Making a living by teaching your skills

Tomas van Ammers and Jibran Siddiqi - cofounders of enrichme
One way to make a living in the arts is to teach other people how to do what you do. Find out how startup Enrichme are helping artists do just that. | Sponsored by enrichme

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Teaching: it's an age old part of the artist's repertoire, and for good reason. As the forteenth Dali Lama once said "Share your knowledge: it's a way to achieve immortality." There are lots of practical benefits, too: not only is it fulfilling to educate people, it’s also good for your creative practice. It’s great for developing communication skills. It builds people’s awareness of you as an expert. And of course, people will pay you for it.

That sounds great in theory, but the wheels can fall off the wagon in practice. How do you find students? How do you take their money? How do you keep track of how many people have signed up? There’s a whole lot of admin behind applying your creative talents through teaching, and for a lot of people it’s just a bit too hard.

That’s where enrichme comes in. Enrichme was founded in 2017 by Tomas van Ammers and  Jibran Siddiqi to take care of that fussy back-end stuff, letting creatives focus on what they’re best at: their underlying talent. I caught up with Tomas, who told me “we want to make it as simple as can be for artists to teach others and share their passions.”

Here’s how it works: you sign up, put in your bank details, and create a course. Set a price, write a description, and press go. Now your course is on enrichme for people to book. Managing bookings, refunds, date moves, etc., is all made easy. enrichme even takes care of the marketing for you.

One of the really cool things about enrichme is how they’ve set up their payment structure. You choose how much you pay to use the service - and it defaults to free. Want to keep paying nothing? That’s fine - it’s entirely up to you.

In addition, if you do choose to send some of your booking fee to enrichme, they’ll send 10% of that to creative-based charities, so it goes to the community either way.

Building the community

The business is structured more around arts and the people in it, and less around making loads of profit. Tomas said “we’re really more interested in building the community than making money. The arts are underappreciated in New Zealand, and they’re so important to a healthy society.”

We’re really more interested in building the community than making money. The arts are underappreciated in New Zealand, and they’re so important to a healthy society.

To this end, enrichme has an artist’s directory as well, so artists can participate without even signing up for a course. You can make an entry on that directory, and make yourself available for collaborations, one-off projects, or even just connecting with like-minded people to have a chat.

In future, enrichme plans to expand into other Pacific countries, where Tomas reckons there’s lots of untapped potential. One great example is basket weaving in Papua New Guinea. This work is mostly done for very low pay, by women. Tomas and Jibran want to give these women a way to improve their standard of living by making money teaching this rare skill to others.

By doing this, there’s a win-win for everyone involved: students get to learn skills they wouldn’t have otherwise learned, which improves capability across the arts sector. And at the same time, artists get to make a living doing what they love - which keeps people in the arts sector.

So if you want to be part of this community, and make a living from your creative talent, sign up to enrichme. It’s a great way to not only pay your bills, but also to support the wider arts community.

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 Tomas van Ammers and Jibran Siddiqi - cofounders of enrichme

Written by

Sam Grover

1 Oct 2018

Sam loves telling quirky stories about The Big Idea’s community of artists and interviewing successful arts practitioners to gather insights about funding and commercialising their art. 

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