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(Below is the script that I used for the first episode! of 'Toward Creativity'.
I go off script from time to time... hahaha!).
Hey! Welcome to Toward Creativity - a podcast by Benjamin Harding - that's me. You can find me on Instagram at bhardingmusic and on my website benjaminharding.net.
This is a podcast where I explore the immense world of creativity. I hope to also serve as a guide in conversations centered around tips, tools and strategies towards building a sustainable creative career.
Let’s get to it!
This episode is brought to you by - well - me! I don’t have any sponsors yet but I do belong to affiliate programs that you can find on my website at benjaminharding.net under the tab gear. I love these companies and have benefited greatly from their products and services. So go to Benjaminharding.net and click on gear and take a look at some great products from Skillshare, Cunningham Piano and Open Studio Jazz. Let’s get into today’s episode.
In this episode, I am going to outline three areas where you can make money through your creative work right now. Listen up. If you are a student at art school or a freshman at a conservatory - you can make money through your work right now. If you are an emerging artist beginning a career - you can make money through your work right now. If you are an established artist - seasoned and professional - you can make more money right now by focusing in on these three areas.
Look - I know artists have a weird relationship with money. We will take a look at that relationship in further episodes but, you need money to sustain your creative work. It's just how the world works!
Ok - I think I'm done the preamble - let's go.
The three areas are as follows:
Affiliate Marketing (blogging, and promotion on social media)
Services and Products (you need a website where you can sell things)
Social Media Following (so many ways to make money here)
In all of these areas if you have an open mind to them - again, in other episodes we will talk about the need for a mindset shift among musicians, artists and creatives - but, if you have an open mind to these ideas, you can apply all of the transcendent values and virtues that you have worked on as an artist - capacity to learn new things, discipline, focus, training for hours and hours, problem solving, perseverance, etc. - you can take these virtues and apply them to these areas and do very well.
The first area is, Affiliate Marketing.
So let me describe what Affiliate Marketing is by example. Ok?
At the beginning of this episode, I mentioned that if you go to my website www.benjaminharding.net you can find some affiliate links under the tab 'Gear'.
I am an affiliate of Open Studio Jazz, Cunningham Piano and Skillshare. I believe in these companies and have benefited greatly from what they offer.
So, how did I become an affiliate of these groups?
1. I went to their website to search for affiliate programs.
2. I clicked on the link which directed me to an application process.
3. I applied to become an affiliate.
4. In the companies that I mentioned they accepted my application and I became a member.
What happens next after you are accepted into the affiliate program?
Companies will give you links and content that you can use to promote their products and services. Through CRM they can monitor who clicks on these links and purchases their products and services through these links. If you were to use my links and purchase a product from Open Studio Jazz, Skillshare or Cunningham Piano, I would then get a commission from the sale.
Does this make sense? You have the opportunity to make a commission off of credible and viable sales of products you believe in.
This is a lot of fun if you are in to tracking numbers and hits on your website etc. You get an affiliate page where you can also see metrics related to the affiliate program you are a part of
Affiliate programs are a great way to promote products that you believe in and build passive income.
And you can start doing that now!
Ok on to the next one - Products and Services
Throughout many episodes on this podcast, I am going to be citing an essay by Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine of Wired magazine, called ‘1000 True Fans’. The essay is revisited and published in Tim Ferriss’s book 'Tools of Titans'.
In short, Kevin Kelly talks about the idea that a true fan is someone who spends $100 on your products or services a year. And voila - 100k. That’s a sustainable income for many folks in this country. Even with taking out taxes and overhead and healthcare, you can net a sustainable income with that amount of money flowing through your creative practice.
The thing that I have to ask you is this? Do you have products and services available that people can purchase online?
For musicians - this could look like giving concerts, album sales, merch, etc. Are you set up for this?
Services could look like online courses, instruction - where you show up and create value for your community.
For me, I have to pause and say that I am thinking about developing a course online where creatives learn to set up creative businesses that are profitable and sustainable. If you are interested in being a part of the development of this course, please send me a message on my website at benjaminharding.net or on Instagram at bhardingmusic.
This would be an example of a product that is available online.
I believe that artists because of their work ethic, and virtues that are cultivating in their years of study can be applied to this modern economy with great success. I know because I am seeing it happen right now with folks that are willing to try to understand market forces and economics to create a sustainable career for themselves.
In other episodes we will work this out as to how to create products and services that have value to audience. We will also talk about how to grow those audiences and build.
I have so much content that I want to jump into but I have to be patient.
What could you offer on your website that is of value? Lessons? CD’s? Merch? Digital pieces? Membership opportunities? Set up a Patreon account for projects?
Maybe in another episode we can talk about NFT's. That market is exploding right now. Oh man - so much to talk about but we need to move on.
So we've talked about Affiliate Marketing, and Products and Services.
Let's jump into Social Media Following.
This is where there is a massive opportunity for you to build on the 'Know, Like and Trust' factor that businesses are trying to create with their audiences.
Social media following can enhance the income that you generate from the Affiliate Marketing and Products and Services.
I want to now refer to a book by Austin Kleon, entitled: ‘Show Your Work’.
For Kleon, social media is an opportunity where you can bring in new audiences to see your creative process in action. It's where you can share with your community what you are doing in the process of learning a piece of music or sculpting a sculpture or building a new kind of UI.
In order for folks to buy your products, they first need to know who you are. They then, hopefully, will like and follow what you do which will develop into trusting you enough to buy products and services from you.
Showing up in social media in an authentic way can help you to build your creative business.
Yes - there are ways to make money in social media through ads etc. For some of us, this is a major part of our business - Youtube comes to mind with Adsense. And, companies are always seeking influencers to market and promote their products.
Ok - so that’s a wrap.
Again, if you need help working this out - I am thinking about building a course that walks you through this process step by step. Be in touch via my website www.benjaminharding.net and you can get in on the ground floor in developing this course. I hope to launch it mid-summer.
Thanks for joining us and I will see you at the next episode.