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...
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?
There are endless possibilities and just trying a few will get you on the road to all of the rewards you dream of while working as an artist. Thanks Kelly for mentioning some of the many avenues!
Yes Shannon, I agree that if you start trying ideas out, you will find the ones that resonate with you and appeal to others as well.
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