how to become a full-time artist & creative

how to become a full-time artist

The secret to living your dreams as an artist is closer than you think. BUT, it might not be in the place you were looking for it. 🫣 If you’ve always resonated with the idea that everyone in the world should be doing what they love, you’re not alone. I’ve been a self-help connoisseur ever […]

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April 9, 2024


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The secret to living your dreams as an artist is closer than you think.

BUT, it might not be in the place you were looking for it. 🫣

If you’ve always resonated with the idea that everyone in the world should be doing what they love, you’re not alone. I’ve been a self-help connoisseur ever since I listened to Jack Canfield’s self-development tapes in the early 2000s.

And while it’s so easy to convince ourselves that society doesn’t want artists to succeed, we’re just looking at it wrong. So, let’s dive into what it really takes to follow your dreams and be a full-time artist.

What is a Full-Time Artist?

One thing all full-time artists have in common is committing to this craft as your lifestyle. It’s not a job you check in and check out of, but something that’s weaved into your dreams, your soul’s purpose, following you around and filling you with the next beautiful creation and idea. 💫

Ideally, it also means making a full-time income from your art, so you can focus solely on the creations you make and not treat them as a hobby (is it just me, or does that term irk you?!).

full-time artist

In terms of the path to becoming a full-time artist, it’s a lot like the path to entrepreneurship. Actually, it is the path to entrepreneurship, because your art will eventually be your sole business. This means that your path to being a full-time artist will include:

🌸 Different seasons of your art — times when you’re burning the midnight oil so you can eventually have nice, long, stress-free sleep while you make a consistent income doing what you love.

🤲 Paying your dues, by working jobs and taking on roles you never thought you would need to do (theatre major/SEO specialist/content creator/musician, that’s me).

😅 Putting your ego aside and knowing that this will be worth it if you humble yourself, stay grateful, and don’t get caught up in people asking “Why aren’t you doing your art, yet?”

But there is one really important I want you to remember that few others are telling you — it is possible to come out the other side and live a fruitful, abundant, beautiful, thriving life as a full-time artist.

You don’t always have to be a starving artist your whole life. With the right mindset, strategy, and support, it is 100% possible to turn your dreams into a reality.

What You Should Know About the “Business” of Being an Artist

1. It’s more than just “you are your business.”

I often heard the recycled advice: ✨as an artist, you are your own business.

Okay, great— but what does that actually mean? What I realized by carving my own path in this career path was that it was being on the same level as those tech start-up founders, the Etsy shop owners, and the brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops downtown. It’s about learning how to start a literal business from the ground up and scale it so that eventually you can focus solely on what you love doing (while still seeing income).

image of a woman working on laptop outside

Part of this, for me, meant putting my ego aside and taking on different job titles for a while; I worked as a content writer, social media manager, content specialist, content manager, and SEO specialist for over 5 years before transitioning to a full-time creative and performer career.

Ultimately, being the “business” is humbling yourself and working from the trenches before taking on the “dream roles” of your career. But what do you start your business in, you may ask?

2. You need to know digital marketing.

This is what changed the trajectory of my career: knowing digital marketing.

This certainly wasn’t the career advice I was getting as a young, freshly graduated theatre major in acting school (nor would I really expect it to be, at that point!).

In fact, if it weren’t for 2020, I’d probably still be back in NYC, catering food to big companies like Dropbox and PayPal and auditioning during every sliver of time in between.

But as soon as I got into digital marketing— social media management, blog writing, YouTube scripting, content management— I learned the insanity that is career possibilities and freedom. It was the answer to a question I didn’t know I was asking.

The great thing about digital marketing is that it’s incredibly broad that most any creative can be a part of. It embodies basically every skill path imaginable: writing, designing, coding, collaborating, selling, strategizing, brainstorming.

how to become a full-time artist moody home studio

Probably the best part about getting into the world of digital marketing was that as I was working for clients, I was learning how I could apply this work to myself. I was writing blog posts, and then applying those strategies to my own blog (like I’m doing right now, ayyyooo).

Plus, all the digital marketing I was doing was 100% remote, which is the key to getting your career started as a creative (or anyone, really. 4-Hour Work Week style).

Working remotely means you can manage your time and energy more effectively, giving you more career freedom as you build and scale your goals to achieve your dream life. 💭

3. You can’t look at what people 10 years ago did in your field.

The artistic market and industry trends are constantly evolving, especially considering the rapid and crazy twists and turns that happened in 2020.

If you’re interested in, say, comedy acting, the traditional audition grind might not be as sustainable as building a presence on platforms like TikTok, where you can strategically showcase your talent to a wide audience.

If you aspire to be a singer, living in an expensive city with limited opportunities may not be as strategic as moving to a more affordable location, building a community of artists, and leveraging social media to share your music and grow your fan base.

