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Secrets of the Non Starving Artist

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When we started iCreateDaily on July 28th, 2017. A number of creators indicated they were eager to create daily as well as to make their art their living. A few indicated they’re already doing that.  We heard from one discouraged “starving artist” who said:

“It’s coming up on 5 years since I published my first book. I always thought I’d make a career out of writing and I have, but it brings in so little that it’s a joke to call it a career. It’s more like a hobby that costs us too much money. I can’t stop writing and creating – it’s who I am, it’s my heart and soul, but it brings me down when I can’t support my family doing what I love.”

I’m sure we can all feel Kate’s anguish and her passion. She’s compelled to write, to create, she can’t not. And yet… the market is a fickle foe, and to spend our time doing what we love is important, but so it the ability to earn from our labor, for passion alone won’t put food on the table.

A Starving Artist Need Not Starve

Earning a living from your creative endeavor is rarely an easy road. That’s why most take the highway of familiarity: a job with security. But there, on that road well traveled is rarely the best scenery. Neither is working a job you hate. However, there are options between the two.

Moonlight Before You Quit Your Day Job

Vastly better to pursue your passion work on the side while holding down your steady job to pay the bills. You don’t need to be a starving artist. Instead you can be a smart one and do the work you have to do while moonlighting doing the work you love to do.

Along the way you can learn to love the work you do. How? Through practicing gratitude. While you’re paying your dues as a “struggling artist”, you can learn to love whatever you’re doing through gratitude. Gratitude for the necessary that makes the exceptional creative life possible for you, for how it’s allowing you to live comfortably while working to turn your avocation into a viably earning vocation.

If you feel it’s too hard and you quit… you’ll never know, and you’ll always wonder. Wistfully.

If you try and persevere, you’ll likely “make it”. But either way, you’ll enjoy the journey, wherever it may lead, for you’ll be creating from your heart and soul, and what a blessing that is!

So you don’t have to wait to embark on the journey toward your dreams. You can begin it now. You have weekends and evenings for moonlighting around your creative passion. Yes, it will mean less Netflix, less socializing on social media, less dabbling at your craft, more creation versus consumption. But surely your dreams are worth it?

Creation is empowering, consumption is diminishing over time.

Each has its place but with every effort you make in the direction you will grow stronger and more capable. Sure, there will be setbacks. Sure, you will have doubts, maybe even daily, but reorient each day to your horizon and take the next step.

If you want to make a living from your art, it may be the bumpy winding road, but it will be your journey of discovery and growth. It will be a journey worth taking.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®



Too Many Starving Artists

If you’re reading this, chances are you can relate. Most creatives can.

You are not alone. Unless you’re in the small list of top selling artists, it can be extraordinarily difficult to make a living selling your art, books, photographs and other creations. That’s why the most successful creatives… the non-starving artists, have four habits above all others, that contribute to their success, which we’ll get to in a bit.

Five years is a long time to not see the fruits of your planting and tending. But one thing’s for sure:

“We never achieve our goals if we quit.”
~LeAura Alderson,®

We never achieve our goals if we quit. ~LeAura Alderson, #Quotes #Growth #Positive #DontQuit #NeverGiveUp #StarvingArtist #Artists #iCreateDaily

The Starving Artist – the Struggle is Real

If you’re the proverbial struggling musician… starving writer… starving artist or struggling entrepreneur, then you’re in the majority. If all came to light, it would reveal that the majority of people who feel that what they’re doing… what they love to do and feel they’re meant to do, is not yet what they’re able to do for a living.

That’s enough to depress anyone. History tells us of artists through the ages who struggled with depression. Depression is a dark spiral that falls in upon itself like a personal black hole. It sucks out light and creativity, replacing it with fear and self-doubt.

So whether for you it’s one year, five years or ten, the best thing you can do when what you’re doing isn’t working is to try something different. That doesn’t mean hopping around from shiny new object or the latest social trends “sure to work”, or the latest marketers promising that their thing is really “it”.

Keep Learning, Growing and Honing Your Skills

It does mean to keep learning, implementing, growing; learning, implementing and growing. And… you need to keep creating. You’re going to be creating anyway, so might as well direct that creativity in ways that will also help you grow your craft in the world.

