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Posted under: Business

Major Keys To Earning Income As An Artist Or Creative Entrepreneur

DJ Khaled, in my opinion, has become one of the most effective music makers/marketers we’ve seen in recent pop culture and music history.

Khaled doesn’t use secret release dates or cryptic blog posts to encourage downloads of his musical productions. That’s old hat. His creation-to-sales pipeline, in chronological order, roughly follows the outline below:

1) Find old, vaguely familiar melody that may have been used as a nursery rhyme in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Sample it.  

2) Go on SnapChat and talk about “working.”

3) Call all hot hip-hop and R&B artists to inquire about interest in getting on the track. (*Note: Jay and Bey are pregnant, but let’s try anyway.)

4) Water flowers.

5) Select no less than two A-List artists to bless the track. (*Note: When possible, have as many as 7 artists on one track.)

6) Go on SnapChat to share the vocals have arrived!!!

7) Jet ski. 

8) Release single and take a trip to a grocery store parking lot to dance in pajamas while adoring Miami residents look on, somewhat confused about insistence upon bare feet and flip flops.

9) Another one.

It’s clear — DJ Khaled has created a system for creating income from his art. If you’re an artist or creative entrepreneur, you have to do the same and consider a few other items to ensure your ability to successfully create income from your art.  


Across the board, one of the most important skills in turning art into income is one’s ability to depersonalize and eliminate emotions from their art business. If people are not buying, engaging or otherwise interested in your art, it would behoove you to iterate, make changes and adjustments to your style, marketing or sales methods. Emmelie De La Cruz is an Atlanta-based “passive income earner” and explained at a recent MELANIE MARiE event, “Passion is the air conditioning in the car – it’s nice to have, but it won’t get you to your destination.”

Practice, Practice, Practice

Whether you’re Lebron James or Trevor Noah, an art cannot be perfected or improved upon without practice. Your finished compositions have to feel polished and ready for the big stage, otherwise it’s unlikely anyone other than your mother, father and cousins (who pity you) will take interest in paying for your art.

Create Systems for Creation

Shawn Mitchell Perkins is a full-time painter in the Washington, D.C. Metro area who will set up a camera and record himself painting two pieces at once. Aside from using the time-lapse footage as a marketing tool, Shawn has also created a system by which to be productive. For him, his method of production is two paintings at a time. You must figure out how you can consistently create a production line that will provide inventory for the sale of your art.

Understand Your Primary Sales Channels

We live in a time when there are extremely low barriers to opening an online shop and marketing what you have to sell through digital channels. Understand which channels work best for you and continue to improve and innovate in your approach to marketing your work.

Protect Your Work

The internet has provided those with lesser creative morals (or talent) the ability to cheat, copy or mimic your je ne sais quoi. When creating and sharing your art, make sure it’s unique and include layers of legal and/or “social media protections.” Put your signature in the bottom of your painting. File your flagship media piece with the U.S. Copyright Office. Taking the time to protect your art from a legal standpoint is important in protecting the creative plot of land you intend to earn from.

Discipline and Consistency

Actor Denzel Washington puts it clearly in this well-circulated clip. Discipline and consistency are the only things separating those who achieve their goals and those who don’t. Whenever I get down about progress in my artistry, I just remember that Kevin Hart worked on his craft for more than 13 years before he became the movie-per-quarter mogul we know today. Issa Rae was making scripted film series on the web for 10 years before Insecure was secured for a run on HBO. Achieving greatness through art takes time. Embrace the process while continuing to strive for excellence.

Ben Carter is the co-creator of Manage Your Damn Money. Ben believes “advice” about money is useless unless everyone is invited to share their hopes, dreams and fears about money in an open conversation. Join the conversation by subscribing to #MYDM on Apple Podcasts (https://goo.gl/i9gHK0) or SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/manageyourdamnmoney).