Saturday, September 14, 2013

Get Those Multiple Income Streams Flowing

One of the major things that keeps people from pursuing the lives they really want to live, is fear of not having enough money. 

You worry that you have to bring in enough money to support yourself and your dreams and if you don't you will fail.

So how do you smash the myth of the starving artist to pieces and really thrive? How do you build a sustainable business and life around what you love?

The best way that I know to create financial security and sustainability (that I first learned about years ago from Barbara Winter) is to have as many streams of money-love flowing to you as you can.  In ways that are satisfying and matter to you, but also deliver something of value to others.

I think of creating many ways to earn income as a fun, creative challenge. What will I think of next?  What can I try out to see if I like it? Where is there a need that I could help with?

I love painting and I have a blast thinking of all the ways I could potentially earn income from doing what I love that meets a need that I see.  You can do this too, by thinking of the needs people have around painting and developing your own offerings from those.

Here are some of the ideas I've been tossing around.  Keep in mind that each one is a potential income stream.

The need=Beautiful items that people would love to have in their homes
What you could offer=Selling your original paintings, prints, cards.  Have your designs made into products like ipad and phone covers, fabric, lampshades, table runners, tote bags, the options are endless.

The need=Helping others reconnect with their inner creative wisdom
You could teach this need through private or group painting lessons in your home, in a studio, in a yurt in the woods, online or via skype...
You could write an e-book to teach the content.  You could go for a book contract even...

Need=Beautifying your community
You could get hired to paint murals wherever the need is: on concrete walls, sides of businesses, in schools, on parking garages...  I just saw an ad on Craigslist that they're hiring someone for this in my hometown. 
Artist Shannon Crandall even did a project putting art displays in vacant storefronts in her community to make it look more vibrant and to get exposure for participating artists.

Need=Bringing artists together to share their gifts
You could open a collaborative art studio
You could host retreats that bring other artists in to paint together
You could build a support circle that meets in person or online
You could start a painting circle online

 Expand your thinking to bigger needs too...

Need=Reducing loneliness
You could start a non-profit that sends hand-painted cards to alleviate loneliness for people in Nursing Homes or hospitals

Need=Getting art into the hands of kids who can't afford supplies
You could organize a non-profit group that gathers art supplies and distributes them to schools and individuals in need.  May even partner with local community centers to get supplies out and offer classes as well.

The keys here are:
You're taking something you love doing and looking for how it can help others in some way-how it can add value. 

You're brainstorming ideas for multiple ways that you can bring money and joyful activity into your life and you are not putting it all in one basket.  You're developing a combination of offerings that will harmonize into a sustainable way of living.  If one source dries up, you have others and can develop new ones. 

If you stop enjoying one activity, you can move on to others.  This is such a beautiful thing to me because you're not set into any one thing for life.  Your streams change as your interests change.  You're not committing to doing the same thing for the next 20 years. You're meeting needs that exist now that you enjoy now.

You don't have to make a ton of money from each stream.  It's the combination of income from various streams that begins to build a financially stable base.  This takes a huge amount of pressure off of each idea.  It doesn't have to be a million dollar idea, but it does need to be worthy of your time and effort.

I love watching how other artists are creating this type of living for themselves.  Why not take a little time to think of an income stream that you can start building today?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I Really Got Out of Flora Bowley's Course

A photo from our Bloom True Retreat Oct. 2013
Yes, I did enjoy peeking into how Flora creates her magical paintings and her videos on being bold and tapping into intuition.  But what I see as Flora's true greatness is her ability to lay a foundation that encourages people to actually be brave- to hang their vulnerability out there and have it received with acceptance, support and encouragement. 

What you might not know is that Flora sets up the container and then steps back and lets it all bloom on its own.  The best stuff happens not in sitting at home watching the videos on your computer, but in behind the scenes in the facebook group. (Flora doesn't regularly participate in the group-but she sets the tone and lets us go.)

I thought I would just learn to be a better painter (I think that happened too) but what really mattered to me was what I never expected, like...

* Making New Friends-I met another artist in the group who lives in my area and now we regularly get together to share ideas.  We're even planning ways to collaborate on classes and other good, juicy stuff.

* A Cheering, Support Group-If I have a question about art making or business, the Bloomers are my go-to group.  They are an open, generous gaggle of amazing people. Want to know how to hang your painting, mix paint, finish your edges, or buy canvasses cheap?  How about what to do when you have a show tomorrow and your prints just came back looking like crap?  How do you get started in getting license agreements?  The Bloomers help each other figure it all out.

