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When is the last time you got paid for your creative or artistic skill?

Have you been keeping track?

Are you getting paid more than you were a year ago?

One of my first questions for each artist I work with is how much money are you currently making off your art? If you don't know what you are making on average per month or per project then how I can help you grow? In order to show progress you have to be able to SHOW where you started. 

For artists just starting out or overwhelmed I encourage you open a bank account, create a separate paypal or venmo account so you can easily track your income. 

Let's say you do know how much you are making off your art. Then my next question is how much money do you WANT to be making off your art?

I recently met with a singer/songwriter that responded by saying I don't know how much money I want to be making but I do know I want a residency. I loved that answer because that still equals income. Even though they were already thinking of how to get more money from their work I did still need to know the answer.

Take an honest look at your budget. How much money do you need to survive? Do you want to make art full time? How much income would you need to make that happen? 

Example: Jerry paints. He wants to paint full time and leave behind his receptionists job. Right now he makes $35,000 a year as a receptionists. So my first thought is how can we break this down into paintings and projects. 

$35,000 a year = about $2,917 a month

$2,917 a month = 5 paints @ about $584 each OR 3 major projects @ about $973

When I look at the real numbers I see possibilities. What do you see?




For SARAH to get to her audition she has to put gas in her car, eat and drink something, pay for parking (if you live in LA) and take two hour off her nanny job. This audition will cost Sarah about $100. Is it worth it?
Now take STEVEN. Steven was asked by a good friend to create a piece of art for his friend's start-up company. It was asked casually over drinks and Steven felt more flattered than anything. When the friend follows up with Steven about the project, he discovers this will cost him over $300 for supplies and time. 


For both of these people they could have thought, "I am doing this for free". They might reconcile it as ok to lose some money because the audition is "once in a life time" or the place of this piece could be "life changing". I want to dig deeper. I think the real question is at what COST are you willing to be "FREE". Everyone needs a boundary when it comes to favors and building portfolios. How many auditions can you really afford to take? How many pieces can you afford to give away? 

The answer here might be 3 or 10. But I promise there is an answer!

The first step to getting people to value your work is YOU valuing your time.

I challenge you to spend 3 hours on your art work. After 3 hours ask yourself what is this worth? How much would I pay for this? Can I streamline my time? Can I get this piece actually done in 1 hour or does it actually need 1 full day?

And above all ASK others. Take people you admire to lunch or coffee and be frank and ask them how much they charge. How and when do they discuss expenses? 

All this time you might have been sitting on a GOLDMINE.

I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom - how great is that?
— Soledad O'Brien