17 Ways on How Do Cosplayers make Money

How to make money as a cosplayer thumbnail

Cosplay is a fun hobby but did you know that this hobby can be an income stream? In this article, I’m going to show you how to make money as a cosplayer.

It sounds awkward that dressing up like a fictional character can be a replacement for your 9-5 job. But let me tell you, it’s possible that cosplay can be your full time career or even a business if you are really passionate about it!

Disclaimer (Read this before proceeding)

The information provided in this article is based on my personal experiences and opinions as a cosplayer. I am not a financial advisor but a guy that has a Scaramouche Cosplay wig on his head. This article should not be taken as financial advice. The ideas and suggestions presented here are intended for informational purposes only and may not be suitable for everyone.

It’s important to consult with a qualified financial professional before making any financial decisions. They can provide personalized guidance based on your individual circumstances and goals. Remember, everyone’s financial situation is different, and what works for me may not work for you.

I am not liable for any financial losses or damages that may result from the use of the information provided in this article. You don’t have a right to eat my cosplay wig as a compensation /s! It’s your responsibility to assess the risks and make informed decisions based on your financial situation. Always seek professional advice if you’re unsure about any financial matters.

Do Cosplayers Make Money?

The short answer here is yes! But not all cosplayers you’re seeing online or inside of the anime convention venue are making money from their passion. It’s a case to case basis. 

Making money from passions like cosplay is a challenging endeavor that needs some patience and determination. It’s not an easy task or a quick rich scheme but it’s rewarding if you succeed!

How much do Cosplayers Make?

Cosplayers have a big potential to make a large sum of money. It may depend on the diversity of their monetization techniques and how business savvy they are! 

As mentioned before, making money from cosplay is not a quick rich scheme. The income of professional cosplayers is a case-to-case topic.

According to Zip Recruiter, the average hourly wage of cosplayers in the United States is 23$.

Key Takeaways

  • Cosplay can be a viable career path, offering diverse income streams like online courses, commissions, and merchandise sales.
  • Success requires talent, business acumen, and adaptability to trends.
  • The journey can be challenging, with financial instability, potential harassment, and the need to balance passion with business.
  • Starting out doesn’t have to be expensive, with options like casual cosplay and budget-friendly resources available.
  • Despite the challenges, a career in cosplay can be incredibly rewarding for those with a true passion for the craft.

How to Make Money as a Cosplayer?

Now, you’re aware that this article is solely based on my personal perspective as a cosplayer, not a financial guru. These ideas might work for you but not for others. Sometimes, this will work for others but not for you. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Online Course

Udemy Searching for Cosplay Online Courses

If you’re a skilled cosplayer, share your knowledge through online course marketplace like Udemy. You are free to teach anything about cosplay such as makeup, wig styling, costume making, etc.

As you can see in my screenshot, there’s only 20 courses on this platform when it comes to cosplay topics. The competition in this platform is so low that I put this section in the first place! 

Cosplay Competitions

Selling online courses about cosplay might not be too competitive. Some cosplayers want some challenge when it comes to their passion. Fear not, that’s why cosplay contests exist!

Many conventions host contests with cash prizes. While this is not a guaranteed income stream, it’s a chance to showcase your skills and potentially win some money.

Not just conventions, there’s also cosplay contests online. It can be found in social media platforms like Facebook. Remember, be aware of scams inside of the online space! The cosplay community is known for a home of online scammers!

Write a Book

Screenshot of KDP homepage

When you go to Amazon Kindle and search for cosplay books, there are some cosplayers who are writing their content for money. If you want to share your knowledge through written pieces, a book might be a good alternative to taking online courses.

All you need is a word processor software like Zoho Writer and your cosplay experience.  After you finish your manuscript, you can now monetize it by self publishing or submitting it to a traditional publisher. According to writer’s digest, publishing houses offer $500 up to million dollars as an advance royalty or payment after your book has been published. If you’re lucky enough to find such big publishing companies that offer a million dollars advance, your income will actually surpass the average income of cosplay models!


If you are already familiar with an artist, do arts for you in exchange for money that they call “art commission.” You can also do the same thing for cosplay and make some money!

Many fans admire elaborate costumes but lack the skills or time to create them. Offer your expertise to make custom cosplays for clients. This requires strong craftsmanship and clear communication to meet client expectations.

Cosplay Repair Service

Getting your cosplay costume getting damaged especially inside of the anime convention is a nightmarish thing that every cosplayers can experience. 

