15 Jun TAKING THE LEAP – Being a Full-Time Artist
Many people are unhappily working at jobs because they don’t have faith in their ability to earn a living as a full time artist, or because they just aren’t sure where to start. Fear stops them from taking the leap to doing what they love.
I say, just get started, take the first step, and the rest will follow.
Most professions have a formula you can follow for success. You want to be a dentist? There’s a tried and true formula, just as there is for being an accountant, and a salesperson, and a hairdresser.
Being a professional artist is less defined, because there are many different paths to follow, and very few formulas. But you can look at what other successful artists are doing, and adopt some of their strategies.
Al McWhite is a South Carolina artist who worked at a clothing company for over eleven years. Even though he was the Art Director and working with his artwork daily, he wasn’t fulfilled working for someone else. He wanted to have the freedom to be completely in charge of his creations.
In his own words, he said “I wanted to write my own life story. I couldn’t do that unless I worked for myself.”
Al’s paintings take you on a vacation with playful images of fun surf and ocean culture scenes. He creates positive art depicting the lighter side of life, which is a reflection of his attitude. There were enough people that loved his art, that he knew he had a market for it.
In December of 2006, Al took the leap and left his steady job and paycheck to go out on his own as a freelance artist.
At the time, he said, he was scared because it was a huge risk, having a wife and three young children to support.
But looking back, he says “I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it and I know I’m doing the right thing.”
Since then, Al has built up a steady stream of income through sales of painting commissions, illustrations, prints, and licensing. He believes that having multiple avenues to sell his art has been vital to his success.
Like most successful artists, Al believes that the following traits have helped him to make it work:
1.) Be a disciplined self-starter
2.) Be willing to learn – don’t assume you know everything
3.) Meet deadlines and make your clients happy
4.) Be very professional (not flakey)
5.) Educate yourself on business
Al is now a father of four, and he creates new artwork every day. He said that when things get difficult, “I laugh at everything and I don’t take anything seriously.” He says.
Taking the leap means having belief in your abilities. You can believe in yourself and still have doubts, too.
The trick is, don’t let your doubts or your fear stop you.
I want to see you live the life you dream of! Take the leap, go for it, don’t let fear stop you!
Spunk Brophy xxoo (Follow me on Twitter)
“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” Sven Goran Eriksson
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