12 Jun 2013

Making Money From Your Creative Skills

12 Jun 2013

creative careers coach Annabelle DrummAs creative people we have so many ideas unfurling in our minds. It’s a delight to watch them arrive and yet, getting those ideas into something which will pay the bills can be the big sticking point.

We could sit back and marvel at our creation. Then get “real”, move our focus back to the day job and lose track. It’s a horrible feeling when, 6 months later you see to your dismay that, someone else had the exact same idea and is now “successful” with it. How did they know???

Each idea we bring into Being becomes part of the shared knowledge of the world. It’s known as bringing ideas from the Collective Unconsciousness – which is unlimited – into the Collective Consciousness – which is all the ideas we’ve thought of so far.

When someone is in tune with their intuition they can draw ideas from either space. That’s why you see your great ideas pop up in other places even if you never told anyone about them.

There’s currently no way of rewarding you for bringing the idea from the Unconscious to the Conscious Collective. (Wouldn’t it be great if there was?) So how do we make sure it’s us who gets the credit for these brilliant ideas? We have to build some strategy around nurturing your best ideas fully to fruition.

Try this for starters.

Grab a piece of paper and lie it so the longest side is at the top (landscape view).

Draw 4 narrow columns down the right hand side with the column headings

  • Develop 
  • Market
  • Money in
  • Bills paid

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.


Once you pick up an idea you develop it. You plan what you want to do with it, decide on the mode to express it, be it a poem, movie, painting, dance, song, show, story, design, training course etc. (This also is best decided through intuition or your “gut instinct”.) Then you plan the outline, create the work in that mode and polish it up to the best standard you can.

The following stages are not going to happen unless you complete this stage.
What can prevent it? Perfectionism, self doubt, failing to have an outline, losing sight of seeing it paying your bills.


Once the product is complete, or even before it’s complete, you need to think about how you’re going to draw attention to it. How are you going to tell people about it? Show them it’s there? Get them interested and wanting it? You could rely on spontaneous publicity or having it go viral but as far as I know, there is no guaranteed formula to make that happen. So plan your marketing and if it goes viral that just expands the marketing you’re already working on.

Once you start marketing or getting some publicity, don’t do a wee bit and give up. Plan time to hone your skills here looking for what words, pictures, methods and places to spread the word work better than others. Even the world’s top marketing experts set aside several months to test and tweak their marketing.

Remember, the following stages are unlikely to happen unless you complete this stage.

Money In

The first person buys it. Yeh! If it’s a one-off that might be the end of the income. Or it may be something that more than one person can have.  A painting can be made into a less expensive print. The print might be applied to a coffee mug, calendar, stock image library or a t-shirt. Movies, music and stories are easily duplicated for many sales. Think about playing Charades when you get to mime that this idea is a book, a movie, a play AND a computer game. Opening your mind to the possibilities here can make a massive difference to how much money flows in from a single creative idea. The more you do quality Development and Marketing, the more money can come in.

You might have several of these stages running at once for any one idea as you learn more about what people want and continue to develop. That can be a smart commercial move.

Bills Paid

This is what we’re aiming for!

I’ve put this as a separate stage because you can have money coming in and still not have your bills paid. If your expenses are high or you just love to spend money, you may never get past the Money In stage and end up going broke. Many a Celebrity can vouch for that.

To get to this final stage you have to manage your Money In. Yep, I know it’s a pet hate of creative people. We all avoid the paperwork but we won’t get to this stage unless we keep an eye on our spending habits, our expenses, our financial planning (even if we have a lot of money) and ALL the previous stages to make sure the Bills get paid.


So, now you understand the stages, write down each idea you’re thinking about down the left side of the page – maybe one page isn’t enough – and tick what the main stage is at with that idea.

In order for the Bills to be paid all year around, the ideal would be to have something ticked under each stage. Some ideas already developed and paying the bills. Some new ones at development stage. Others building their marketing and publicity.

You get the idea?

It may feel like too many balls in the air but by frequently – at least once a week – writing a new version of this graph to get an overall picture of where you and your ideas are at will help you to see which ideas are being dropped and need some attention.

Waiting, waiting…

Some of these stages require some waiting time. Not as much waiting time as previous decades but certainly some time to naturally grow. Like a seed you’ve planted in the soil. You can water it and make sure it has all the sun and nutrients it needs, but you can’t speed it’s growth. It has to pop up and unfurl in it’s own natural time.

Step back and imagine it’s potential frequently. See it complete, satisfying and paying bills for you.
Then be open to your intuition for instruction on how to improve each stage.

Your thoughts become your reality.

Are there any stages you are neglecting?
Are you putting all your eggs in one basket?

Feel free to comment below.

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