You Can’t Make Money From Your Art
If you want to make money from your art, you must be mad, wild, irrational and free to create what’s within. You must have ZERO strategy. But at the same time? Use this strategy:
Short version: You can’t wear your business hat and your artists hat at the same time.
Your art can certainly HELP your business; might perhaps even form the foundation of a business, but you can’t do your art FOR your business.
It’s a fine line to walk, and one that has destroyed many a true creator; turned their work into something that reeks of conformity and performance and please.
The luckiest of us as artists might one day look around and realise that simply by virtue of showing up, day after day, and creating our TRUE work, we’ve gained a following and from that following a business has in some way built; money been made and an impact created.
The most foolish of us, at that point (and I count myself in this foolish group; fortunately it was a temporary trip) will then seek to Officially Monetise Our Art.
At the EXACT moment we make this decision, even before we act on it, our art stops becoming art.
ART, the true art that is unleashed from within, that you do first and foremost for YOURSELF, cannot serve a purpose OUTSIDE of you. It is done for you and from you and BECAUSE IT MUST BE DONE.
And if it then brings you success, or acclaim, or helps you to build a tribe, that’s GREAT. But it’s not why you do it.
Because an artist, a creator, a natural born leader with a burning message that MUST be shared, that person unleashes their (true) work from a place that is so messy, so mad, so wild, so often IRRATIONAL that how can it possibly have anything to do with BUSINESS or STRATEGY or GROWTH or INCOME creation? If those things happen as a result of it, it’s because what was created was done so with COMPLETE ABANDON TO THE WORK, not because there was an INTENT for a certain outcome.
In other words:
Art is done for art’s sake, for your sake, and because it can’t not be done, and anything that comes from that art is a wonderful bonus but it IS NOT THE REASON.
If this doesn’t make sense to you, intuitively and absolutely, or if you wonder why you’d bother to create for the sake of creation and without a guarantee or at least a plan to use that creation in some way for your gain, then you and I were not made for one another.
Not as writer – reader, not as client – mentor, and very likely not even as friends.
The true creator knows that the ONLY gain truly POSSIBLE from creation IS THE CREATION ITSELF.
So whilst you absolutely CAN get paid to do what you love you cannot TELL WHAT YOU LOVE TO GET YOU PAID and expect to then remain true to doing what you ACTUALLY love, as it needs to be done.
So how then do you blend business and art you might well ask? How do you ‘profit from your passion’, make money doing what you love, grow an incredible tribe and make an incredible difference by just showing up and BEING YOU!
Well, I’m glad you asked … and I have some thoughts 🙂 … please realise this is still a journey of understanding for me as much as for you! And we both need to realise that the journey will never end; we will never ‘figure ourselves out’, and that’s okay.
But here is what I’ve learned about being a true artist who is also a businesswoman seeking to BLEND that art with her business:
DO IT FOR YOU, AND YOU ALONE
True art is created for you, and you alone. You create it from somewhere deep within where there is no rhyme or reason, and it’s impossible to identify where it even came from or why it must be created. But yet it must. It flows THROUGH you and when you’re releasing it there is a sense of time standing still yet at the same time being all around you, you’re vaguely aware of particles of matter floating by of which you are one, you’re vaguely aware of a life to get back to; a business to run, a schedule to keep but none of it matters.
You’re vaguely aware, when creating true art, of the reaction your art might get (although you never really know), but whilst it’s of interest to you the truth is it doesn’t really matter because either way, you’re going to keep on creating.
True art might help people, move them, inspire them or even cause them to take action in a way that can help YOU (aka join your tribe, buy your stuff) but it can NEVER be created for that reason.
TRUE ART NEEDS SPACE, AND IT NEEDS TO BE NURTURED
You can’t checklist your creation off a daily task list. You can’t tell it that it has to show up, at it’s best, and perform. You CAN create in small grabs of time and space on occasion, but you can’t just DO THAT ON COMMAND.
If you’re serious about your work as an artist you will create space for it, and you will nurture it. You’ll coax it out. You’ll prepare your mind, body, soul, through whatever means necessary in order to allow for art to flow. And then when it flows you’ll LET IT FUCKING FLOW you won’t try and tell it HOW to flow.
ART CAN MAKE YOU MONEY
But here’s the trick:
This will only happen if you release the need for it to ever make you money. If you wouldn’t do it anyway, for EVER, for no other reason than that you HAVE to, then IT WON’T MAKE YOU MONEY.
But also, this:
Just because you release the need to ever make money from it doesn’t mean you’ll ever make money from it 🙂
You might. Or you might not. Are you willing to do it anyway? Do you HAVE to do it anyway? Is it PART OF WHO YOU FUCKING ARE and therefore there’s no QUESTION but that you’ll do it anyway?
If not, then PLEASE –
Spare us. And yourself.
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY, AS AN ARTIST?!
Same way anyone makes money. Solve a problem, cure a pain, put forth a result. Listen to what people most want and need and then help them get it.
Which people? The ones you feel called to help most, if you like. Ones you know you CAN help, most certainly. Ones who want to pay you money to help them, definitely!
IS THIS SELLING OUT?
I don’t know, is it? Does it feel that way to you? Don’t do what you don’t want to do, ultimately! But also know this:
You can’t TELL people they should pay you money for you to create your true art from the heart! You immediately turn your art back into a performer; you place rules and restrictions around it and you make it not real!
