Have you stopped to think about how you can make more money doing what you love?  

Every creative person knows the feeling of being ‘in the zone’ or in flow when they are doing what they love. But how does ‘doing what you love’ translate into making a healthy income? 

Whether you are a performing or visual artist, author or dancer, poet or songwriter, in order to live an abundant creative life, free of money worries, you need to know the 6 key concepts successful creatives employ to generate a consistent and reliable income stream.

As a coach with over 2 decades of working with creative artists, I have observed that creatives who are successful at making a living from their creative projects, performances and services adopt a professional business mindset, and they approach their art differently to other creatives.


Creative success lies in developing a variety of channels by which you can earn your income.



1. Set your ‘professional’ mindset

For a vast majority of creative people, the thought of making money is a burden. It is often associated with getting a part-time job to supplement their creative work.

Marketing is not their ‘thing’ and in fact, many have an allergy to marketing. They have a resistance to promotions and they are repelled by the thought of ‘selling’ themselves. Some also believe that when art is mixed with money creative integrity is compromised.

It’s true, there are plenty of stories that reinforce this position, especially by people who are stuck in an old paradigm. In the past, it was common practice for a manager, producer, record label or booking agent to manipulate the artist to conform, where the creative person felt pressured to sacrifice their artistic freedom if they were ever to make any decent money.

For sure, there are still some individuals and companies that operate in this manner, but we now live in the ‘indie age’ where creative freelances can be the conductors of their own creative lives.


To be successful, we must move from an amateur mindset to a professional, ‘business’ mindset. 



2. Develop multiple sources of income

Successful creatives know what to charge for their gigs and services and they build multiple income streams.

For example, most musicians play music in the evenings and on weekends and supplement their income by selling merchandise, teaching music, offering online courses in a related field such as music production.

Diversity is key. Adding a podcast, online courses, teaching or mentoring services can boost your income for minimal expenditure and overhead.


Additional products and services elevate your profile in the marketplace.



3. Think ‘outside the box’

Creatives can leverage income-generating opportunities in a variety of ways by thinking ‘outside the box’.

For example, in addition to selling an original product such as artworks, music or a book, you could increase sales in the following ways:

  • Sell tickets to exhibition, concert or launch (Partner with a charity for a percentage to go to them.)
  • Sell ‘gift cards’ during the event and via your website and social channels
  • Ask for a gold coin donation for an official program or magazine
  • Sell ‘artistic’ merchandise featuring your logo, lyrics, artworks or words
  • Conduct a ‘silent action’ for products or future events
  • Sell ‘Dinner with the Artist’
  • Offer products at multiple price-points
  • Sell advertising at the event or in the program or magazine



4. Repurpose content & retarget your audience

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you wish to offer a new product or service. Take inventory of what already exists and consider different ways to re-purpose the content.


Here are some examples of repurposing content:

  • A singer/songwriter may release an album of recorded songs and re-purpose lyrics in the form of a slide presentation that focusses on a particular theme such as love, compassion, caring for the earth or dealing with grief. These slides could be used as lead magnets or sold as a pack for use by schools, coaches or personal development facilitators.
  • A visual artist may hold an exhibition and re-purpose images of the artworks or photographs as note cards or screen savers, which could be sold for an affordable fee.
  • A video presentation could be visually interpreted to form an eBook or a series of inspirational infographics.
  • A podcast series could be repurposed as an eBook, a cartoon, a magazine/newsletter, or a slide presentation.


Low-end sales may not significantly increase your bottom line however, these buyers are now customers with whom you can directly market other products and services.


In addition to repurposing content, we can become fixed on a particular audience or demographic. This can limit the potential for increased sales.


Here are some examples of audience re-targeting:


  • Tweak a product by changing the branding or message so it appeals to a wider or specific audience to give a product a second life.
  • Performing and visual artists may have products or services that appeal to schools, sporting or religious organisations or a younger or older demographic than originally intended.

When you consider a new product, it is helpful to explore ways that you could repurpose the content to create an additional product or additional markets that could be targeted.



5. Collaborate

Today is it relatively easy to partner with other creatives in a mutually supportive ‘commission’ style arrangement on sales. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of placing an ‘expression of interest’ or an ‘invitation to partner’ on your favourite Social Media platforms.


Some examples of lucrative collaborations are:


  • Be an agent to help sell the work of other creatives for a commission on sales
  • Collaborate with other creatives to host and organise creative events like concerts, exhibitions, art shows, performances, talks and conferences, and charge for tickets
  • Do joint ventures with other creatives who can bring their audience to an online or live event
  • Co-author a book with an illustrator, poet or visual artist and sell online and in person



6. Get help

Successful creatives seek help. They know that it is unrealistic to think they need to ‘know it all’ when it comes to marketing and making money. They understand what it takes to be successful and they know they don’t need to be the person who ‘does it all’.

If you are a creative who wants to take your creativity to the world without the ongoing burden of not knowing how you will make ends meet, please reach out today. Don’t let fear or your lack of knowledge hold you back.

Book a free 30 minute ‘Creative Artist Career Check-Up’ call with me today. I’ll help you get clear on how you can increase your income doing what you love. 



Monica O’Brien is a professionally trained and accredited Coach and founder of Creative Edge Coaching www.creativeedgecoaching.com.au. She blogs on issues about creativity and small business development for conscious artists and business entrepreneurs. 


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