Hey there, fellow enthusiasts! Over the past three months, I've found an exciting way to turn my LoRA training hobby into a profitable venture. I've been training niche models and selling them to specific communities, such as the Lookism webtoon community, offering them "AI avatars". Essentially what it is is an img2img inference of the user's selfie, in the style of Lookism webtoon. You can view the app here In this blog post, I'll dive deeper into the specifics of how I made it work.
The journey so far
Before we jump into the nitty-gritty details, let me share some of my results:
40,000 views on YouTube and TikTok.
Priced my AI avatars at $3.99 per generation.
Attracted 251 paying customers.
Received +$1,000 in payments via Stripe.
The inner workings
So, how does this whole small business function? The key to success here is targeting niche communities. In the vast realm of anime, you'll find numerous sub-communities, each dedicated to different anime series or genres. For example, there is a community for Pokémon, maybe Naruto, and many more.
I have been monetizing my LoRAs by creating models that specifically target these communities. The more niche you are, the easier it becomes to acquire users who are passionate about that particular niche. However, being niche also means that the demographic will be relatively small, which might result in lower earnings. From my experience, it's a good strategy to start super niche and then expand to target similar niches in the vicinity.
For example, if you want to target the Naruto anime community, you can initially train a LoRA and market it to the Naruto community and later expand to target other similar niches, like the Boruto demographic.
Effective marketing strategies
Creating LoRAs is only one part of the equation; the other 50% lies in driving traffic to your website, a crucial step for profitability. Here are some effective marketing strategies you can use:
TikTok and YouTube Shorts: Grow an account related to your niche and create content that resonates with your target audience. Occasionally, create TikToks to promote your website.
Partnerships: Collaborate with content creators within your niche. You can partner with them to create or share content on their channels. I typically pay them between $5 and $20 (for my niche), depending on the size of their channel, to post the ad. For my project, I messaged over 100 creators on TikTok. I find I get a response every 1 in 10.
Engage with Forums: Share your work on platforms like Reddit and specific forums dedicated to your niche or anime community. Engaging with the community and demonstrating your expertise can drive traffic to your website.
Of course, these are not the only strategies available, but they're the ones that I found effective for my specific demographic. The main takeaway here is to establish a presence wherever your target audience congregates, whether it's on YouTube, Instagram, Discord, or other platforms.
Exploring Monetization Opportunities
In the last couple of months, I've discovered a passion for training LoRAs as a hobby, and I've also noticed a thriving community around stable diffusion. Surprisingly, there aren't many resources available on how to monetize this hobby (maybe aside from selling LoRA training services on Fiverr).
I'm eager to explore more ways people can monetize this passion. To make it easier for anyone interested in pursuing this path, I've created an app that simplifies the process of setting up a website for image-to-image transformations. The app is completely free to use, it only charges a small percentage if someone actually pays for your image (to cover the GPU server costs). You can try it out for free here.
So there you have it -- my journey of turning a LoRA hobby into a side business. I hope this blog post inspires you to explore other strategies of monetizing LoRAs. I'm sure there are others out there. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or on my Discord, I'm open to chat :). Cheers!