But, the good news:
You can LINK your business to your art. My truest writing is often messy, nonsensical, angry and painful to read … it often has nothing at ALL to do with business or ‘making money online’, which is one of the primary desires of my tribe. But yet, it has EVERYTHING to do with being in business as an artist, a creator, a natural born leader with a true message to share.
Because it’s the story of me, and that’s who I am.
So, I’ve been smart and also strategic in choosing as my tribe fellow natural born artists, creators and leaders who want to make a ton of money and a helluva’n impact, but who also want to DO THEIR TRUE WORK in the world.
It makes sense, that if you’re one of these people, then MY true art will speak to you; much of the time.
BUT I CAN’T WRITE IT FOR THAT PURPOSE.
Do you see the distinction?
SO WHAT DO YOU SELL, AS AN ARTIST TURNED ENTREPRENEUR?
Well, you can sell your art, if you like. I sell mine in the form of posting my nonsensical often whimsical often angry and probably OFF putting blog posts like these; using it as a means to either draw you in to my tribe or turn you away.
That’s me, using the real me, to sell brand me.
I also sell books on Amazon, which is essentially more of the same, and makes me a few dollars on the front-end; more still on the back-end in terms of people who then Buy My Stuff.
And sometimes I even sell entire programs based on my true art. The most powerful online program I ever created, one I would consider ESSENTIAL for any artist / creator / leader who actually wants to PROFIT from who they are without LOSING who they are, is my 6-week online Purpose Passion Flow home-study program.
It’s also the least successful online program I’ve sold. Because it didn’t solve an IMMEDIATE ‘how do I make money online’ problem, which is the ‘uppermost of mind’ pain of my tribe. Even though, ironically, if you really wish to achieve that you DEFINITELY need to get into purpose, passion and flow 🙂
So, my point:
Sell your art, if you like. But don’t USE your art to try and create a million-dollar business, or even a $100 dollar business. DON’T USE YOUR ART TO PERFORM!!
So what do you sell?
For your chosen tribe.
HOW TO BLEND IT
The GREAT thing is that if you’ve chosen your tribe well (just based ’em entirely on yourself, is the easiest and most fun way!) then you WILL be able to blend it, quite closely.
Every single one of my online programs, every single mentoring intensive or private session I do, is based on my deep desire to help other natural born artists / leaders / creators to share their true work with the world and make a ton of money and a helluva difference in doing so.
It is BASED on my belief that your art and being who you are MUST be let loose into the world and that it CAN help you achieve your wealth and other goals. SO LONG AS YOU WALK THE LINE and remain TRUE to your art first and foremost.
So, I teach the things that natural born artists, creators and leaders need to know.
About identifying their true tribe.
About understanding pain points.
About packaging and positioning and making a LOT of money online by offering solutions to the SURFACE needs of their audience.
About doing so in such a way which also gets to the DEEP needs and desires of their audience.
One of the things I teach is that if you let your TRUE art out, you can build an incredible following just for being you and you can make a lot of MONEY being you.
But you CAN’T DO IT BY SELLING YOUR ART (even though yes, that might happen as well!), and you can’t DO YOUR ART FOR THAT PURPOSE.
So you do your art because you do your art.
You let it forth into the world and trust it will have an impact, and that part of that impact will be that it will serve as a MAGNET to draw new people – aligned ones – into your tribe.
And then because you have AWESOME SHIT TO SELL THOSE people, shit that is likely BASED on your art and RELATED to it, but is not, in the purest sense, your art, you’ll make money.
Did you make money doing what you love?
Did you do what you love so you make money?
I FUCKING HOPE NOT!
I know it’s confusing.
I know not everyone will get it … and nor should they.
But if you do get it, then here is the VERY simplest way to act from here:
Show up every day and be mad, irrational, messy and free.
Be the artist you were born to be, and do it however it must be done, for yourself and because you MUST.
And then, put your business hat on, and get to work building your brand, serving your tribe, and making money.
Trust that the two can blend.
Assume that they will!
But don’t make it a condition of you doing the work you were called to do in the world.
Ultimately you’re either called to be an artist, a creator, a crazy one, or you’re not.
And if you are? Then you do it because it’s who you are and what it does for you, not because of what it can do for you.
So if you’re putting your artists hat on today, put it ALL the way on and embrace the madness. And if after that you want to wear your business hat, and the artist in you shines through in that then GREAT. But don’t try and wear them both at the same time and expect to create what’s truly hidden in your soul.
Want to know the funniest thing of all here, and pretty much the counter-attack to this entire post?
If you’re going to create MASSIVE fame, fortune and freedom as an artist-entrepreneur it’s probably going to come based on being who you really are and letting your true work forth into the world.
So I guess if you’re serious about making the BIG money online, you should strategically set forth to create your true art and let the madness shine.
Don’t worry … most people won’t get that.
The true artists will.
If you did, or if you didn’t, either way, remember:
Life is Now. Press Play.
PS Join the #tribeofrevolutionaryfuckingleaders today and say yes to making a TON of money and a HELLUVA difference from being you … for artists, creators and leaders who refuse to NOT create their true work. www.katloterzo.com/thetribe