good idea what buyers and tourists in your town want for subjects. Choose a specialty you really enjoy doing because you will be painting those birds, flowers, horses, kids all the time for a long long time.
Good mediums for it include Conte crayon, charcoal and white charcoal on tinted paper, color Conte crayon, caricatures with archival markers on acid free art paper, watercolors on watercolor paper or watercolor greeting cards, oil paintings on stretched canvas in the Bob Ross wet in wet style (or other fast styles), soft pastels, oil pastels. Anything you can finish in a half hour while your customer watches rapt with awe will work though. Some spectacular folks learned from Hugo Montera how to do street art with spray can paint baking it by setting fire to spray cans to bake the enamel. Don't try that one without a master to teach you, it's physically dangerous.
In addition to street art, you can also take your art online on eBay, Etsy.com, eBid.com or on your own website to sell it. Having an artist website is a good idea even if you primarily work on the street, along with business cards that have your URL on them with your contact information. This will let your street customers refer other clients to you and you may get appointments for commissions as well as sell the finished works you did just as examples or for the fun of it.
ACEOs (Art Cards Editions and Originals) are trading card sized artworks you can do in any medium that works that small, and these sell well online. You can also have them available on the street in their top loaders since they are as well protected as if they were framed and your prices can be lower than for full size art -- but not too much lower, it takes work and skill to do good paintings and drawings that small!
#2: Street Music
This is very similar. Competence, you need a repertory of a couple dozen popular songs in a coherent style that can be played on an acoustic instrument. Guitars work, but so do banjos, other string instruments, even flutes and violins. Bluegrass, jazz, blues, country, folk, rock, a variety of different sounds are good for street music. The main thing is to know a lot of popular recognizable songs that everybody knows and play them repeatedly in public in an artistic area. Set up near coffeehouses or in parks, anywhere that people are hanging out expecting live entertainment.
Theme your music to your location! It should have a lot to do with your state and area and what that place is known for, because that's what tourists want. But it's also something most of the musicians I've known have been able to do literally at the drop of a hat and it too can be fun. I did it for one day after I learned how to play "House of the Rising Sun" and it was great -- so the beginner level doesn't even take that much of a repertory. But it helps to have more songs!
#3: Balloon Clown
Read up on clowning or learn from a clown. It takes buying the skinny specialty balloons from a magic store -- ie one that serves stage magicians -- and learning how to twist the balloon animals. From there you can perform on the street in a costume -- get as creative and glitzy with the costume as your imagination can take you. Bright and colorful and cheery is good, the sad-hobo clown is not as effective as the rainbow-haired silly neon colored clown for this. Make up an original clown face makeup and learn some jokes to go with the balloon animals. Practice your routine and then take it out to the street in any areas where performers like musicians and street artists are.
In addition or alternately, if street performers aren't allowed in your area, kit up for balloon clowning and advertise. If you can do it on the street, have a price schedule made up in advance and a flyer and a business card. Balloon clowns do a lot of business at private parties and children's parties. This leads to a related performance art...
4: Impersonations and Acting At Parties
While most of her teen friends were working in supermarkets or fast food, a young actress friend of mine in New Orleans seriously took on a contract to play the Pink Power Ranger at children's parties. She really earned a lot doing the Power Ranger gig! She studied for the role. This is a good gig for an aspiring actor -- pick popular, famous characters, put together a good costume and practice, practice, practice. Then start making flyers and business cards, connect with party arrangers, and have a webpage on the internet so that people can contact you to play Batman or Power Ranger or whoever it is you look like. Comedy routines can work for this too.
Original comedy can work very well for this if it's funny and popular. A man with a health problem that would irregularly make his stomach swell up like a pregnant woman's built a comedy routine on it as "The Pregnant Man." He studied up on pregnancy and did a wonderful, supportive, warm, friendly pregnancy routine that he played at parties, baby showers, and of course, Lamaze classes. He was a big hit. He also got out of being homeless with this gig.
