Show Your Work – part 9

Sell out

Even the Renaissance had to be funded

“An amateur is an artist who sports himself with outside jobs which enable him to paint. A professional is someone whose wife works to enable him to paint.”

Ben Shahn

You’re not wrong for wanting to make money, or for wanting to eat, or to move out of your parents’ place; the ‘starving artist’ myth is nonsense, perpetrated by someone who wants your art but doesn’t care enough to pay you to make it.

Pass around the hat

Turning an audience into patrons is as easy as putting a link on a website and as hard as putting your audience in control of what you do with their money.

Charge what fairly reflects the time, effort and materials you put in, not what people tell you you’re worth.

Keep a mailing list

Give away great stuff, collect emails and, when you have something to share or sell or announce, send an email to the list.

The people who sign up want to be contacted, but be clear how often they can expect to hear from you and be sensible with it. Folks don’t need a voucher for 30% off custom t-shirts every 48 hours.

Make more work for yourself

People who call you a sellout are people who don’t want you to succeed. Drop those people immediately; nothing good can come from rotten seeds.
Keep working, keep expanding, keep connecting with people. Most importantly, keep saying yes to new opportunities to do more of what you want to do.

“The real risk is in not changing. I have to feel that I’m after something. If I make money, fine. But I’d rather be striving.”

John Coltrane

Pay it forward

“When you have success, it’s important to use any dough, clout, or platform you’ve acquired to help along to work of the people who’ve helped you get where you are.” (pp. 176)

At some point, you have to stop saying yes to everything and start to say no. At that point, instead of no, try “no, but I know someone you could talk to…”. With luck, and endurance, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to implement ‘office hours’ to deal with your correspondence. Don’t forget what you do for a living – it shouldn’t be answering correspondence.