Over the past three months, I been turning my LoRA training hobby into a profitable venture. Before seeing those Yearbook avatars pop up, I’ve been training niche models and selling them to specific communities (for example I sold to the community of this webtoon called “Lookism”), offering them “AI avatars”. Essentially what it is is an img2img inference of the user’s selfie, in the style of Lookism webtoon. In this post I’ll dive deeper into the specifics of how I got it to work.
The journey so far
Before we jump into the details, let me share some of my results:
How it works
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, maybe 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.
You also need to market your product
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 I’ve tested and worked in my situation:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Engage with Forums: Share your work on platforms like Reddit and specific forums dedicated to your niche or anime community. Like maybe some demographics/communities are more active on Discord, etc. Just talk, share resources, and be an active community member there and talk about your app.
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.
So there you have it — my journey of turning a LoRA hobby into a side business. I was surprised there aren’t many resources available on how to monetize this hobby (maybe aside from selling LoRA training services on Fiverr). I hope this inspires you to find your own ways to make some cash from this hobby
edit – removed links