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How to Start an Animation Studio Fund

“It’s the most challenging option for animators, but starting your own business and studio is rewarding just for the experience alone”

Julia Kotlyar, Producer

While freelancing is a great option for many animators, it can become quite difficult to keep up with the heavy workload required to pay bills and survive in an increasingly uncertain economy. 

For this reason, many freelance animators may want to start an animation studio of their own to create a more efficient work environment where tasks are evenly distributed amongst different skilled individuals. 

But starting an animation studio is hard, especially when considering that you’ll have to start an animation studio fund to get things off the ground. When considering the different job roles to hire, animation equipment to buy, and the general startup costs you’ll have to pay, it can become quite a daunting task to create an animation studio fund. 

Our blog explaining how much it costs to start an animation studio estimates it will cost between $25,000 and $210,000 to fund an animation studio. This amount depends on where you’re located and how many people you’ll want to hire, but it’s a good guideline to keep in mind. 

With this in mind, it might be a good idea to create a business plan so you know exactly how much money to save to start your animation studio fund. From there, you should consider how successful your studio could potentially be and how you can use your freelance business ideas to grow your animation studio. 

If starting an animation studio fund sounds like an impossible task, it shouldn't. You can easily use your existing methods of making money as a freelance animator to start an animation studio fund. 

In this blog, we discuss how to start an animation studio fund through various freelance jobs you can do on the side. 

Side Hustles For Starting An Animation Studio Fund

1. Find Work On Freelance Websites
freelance websites like upwork is perfect for an animation studio fund

Image by Jeff Cardello via webflow

If you’re a freelance animator, you may know about a variety of websites where you can advertise your animation services to find work. These can also be used to start your animation studio fund by being more about the types of projects you accept. 

The most popular websites for freelance animators to find work include LinkedIn, Twine, Fiverr, Upwork, Behance, Freelancer, SimplyHired, and Envato Studio. Fiverr, for example, has an estimated hourly income of about $60, which is a good starting point for growing your animation studio fund. 

It is worth mentioning that some of these websites have high competition, low-quality clients, and commissions that are deducted from your pay. For this reason, it’s worth researching which of these will work best for you in the long run. 

An online marketplace that many animators often overlook is Etsy. Etsy has become very popular among sellers of all kinds of services and products. In fact, the estimated monthly average for Etsy sellers is about $290. 

2. Start a YouTube Channel
starting a youtube channel is another method to start an animation studio fund

GIF via Giphy

Many animators have started YouTube channels and now have massive followings which constitute their main source of income. Unfortunately, YouTube can be time-consuming if you want to earn a substantial income. Nevertheless, you can still earn a good income to contribute to your animation studio fund. 

In addition, YouTube is a great way to earn passive income since you don’t have to be actively working on videos all day to earn money from it. 

Your YouTube content can also be supplemented by creating content on TikTok and other social media platforms. Not only will this generate more traffic for your channel, but you’ll get noticed as an animator and possibly be hired by some of your fans. 

With YouTube, you can promote yourself in multiple ways and this can eventually lead to brand sponsorships. YouTube will also open the opportunity for commission requests and you can raise your prices to accommodate the high demand for your work.

3. Create Educational Animation Content Online
educational animation content can lead to raising your animation studio fund

GIF by Isaiah Cardona via Giphy

If you feel that you possess unique animation knowledge that can be used to educate and help other animators, you might want to consider creating educational animation content online. You may not know it, but you have valuable insights and advice from working in the animation industry that people will be willing to pay for. 

As an animator, you can create a course on a lot of different topics. Whether it is a beginner guide or an in-depth guide on specific topics, you have the knowledge and experience to create comprehensive tutorials and give advice.

There are many platforms where professionals will pay you by the minute for your insights. Clarity, for instance, allows you to charge $10 per minute and that’s on the lower part of the pay spectrum.

The online education industry is an almost $107 billion market, and by making online educational content about animation, you can earn your fair share. You have the knowledge and skills to create an animation course that will earn you a substantial amount of money. 

Udemy is one of the many platforms that can help you reach thousands of people with your content.

It can take anywhere from a day to a week to create a course and after that, you are pretty much done. The course hosting platform you choose will take care of promoting your course but you can also advertise it on your website, YouTube channel, or social media for the added boost.

Once you are done with creating the course, it can generate passive income for years. If you make 10 or 15 of these courses, you can expect a good amount of extra income every month for the next few years.

Udemy, Gumroad, and Skillshare are some of the best platforms for hosting courses. They also have an in-depth guide with tips and tutorials on how to create your own course.

