Can cosplayers make money?
Whether you’re new to cosplay or you’ve been around for a while, you might be thinking that you must be as popular as Jessica Nigri or Yaya Han in order to make money from this hobby. And as awesome as those 2 big-name cosplayers are, there are tons of other cosplayers doing different things to earn some income. Let’s get into it…
Can cosplayers make money?
Even if you’re just starting out, you don’t have to be a famous professional in order to make money as a cosplayer. Although having clout on social media definitely helps, there are quite a few ways to earn money even if you’re just a small-time cosplayer.
None of these methods are going to be easy though; they take a lot of time and commitment. You can use your skills to do commissions for other cosplayers, and you can build a loyal following that will support you financially on your cosplay journey.
In this post, I’ll answer the question “can cosplayers make money?” I’ll show 12 ways to do so, even if you’re not a professional cosplayer!
There’s no absolute need for millions of likes or followers; you just need to be consistent and treat your loyal fans very preciously.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Costume commissions
Let’s start this list that’s in my opinion, the most realistic method for you as a cosplayer to make some extra cash, that being cosplay commissions. You can earn a good amount of money by making costumes and props for other Cosplayers! As mentioned in a previous post, not all cosplayers are able to sew or craft their own costumes.
As cosplay gets bigger and bigger, there’s going to be even more demand for cosplay commissions. If you have the time and skill, you can definitely make some decent cash by accepting cosplay commissions. On the downside however, this type of work is labor-intensive and fairly time-consuming. So pick and choose which cosplay commissions you want to do, so you don’t overload yourself!
One of the most popular ways for cosplayers to engage their audience, Patreon is a platform that’s used by many content creators, including cosplayers. It’s basically a subscription service; your fans and followers pay you a monthly fee and in return, you offer cosplay content. What cosplay content, you ask? Well, that’s up to you. It could be a costume tutorial, prints and posters of your cosplay photos, exclusive content and more. And it doesn’t have to be one price either, you can have different price levels with more content for those who pay more. Patreon has been a reliable platform for professional cosplayers for years now!
Cosplay and video gaming….why not combine the two passions of your life AND make money doing both? Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Although to be fair, I have no experience using Twitch. I just know that a lot of cosplayers are making a killing doing cosplay Twitch streams. Like Patreon and other social media, Twitch involves a lot of time and dedication. You’ll need to be gaming pretty often, and you need to have a unique personality or look, so that people would want to watch you play video games for hours on end!
4. Social media platforms
Professional cosplayers heavily rely on social media not only to reach their audience, but to earn money. There are so many ways for a cosplayer to earn money using various social media platforms.
While having a cosplay Facebook or Instagram account alone won’t make a cosplayer money, having a large following can open a lot of doors for you! And no, they can’t be fake followers you bought on Fiverr; they have to be real! Anyways, if you have a lot of followers, then you can do things such as: advertise cosplays from costume stores, be part of paid sponsorships by companies who are looking for influencers, do paid share-for-share posts, and more. Again, this is not easy to do because it takes a looong time and dedication to get a large, organic following on social media. But once you have some clout and reach, you’ll have more opportunities as a cosplayer to make money.
5. Cosplay prints
If you’ve ever been to a dealers room at an Anime convention, you’ve probably notice that cosplayer sell prints. Well, that’s one way they earn income; selling photos of their cosplay on a poster or calendar. Maybe you’re not a celebrity or a supermodel. That’s okay. As long as you have your loyal fans and treat them well, they would be more than happy to buy a poster or calendar featuring you. Lots of cosplayers do this and it’s a successful method for cosplayers to earn money.
6. Guest appearances at a convention
Yes, you can get paid as a cosplayer to be a guest at a convention. However, of all the methods here, I’d say this is the most difficult. Most of the time, the convention organizers will pay for your flight/transportation to and from the con, as well as lodging and food. Unless you’re a big name cosplayer like Jessica Nigri or Yaya Han and can draw a huge attendee following, they probably won’t pay you to be there. But hey! A free convention is not a bad thing.
