Micro Patronage

Where's a good king when you need one? (Excerpt from Have Fun, Get Paid: How to Make a Living With Your Creativity)

A new type of opportunity that our modern society has enabled can be thought of as a form of micro-patronage. Thanks to the power of the Internet and digital technologies, we can now make our case directly by asking our audience for their financial support.

Let’s say you’ve written a delightful play about a boy and his cybernetic dog and want to take it on the road. Instead of dealing with the larger apparatus of promoters and industry infrastructure, you can arrange the venues and dates yourself. To make money, you can promote your show directly to potential fans using the Web, e-mail, and the occasional freelance owl.

It’s not the same as a musician’s dream of getting a big recording contract and a gazillion-dollar advance from a record label with deep pockets. Instead, you have to make lots of little sales in the hopes that they add up to the larger number that you need in order to keep you, your cast, and crew on a high-quality peanut butter and jelly diet. This can be exciting and may also be just what you need to provide creative freedom and financial stability.

This is a time of incredible opportunity for creative people. Put in the effort to take care of business, and you can make a living doing what you love. There’s only one problem. Creative creatures, by and large, don’t want to do anything but play with their toys and be the artist.

Fortunately, the problem is one of attitude and effort, and these are difficulties that can be overcome by those with sufficient motivation. Opportunity abounds for the aspiring artist who isn’t afraid to stretch beyond her comfort zone and put in a little extra effort.

If you want to make a living doing what you love, success is within your reach. This is only possible, however, if you’re willing to embrace a new phase of your career, one in which you take responsibility for your own needs and chart your own course. It won’t always be easy, but the view is infinitely better when you’re the captain of your own ship.

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