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how do you make your income work?

making-a-living-column-headerMany creative business owners have one eye on the budget, another eye on where their money is coming in from, and then that third eye to make sure that the income is going to match the out-go, and a back up plan for if it doesn’t.  Mabel asked a few creative business owners about where their income streams are coming from these days—Multiple streams? Part-time job? How does it all work?

Jolie-GuillebeauI sell my work through my newsletter, teach in my studio and at a neighborhood school each week, and I participate in a few shows each year.  Most of my summers are devoted to the events of the World Domination Summit, which is when my students are usually on vacation and painting sales are lighter, so that works perfectly.  While I was building my teaching schedule and before I had a full roster of students, I taught knitting and filled in a few hours each week at a yarn shop in the neighborhood. It was a good place to play with color in a different way.

Jolie Guillebeau  Artist, Teacher, Perpetual learner.

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Maya-SteinHaving a business rooted in creativity demands creativity.  It’s not just for financial reasons (although, of course, that matters in terms of keeping the business afloat) but also—and perhaps more importantly—for a personal sense of accomplishment, nourishment, and growth.  It’s important for me to learn and progress in my work, so I am always thinking of ways to diversify and deepen my offerings, and I try to keep the reins loose in terms of exploring the possibilities.  People ask me how I can make a living as a poet, and the true answer is I don’t, and even if I could, I’m not certain I’d want to.  It’s hard to imagine sitting at a desk churning out poetry forever.  I’ve learned over the years that I need more stimulation and interaction, and that these energies inform my work rather than detract from it.

At various times, I’ve taken on part-time work not just to help support myself, but to feed that part of me that needed to feel more engaged and involved with others.  I even ran a small catering business for about 5 years. Most recently, though, I’ve been focusing on how I can expand my writing and creative work by looking at form and function.  I ask myself what can I make that might help others connect to their creativity?  I’ve self-published books of writing prompts, made key chain collections of my poetry, sold t-shirts with messages on them.  Creative partnerships with others are also key—finding others with whom you can co-create doubles the brainpower behind your work and also introduces you to new audiences that can support your projects.

Maya Stein is a Ninja poet, writing guide, and creative adventuress who also leads workshops and retreats with her partner, Amy Tingle, at Food for the Soul Train.

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Sarah-StevensonI have found through the years that multiple streams of income are extraordinarily important for my business in order to keep it financially afloat.  I have commission work for magazines, a stationery and photo print line of products that I sell both wholesale and retail, speaking and teaching engagements, mentoring for fellow creative business owners and I founded and manage a creative arts retreat for women.  My background is corporate interior design and I am a registered interior designer.  Early on in my business I had a mix of design clients and my photography.  I can always lean back on that if times get slow.

Sarah Stevenson helps you embrace, nurture, and expand your creativity through creative events, mixed media artwork, and photography.

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Do you have a story to share about some of the different ways you’re bringing your money in? Please share your stories here in the comments or on the Mabel Facebook page.

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AND please submit questions that you’d like to see the Mabel Community answer  in this Making a Living • Creating a Life column to:   info@mabelmag.com, subject line: Mabel Community Question

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