Some of these damage cosplay costumes are pre-made and it’s passed the warranty period. That’s why you are to the rescue to help these cosplayers to continue their passion!

All you need to do is to make a listing in public online marketplaces like Facebook marketplace that you’re offering a cosplay repair service. This will solve the hardest issue in pre-made costumes that have a short warranty period from its manufacturer!

Costume Rental

Got a collection of amazing cosplays? Consider renting them out for events or photoshoots. This can be especially appealing for elaborate costumes that others might not be able to make themselves.

As I said before in my blog, renting a costume can be a cheap alternative to buying a pre-made costume. Costume rental business can help many aspiring cosplayers to start their first cosplay without breaking their bank account!

Sell Cosplay Patterns

If you are an experienced cosplayer or a sewing expert that used to make your own cosplay costume, don’t hide your secret technique on how you made that! As I said before, sharing is caring. Cosplay community thrives from sharing!

If you’re a skilled seamstress or prop maker, document your process and create detailed patterns. This allows others to recreate your designs while providing you with a passive income stream.

Don’t just be a pro cosplayer, be a cosplay guru! You can sell your beautiful sewing cosplay patterns on Etsy.

Become a Cosplay Guests at Convention

This part might be hard for newbie cosplayers. In my own perspective, this method should be done with proper planning.

If you’ve built a strong reputation and following, conventions may invite you as a guest. This can involve panels, autograph signings, or judging contests, and often comes with compensation or travel reimbursement.

Sell your Old Cosplay

Old cosplay costumes can be a big mess in your wardrobe especially if your room doesn’t have enough space to store unused cosplay. 

As you create or buy new cosplays, consider selling older ones that you no longer wear. This can recoup some of your initial investment and provide other cosplayers with access to high-quality costumes. 

This is a win-win situation for you and to your potential buyer. You declutter your messy wardrobe while your buyer saves much money for buying a second hand costume.

Offer Cosplay Consultation Service

Not every aspiring cosplayer has time to do their own research about cosplay. Some of them are confused or mentally blocked on how to start their cosplay journey. 

Your job here is to help aspiring cosplayers choose characters, plan their builds, or source materials. Your expertise can be invaluable to those starting out in the hobby.

Cosplay-themed Cameo or Personalized Video Messages

If you have a nice number of followers in your social media accounts. You might consider having a nice interaction with your fans but most of you don’t have much time for cons. Fear not, personalized video messages are the best solution! 

Utilize platforms like Cameo to offer personalized video greetings, shoutouts, or even short skits in character for fans. This is a fun way to interact with your audience and earn a little extra income.

Create a Cosplay Tutorial Content

If you don’t want to owe your fans for online courses about cosplay, there’s a good alternative for it. You can start an educational YouTube channel targeted for aspiring cosplayers to get started. The best thing here is that you’re offering your content for free but you still get some revenue from the ad program. 

YouTube has YPP or also known as YouTube Partner Program. TikTok has a Creator Program to monetize your content for free!

If you’re a cosplay makeup expert, create step-by-step video tutorials on achieving specific character looks. If you’re good at sewing cosplay costumes, you might opt for creating a video tutorial on how you make your cosplay. 

Sell Cosplay Virtual Assets

If you are a cosplayer that utilizes technology like 3D printing to use for props and costumes, this might be a good side hustle! Autocad gurus of the cosplay community can make some money from this method.

You can create and sell digital patterns, 3D models, or reference photos for other cosplayers. This can be a great way to generate passive income from your existing designs.

Your 3d cosplay props model can be sold on digital asset marketplace like Sketchfab. If you’re selling digital patterns or reference photos, Etsy might be a good choice for you.

Write Cosplay Reviews for Brand/Blogs

If you are exposed to many brands of cosplay products, this method might be suitable for you. 

Offer your honest opinions and insights on cosplay products, events, or tutorials. You can contribute to established blogs or pitch your reviews to websites looking for freelance writers. 

Host your Own Cosplay Photoshoot

Rent a unique location or set up a themed photoshoot and invite fellow cosplayers to participate for a fee. You can offer edited photos, prints, or a fun community experience.

This method will not work by itself. It needs a combination of photography and marketing skills to promote your photoshoot event.

Cosplay Themed Music or Dance Performance

I believe that the cosplay community is full of talented individuals. Sadly, most of them are hidden and they think that cosplay is not a good way to express it. It’s just a myth! Cosplay is a good hobby to express your musical talent.