* Facing Down Fear-I distinctly remember the first time I posted one of my paintings in the Bloom True Facebook Group. I was so very nervous and afraid of critique. I anxiously watched my computer, wondering 'will they like it, think it's horrid?  Ignore it?' What an amazing feeling to experience the support and encouragement that arrived. They gave me courage that I could do this.

* The New Life that is Blooming because of this class and this group. The group has been a sounding board for me as I launch my own creative endeavors.  As someone in the group put it, "Because of this group, I feel like anything is possible."  And it's true.  I took the class last October and our group is still going strong.  Spinning into sub-groups like....

A Painting Circle-Where people issue painting prompts and share their work

A Card Exchange-This was our first post-class event and we swapped art with each other.  I now have a beautiful assortment

A Business Sharing Group-For help on things like starting your website and selling your work

A Retreat-Planned for October this year and hopefully will evolve into an annual event

All of this has evolved because of one thing, I signed up for an online course with the hope that I could learn new techniques and make beautiful art as Flora does. But I found a safe space.  A sense of community.  New friends.  And, I get to see and experience their process (and unbelievable artwork) every day, even a year later.

I signed up to be an affiliate for Flora because I believe that what she does matters and it made a difference in my life and in the lives of those I have the honor of witnessing Bloom.  If you'd like more details on the class itself, please feel free to contact me at

Or, be bold and dive in!  You never know where that one small step may lead you (I do know it's leading me to Connecticut next month on an art retreat with fellow Bloomers...)  

Update for 2017, Flora's classes are still going strong and I continue to recommend them to my students. Here, 4 years later, I still maintain friendships and connections with members of this group and feel like it was the true beginning of my creative career. If you've never painting before, do not feel intimidated. You could not be more welcome and supported then you will be in this group.
You can find info.on the most recent online course right HERE.

And here's a little Preview Video so you can get a feel for Flora's Classes


Sunday, September 1, 2013

How Do You Build Community?

This weekend I was in my hometown of Ithaca, NY and what stuck me most about being home is that you can feel a sense of community in the air.  Just a quick trip around my childhood neighborhood and you can feel the intention to draw everyone make it a place people want to be.

Then I started thinking about what it takes to build a community.  What can we do to build up our own communities, whether it's in our own geographic area or on our webpage or facebook page or maybe in classes we are offering?

What makes a community?  

Well, in Ithaca there are sidewalks. It makes it easy to get around without fear.  In the community that you're building, make a sidewalk.  Make it easy for people to connect and feel safe.  Sidewalks=safe mobility.  Is your sidewalk (substitute your offering here) easy to navigate?  What is the feeling that you're creating for your visitors/students/neighbors? Do they feel safe leaving you a post, showing up alone in your class as who they are?

In Ithaca I noticed a tendency to share Abundance. When you're building your community, be generous with your gifts, ideas, praise, encouragement.  Give gifts freely and watch how the abundance is returned to you.  Communities are about sharing, and where anyone's success is everyone's success.  It's not about winning or beating others or trying to prove you're better than.

free apples
Free Apples
city garden
City Garden
Rescuing food, reducing hunger

Gather around a common goal. In Ithaca there is an investment in creating beauty.  Many places that used to be gray, concrete walls like parking garages, are now covered in murals.  The community is uniting around adding beauty in unexpected places.

It seems they even had a contest to transform the electrical (transformer?) boxes into works of art.  They are scattered all over the city and they're fantastic!  I wanted to run all over taking pictures of them!

side view
Side View
 And people are planting flowers on the street corners just because...

street flowers

What seeds are you planting where once was just a regular street corner? How are you adding to the world through what you're offering?  Be it beauty, information, knowledge? 

How can you bring people together to make your community and the world stronger and better?

In Ithaca, public spaces are an opportunity to come together.  The elementary school I went to now has a butterfly garden-a project the neighbors gathered together to create (as well as awesome play structures on the other side of the building the community also raised money to build and then actually built).

butterfly garden yellow flower

And they let everyone know they belong. Hang your flag out to let people know they are welcome.  As they are. Without trying to change them to make them fit.

rainbow church
St. Paul's Methodist Church

Start laying the foundation for what you would like to bring forth in the world.  

Today is a perfect day to begin.