Posted by Ellen Mehling
Name: Bayleigh Janusik
Location: Brooklyn, NY
What is your side gig? I paint portraits of people and animals
How long have you been doing this freelance work? I’ve been doing this as a hobby for around 5 years, but recently started promoting it as a side gig as my skills have improved over the last year and a half.
What are your qualifications for doing this kind of work (credentials, experience, etc.)? I am a self taught painter and I have a background in the arts.
How did you get started? Are there start-up costs for this type of work? I watched a lot of online tutorials and read books on techniques from the library. The start up costs depend on the quality of the supplies. The first few orders for oil paint supplies were certainly an investment.
Is the gig work done for an employer or are you truly “your own boss”? I work only for myself at this time.
What is your primary reason for doing the side gig work? I love to paint and I wanted to share this with people who have lost someone important to them. Having a painting of a family member who passed away can be very powerful and I’m honored to do this for my clients.
What is the approximate number of hours per week or month that you do the freelance work? It depends on the commission, but I average 10 hours a month of active painting time.
How do you get clients? How much marketing/advertising/promotion do you do? What are the costs for that? I only have my art instagram: @bayleighart where I post my pieces. I usually get clients from word of mouth when they share the work I’ve done for them.
How do you set your fees? I set my fees based on materials used and time spent on the actual painting.
Is this work steady throughout the year or is it seasonal, or does demand vary? The work picks up around the holidays as portraits make for a unique gift.
Can the work you do be done virtually/remotely? I can paint anywhere and my apartment has become increasingly taken over by art supplies.
Do you get paid in advance or do you invoice after the work is done, or do you have some other payment arrangement? The price is set once the size and scope of the piece is determined in the beginning of the commission.
What do you like most about the freelance work you do? There is just something really special about having a painting of someone in your home instead of a picture. Often times, pictures don’t always capture the nature of a person that can come forward in a painting. The same goes with pets. It’s also really fun to paint pets that were a part of a family and deserve to have their spot on the wall, too.
What do you like least about the freelance work you do? I wish I had more time to do it!
What is the biggest challenge of doing this side gig work? Being self taught, I’ve had to research and grow on my own and it’s been a challenge to expand my hobby into a side gig.
If someone is considering doing the same side gig work that you do, what would be your advice to them? Don’t doubt your talent and ability to learn and grow as an artist. Practice comes from dedication, not motivation. It won’t happen overnight, but honing a craft is worth it. Also, just because you’re a new artist doesn’t mean you should under charge.
Bayleigh Janusik, MSLIS, is a Library Information Supervisor at Brooklyn Public Library.
Thank you, Bayleigh!