Making a sustainable living in the creative industries

Sustainability is key to building a successful living with in the creative industries. Obtaining a portfolio career will enable sustainability.

The portfolio career means having multiple income streams derived from differing areas or interest. When one of these income streams stops or dries up the others remain viable.

Also, paper work not with standing, it means you spend your time doing all the stuff you enjoy and none of the stuff you don’t.

By way of example; a musician that does session work, is involved with live performance, writes/performs their own music, is involved in blogging, photography, teaching and journalism has a number of potential income streams. When one of these changes and no longer becomes viable to their cottage industry the others will remain unaffected. It also means that if you would rather poke your eyes out than play another first dance at a wedding then you don’t have to.

I know a few people who fall in to the first example in some way or another, both Steve Lawson and Laura Kidd both spring to mind. In fact I invited Laura to speak at Leicester College, the topic being ‘The Portfolio Career for post modern creatives’

The second example features musicians that are at the peak of their craft, truly devoted and excellent in all respects of their profession, playing in corporate covers bands performing medleys of cheesy 70’s disco classics rather than the heavy weight jazz, fusion or funk that drives them. Unhappy that they spend their time traveling and playing these events they plod on because being ‘pro’ and ‘full time’ feeds their ego.

Pride and a weird self fulfilled belief that by being ‘pro’ they are some how better only fuels their ego further. I know plenty of musicians that fall in to this category 9too many to count) and it just seems nuts.

The reality is that they would be better getting an ok paid, low impact job in a call centre or coffee shop, leaving time for them to play the gigs that would make them happy and fuel their passion and art.

The portfolio career allows the creative to guide their own career, adapt and make changes quickly. Playing the music that makes you happy, missing the parts of being ‘pro’ that don’t interest you. For me it all revolves around playing, talking about and teaching music and related subjects. It works well for me. When one income stream stops (normally as I loose interest and move on) the others are still viable and provide the level of income required.

I’ll never be rich, but if I wanted to I would have worked in the city as a day trader. But then that would not have made me happy. Now if I could just fall in love with paper work I’ll be sorted:)

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