Image by Katie Quinn Davies
You’ve been sitting there dreaming of taking your art and starting a business for years. You know that you have something special to say, a message that will impact the world, a story that will move the masses. You’ve imagined countless times of being able to make a living doing what you love every day instead of what you are doing now.
Now you are stuck in the labyrinth of daily living, paying bills, after school activities, and look forward to small breaks on weekends. You talk a lot about what you want to do, what your passions are, what your dream job is but there isn’t much action to back it up.
I understand it’s hard to find the time to live life and do the things that make life worth living. You have responsibilities, family, a full time job. I get it. I’ve been there. I am there.
But sometimes you look up and think…
What if I changed my thinking? What if I decided to get serious about my art? What if I invested some money into my dream? Into myself…what would happen then?
But then the lizard brain rears it’s head and brings up a slew of reasons why “you can’t”.
- You can’t follow your dreams, you need to grow up.
- You can’t create a job or business for yourself it’s too risky
- It costs too much
- It’s too hard to figure out
- It’s just. totally. impossible.
And before you know it, you are agreeing with Lizzy’s nasty words.
“You’re right. It’s too hard.”
So you go about your life until another inspirational moment hits you and you start to dream again…
If you are like me you have to fight those thoughts on a daily basis. Right now I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming of what The Inspire(d) Cafe can be. I’m dreaming of what it can grow into, who it can help, how writing a blog, books, scripts and making movies could actually, quite possibly become my job.
Sometimes I get caught up in the comparison game and look around at all these people in the blogosphere or in media or in music that are making it. They are living their drams every day. Don’t get me wrong, I know that they have their own challenges, they are human like us after all.
…they are making a living doing what they love…
We can take a huge lesson from what happens when we listen to the Lizzy.
Nothing happens at all in regards to our dreams. Life just continues to roll along, we get older, but non the wiser.
If you haven’t noticed, we live in an amazing time in history! Technology is allowing artists to take their livelihood into their own hands because of one key thing that has fallen into the hands of the normal person.
Musicians can distribute their own music on iTunes, SoundCloud or Audiojungle
Last year alone SoundCloud had 40 million users and 200 million listeners!
Filmmakers can distribute their videos on YouTube, Vimeo, and Netflix. I personally know of a local filmmaker who has had several movies distributed on netflix. Amazing, huh?
Visual artists can start their own graphic design businesses, crafters can sell on Etsy, and designers can upload to Society 6.
Well that’s all nice and dandy, Dija. Making art and throwing it up onto the internet doesn’t automatically mean the money will be rolling in!
Well I’d have to say that:
“You’re 100% correct!”
But so what? Is what you are doing now working for you? Do you feel fulfilled? Do you feel excited about your life and your art? If so-I’m sorry I wasted your time. If you want to make a change…keep reading.
First of all we need to know that the lizard brain is wrong when it says it’s impossible to make a living doing your art. It’s totally possible and we know that because millions of other people are doing it every day.
Secondly, figuring out how to sell your art is possible as well. I’m not going to say it’s easy. That would be a bold faced lie, and we are not playing lying games over here at The Inspire(d) Cafe.
You need to view being an independent artist as being a business. You or what you create is your product. Figuring out how to brand, market, promote and sell your product is the challenge. I’m right there now. I’ve spent several months working to clarify what my message is, who my target audience is, what I want to accomplish in this world, what exactly is my product and how do I want to present it.
If you want to move from taking a dream and making it into reality you have to realize that that the journey is not going to be easy…but it IS POSSIBLE. You must think about your art in the sense of a business not just a hobby. And you must be willing to take the time to learn about those aspects of business that artists traditionally don’t want to deal with.
Here are some amazing resources that have helped me a long the way. I wanted to share them with you in case you might find them helpful.
You don’t have to wait for permission to get started.
I was the person I described in the beginning of this article for so many years. It literally made me depressed after I graduated from college because all I would do is dream about what I wanted my life to be like while I worked as a cashier at Linen’s n’ Things (which eventually went out of business). I really wanted to be an actor and I seriously thought the only way I was going to get to make movies was by “getting discovered”. It’s embarrassing to admit but I had no idea how “it” was going to happen.
But there was a part of me that always wanted to create and produce my own movies. I want to act in the stories that move me and get me inspired rather than be forced to take any job to build my resume so I can eventually get the dream acting job. And even if I had a great resume that still doesn’t mean I will get the job. So in 2009 I decided to pick myself and start making youtube videos…even when an actor friend in NY (who was doing well by the way) told me no one will take me seriously if I do youtube. Well today I can say that those youtube videos have gotten me acting gigs and a few awesome friends online!
As you start your journey keep the end in mind. Understand from the jump that it’s going to be hard and frustrating. It’s going to take time to learn things and it’s going to feel like you are moving only a centimeter forward at a time. But don’t give up. Wake up and share your art with the world. We need it. We need you to be fearless and share what you have inside.