Jeff Goins: Real Artists Don’t Starve

Jeff Goins talks about how Real Artists don't Starve on the James Altucher Show

Episode 303: Real Artists Don’t Starve

There’s nothing romantic about starving. There’s nothing cute about living off salvia. Everyone loves Beyonce and Jay-Z for their art AND their wealth. But when painters ask for payment, they’re spit on (metaphorically).

So what makes some artists worthy of wealth?  And how can I can achieve that? How can you?

“It comes down to mindset,” Jeff Goins said. “Professionals have a professional mindset.”

Jeff is the bestselling author of “Real Artists Don’t Starve.” And I’ve been wanting him to come on this podcast for over a year.

When we finally met, I was late.

“What does that mean?” I said. “What does it mean to have a professional mindset?”

He gave me an examples (Michelangelo, Walt Disney, James Altucher, Shakespeare, etc.)

Shakespeare didn’t only write plays. He built the theater. This is key to choosing yourself. It’s why I self-publish.

Fact: whenever you try to make a dollar, you only get 5 cents of the dollar.

Publishers, producers, editors, gallery owners, theaters, investors, everyone needs to be paid before you.

Unless you understand the basics of how to convert skill into financial wealth.

Example: Jay-Z was president of Def James. (Run DMC created the label) Then he bought Tidal.

He didn’t just subscribe to the system (40 years of doing the art and then getting paid pennies). He housed his work.

That’s the “professional mindset” Jeff is talking about in this podcast.

“This is just my opinion but I argue that what you want to be is not a starving artist… you want to be a thriving artist. That’s somebody who makes money so they can make more art,” Jeff said.

“I know people and you know people, James, who are writers, actors, creatives. They’re not getting picked by the system. They’re not world famous, but they’re thriving. They are making a living doing the kind of work that they believe in. I call that the New Renaissance”

But then I asked him the big question…

HOW do you ask for money? Because a lot of people feel like they can’t.

“Charisma helps,” he said.

But ultimately it came down to this: asking for money is a way of measuring how people value your art.

You’re just trading value. And sometimes finding someone who sees the same value in your work is a challenge. That’s why there’s 5 steps in making art…

  • FIRST: You have to start with your natural talents (what did you love doing as a kid or in your free time?)
  • SECOND: Build up skill (There’s no one skill called “writing” or “basketball.” There are tons of micro-skills involved. But if you can identify the top 5 -10 skills in your area, practice everyday, aim for mastery. The key to step 2 is dedication.)
  • THIRD: Get business sense (see Jay-Z example above… maybe I’ll write a whole post on this. Because there are many examples. But if you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear how Walt Disney built up his business sense, too).
  • FOURTH: Figure out “what does ownership” look like in your space
  • FIFTH: You have to believe in you first. (this is really step 1…) Have faith that your skills, connections and business sense will allow you to take that leap. You’re jumping where there is no bridge. Have faith you’ll hit the other side.

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