The Missing ‘Gap’ to Getting Rich With Your Creative Skills

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Money / Motivation / Promotion

For a lot of us, the idea of getting rich with our creative products and services doesn’t often, if ever, enter our minds.

It seems hard enough as it is to find and get clients and customers, and keep a regular income coming in, let alone get wealthy from it.

Riches and being creative are not two things that go in the same sentence, unless you are a sleaze-bag or make skulls out of diamonds. Right?

The gap – in what we need to know and do – that divides those of us who are barely surviving and those who could consider themselves ‘rich’ creatives, is a lot less than people think.

I’d argue that the very reason so many creative people do not see the income they dream of is because they think ‘the gap’ is massive.

It is not, and we all have the potential to be very rich from our creative skills. Earning very well from our craft is important, rather than immoral. It allows us to keep creating, and it allows our impact on the Earth to expand and be felt.

Those who don’t accept, absorb and assimilate what I’m about to tell you will be doomed to poverty and mediocrity. I’m serious!

What the heck am I talking about?

Well here’s the secret: you need to understand how to sell your products and services effectively.

Making money comes when you sell something. Therefore you need to be able to sell effectively in order to make money. In this ‘tough’ economy, this doesn’t simply mean being an expert in sales. It means, once you have a great product, to get out there, and sell and market yourself a lot. A lot more than you think.

It is a game of providing quality and value, but it is also a numbers game. It’s both. It’s the truth. But knowing the truth is huge power.

For those of us who are not famous, the actions you need to take to get out of the darkness, selling a lot and making lots of money, are much much more than you think.

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You too can have your own island (and/or freedom).

Creatives often suffer because they underestimate the amount of energy you need to put into marketing yourself. It’s not just about having an agent and touching in with a few people each week.

‘The gap’ is small because the difference between a rich and a poor business is a combination of energy, strong commitment and a little extra knowledge. That’s it. Read about anyone who got rich. They sold the heck out of their products.

If you’re starting out, you need to take massive amounts of consistent action to market yourself and your brand, and then sell what you have.

But what If I’m too pushy and annoying and people start to hate me?

Marketing and selling is about sharing value, being useful to people and getting products they actually want to buy in front of them (through targeting the right people).

Is that a bad thing?

No. Get over that stuff. We’re in an age in which barely anyone does enough to proudly get their products and services out into the world. You should. The world and your own legacy needs your craft, skill and your personality to be heard and seen.

To get rich requires that you put in the energy to break out of obscurity, and then to keep going through all the resistance and sell the hell out of your craft, and keep doing it.

Tweet thirty times a day instead of twice a week. Contact ten people a day instead of four a month. Take someone from lead to a sale, and know exactly your plan for doing this.

What are you hiding?

Send out printed booklets to 100 targets, not never. Understand sales funnels. Email people, then call them. Buy people coffee or a mango smoothie. Go to conferences and hand out your card. Make a dent in the noise, and the opportunities will come to you.

The little Saigon coffee shop I’m sitting in right now has been empty all morning, and the waitress has been on Facebook for the last three hours. This place is excellent and should have a queue of people round the block. They don’t market or sell the place. That’s why.

You can get rich with a scaleable product or service and a commitment to selling and marketing. The real reason all businesses fail is because they didn’t bring in enough revenue quick enough. Selling – a lot – solves that, and will make you rich on top of that.

Learn how to find and sell to customers and clients who truly want your skills.

The energy required is more than you think, but at least you won’t be poor.

Got a thought on this? Comment below, and I will join the discussion. (Join the newsletter if you haven’t yet for more like this too!)

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The Author

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

20 Comments

  1. Indeed. And it’s something I struggle with. I’m good at writing and presenting info, but not so much at getting people to see it in the first place!

    Topical practical note: the EU digital VAT changes that apply from the new year will make this harder for many of us, discouraging sales from our own sites. If readers don’t know about that,

  2. Alex, great article again… I’m really enjoying the Red Lemon Club! I think lots of artists struggle with nailing down their perfect product. We are so used to being everything to everyone just to survive.

    I think your point of selling is 100% true… I just wish I could narrow down the hard task of picking that one product that makes the most sense to promote! 😉 Thanks again for such helpful advice.

