You Don’t Have To Be A Starving Artist To Be Successful

The “starving artist” is a trope that many people immediately bring to mind when someone says they’re a performer. As Opera Canada mentions, artists tend to be underpaid, and it makes living in a city all the more difficult. Some artists think that a few acting classes will help them, but that’s only partially true. The starving artist trope isn’t one that stems from a lack of skills. It’s a myth that’s perpetrated by a lack of understanding of how to be an entrepreneur.

The Key to Leaving the Starving Artist Behind

As an artist, you’ve no doubt found yourself inundated with requests to give your talent away for free. If you’re in a popular genre like music or writing, you sometimes get pitched to give up your art for “exposure,” which is somehow worse. The key to leaving the starving artist persona behind starts with thinking of yourself as more than an artist. You’re a business. The art you produce is your product. That doesn’t mean selling out and going corporate. It means understanding what you’re worth to those who want your services.

How Businesses Beat Artists

Companies know their worth. There may be twenty different beer manufacturers, but a company will continually and consistently make sales so that it has a profit. How do they do it? By having faith in their product. Artists have a huge burden that comes with self-doubt. When they’re surrounded by the wrong people or have a bad upbringing, it affects the view of themselves. While it might be great for producing art, it isn’t very pleasant for an artist’s belief that that art is good. A paper published by BMC Psychiatry notes that in Tanzania, maltreatment as an adolescent can lead to severe and crippling self-doubt as an adult. Your power as an artist comes in, realizing your worth. No one can give you that realization but yourself.

No One Else is Coming to Rescue You

There’s a common theme that artists are waiting to “be discovered.” Creatives buy into the idea that a big payday is right around the corner. The truth is that no one is coming to save you. Small business owners know that they have to ensure that they stay afloat. And because of this acceptance, they know what they need to do. They take steps to keep themselves profitable.

Know Your Audience

If you aren’t getting calls back or just aren’t seeing a lot of response to your art, maybe you’re focusing on the wrong people. Listen to the people who you want to like your art. Take their advice and suggestions, and that will eventually snowball. Your audience can also help with your self-confidence. Don’t settle for less than you’re worth. Artists and their art aren’t cheap. Once you start seeing the value of your work, you’ll learn how others should value it. To be a successful artist is to help others to know the value of the things you make.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.