So if you are a scene-stealing amateur actor who always wanted to be the center of attention, consider building one or several popular party characters and create good costumes and a clientele. Show up on time sober for the gigs, stay in character and be entertaining. I think this could actually work for things like Dracula and classic movie monsters too -- werewolf for hire -- as long as you stay in character and have a good schtick.
That and show up to any real audition that gets called for commercials, film work or live stage work even if it doesn't pay. Building a good resume of good performances helps build an acting career -- and a good actor/actress has a broad range of characters from Lady Macbeth to the Pink Power Ranger, like my dear young friend. It is not a resume embarrassment to do this while in drama school, quite the opposite. It shows you care more about the craft than whether you look good in the costume.
Obviously for celebrity impersonations you should actually resemble that celebrity with the right costume, makeup etc. ... or be so FAR from him/her that you're hilarious. Celebrity parody is as good as impersonation for this type of thing.
#5: Make Jewelry
This takes some investment in materials, but if you already get into beads and stones then you can start doing it to help defray the cost of materials. Start with simple crystals and simple designs at first. The jewelry sellers who have booths at craft and art fairs, science fiction or media conventions, historical society events and any other type of convention wind up owning their own homes and sometimes open brick and mortar shops.
You can purchase nice sterling silver ring and brooch blanks, plus earring finials. Choose semiprecious stones as cabochons and carefully glue them into the findings. Create some and sell them online and offline. Chain maille, or making those pretty handflowers and headdresses, is a very lucrative variation. You can find sites to learn how online and buy the rings in soft or hard metals as well as expensive silver and gold-filled wire, and include a few semiprecious stone beads in those creations.
Look at the type of jewelry you want to sell and cruise through the wholesale sites online. Supplies are cheaper online or from a good wholesaler, or you can sometimes find batches of supplies on eBay by someone getting rid of an ex-hobby. Glass beads and jewerly findings are a slightly cheaper way to start -- and you can scrounge them by haunting yard sales and eBay for old jewelry to take apart and recycle.
Create original designs and also do some traditional stuff -- you can get little dangles with fairies, feathers, stars, cool things like that to use as part of dangly earrings. There's a lot to this craft, but if you put together some trays of good looking jewelry and sell them at about the going rate for similar jewelry, then you can bootstrap up into the Swarovsky crystal, lapis lazuli, rose quartz and silver findings level of jewelry making pretty fast.
Art and craft fairs are great for this. The jewelry sellers seem to do better than anyone else at these things, so once you've invested the initial capital from a garage sale or something into the startup supplies and done some assembly -- you're on your way to street sales in any number of venues. You can also do this on the street if there are areas you see other vendors doing it or if it's not illegal in your town. You'd be surprised how many people will buy good silver and crystal and onyx jewelry on impulse in an arts district.
Look at a lot of other similar jewelry sellers online for a good idea of the going prices on your pieces and price in the middle, neither lowest nor highest. Always get the best possible materials, especially the cements and assembly materials and tools because if your stuff falls apart, people get angry and word gets around. Assemble carefully.
Precious Metal Clays is another approach that lets you make your own findings. You can also make jewelry with polymer clays like Sculpey -- this is very lucrative. Lots of ways to get into the jewelry gig and there's enough business to go around. Find books on it at the library and online sites to follow your particular interests.
Takes capital but very little experience to get started. Read up online on how to do it.
#6: Mural Painting and Decorative Painting
If you are more familiar with Plaid acrylics than Finity Artist Acrylics because you like doing decorative painting, if you like doing faux marble wall treatments or scaling up sketches of octopi, coral and tropical fish or jungle scenes, you can become a muralist and do decorative painting. Do some projects for yourself and get good photos of them. Put some ads up and a website on the Internet. Make business cards with a picture of one of your best pieces on the card, either covering one side with the text on a flat color area or on the back with your info on the front.
Also, you can do smaller decorative painting projects on the side like buying plain mailboxes and painting them with roses, butterflies, fish and so on -- then sell these at craft fairs but have your muralist brochure handy to give out. Muralists usually work on commission. Doing a mural or two for yourself, or mural sized works on pieces of sheetrock to test your materials will give you a good idea of A) how much paint you really need when doing that design on a wall scale, and B) how long it takes to paint the design that big.
