Do you want to make more money?
Or if you have an aversion for the thought of making money,
Do you want to be more creative?
Stop reading right now. Go make art. Rinse and Repeat. The End.
If you need a not-so-swift kick in the ass… Proceed.
I recently saw this infographic showing the abundance of trade deficits the United States has with other countries. The basic overview is, the United States imports (buys) alot more than they export (sell).
I’m not sure what a trade deficit means for the US economy, but I can confidently say, the habit of consuming more than producing can be a reason why artists don’t become successful.
What? You’re going to compare an artist to the US economy? Yes.
I try to be productive, but on some days, I surf the internet trying to “get inspired.” I view and consume other people’s art, surf Twitter, and watch endless streams of other artists producing work, while I waste away piddling my thumbs wishing I had something to pimp to get some internet love.
I don’t stay in consumption mode long, because I know it’s not beneficial, both financially and for artistic growth.
I’ve been active in artist communities for several years now. Having been an art director for a few years, I get to scrutinize artists and their work habits. I’ve never seen an artist who has a great work ethic fail… ever. In reality, I’ve seen them make a lot of money and garner some internet fame.
I’ve also seen artists who had the skills and raw talent to succeed disappear into oblivion (aka lifer at an uncreative 9-5) because they just didn’t want to work hard enough.
That’s partially the reason why I’ve started to write these blogs. I’ve seen talented young men and women, who, for Fear of Failure or for some other reason, gave up on the prospect of earning a livelihood from their art (their passion, the whole reason, if there be an omnipotent being, they were spawned into existence!?) If they would have just worked just a little harder, they could changed the whole direction of their lives and become a shining beacon and inspiration to others.
When I see this, it makes me sad, disappointed, and angry.
It’s never too late. I’ve seen noobs go from obscurity to internet famous, quitting their jobs, working from home, creating more art, spending more time with their family, in as little as 2-3 years of pounding the pavement.
This ideal isn’t just for people who want to be artists. It’s for ANYONE who wants to get out of the 9-5 and start livin their lives with purpose instead of being another cog in the wheel of someone else’s Master Freedom Plan.
So you have a choice: Do you wanna be a Consumer, or do you wanna be a Producer?
Do you want to watch everyone else strive to do great things? Or do you want to be the person producing great things that inspire people?
There’s much fulfillment and financial reward for those who decide to produce.
It doesn’t really take alot of effort to be a high producer either.
I received a great newsletter today from StevePavlina.com that raised an interesting point of view on how small actions can add up to a lot over the years.
“If you average 30 minutes per day processing email, you’ll spend the equivalent of 23 8-hour days processing email this year… over the course of 50 years, you’ll spend the equivalent of 4.6 working years doing nothing but processing email.”
Keeping that perspective in mind, check out how some artists leveraged their free time to be producers, not only just creating a secondary stream of income for themselves but building a fanbase which they could help them on their way to 1000 True Fans.
Shirt.woot.com is a website where artists can submit t-shirt designs into derbies for which they can earn $1000 plus commission per winning design. In a little over a year and a half, PatrickPens has created an impressive 115 pieces of art, resulting in a minimum of $31,000 in extra income from 31 derby prints. Typically, shirt.woot pays $2 per shirt sold after the first day of sales usually increasing the possible commissions to significantly more than 31K. Teefury has sold his non-winning designs increasing his overall income from his artwork.
There are legends that say that one participant at shirt.woot was able to pay his mortgage payments due to a winning design. The shirt has sold nearly 35,000 units which means that the artist got $2 per shirt after the typical first day sales of 3000 shirts. Do the math. Have your mind blown.
Teefury.com, a similar shirt a day site (where I work as art director), artists can earn $1 per shirt sold. Ian Leino has earned over $15,000 with 7 designs in a year and a half, and increased his Facebook fan following from a few hundred to nearly 3000.
In approximately four years, Lisa Gagné took her love of photography, and leveraged the internet and the microstock industry to earn a six figure income. With all the products already created and earning money as she sleeps, it’s safe to assume she’s coasting on the residuals while trying to figure out how to hit a million downloads for a cool 40% royalty.
Forget large numbers. Let’s start small. I made a few stock vector sets from the pieces of the designs I’ve created over the years, and sell them through TheGoldenBlack. I don’t earn a lot of money, but a few hundred bucks every few months ain’t too shabby for doin nothin! Imagine, if for the last 5 years I had continuously created stock vector to sell to other artists how much I could be earning passively? Obviously I took another path and I didn’t follow through on that idea, still, it’s not hard to see when you decide to choose to be a producer, amazing things will happen.
Maybe you don’t know where to start. There are plenty of opportunities. Just start. You’ll figure it out.
Until next time: Be Good. Do Good. Spread Good. Get off your ass and work.