I developed this four-pronged system years ago and have taught it to actors, writers, fashion designers, dancers, interior designers and musicians. If you’re trying to generate income from your creativity, you have to consider each of these four areas with equal time and discipline:
Development of the craft: You have to put yourself in situations where you are growing your craft. Whether you are working for free or in a class, put yourself in situations where you can develop your artistry. This can include reading, rehearsing, practicing, exercising and meditating. Consider the mental and emotional components of development; not just your technique.
Marketing: Everything you use to present yourself must be impressive. This happens through a process of evolution; continually crystallizing your message and presenting it more and more professionally. Your marketing materials might include a photo (or headshot), web site, resume, postcards, brochures, and even products like books and videos. They are materials that sell you to those who have never heard of you before. They are your first impression. Anything less than an exceptional representation of your core values is just going to confuse people. These items should reflect your true spirit within two seconds time.
Networking: Everyone you meet is either someone who can hire you, or someone who can become a member of your fan club. Get everyone’s contact information and keep it in a database that you can access when you have important news about your career to share. Consider that it takes time for people to buy into your talent. The first time they meet you they’ll probably forget you immediately. The second time they’ll think to themselves, they look familiar. The third time, they’ll say, “Yeah we’ve met before.” The fourth time is the first time they’re actually paying attention. Not until the fifth or sixth interaction with you will people actually start becoming interested in what you do. That’s when you begin to become three dimensional to them. So you have to have a way to contact them over and over again with information about your craft, so that they can build this impression over time.
Public relations: What are you doing to get yourself seen? Now that you are building your network, what are you doing to keep your work in front of others? Do you have a newsletter? Do you have a blog? Do you make announcements of your successes in press releases? If your audience doesn’t hear about your little victories, they cannot participate in your success. If they are a possible employer, it is imperative that they hear about what you are doing so they can eventually think about you when they have a job that you can handle for them. If they are a member of your fan club, keeping them in the loop will encourage them to buy your product when you have a piece of work that is up for sale or a performance to attend.
With so much competition for people’s attention, you have to be great in every one of these areas. That’s how you change people’s lives. And that’s how you generate income from your creativity. Get to work!