Making money by doing what you love is something that most people strive for but isn’t always easy to achieve. Making money off of your favorite social media site is even harder. However for Amber Dolyak, a young Santa Barbara native with a passion for all things art related, it came quite easy. Amber has been able to turn her hobby into a serious moneymaking venture solely using hashtags on Instagram.
Instagram is a mobile photo and video-sharing social networking service that allows anyone with a mobile phone to be able to promote their creativity. For most, Instagram isn’t a moneymaking stream but thanks to hashtags, for Amber it is. A hashtag is simply a pound sign (#) in front of a word or phrase that can add the photo being categorized into a search pool of other photos that are “hashtagged” using the same word.
Amber never had serious intentions of selling her art. It was just a fun hobby and something that always came naturally to her. It wasn’t until people started contacting her through her Instagram that she realized she could actually make some money doing what she loves so much. “I just focus on doing my art for me, if people like it enough to buy it, that’s really amazing. But that’s not what I focus on.” Amber doesn’t have a website or even a Facebook but has made thousands of dollars just by posting photos of her artwork to her Instagram using various different hashtags.
Recently Amber was discovered by a band across the country just from hashtagging “art” after one of her pieces. Cruel Hand, a hardcore punk band from Portland Maine was on the hunt for some artwork to use as their latest albums cover art when they stumbled upon Amber under “#Art”. Chris Link, the vocalist for the band, private messaged Amber and asked if he could pay her to design an album cover. She accepted.
Album covers aren’t the only thing Amber’s sold through Instagram, through hashtags like “SBart” she has been able to attract other young artists who have presented her with opportunities to display her artwork in different pop-up art shows around town. “I found that once I started gaining more followers, I started getting more offers on my pieces. It also helps that my profile isn’t private so it can be more discoverable.”
As for what the future holds for her art business, she doesn’t know. “Recently I’ve been thinking about putting up a website to help promote and sell my work. I guess people actually do want to buy it. I get so many inquiries all the time through Instagram, it’d probably be a good idea from a business standpoint.” Amber continues to post creative photos of her artwork on Instagram but has yet to make any moves towards a legitimate business. To follow Amber on Instagram and check out her artwork search “AMBER_DOLYAK”.