Doug Thompson’s article, Opinions Vary, about Floyd musicians applies equally well to artists and artisans all over the world.
He points out that Floyd, Virginia, is not a town where those who do what they love can always make a living out of that love. Most artists, musicians, craftsmen, etc., have other jobs or resources to pay the bills. Those day jobs or deep pockets allow them to do what they love and let other things pay the bills.
I say this is not unique to Floyd. It is a worldwide phenomena.
Being a fantastic musician or a highly skilled artist is no guarantee that you can use that skill to keep food on the table. You have to be able to attract paying customers and you have to be willing to do what those customers need and want before they will pay you for your services.
One of the things you will learn early on
is that there is no entitlement in a free market. Nobody owes you a
living. You must make people want to pay for your products or services and that
takes more than artistic skill.
Does this begin to sound like work? It IS work and it takes a great deal of good business sense to generate income on a regular basis.
So, if there is something you really enjoy doing, but it doesn’t pay well, then you need to find out what it will take to make a living doing what you are doing.
If you can’t see your way to making a living in the near future, then you need to take on additional work doing something that people will pay for.
If you are doing something that you really enjoy and it has the possibility of generating an income that you can support your family on, then it is worth all of the effort that you have to put into it to get really good at it. Most people I know who have their own business are working more than 50 hours a week, but they would not consider any other career to be a satisfactory alternative.
Running a small business successfully is a real challenge. It can also provide incredible job satisfaction even when you are still learning the ropes.
Just don’t expect people to give you money. You need to figure out how to earn it by doing things people need and want. This is true whether you are a musician, an artist, or a craftsperson.
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