[Business Story] Want to be an artist? Here’s how to make enough money with your creations and live comfortably

[Business Story] Want to be an artist? Here’s how to make enough money with your creations and live comfortably

For some years now, firms have made a lot of money using what’s called the “Long Tail” business model. Put simply, it consists of selling small volumes of many different products to many different customers. Amazon of Netflix are the perfect examples of Long Tail theory application. This model makes two types of persons very happy: companies who can aggregate and distribute many different products (1), and consumers who are looking for hard-to-find items (2). 
But like often in business, everybody’s not a winner: the first victims of the Long Trail are creators and artists. They are dependent of those big aggregating companies who sell at the same times the work of many other artists (sometimes competitors!). Unless you are a blockbuster artist, it is hard for you to survive.

Kevin Kelly, one of Wired co-founders, develops in a blog post how a creator (artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, video-maker, or author…) can survive given this competitive environment: by finding 1000 true fans.

Of course, what’s important here is the definition of a true fan. For Kelly, it is someone who can travel 300 km to see you perform, who comes to your openings, your signing sessions, who buys your goodies and deluxe reprints — he will even put Google alerts on your name or subscribe to RSS feeds. Research finds that those guys will spend approximately €100/year on you, generating a global annual revenue of €100,000, which is a sufficient amount of money to survive.

In other words, if you want to live of your creations, you need to build a 1000 people-strong community, by turning 1000 lesser fans in true fans. It is not that hard, it is like securing 1 true fan per day for 3 years.

The point of this strategy is that you don’t need a big hit to survive. Digital technologies allow you to take advantage of the opportunities of Long Tail economy, by building a small but solid community that will accompany you along the way, without having to aim for the (highly) unlikely celebrity status. 
Now, quit your boring daily job and start building relationships around your creations!

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Originally published at knowledge.fredfarid.com.