Every successful person, no matter the endeavor, invested years and thousands upon thousands of hours learning, doing, growing and improving.

Author, Malcolm Gladwell expands upon this extensively in his landmark book, The Tipping Point, How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. It’s entertaining, poignant and illuminating.

The most successful creators are those who balance art and entrepreneurship… the art of business.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Every successful person, no matter the endeavor, invested years and thousands upon thousands of hours learning, doing, growing and improving.

SUCCESSFUL ARTISTS QUOTE: The most successful creators are those who balance art and entrepreneurship... the art of business. ~LeAura Alderson, #artists #creators #entrepreneurs #ArtOfBusiness #ArtBusiness #iCreateDaily #ArtistQuote #StarvingArtist

The Secret to Not Being a Starving Artist

Non-starving artists are prolific, expansive and entrepreneurial.

The most successful artists today, are typically the most prolific. But more than that, today’s successful artists are also business minded, or they employ or partner with those who are. These are the artists that wield their creativity like a tool, at the ready whenever they need it.

Rather than waiting to be used by it… rather than waiting for the creative urge to strike, successful artists make things happen.

Successful artists don’t wait for inspiration, they create it.

Many creatives look upon their work as a hobby or craft. If that’s what you want, then that’s awesome. Not everyone wishes to turn their avocation into a vocation. If you’re truly satisfied to keep your creative endeavors as a hobby, then that’s great!

To become truly successful at earning a living from your creations and creativity requires you treat your art as serious work. You need to “turn pro” and instill discipline into your daily routine, and engage your creative mind in the artistry of the business, for your business is also your artistic creation.

Today’s most successful artists have become artist entrepreneurs, building a business empire around their endeavors and interests.

Successful artists make things happen.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Successful artists make things happen. ~LeAura Alderson, #Creators #Entrepreneurs #SuccessfulArtists  #ArtBusiness #iCreateDaily #ArtistQuote #StarvingArtist #TurningPro #ProfessionalArtist

Empire Builders – Artist Entrepreneurs

We’re starting a list here of creators who succeed because they blend the art of business with the business of art. These multi-talented empire builders run multifaceted business enterprises, and they’re clearly ‘Creators serious about their art.’ They are artists in their field and beyond that, they are entrepreneurs building their empires over and beyond their craft.

What do these artist entrepreneurs all have in common? They’re all productive, prolific artists building businesses around their art and their interests, and have embraced the art of business. Please share your favorites that we should add to this list, because we’re just getting started here!

NOTE: All net worth amounts to follow are estimates pulled from top search results and have not been researched for accuracy. Rather, these are to give us examples of prospering creators for inspiration.

What we know for certain is that these creators are earning a goodl living from their art, and in so doing, show us what’s possible. ?

“The best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration.”
~Steven Pressfield, fiction & non-fiction author, b.9/1943

Actors Who Are Also Entrepreneurs

Authors Who Are Also Entrepreneurs

Figures are approximate based on published estimates.

  • Brad Thor, author, book empire, entrepreneur, net worth $8M
  • James Patterson, author, book empire, entrepreneur, net worth $800M
  • JK Rowlings, author, entrepreneur, net worth $1B
  • Steven Pressfield, multiple times bestselling author, who self-professes to have not made the most of his writing business in the earlier years or his net worth would’ve been more than the $1.7M in 2018.[1]

Source: [2]

Comedians Who Are Also Entrepreneurs


Comics Creators Who Are Also Entrepreneurs

  • Bill Waterson, creator of comic Calvin & Hobbs, $100M net worth
  • Stan Lee, creator of Marvel comics empire, estimate $50M-$80M
  • Scott Adams, creator, Dilbert comic strip, $75M net worth

Composers Who Are Also Entrepreneurs

These first two are amongst our favorite composers who have collaborated together are on multiple mega movie projects:

  • Junkie XL, creative, prolific musician composer has partnered with Hans Zimmer, net worth – $10M
  • Hans Zimmer, master musician and composer of many incredible movie soundtracks, has partnered with Junkie XL on several projects, net worth – $90M
  • Adrian Von Ziegler, musician, composer, puts tons of his music online for free through his website, YouTube and other social channels. He’s not worried about not getting paid by listeners. Rather, his proliferation of creating has led to opportunities to get paid to create, as well as to sales of his music and over 755k subscribers to his YouTube channel. Net worth in 2019 – $446,000, and he’s a rising star.