I personally know quite a few local cosplayers who were offered guest at cons, and it’s pretty cool the perks you get. Even I was a guest at a con once; I love the free stuff I got for showing up. And of course, it’s always fun to be a con, so why not? Getting free transportation to and from a con, as well as free lodging is pretty sweet if you ask me. So even if you’re not getting paid directly by a convention, you’re saving money with the amenities you get!
YouTube is technically another form of social media, but the platform deserves its own point. Video content is the future, and YouTube is leading the way, especially for cosplayers. By doing YouTube videos and getting a lot of views, not only will you earn money directly from ad revenue but you’ll also have an engaged audience who will click on your products and services as well off YouTube.
So what type of cosplay content should you do on YouTube? There are lots of options, including:
- Cosplay Music Videos
- Cosplay advice
- Random stuff (I know a lot of cosplayers who just talk about random stuff and their audience loves it!)
8. Hosting cosplay events
I would know a thing or two about this! Cosplayers and people in the cosplay community are always hungry for more cosplay events, and Anime/comic conventions can be so far apart from each other. This is where you come in; make a cosplay event in your area. It can be as simple a cosplay gathering at a park, or an event held in an indoor venue. Depending on how much you charge, you can make a decent amount of money! Just be sure to spend some of the money on prizes and things that are beneficial for the community!
If you want to know more about what’s it like to host a cosplay event, click here to read Senpai’s story about it, and why they’re so fulfilling for me as a cosplay event organizer.
If you have expertise with anything cosplay-related (e.g. sewing, cosplay armor), then you may want to consider selling ebooks for anyone wanting to learn what you know! There are quite a few cosplay ebooks on Amazon. Lots of people would love to learn how to do things in the cosplay world and if you can teach them, you can earn some money doing so. The most notable example is Kamui Cosplay – she sells a ton of ebooks related to armor, Worbla and LED-related tutorials for cosplay!
So if you’re knowledgeable as well, you can make some money selling your expertise in the form of an ebook.
10. Doing cosplay photography (you’ll have more experience and credentials being a cosplayer yourself)
One big aspect of cosplaying is the photography and if you’re up to it, you can learn cosplay photography yourself! As a cosplayer, you have a slight leg up because of the experience you have posing for photoshoots, so you already know a lot of the aspects that make you look good in photos. I know quite a few cosplayers who are also cosplay photographers as well! With that said, getting good at cosplay photography does take time and effort, so you should not pursue this method of making money as a cosplayer unless you’re into photography. Give it a try and see if you like it though!
OnlyFans is a website where you can share “spicy” images of yourself. Many cosplayers use this website to share their photos and videos for either a subscription or a one-time fee. You can make a lot of money using OnlyFans! But of course, you need to be comfortable sharing “spicy” images or videos of yourself. I’ll let you make that decision. 🙂
If you haven’t heard, Coscove is a great website where you can buy and sell your cosplays without the hassles and uncertainty of doing it on Facebook! They have a great interface on their website, and provide you with guarantees if anything goes wrong. In terms of making money, you can sell your old cosplays that you’ve made or previously bought by using Coscove.
Bonus: How to be a professional cosplayer
If you are ambitious and passionate about cosplaying and want to become a professional, then by all means go for it! While I myself have no experience being a professional cosplayer, this YouTube video by Ginny Di shows what it’s like to be one. It’s a great and informative video, so check it out!
To summarize, here are the 12 ways you can make money through cosplaying:
- Costume commissions
- Social media platforms
- Cosplay prints
- Guest appearances at a convention
- Hosting cosplay events
- Sell ebooks related to cosplay
- Doing cosplay photography
And there you have it; 12 ways you can make money through cosplaying!
Which method appeals most to you? As a cosplayer, is there a way you make money that I haven’t listed here? Let me know in the comments below!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!