Have you heard the one about the doctor who ate so much Top Ramen, he turned into a noodle? Probably not because A) that’s not really funny, and why would a doc dine on 3-for-$1 noodles?
The notion that artists make extremely little, if any, money is a common and damaging myth. If you read my earlier post, Do You Have a Sexy Relationship with Money?, you know that I’ve been working on financial growth lately. Today, I thought I’d share some of the steps that have helped me support myself as an artist for the last 10 years, and continue to strengthen my efforts toward my newest goals.
While there’s no cookie cutter or linear plan for all artists to ensure financial success (however we define it), I personally believe these steps can help just about all of us.
5 Ways to Make More Money as an Artist
1. Believe you can thrive—and see it. I was fortunate to grow up with parents who never said “don’t” regarding my dreams, which is probably a big reason I’ve been able to largely support myself as a creative. What we believe we can achieve we will, given enough time and effort. Changing our beliefs isn’t easy, but striving to is a powerful first step—followed by visualizing it. What would your daily life be like if you’d already achieved the success you dream of? Use that primo imagination of your to see, feel and taste it.
2. Value abundance. I’ve been working on this. I’ve learned that it’s one thing to say, “I will make money,” another to say, “I’ll make enough to get by,” and yet another to say, “I will cultivate financial abundance” through artistry. Rather than deem financial wealth as somewhat negative—as many folks do on some level—or a perk reserved for other professionals, I’m now viewing it as a strengthening byproduct of an abundant life that allows me to reach more people.
3. Prioritize your dreams. A therapist once suggested that to make money and pursue a writing career, I should tend to all other obligations (which at the time involved auditions, acting classes and nutrition work) then use any remaining time to write. I hated and dismissed that plan. One of my most effective habits has long been tending to my dream-work first—whether that work is profitable yet or not. Doing so cements my beliefs about goals, leads to income more rapidly and prevents misery. (If you’re a night owl, you may want to reserve your dream-work for the wee hours; it’s all about prioritizing and using our mental golden hour well.)
4. Ditch the backup plan. I admire folks who can work a job they dislike and still thrive as artists. I’ve never been one of those people. Regardless, I think it’s vital that if we want our artistry to become our sole careers, a backup plan (such as another career) isn’t a safety net, but a saboteur. Alternate plans to “fall back on” if we don’t succeed take time and energy, and whatever we focus on grows. It can also reflect self-doubt, which is damaging. If you believed with all of your heart that you’d succeed as an artist, would you still have that plan in place? We need to see our success as essential, realistic and probable—not a side gig we only fully indulge in in dreamland.
5. Change your language. What we think and say about ourselves becomes our reality. It’s like dieting. When we continually think and talk about excess pounds we hate, we’re likely to eat poorly, stress more (which can trigger abdominal weight gain due to the stress hormone cortisol), appear less attractive and gain weight. When we embrace and nurture ourselves, focusing on feeling healthy and fabulous, improved weight control happens naturally. The “starving artist” mentality can hurt us similarly. Even if you don’t yet believe you can thrive financially as an artist, start saying that you do; eventually, your beliefs will catch up.
Once our beliefs and values are in place, the action comes easier. We’re creative artists, for goodness’ sake! If there’s one thing we can manage, it’s conjuring up ideas. We start seeing our work through a lens of abundance, which guides us to the best next steps. We also stand taller in our passions and create stronger work.
I’ll share more on the specifics of those action steps, including how I built my freelance writing career, soon. In the meantime, I hope you’re dancing around in happy, hopeful thoughts, believing (or aspiring to believe) that whatever you dream you can achieve. You and your work are worth it!
What are your financial goals? Which tip struck you most? Any suggestions to add? I love hearing from you! ♥