To succeed as an artist in the 2020s and beyond, you need to be adaptable and willing to embrace new career strategies. You don’t have to have all the answers right away, but you should be prepared to carve out your own path and adapt to the changing landscape as it comes.

The entertainment world– with both content creators and artistic creatives– is undergoing significant changes; the way people consume entertainment is evolving. As an artist, you already have a special gift: curating aesthetics and experiences that resonate with your target fanbase/audience.

Because of this, you should have everything you need to start carving your own path in the digital world (like we talked about above) to start reaching a broader audience and scale your visibility beyond just an audition room or small performance.

image of a woman working on laptop outside

How to Become a Full-Time Artist

1. Define What Being a “Full-Time Artist” Means For You.

Before embarking on your journey of how to be a full-time artist, it’s important to define what that means for you personally. Really imagine what your dream lifestyle looks like, and ask yourself both big-picture and strategic questions like:

🥅 What are your long-term goals and aspirations as an artist?

🤲 How do you want to contribute to the world through your art?

🫶 What is your purpose as an artist, and how does it connect with something greater than yourself?

💸 How much income do you need to sustain your desired lifestyle?

Craft what’s called an “I help” or “I am” a statement that reflects your purpose and how you intend to serve others through your art. People in business do this, so as a business owner, you are no exception! The format goes: “I help X do X so they can X.”

For example:

“I help fellow creatives be heard through conceptual and creative moments, so they can have a voice even when it’s not theirs.”

“I create feminine and calming oil paintings for homebodies who love the earth, so they can bring a touch of nature into their homes.”

image of a woman writing in her journal in bed

2. Visualize Your Week-to-Week (NOT Day-To-Day) Lifestyle.

Once you’ve defined your purpose and financial goals, visualize what your ideal week-to-week life as a full-time artist looks like. Consider these questions:

📆 What does your typical week look like in terms of your creative process and business activities?

🙋‍♀️ Do you have a team supporting you, or are you working solo?

👩‍💻 Are you traveling for work, or do you prefer to work from a home studio?

⚡️ What types of people and environments energize you?

♥️ How do you incorporate joy and creativity into your daily life?

I talk about this a little more in-depth in my YouTube video, so definitely check it out if you want a little more details about how you can visualize your creative lifestyle. 👇

3. Identify Your Multi-Hyphenate Talents.

When I was growing into my career, I was under the impression that I should only be known for one thing: being an artist. But in the ‘20s and beyond, artists are doing so many different things, like running a business in between acting gigs or starting as content creators and becoming performers.

Because of this, we should no longer be using the excuse that we’re starving artists, because there is an abundance of work around us that we can do. In fact, focus on that right now as you’re reading this to think about the skills you can monetize through digital marketing:

4. Start With Your Eye on the Money.

Treating your art as a business means starting with the money in mind.

I know… we’re creatives! We don’t care about money, we just want to spend all our days creating our art, and we have to choose between a career we love and being financially abundant… right?!

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It’ll just take a little bit of patience.

After you’ve identified your multi-hyphenate talent (writing, designing, sales, social media marketing, etc.) focus on monetizing that first.

This will either involve:

👩‍💻 Finding clients

📝 Finding a full-time job

Both of which are here to establish a solid financial foundation for yourself. And not forever.

This is a temporary season of your life; focusing on financial stabilizer now will enable you to pursue your passion as a full-time career later on.

image of a woman picking flowers in her garden outside

5. Be 1% Better.

You will live in perpetual analysis paralysis (like I often did at the beginning of my journey) if you try to set a million goals and never take a step back and incrementalize your systems.

Challenge yourself. In this sacred, beautiful journey to become a full-time artist, aim to be just 1% better every day, whether that’s 1% closer to making more money, 1% better at your job, or 1% better at your craft.

6. Find an Online Creative Community & Accountability Buddies.

As you continue to grow your income and build your creative business, having a supportive community will be invaluable in making important decisions when you’re becoming a full-time artist.

These will be people who you can talk to about:

  • When to leave your full-time job
  • When to switch focuses in your business
  • How to start pursuing your art full-time
  • A crazy client you’re working with
  • A boss that’s driving you crazy but you know you want to stick it out a little longer

Having accountability buddies and mentors can provide guidance and support as you navigate these decisions, ultimately leading you closer to your passion. From there, it’s up to you to determine how to scale your business and make the next best move, but having people by your side to throw in their two cents is going to help you feel less alone through it all. 🫶

image of a woman dancing in her kitchen

Follow for a Creative Community in Violet Gaze 💫

If you’re still wondering “how do I become a full time artist?” you probably just need some weekly tips and reminders that you are enough. For weekly doses of artist inspiration and insights, subscribe on YouTube and let’s create magic together. 🌀

P.S. this was something I found when doing some research on this topic. Just goes to show you so many people think they need to settle as artists. Let’s change that.

Creative Career




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how to become a full-time artist & creative


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