“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26
“Dogs have no money. Isn't that amazing? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? No Pockets.” – Jerry Seinfeld
Ah, the eternal struggle.
You want to do something amazing with the talents you have. You even know the ways you can go about it, ways that will certainly give God glory, and fulfill His plan for you. But, when you think about what it might take financially to get your art out there, it terrifies you and sometimes even plunges you into the depths of despair.
Whether you plan to make money someday singing, writing, painting, etc., OR you currently make (or try to make) a living that way, money is the issue that keeps punching us right in the face.
When we have money, it’s not a bad life. We’re pursuing our dreams and feeling like we are smack dab in the middle of God’s plan. It’s a beautiful day.
When money is tight, and bills are threatening, suddenly this whole creative thing looks like the stupidest idea anyone ever had. What a terrible day.
The real answer is that money comes and goes, and the hard truth is we have to ride these waves of joy and despair to sail on. But that’s not always so easy is it?
What Will You Do?
“Do what you love and the money will follow.” – Marsha Sinetar
This is kind of true. This quote should really read “Do what you love and the money COULD follow.” Yes, following your desire to create can certainly lead to some income. But it can sometimes take quite a while.
Sometimes the best way to get your artistic career started is to make sure you have another career to pay the bills. This is what I did for many years before making the jump out of a comfy job and into the entrepreneurial frying pan.
“Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have, beautifully.” – Scott Alexander
As a matter of fact, I tell many artistic folks with artistic career goals that they may even want to hang on to that real world job. Not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur. The hours are not just long, they never end. And your boss is only as good as you are (literally.)
The real answer lies in you. You will be the one who makes the decision, in flush times and in extremely tight times, to keep on; to keep working at your craft; to keep offering your services and getting your creations out there. That doesn't take money as much as it does effort.
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” – Ayn Rand
Getting Money for Your Art
“For I can raise no money by vile means.” – William Shakespeare
I’m sure he meant Kickstarter. Or coffeehouse gigs. Or weddings.
Now hopefully, if you are reading this, you are pretty committed to your craft. This means, whether you ever make a dime doing what you do artistically, you’d do it (because you can’t not do it!) But it would be nice if there was some kind of return on investment after spending hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands of hours practicing your craft.
For musicians this means gigs. For artists this means shows. For photographers this means shoots. Everyone has a way to make money with their talent. Whatever vile means that is for you, we know it must be done if we expect to get paid for it. If we are creative service providers, then we have to work daily (and nightly) with our talents for our clients.
Lately, with the far-reaching ubiquitous Internet touching everyone in the world, there have been new ways to get financial support for your art. Filmmakers, inventors, authors, musicians, and more have started to reach out to fans and potential fans to fund their projects. The Internet also provides ways to sell our work and services online to potentially billions.
As nice as all that is, art has been seriously devalued because of this ubiquitousness (maybe not a word, but fun to say three times fast!) So while our world stage has increased, the value of our art has plummeted.
Despite the gloom and doom, that doesn't mean you should not put every single product and service up online that you can. Little trickles turn into streams, and those streams turn into dinner. Checks arrive in the mail, or payments into your account, and a little smile appears on your face.
Your art should be in every nook and cranny of the Internet and for sale. Be it by eBay, CDBaby, Etsy, YouTube, Spotify, Amazon, Kindle, iBooks, iTunes, or whatever.
You can also sell your services in graphic design, music creation, dance routines, web site building, songwriting, copy editing, and more with easy to create sites. Sites like Craigslist, Fiver, Etsy, Patreon, eBay, and more let you get started now offering services from your computer.
“Where there is money there is no art.” – William Blake
Sorry Bill, I disagree. The art comes before the money, and any artist can create without it. Although, finding money certainly doesn't hurt the art, and you can do it if you keep at it. Trust me I know.
Have a great week!
Eric Copeland is the president of Creative Soul, a company that helps artists find their creative path, and get out there and hike it. For more information, click here to read through this site. Also visit CreativeSoulOnline.com for more information on our music services specifically to artists and songwriters.