How to Make Money From Your Art – Steve Pavlina

How to Make Money From Your Art – Steve Pavlina

  • Create what people want otherwise you won’t get paid. Why would they want to buy it in the first place? Selling is an important part of the creative process: “Who would most appreciate this?…Determine who will buy your work and why. Who’s the buyer? Does such a person actually exist? How do you know?” Don’t be pushy (reminds me of Seth Godin saying to invite people instead of selling to them).
  • “Strong sales are very forgiving of mistakes.”
  • Commit to excellence. “Are you willing to commit yourself to joining that top 1%? Do you love your art so much that you’ll invest 10,000 hours into it? That’s about 5 years working full-time. If you aren’t willing to make that kind of commitment, well… Starbucks is hiring.”
  • Exposure first. Money second. Share as much as you can. Don’t be timid about sharing.
  • Look after your customers. “Love and appreciation are nice, but they won’t keep the lights turned on.”
  • Ignore criticism. But don’t avoid constructive criticism, particularly from yourself. (It’s a delicate balance. Judge the work, not yourself.) But if you find yourself too judgmental, poke fun at the critical part of yourself. See it as the joke it truly is.
  • Buy and support art. Don’t justify piracy. This enforces the belief that you also deserve to be financially supported. Very important if you want to succeed as an artist.
  • Publish often. Process of calibration to get a feel for when to publish and when to rewrite/edit. Basic rule of thumb is faster is better.
  • Socialize with those who are already succeeding. “Art is a social field, and so is business…Insiders have it way easier than outsiders, so aim to be an insider. Don’t even think about trying to go it alone.”
  • “Most of the income I’ve earned from my creative work has resulted from business deals that came through my network…This isn’t unusual. Money flows through people.”
  • “Networking gives you the chicken and the egg at the same time. You can receive income-generating ideas and opportunities as well as exposure, without needing one to get the other.”

There are bits that I found tough, namely the networking aspect and commitment aspect. As someone who doesn’t partake in social activities on a frequent basis, the networking part that makes the whole thing easier is going to be tough for me. Also, I’m not mentally and emotionally at that stage where I’m committed. It seems like such a huge mountain. Food for thought.

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