We are all familiar with the cliche of the starving artist, someone who lives creativity through art yet sacrifices a stable income. It seems that to live a creative lifestyle by doing what you love whether that is illustration, writing, speaking, filmmaking or music, it can almost feel damn near impossible to live comfortably without having to trade your skills and time for money.
This is the way it has worked for hundreds of years but it has gotten easier yet it is still taking a while for most people to catch on. In fact, now is probably the best time in history to live a creative lifestyle. If you are reading this and wondering what on earth I am talking about, you are probably one of the many that is feeling trapped in the seemingly never ending grind that is the “work-life balance”.
Since the internet has sprung up into our lives, we have access to a virtually unlimited marketplace to follow our creative pursuits are share them with the world. If you are especially good at what you do, success can feel almost effortless. If you are still trying to find your bearings, let’s face it most of us feel completely lost even at the best of times, there is much to learn.
Let’s say you really love photography. You have been doing this since you were 10 years old and any spare moment you have away from the real world, you are creating something that fills you with joy, excitement and enthusiasm. You wish that this could be something that you do for the rest of your life without having to worry about sticking at that real world job at the advertising agency that really just serves as a distraction from what you truly enjoy.
This is reality for most people. They feel trapped and cornered in a world that seems unfair and even if they wanted to break out, they have no idea where their next paycheck would come from. They just aren’t there yet when it comes to being a professional in their field and they feel that would take away their creativity, being forced to do contract work can easily be a passion killer.
So where is the happy medium? Are the vast majority of us just doomed to live a life of grinding away without ever feeling fulfilled? The short answer is no. You do not have to accept anything you don’t want to do and that goes for starving to death while living as an artist or creative the same as you don’t have to clock in and out 9 to 5 every Monday to Friday. The longer answer is to think like a creative entrepreneur.
The Rise of Creative Entrepreneur
The creative entrepreneur is not exactly a new concept, it has been around for many years but with the internet and social media now at the forefront of our society, it could not be more simple than it is now. If you are still a little confused let’s take a closer look.
Being a creative entrepreneur isn’t just starting a business around the creative industries, this is considered the definition but in way should this be the end goal. The reason why I say this is because you can still be a creative entrepreneur and not feel fulfilled since you will probably be working with clients and that means you are working towards satisfying their vision rather than your own. This is where passive income comes in.
If you haven’t heard of passive income then you are missing out. Passive income is income derived from assets, meaning you are not trading your own time or effort for that income. Passive income is money earnt...passively. You could wake up tomorrow to discover an extra $200 is coming your way, this is passive income.
Time is your most valuable resource, worth far more than the $10 an hour you would have to settle for in a low stress job to continue doing what you love. When you discover that you can actually earn money whether you are on the clock or not, your time becomes infinitely valuable, meaning you want to put it to the best use you can rather than working towards making someone else richer.
Living Life on Your Own Terms
Passive income is nothing new either, most people are introduced to it through shady multi level marketing schemes which promise riches by playing middle man with a company's products. The end result of these schemes is usually the same, you make the company richer while you are still struggling to recoup your costs. Those on the opposite end of the wealth spectrum see passive income as being derived from their investments such as shares or real estate. For the average person, investments are going to take many decades to grow to point where you can retire from them.
So what’s all the fuss about then? There are actually countless other ways to earn a passive income. If you are creative entrepreneur the very best way to do this is through digital products. Digital products are those that are sold exclusively over the internet. These are products that don’t need to be warehoused or distributed physically. They are stored in the cloud and are sent automatically once a purchase has been made. A great example would be an ebook or ecourse.
This is where you come in. Imagine that you are still that aspiring photographer. You want to get good at your craft yet don’t have the time to invest into your work without having to give up your day job. This as you probably know will give you about 2 weeks before you are evicted and out on the street, the photos wouldn’t be too glamorous then would they?
Thinking Outside the Box
A photographer with an entrepreneurial spark has a few options. They can freelance and slowly build a portfolio which can take a number of months but once again they may not be doing exactly what they love and in the end they are still only serving to make someone else more money than themselves. Enter the next best option.
By creating products which offer something of value to people that purchase them, the photographer can earn passive income from their digital products. There is a lot involved here and it is not always that simple but let’s just put the idea in your head for now. By offering a photography course on let’s say food photography for Instagram, the photographer now has a product that they are able to offer the world. This is something that people would be interested in and as a result they are creating value while still serving their own best interests. Let’s say they offer this course for around $99 per customer.
This course is launched and they run a marketing campaign to get the word out. Over the course of the next few weeks, you would be waking up to multiple sales. Whether you are sleeping, having a lunch by the beach or traveling to distant lands, that money is still coming in as people from all over the world purchase that course. The end result is a consistent stream of income that doesn’t involve having to invest the time.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Now what does one do with all this extra time? Anything you can imagine. Of course your income will depend on how much effort you put into your business, improving your products and through different marketing techniques but the advantage is once that is all wrapped up, you can spend more time perfecting your skills and your passion. You are virtually free to take up any artistic pursuit you desire, no one to answer to and everything that you create is yours to keep, imagine that?
It is now becoming the reality of many who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The information age is coming to a close as we are now advancing in ways that are fast replacing the traditional model of employment. There are those that will struggle to adapt, yearning for jobs that are already obsolete, those that still remain in the box by taking on the gig economy and finally those who are trailblazers in that they walk their own path. The decision is yours, which would you rather be?