4. Affiliate Marketing For Animators
animators can affiliate market to raise an animation studio fund

Image by Oliver Cook via AYO News

There are many ways for you to start an animation studio fund by marketing your animation services. 

Various marketing strategies are implemented and developed to increase profit. These strategies include email, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), and social media, as there are many benefits to each of them. 

Another strategy that can help you avoid upfront costs and minimize risk while increasing sales is affiliate marketing. If you want to start your animation studio, you may have limited internal staff, which means there isn’t a marketing team dedicated to promoting your business yet. 

By running an affiliate program, you allow an external individual to promote your animated videos or animation services on your behalf. Affiliate marketing aims at generating revenue by promoting third-party animated videos and animation services.

You probably have your own animation platform already, so you can easily incorporate affiliate marketing into your website or YouTube channel. Payscale.com estimates that the average annual income for affiliate marketers is $65,800, making this a great option to contribute to your animation studio fund. 

5. Create Technical Illustration Animations
another side hustle for animators is to create technical illustrations

Image by Rob Hooks via 99designs

Technical illustrators can earn up to $47,000 per year if they are illustrating and animating part-time. More instruction booklets are going digital and how-to guides are also becoming more prevalent. Animators are indispensable in these kinds of videos.

6. Create Animations For Influencers
you can create animations for influencers as an animator side hustle

Image via ADscholars

Social media is the new storytelling medium, and just like animated films became a staple in the world of cinema, virtual influencers are taking over social media. Social media influencers often make a lot of money by growing their social media followings, and as an animator, you can take advantage of this by offering your animation services to them. 

Many influencers have YouTube channels where you can create unique intro and outro animations for them. Influencers represent a gold mine for you to grow your animation studio fund. It might be time for you to make your animation skills available to these new celebrities as your side hustle.

7. Create Short Animations To Sell
short animations are the perfect side hustle for animators

GIF by Paulette Studio via Giphy

Selling your unique animations is one of the simplest ways of making money. It is a good idea because instead of your personal projects silently sitting on your computer they can work for you and help you earn an income. 

All of your personal projects can be converted into short animations which you can sell online on websites like Etsy. While this can’t be relied on as a full-time income, it can definitely help you grow your animation studio fund. 

8. Start a Patreon Account
creating a patreon can help an animator start their animation studio fund

Image by Allen Longstreet via ezoic

The impact Patreon has had on the animation community has been quite significant and Patreon has paid about $250 million to its patrons worldwide. This is the reason so many artists and animators have a Patreon account. 

When you create a Patreon account, people can become members of your account and they can also make donations. Membership is a little bit different from direct donations. In membership people basically pledge to support you and your work every month.

If you have a good following or your content is helping others to learn new things and improve their skills, you can ask them to support you on Patreon and similar platforms.

People can donate anywhere between $1, $3, $5 to even $100 or $200 every month. The payment is automatically made through their bank account so that they do not have to manually send you money every single month.

You can also set up exclusive content and perks for your supporters to encourage them to donate. This can be things like exclusive animations or monthly animated shorts that only they have access to. 

If you have a YouTube channel, you can use your platform to encourage your viewers to subscribe to your Patreon for exclusive access to certain animations or content. For example, if you create tutorials online, you can offer the final animation to your Patreon supporters. 

9. Crowdfunding For Animators
animators can start a crowdfund for their animation studio in many ways

GIF by GoFundMe via Giphy

One of the funding options that animation studios now have at their disposal is crowdfunding. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow creators to pitch a project and ask regular people to chip in some money to fund the project. 

Crowdfunding would definitely be a more advisable option for a brand new animation studio than for an established studio with a great deal of name recognition. In other words, Studio Ghibli probably shouldn’t start a crowdfunding campaign. They have many other ways of obtaining the funding they need, including their savings. 

But if, on the other hand, a small group of amateur animators want to create their first feature and need some money to do it, they could definitely get the money they need, or even more, from online fans.

This is also ideal to grow your animation studio fund and people are generally very generous when it comes to crowdfunding. Just be sure to clearly state your vision for the animation studio, what type of animations you plan to create, and why your studio will stand out above the rest. 

How to Start An Animation Studio Fund

Starting an animation studio can be a very exciting but very daunting project to take on. This is especially true when considering the cost of starting an animation studio. 

For this reason, it’s important to start an animation studio fund as soon as possible to make sure you have the money to not only start your studio but to hire employees and invest in valuable equipment to help you on your journey. 

Luckily, there are several side hustles for you to do to help you grow your animation studio fund. If you combine any number of the ones we mentioned above, you should be on your way to opening your animation studio in no time!

If you’re looking to grow your animation skills, check out our free masterclass, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!

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