If you identify yourself as a “creative type”, chances are you may think the nitty-gritty of business building isn’t for you. Your work should speak for itself. The money should just flow in from that. You just want to do the creative stuff and have someone else take care of the rest.

I’ve represented authors and speakers as an agent for decades and repeatedly see this belief – and the sadness and fear it causes in creative people’s lives. Not being able to afford to live one’s passion, or not being able to pay the bills while they try, are true tragedies. How much greatness has been lost because of this dilemma?

Being able to make a living from your art/music/books/designs requires more than just talent, and being able to make a fortune from it requires a lot more than just talent. It requires some basic business skills and probably, some mentorship.

Here are three tips to help you if your creative work isn’t yet providing you with the lifestyle you desire:

1. Spend an hour with financial advisor.

This could be a certified accountant (CPA) or a certified financial planner (CFP). Just an hour with a person who totally doesn’t understand you but does understand money may open your eyes to what is possible now and what is possible once your creative work really takes off. This person can concretely answer the question, “How soon can I afford to do what I love all day?” The answer may be sooner than you think.

Related: What Picasso, King and Einstein Have to Teach Entrepreneurs

2. Perfect your craft.

Some creative people dream of a future when they’ll have limitless money and free time to be able to dedicate to what they do. Would-be authors sometimes tell me, “I’m working on a book…” for years! Even doing something poorly or rarely is better than not at all, and it improves your skill. Give yourself permission to do the best you can with the time available. It will keep you from getting rusty.

Related: 10 Tips for Unleashing Your Creativity at Work

3. Accept marketing as an inevitable part of creative life in the modern world.

There are many things out there competing for the buyer’s attention. The Academy Award winning movies are advertised. Art galleries put effort into attracting customers. Authors expend a lot of energy trying to attract book buyers.


Because marketing is an inevitable part of creative life. The people who want to give you money for your art, book, music or creative services might not know you exist yet. They may not be thinking about you. They may not realize how badly they need or want what you’ve got. You are going to have to wave a flag (what the business people call “marketing” or “platform building”) to get the attention you deserve.

It’s one thing to be a tortured artist. It’s another to not be able to share your gift with the world because you can’t afford to do it. That’s wrong on so many levels!

Related: How Improv Comedy Can Seriously Grow Your Business

Implementing these three steps can give you the ability to support yourself from your craft in the way you wish to be supported. If you’d like to participate in a FREE webinar that will give you simple, strategic, effective marketing ideas to increase awareness about you and your work, you’re invited to share in the program I’m doing for authors called “Platform Building for Authors”. Building a platform is the same whether you are writing, painting, decorating, doing graphics for people, or any other creative pursuit. Here’s the link to sign up.