Work out your designs small. For wall painting you can either limit your range of colors and choose latex wall paint or do them in acrylics on a flat background in one or several colors of latex wall paint. Don't use gloss for the underlayer, semigloss is probably good for that.
Some types of murals are abstracts, just geometric designs. A good understanding of color and design helps for this, so does a basic drawing ability to do specific subjects on request. Once any artist does one mural, that's a good example for mural commissions and the business starts to build. Churches and schools may want murals too. So if you're looking for a place to start, donate one to your church if they'll buy the materials and do an appropriate subject for them. Then use the photos of the church project to sell a view of Venice to an Italian restaurant or a jungle scene for a little boy's bedroom, or a prehistoric Devonian ocean to a dentist's office.
Yes, I've seen that example from a friend of mine who became a muralist. She also sells ACEOs on eBay but she's posted pics of her murals, several of my eBay artist friends are also muralists. It's a specialty for artists and a lucrative one -- and it can start with very basic designs including just buying Dover books of vintage royalty-free designs and mechanically scaling them up to fit on people's walls. If you can color within the lines you can do a basic mural by that route. If you really like doing the faux marbles and other special effects, you can also work with decorators and make sure your card and brochure get into the hands of local decorators so they know who to call.
Show up on time, estimate more time than you need for the project (multiply your guesstimate by three) and then if you're lucky you'll finish ahead of schedule because nothing went wrong. This is much better than not making the deadline because your car died on the second day of the project. If they want a tighter deadline then charge more for the rush and don't guarantee perfection. Stay within your known abilities when estimating. This is why it helps SO much to do a sample project for self or as a volunteer first.
Check out other muralists for comparable pricing.
#7: Crafts in general
Pottery is another really good seller. Pottery classes offer kiln use, also some areas universities or shops have kiln rentals available.
On textiles, there's something to keep in mind. What I've found is that the best sellers are projects that are easy to create but come out looking like a lot of work and creativity went into them. Think simple. Think easy. Think dramatic. I used to do velvet pouches with fancy silk or satin linings that roleplaying gamers used for dice, pagans and society for creative anachronism members used with costumes, and women used as purses. I recycled velvet from buying old evening gowns at thrift stores and remnant ends cheap on sale, then embroidered a simple design but decorated it with a dozen seed beads and a few metallic stitches. These always sold well. I just got tired of doing them.
Chatchke -- figurines and decorative items, glass craft, handmade soaps, candles all fall into this category. Look through your hobbies and see what people on the street might want at an art fair or craft fair. But do not sell the master projects that take months to complete. Quilters should charge thousands of dollars for an actual handmade quilt that's hand quilted. If you piece it on the machine and quilt by machine then you can bring the price down -- but check pricing on other people's similar projects to decide what to sell your work for.
This is where whatever your hobby is, it'll take some research.
Some hobbies, like model railroading or fly tying, may not really lend themselves to this approach. However, all is not lost!
#8: Writing, Online and Print On Demand
This is a big one with many, many, many variations.
Bulid a website on the hobby topic through http://www.sitesell.com -- this will work for pretty much any hobby, because somewhere out there people are surfing the Internet looking for information on it. Sitesell is the one I used for my Oil Pastels site and it's flourishing and getting a lot of traffic. It costs $299 to get started and it has the best system I've found of comparable places. There are others but I like the SBI one.
If you don't have a lot of money to invest in your own site... there are other ways to write up your passion and get paid for it than having your own site. Starting with Hubpages of course -- having a specialty topic and keywording accurately while writing lots and lots and lots of Hubs on it is a good way to bring in some extra cash. People who have tons of Hubs and write well on their passion are successfully doing this.