If you have musical or dance talents, incorporate your cosplay into your performances. You can create original music videos, dance routines, or even form a cosplay band. I cannot wait to see a cosplay band dominate the world of music!

Cosplay-Themed Merchandise

If you have a creative flair, you might consider designing unique merchandise for cosplayers. This could include t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, or other items featuring popular characters or cosplay-related themes.

You can sell these merchandise by renting out a booth at anime or comic conventions. If you think it’s way too expensive, you might opt to sell it online using e-commerce websites like Lazada. You can also make your own website that sells these merchandise using CMS like WooCommerce and Shopify.

This method requires marketing skills and a high investment. This might be a good way to practice your entrepreneurial skills!

The Difficult Side of Pursuing Career in Cosplay

I repeat, Cosplay as a career is not an easy task! Turning your cosplay hobby to a career is not a joke. Before you make such big decision in your cosplay journey, you might know the struggles of professional cosplayers:

Keeping up with Trends

Cosplay trends can change rapidly, requiring cosplayers to adapt quickly. This can be expensive and time-consuming, especially for those who prioritize accuracy and detail.

For underage cosplayers, some trends on social media might be inappropriate. It’s advisable that minor professional cosplayers should have parental support.

Dealing with Rejections

Any career that requires creativity is prone to hundreds but thousands of rejection. If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in creative fields like cosplay, be prepared to face hundreds of rejections. 

It’s a sad but true reality. Cosplay is a subset of art. Many artists face so much rejection and cosplayers are not safe from here! 

J.K. Howling got rejected 22 times to get Harry Potter published. That’s the reality of pursuing a creative career. Many successful people in the creative field face so many rejections before they succeed. 

Financial Instability

Let me tell you the truth, you should not leave your 9-5 day job just because you’re having a good time in your cosplay career! The industry of creatives including cosplay is very volatile.

Cosplay is not always a reliable source of income. Earnings can fluctuate depending on commissions, event appearances, or social media engagement. It’s crucial to have a financial cushion or a secondary income source.

Mental and Physical Strain

Cosplaying can be physically demanding, especially during long events or photoshoots. The pressure to constantly create new content and meet audience expectations can also take a toll on mental health.

If you’re having an underlying medical condition, it’s advisable to consult with your doctor before starting out a career in cosplay.

Intellectual Property Issues

Image by freepik

Cosplayers need to be aware of copyright and trademark laws when creating and selling their work. Licensing issues can arise, especially when using copyrighted characters or designs for commercial purposes.

If you’re going to make your cosplay career way too serious, it’s a good idea to have a personal entertainment or intellectual lawyer that you can approach anytime. 

Facing a legal prosecution for copyright infringement is very expensive. In this career, IP lawsuits are the biggest risk!


Unfortunately, online harassment and toxicity are common issues in the cosplay community. Cosplayers may face criticism, body shaming, or even threats, making it important to develop a strong resilience and prioritize mental well-being.

Cosplay harassment also happens inside of the anime convention venue. If you’re a professional cosplayer and going to cons for the first time, it’s good to have your friends beside you to minimize the risks of in-person harassment. 

Might be costly to Start Out

Pursuing this career can be expensive. High-quality materials, tools, and convention travel can quickly add up, putting a financial strain on cosplayers, especially those starting out.

Kidding aside, starting out as a professional cosplayer “MUST” not be expensive! In fact, cosplay is a cheap and accessible activity that even a broken high school student (like me, lol!) can try out! There’s so many types of cosplay that can be an alternative to standalone cosplay and casual cosplay is the cheapest one! 

Some cosplay websites are offering a huge discount for aspiring cosplayers. RoleCosplay is offering you (“Aspiring Cosplayer”) a 12% discount by using the discount code “fandangoblogs” upon checkout. Buy your first cosplay in RoleCosplay to start up your career in Cosplay!

Balancing Passion and Business

Turning a hobby into a career can sometimes dampen the initial passion and joy. It’s important to find ways to maintain the fun and creativity while also managing the business aspects.

Your relationship with your cosplay hobby might change, and you might lose some of the enjoyment you used to get from it. Your focus will be on money, not from the joy in cosplaying.


The world of cosplay offers a vibrant and diverse landscape for those looking to turn their passion into a fulfilling career. From online courses to costume rentals, selling merchandise to offering consultation services, the avenues for monetization are vast and varied. However, the path to becoming a professional cosplayer is not without its challenges. The financial instability, potential harassment, and the need to balance passion with business are all factors to consider.