Successful Entrepreneurs

  • Ryan Moran – eCommerce, investor, creator, founder, Freedom Fastlane and, decamillionaire.
  • John Lee Dumas – podcaster, author, product and program creator, estimated $10M
  • Terry Crews – former NFL player, artist, actor, author and now celebrated furniture designer, net worth $20M
  • Tony Robbins – Tony is a self-made mega millionaire who began as a personal coach and now teaches and inspires  millions each year. Net worth $500M

Food Bloggers (Chefs, Cooks & Food artists)

  • Rachel Masters, mom to 4, and the vivacious and beautiful owner of
  • Lindsay Ostrom, from teacher to full time blogger, owner of
  • We purchased this already monetizing blog — — also plan to expand into our own iCreateDaily sister brand cooking site: as soon as we’re able.

Earning Money from Websites

The other monetizing websites in our family business portfolio include:, and However, the first two websites suffered dramatic declines in traffic following two Google algorithm adjustments in the fall of 2018, aka, Google EAT, that all but turned off the faucet of traffic to these sites. The garden site is recovering slowly.

We understand the need for Google to try to regulate the wild west of the internet with such algorithm updates because there’s so much spammy and curated derivative content out there.

However, even though our sites had all or mostly original, highly researched content, the fitness site suffered 3,900% reduction in traffic and thus revenue and the gardening website approximately 600% reduction. So it was a big blow.

Here’s the Point

Our lesson is to diversify your assets, but the point of sharing any of this here is that websites and ecommerce can be a source of revenue, especially for writers, visual artists and product creators. However, as with any kind of business, there will always be ups and downs.

Starving Artists need to look at their website as an asset that can earn them money. Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely!

Blogs earn revenue from several sources, listed mostly in order of prominence, and not all bloggers earn from all of these sources. But you can if you take it seriously and approach it like a business.

Website Revenue Sources

  1. Ads – Google’s Adsense (pays the least with lowest barrier of entry) and other ad networks that pay more but require more traffic to get in
  2. Affiliate revenue – such as from Amazon and promoting others products
  3. eBooks – easier to create than printed books
  4. Products – Selling their own in-house products
  5. Courses – Creating digital courses
  6. Memberships – Selling membership programs, masterminds and coaching
  7. Sponsors – who pay bloggers to write about their topic or product in exchange for money (full disclosure is required
  8. Sponsored articles – get paid to publish sponsor content on your site

RELATED: How to Grow Your Blog

Successful Magicians/Illusionist Who Are Also Entrepreneurs

  • David Copperfield, American magician/illusionist; described by Forbes as “The most commercially successful magician in history.” Networth $900M
  • Lior Suchard, mentalist, utilizing multiple platforms, from influencers, social and traditional media, net worth $10M

Successful Painters Who Are Also Entrepreneurs

  • Erik Wahl and his wife, Tasha Wahl – we interviewed the inspiring and entrepreneurial Tasha, for the iCreateDaily Podcast.
  • Margaret Keane – “Big Eyes Paintings” fame, and who’s been painting for 60 years as of this writing, and after whose life a movie was made. Net worth $2.5M

Successful Singers Who Are Also Entrepreneurs

  • Alicia Keys – Singer, who’s also an actor, created her own production company, entrepreneur, net worth $70M
  • Lady Gaga, Pop Singer – branding genius, highly intelligent artist entrepreneur, net worth $300M
  • Beyoncé, Singer, singer, actor, entrepreneur, clearly directing her personal brand into so much more, networth $500M, (AND… her husband, rapper Jay-Z…
  • Jay-Z is the highest earning rapper of all time, however, he diversified, and began investing in nightclubs, restaurants, his own clothing line and record label. In 2018 his net worth was estimated at $930M!!


Sure, These Are Exceptional Examples, But…

Of course, just as the majority of actors never achieve great fame and fortune, so too, most artists… most people in general in any profession. It’s just that some of those higher profile individuals have their information available online, while we rarely know the dollar numbers for all of the others. While it’s practical and helpful information to know, it’s not considered a polite conversation to have, and naturally, we respect the important of privacy.