Squidoo is similar. Helium is a community. So is HubPages. I think that the more you hang out and participate in the community, the better those places work out.
http://www.ehow.com is limited to How-To but I have a lot of articles there, over 100, because it paid out fast and paid out well for what I felt like writing -- assorted how to draw articles. Its templates limit you to Step By Step format but I recommend it for learning the Step By Step format.
Pam has mentioned in her article that you can get paid faster and higher through a number of sites like elance, freelancer sites that offer paid projects. I haven't gone that route as much but I know people who have and turned it into a good income. Learn to write topical nonfiction and you can find plenty of places online where it will bring in money on adshare, or on your having affiliate links on pages that you post (like the Amazon ads here) or by ads on your blog.
People will also pay you to write blogs for their business. These blogs can't be like your regular diary blog, they're more series of regular articles on the topic related to the business. A good example of a professional blog like this is the Pastel Journal blog associated with that magazine -- it's a little article of about 500-800 words every month by a prominent artist. So do one on a topic you're expert in or read up and research the topics people are advertising for.
Sales copywriting can pay through the roof, good copywriters earn fortunes and it's not a side income. It does take being able to write selling prose, which is its own style and takes a good year to learn and sometimes mentorship from serious copywriters. Breaking in on that is a matter of a lot of gritty hard work and a desire to earn serious high income as a professional. Not my thing. Let's go to another writing type of gig.
If you want to write a book and make a profit on it, topical nonfiction is your best bet. Find a topic you passionately like, research it in depth, put together a good how-to or information book and then market it online. Ebook publishing is cheap and associated, sometimes free, but beyond that some types of fiction will actually pay well and go farther than Print On Demand.
Print On Demand is the cheap new way to self publish. Self publishing was profitable for cookbooks, topical nonfiction (here is where your specialty Model Railroading book on a particular railroad's history with lots of photos for hobbyists to do their scenery and paint their accurate boxcars from can pay off) and How To of course, with the occasional fiction profits by an author good at self marketing. It used to take massive five-figure investments though and still does through Vantage Press. But that can pay for a specialty cookbook or hobby book.
Print On Demand is tons cheaper, in the hundreds of dollars range and I think Lulu still has a free package. So you're taking less of a finanncial risk on your book. The biggest drawback is no editor to kick your beginner work up to professional quality.
However, the ebook publishers DO have editors. If you write in the Romance or Romantica genres especially, a lot of publishers will pay very good royalties and many writers I have met make their living on genre ebooks and print on demand books. Also, horror can work out in the ebook and print on demand format.
My science fiction novel Raven Dance has paid out six times over since I published it in 2000 and I still get a royalty check occasionally. It's also good for the soul to have cut my teeth on POD and have something to tell people when they ask "What have you written? Do you have any books available?"
Do serious comparison shopping on the Print On Demand providers. Booklocker.com has an accept-reject policy that weeds out a lot of the trash and a good price structure, so that's edging toward Small Press (royalty, no advance) more than other Print On Demand providers. Lulu is dedicated to the open source idea and the Lulu community is big.
Another thing you could do at Lulu or other Print On Demand companies, or by setting up an ebook service, if you fancy yourself an editor, is to pay a flat reasonable amount per story, accept submissions in your favorite genre and edit an anthology.
If you accept reprints in it, headline your anthology with a famous story from a famous author who doesn't mind getting an extra $20 for the reprint rights again. Then put that author's name on the front and list the other stories you picked. These can be lucrative based on how well you can spot decent stories and how much patience you put into reading incomplete and unedited beginner fiction in your slush pile. Your editing skill in turning incomplete and unedited beginner fiction into readable fiction also counts. You will get what you pay for -- and actually paying something for the stories should give you a much larger range of slush to pick from with some good stories in it. Even if you're only paying $5 or $10 a story that gets you much better than if you offer only credit or a contributor's copy -- in print on demand a contributor copy costs you about $10 anyway so you might as well just give the author a check.
I have seen a lot of these anthologies pay out, especially if the editor paid for the stories. Genre anthologies stand or fall on their editor's ability to make a good pick and to critique and help the less skilled new writers to get their story up to snuff if you like either the author or the story enough to put in the time. It's hard work but soul satisfying for those who love to teach and write well.
