I had a Twitter question from Charles Westscott about creativity and how to make money from your passion.



We haven’t tackled that topic previously, so the first creative thinking move was sketching out a matrix comparing the degree someone is able to express a personal creative version versus how much they are getting paid for it. From there, the creative thinking question involved the moves someone can make to move toward the upper right (using more of your creative passion for more pay).

5 Ideas for How to Make Money from Your Passion and Creativity

Here are five potential moves this creative thinking matrix suggests to get paid for your passion based on where you are starting out creatively.


Move A - You're using lots of your creative vision, but not getting paid much

This is the typical starving artist position, with someone pursuing a creative passion without significant economic returns. This strategy focuses on marketing and distribution. You have a creative product or service, but the market isn't rewarding the work. Explore the typical marketing issues:

  • The product isn't matching audience preferences and needs changing or more time to find an audience
  • There is low awareness requiring a push for attention
  • The pricing is out of whack compared to the perceived value in the market
  • The product is not reaching the right audience members when they are ready to buy

That covers the 4 Ps of marketing at a high level. They are a good place to start exploring.

Move B – Applying your creative passion in a different type of career

This move is for creative people rooted in pragmatism. You may not be able to get paid what you want from following your creative pursuit along. You apply your creative passion in another career that is more or less related to your creative aspirations. Think about the writer hoping to write a novel that takes a full-time writing and marketing job at a company. It's not writing novels, but it's getting paid to do something related to what you love. You may just love it more when you get to do it outside work hours.

Move C – Getting a paying job unrelated to your creative passion

This may feel like a sell-out move, but it's a familiar strategy. Actors working in restaurants. Singers temping at office jobs because of the flexibility to go to auditions. Keeping your creative perspective is dependent on working two plans at once: the less creative plan that pays you now and the creative plan you hope grows into a more robust paying gig. This move can be coupled with move D.

Move D – Building a financial cushion and to take a run at pursuing your creative passion

If you're getting paid but not getting fulfilled creatively, consider streamlining your living situation and stashing away as much cash as you can. Then take a bigger run at pursuing your creative passion, even if it's going to take time to get paid what you want for doing it. My neighbor is an interesting example of this. She’s a nurse, but really loves gardening. She retired from nursing ten years ago to work in a garden center. After a few years, bills started piling up, and she did a reverse of Move D. After rebuilding her financial situation, she retired from nursing again to return to the garden center.

Move E - Making your creative passion a loss leader in a plan for greater success

Maybe you need to make a big play to put your creative product in front of the right people, even if it's at a loss, to pave the way for getting paid later. This is the premise behind individuals doing content marketing. They share what they love doing for little or no dollars to build an audience. The related step is cashing-in on the newly built audience through finding a way to charge for the creativity you love expressing.

Beyond those five ideas for how to make money from your passion, what other ones have you tried?

Mike Brown

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