Treat It Like a Professional

But what these high achieving success stories inform us, is that if they can, others can too. You can achieve your goals too. If their income number is higher than you could imagine, dream or even want, that’s fine, but it lets you know that there are options for you.

You can a decent or supplemental living from your creative endeavor if you treat it like a professional. If you go to college to get a degree to get a job, that’s approximately four years of your life to get a decent job.

Isn’t it worth dedicating the time and effort into creating an endeavor that is yours doing what you love? Now granted, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It’s challenging and uncertain. But these days, so is working for others. So if you’re going to be dedicating time to a career, why not let it be time dedicated to doing work you love?

Successful creators blend the artistry of business with the business of artistry.
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

STARVING ARTIST QUOTES: Successful Artists, artistry of business #Creators #Entrepreneurs #SuccessfulArtists  #ArtBusiness #iCreateDaily #ArtistQuote #StarvingArtist #TurningPro #ProfessionalArtist

Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs

Four things common to all successful creators:

  1. They’re disciplined creators
  2. They’re serious about their work
  3. They stay focused on their goals
  4. They never give up

Successful creatives are those who study and implement business strategies as equally important to creating. The most successful creators are entrepreneurial in their approach to their art.

Non-starving artists stay focused on their goals and work toward them each day, and they never, never, never give up. They may adjust their route… they may change the vehicle for reaching their goal, but they never give up.

You’re more likely to be successful if you bring your vast creativity to every area of  your endeavors, including the business aspects you may not enjoy so much. By imbuing your creativity into all that you do, you will enjoy it more and it will be more likely to thrive.

Entrepreneurs are artists of business.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Making isn’t Enough

Prolific creating is an essential to success. However, that doesn’t mean that all prolific artists are successful. The online world has placed your audience directly at your fingertips, no longer distanced and dependent on the middleman gatekeepers—publishers, curators, financiers, etc—deciding who gets in and who doesn’t.

Most creators don’t specialize in sales and marketing. As such, reaching your prospective audience is usually more difficult than doing your art.

The author wrestles the final word of their book onto that computer screen, then endures the countless rounds of edits. Finally, s/he pushes back from the computer immensely satisfied that the manuscript is finally finished and his/her work is done.


The End of Your Project is Just the Next Beginning

Soon, all first-time authors learn the brutal truth: they learn that the book was the easy part. Most authors are not into writing sales copy or creating marketing funnels. In fact, many writers are also natural introverts, which makes building your presence in the world an even greater challenge.

This difficulty makes the barrier of entry harder for those who aren’t willing to learn, grow, implement and stay the course. But for those who are willing, who don’t give up, who keep learning and applying that learning, improvement is inevitable.

Every effort is another brick in the wall of your foundation for success. The not-starving artist has the vision, then gets to work, consistently, over time.

Sound too hard? Isn’t giving up on your dreams ultimately, vastly harder?

Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.
~Constantin Brancusi, ‘the patriarch of modern sculpture’, Romanian sculptor, painter, photographer, 1876-1957

QUOTE ABOUT HARD WORK b Constantin Brancusi, 'the patriarch of modern sculpture', Romanian sculptor, painter, photographer, 1876-1957 #StarvingArtist #NonStarvingArtist #Artists #Sculptors #Entrepreneurs #iCreateDaily

Don’t be the Starving Artist

The Starving Artist complains about how hard things are. The Abundant Artist accepts the challenge with a spirit of adventure, and gets going.

Don’t be the starving artist. Don the mindset of the successful artist. Learn from some of the many who have succeeded before you and who are succeeding now in the arena you aspire to play in. Take notes. Learn from them. Learn and do… learn and do.

We’ve written more about courses, programs and opportunities for creators in this article.

One of our partner sites is built up entirely around the concept of changing the starving artist meme into that of the abundant artist. They provide training and reasonably priced courses that help creators—especially visual artists—do just that. They even have a membership community with benefits.

“Failure doesn’t make you, but not trying will break you.”
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®


"Failure doesn't make you, but not trying will break you."
~LeAura Alderson, writer, editor, creator®

One of our partner sites is built up entirely around the concept of changing the starving artist meme into that of the abundant artist. They provide training and reasonably priced courses that help creators—especially visual artists—do just that. They even have a membership community with benefits.

Get Gratitude.

The Day is the Way.

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