  3. Sarah Ehlinger says

    Thanks for this. As creatives, I think we associate selling with sleazy. It’s definitely something to overcome.

  4. Alex, I’m enjoying your newsletter! This post resonated with me because these are things I KNOW! But I know I don’t enough of. I sent out four emails to art reps last week. Two NOs already. But I know I need to start sending more. And prospect clients directly. I know that I should accept the NOs and move on—take the 100 NOs challenge so to speak—but it is hard and totally makes me doubt myself. I have many skills and many loves— but I don’t know if I should narrow them down and focus on one, or use them all to find work? I am a designer, fine artist, illustrator, surface designer and I also love to write—(but a lot of the time I’m confused about what to paint/draw/design or write about!) I am a mother who has been home with two kids for the past 10 years doing a little freelance here and there, a little painting there and here. . . and in the last few years I’ve worked hard on the fine art and surface design, trying to build my portfolio and break into licensing. I’ve spent a lot of money and time—even showed at a national trade show. Followed up several (two-three) times with contacts and leads. But nothing is panning out as of yet. I know this is normal—typical even, but it is making me doubt myself—making my husband doubt me. And I’m not sure what to do about it. Really at a low point right now and need to find a way forward.

    • Alex Mathers says

      Thanks Kim! One of the best, if only, ways to cut out self doubt is through experiencing a win – big or small. You will most likely get that all-important win when you do everything it takes to close a deal. To win a project.

      Here’s what you need to do. Refine your product. Find out who would benefit from that product/service. Who needs it? Who would fall in love with it? Talk to those people along the vein of doing research on your market. Find out about their businesses, what their problems are, what they need, how they work. Get a conversation going. Then pitch your product. Then close the deal with them and win. It takes work, and it takes talking to MORE people if you aren’t seeing results yet. On top of that, make use of all the free marketing tools there are and get your stuff out into the world, knowing full well that the early stages of a businesses require the MOST marketing.

      Let me know if you have further questions.

  5. BubMeersman says

    Alex, can you tap dance?
    BTW I enjoyed the blog post, a whole lot to take away. Begetter get busy, thanks!

  6. Jane Selomulyo says

    Thank you for this article! it resonate with me too. I have another project beside my freelance, to ‘fill the gap’. i don’t know how to market it or i don’t know anything at all how to do things. Insecurities also play the part. And selling! It’s HARD. I don’t want to sounds like pushy or people buy the product because they pity me. So, sometimes i just post things hoping that they will notice them and then buy.

  7. Evelyn Rowland says

    Hi Alex, I’m getting into your only Option course and report and I’m finding that the more I work on this, the more confident I feel about it working. Which makes me enjoy it more and want to do more. I know there are be brick walls out there (I have built up quite a collection) but so are the people who need me and my work. Finding these people is a game to win.

    • Alex Mathers says

      Excellent Evelyn – absolutely right – understanding leads to clarity leads to confidence. And I like how you are seeing how it really is a game – a game to win, and a game to enjoy. All the best, and thanks again for the comment. Alex

  8. After finally seeing some things click with marketing, I’m fully on board with this. And am also trying to convince other creatives in my life that marketing isn’t evil. It can be very hard for some uber-artistic folks to get into the business mindset though!

    • Alex Mathers says

      Thanks Jennifer. It really can – and will take a significant mind-shift for them to see it in a different light. I hope you’re recommending RLC!

  9. Linet Andrea says

    Hi Alex, Thanks for checking in. I needed a break from my creative work after 10 years because I hadn’t done all that you are saying properly and dried up because of it. So I have spent a year teaching, being with children, adults and old people in a real “rhythm” which I had lost: my self dicipline had disitegrated because of a lack of marketing skills = not enough sales = discouragement. I re-worked my site after your comments ( linet-andrea.net ) but that wasn’t enought to motivate me. We all need a bit of limelight, to feel useful, be “successful” etc. Thanks for wanting those qualities for us!
    What’s next? I feel like my capacities are a bit unexploited, but I don’t have enough sap for my wintery tree to grow lucious leaves yet. I hope it will rise up soon!
    All the best to you!

    • Alex Mathers says

      Ok Linet – action of some small step is the the key here – best!

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