#9: Tarot Reading (or Runes or Astrology or Dream Interpretation.)
If you are fond of doing any of these forms of divination and already expert in it, if you do readings for your friends, consider doing them for donations. You can work out of tea shops and occult or new age bookstores, most of them have readers who come in on scheduled hours. You can advertise and work out of a room in your home. Or depending on your local arts district and park policies, you can go set up on the street as I did in New Orleans on Jackson Square.
I'd been doing readings for years for myself and friends when I met some readers and decided my art setup was too heavy compared to a deck of cards and a lightweight folding table and chairs. So I went off in that direction and it was great for a couple of seasons while my health held out. It does take being pretty good at it to start -- good enough that you are doing readings for friends.
You will get from "pretty good" to "professional-good" within a fairly short time if business runs high. One day of doing two dozen readings is going to give you a serious difference in how you do them and how much you can perceive and express quickly. Like the street art, practice makes perfect and good readers can make a decent living on it. Readers are also popular at parties and psychic fairs.
One thing that gets soul destroying is to sign up for the phone psychic services though. You wind up having to read a scripted three minute intro and then get a quota for how long to keep your clients on the phone. Ten minutes is about what it takes for a good professional reading, but the phone psychic services make a profit when the readers push it to a chatty twenty minutes, half hour, hour -- at three to five dollars a minute. You get a bonus for that.
It can start turning your stomach when someone with money trouble needs your help and you realize that you just cost them $150 for a reading that you'd have taken a $10 donation for if you met them out on the street, or $20 in a tea room and you cared. They're the same clients and many have the same heartbreaking personal problems. Your help is good for them. Sometimes they'll listen to a reader for something that their family, friends, therapist have all been trying to tell them for years that they need to know.
But when the problem is with money and you wound up soaking them with that big a difference between what they paid and what you'd get paid in any other context, then it starts to feel ilke a ripoff. It's very hard to be both caring and rip people off, at least it was for me. Also your percentage of that ripoff is not very high anyway. You'll do just as well if you're good at it on getting big tips from the unhappy clients who happen to have big wallets and are thrilled about having their problems sorted out. Or just drunk and happy and like being big tippers.
So becoming a professional tarot reader, astrologer or other type of psychic consultant is a perfectly good creative way to make a living too -- it's not all psychic work, it's also a performance art in being able to deliver the results of the divination in an entertaining way and provide good common sense counseling with it. I have even known a few frauds -- stage magician types about as psychic as your average gerbil -- who were such good entertainers and personal counselors that I considered their performances legitimate. The readings are for entertainment and they were great showpeople, and their advice, paid advice, was always darn sound and solid because that is the nitty gritty of being a reader. Delivering good advice when someone is paying for your advice.
There are many, many ways to bring in some money by your own creative efforts. I hope this list helps you think of even more. Gardening is a creative artform, so is landscaping. So is massage therapy, though that takes some formal training.
#10: Teach Private Lessons and Seminars
Whatever you do well, even if it's only up to intermediate levels, you can teach at a beginner level. I have started art classes with no more than a topic and a flyer. I worked once telemarketing for a piano teacher. Do you play piano and own one? Become a piano teacher by investing in some beginner books and advertise for students. Same with violin or dance or anything you know how to do.
My art class started when I was working at an occult bookstore as a reader and wanted to do something else for a break. We'd just gotten in a great series of Celtic Art books, so I got the idea of doing a Celtic Art class. I bought the books. I drew up a very pretty flyer with a knotwork border and fancy Irish calligraphy, set a date and time and a fee of $10 per student -- quite low actually, but I didn't know much. I limited the class to six. I split with the shop owner.
I got $30 per session for teaching half a dozen people from the good books I was just fascinated with. I would study the lesson all week and work out how to present it, have some finished examples that looked nice and practice till I could do more right on the spot. I kept ahead of those students for months and few of them noticed I was studying the stuff only a week ahead sometimes.
If you have learned the Bob Ross method, you can get certified as a Bob Ross Instructor and that gives some lessons in teaching itself. Otherwise, teaching may be a trial and error process. Individual lessons are a little easier to pace because you're meeting one person and can pace the material to how fast they learn. As long as they get some results and enjoy the class, you're on track. Enjoying the class helps them get better results too, at least that's my philosophy of teaching.
The better your credentials are in the art form you're teaching, the easier it is to get students. If you're an actor who's been to drama school, coaching students is a matter of teaching what you learned and the more performances on your resume, the better. Voice coaching is very good for actors because a lot of people need it just to become more confident, it's not all about acting.
Lessons on using popular computer programs or on programming or computer repair or website design are popular too. Seminars on small business itself can be lucrative. You can teach a whole great variety of things.
If what you have to teach can be done as an intense weekend seminar, then you need some practice arranging events. Check out a local hotel well in advance for cheaper group rates so that you can get the free conference rooms and your room free thrown in by selling X number of rooms -- often not that many. Check out the cost of providing a boxed lunch through a local service. Work out the material and classes and expect to spend the entire event coaching your students intensively.
One approach some artists take is to forget the hotel -- rent a campground! Find a really nice scenic campground where you can get quite low group rates and set up the seminar for outdoor painting in the pretty area, weather permitting. If it rains, get them all seated in the main building painting rain scenes through the windows. When I worked on helping to set up historical events or Unitarian retreats, the cost of the place averaged out to about $30 a person for a group over 20 or 25 -- and that was with volunteer-cooked meals with a discount for anyone who volunteered for a meal.
Treat an art workshop weekend that way and let the artists do the cooking and camp cleanup for a reduced fee, organize it and it's quite reasonable to charge traditional workshop prices for the entire weekend depending on your skill and reputation as an artist -- and the camaraderie of the group doing all these things together helps make the whole experience enjoyable. Or just don't include the meals other than some cold cuts and they can drive off site for meals or barbecue for themselves on site. The overhead on a campground workshop, be that for art, writing or music, is very low compared to hotels and the accommodations are pleasant as long as it's a good time of year and the campground has cabins.
I always meant to put together one of those someday, but my health gave out before I had the resources to get it together. It was the next step after my Celtic Art class and my Portraits class, thinking of doing it as a planned seminar with advertising and prepaid signups. But it would've taken my having a vehicle to get out to the site myself and do a lot of the running around to set it up. It's a good idea if you have a vehicle and a good campground in your area plus something interesting you can teach for a reasonable workshop fee.
Price according to similar workshops held by people with similar skills and experience to yours. Don't underprice because even if you're using a campground that has lower overhead than a hotel, what they are paying for is your intense undivided attention and weeks of preparation as well as the actual time you spend with them. Not to mention all the years of experience that went into making you an artist, musician, novelist who sold a book, whatever you're teaching that can be taught out in the woods. Your skills are worth money, don't undersell them.
There's ten more of the many, many creative ways people can earn money without saying "Yessir" to any boss and with little to no capital. None of them involve selling things other people make. None of them involve multilevel marketing. Any of them could with work and practice turn into a serious career in the arts.
Today's little print on demand anthology editor who just likes a good scare could wind up building a good backlist of successful anthologies, pay more per story as the quality goes up and reach a point where he or she is a pro publisher or could pitch an anthology concept to a pro publisher or edit a pro magazine. A street artist in New York who was tired of trying to get into exclusive galleries took his oil pastels out to the richest business district, drew and painted the rich elite and elite tourists at the fanciest businesses on the famous streets -- and gets paid in thousands of dollars for each of his famous street scenes, usually done right on the spot where he sets up of the view across the street. Many a famous jazz, folk or country musician got a good start hanging out on a street corner with an open instrument case that filled with cash.
So these gigs are in many ways the entry level for many of the arts. If you can do it well enough to live on it, you'll keep getting better over the years till you're a distinguished professional -- and always, always keep learning. In any of the arts, a true master is always a student.