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Is this why some artists (and others) are starving?

Family Values - Italian tragedy style
Creative Commons License photo credit: eliazar

Over at The Online Photographer, there’s an ongoing discussion about a photographer who is experimenting (good for him) with a mechanism to do what some artists never manage to do – trade their art for someone else’s cash and have both people happy with the exchange.

Because his experiment is a little unusual for the art world, it has generated a substantial discussion.

I was pleased to see that the experimenter had taken the time to do some research, consult with pricing experts and find out what impact minute changes in pricing might have on his results.

Many people wouldn’t likely have bothered with that level of effort.

What I didn’t find the least bit interesting or surprising about the ensuing discussion was the number of people with a litany of excuses (they called them ‘reasons’) why this experiment wouldn’t work.

If you are “leaning into the fear” (thanks to Perry Marshall for that gem) and trying something new, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone – probably someone who has NEVER leaned into their own fear – will find a page full of ‘reasons’ why your effort won’t work and why you should just go back to that job at Wally World and keep on doing that thing (whatever it is) as a hobby in your spare time.

You know, “Be realistic”.

Don’t roll your eyes

A little advice: Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t argue with them. Don’t try to justify your efforts to them.

Just say “Yeah, you’re probably right, I dunno what I was thinking” (or similar).

It’ll shut them up (since you appear to have acknowledged they’re right) or allow them to move on to their next topic, and you can move on with your project (and perhaps with the process of proving them dead wrong).

Feedback is valuable.

Unless it’s toxic (you should be able to tell the difference), it’s easy to discard. Sometimes you might even hear feedback that helps you toward your goal. A dime’s worth of serious value out of $5 worth of advice is still a dime you can spend to move a project forward, so long as you give them change with that “you might be right” comment.

Smoke em if you got em

Some time ago, it was suggested that my move to Montana would last no more than 6 months and that I’d soon be back in my old location with my tail between my legs.

That was 10 years ago. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Artist or otherwise, you can do that big, supposedly audacious thing too, whatever it might be.

2 replies on “Is this why some artists (and others) are starving?”


A few years ago I had a client who had a tendancy to be a bit toxic. He would go on and on how my programs I built for him crashed (it would never happen while I was there – despite our best efforts). He also had some very old computers and my advice was to replace them with modern systems (he had the funds). He finally did so.

My next visit on site and he started going off the handle: “I replaced the machines and the program still crashes, not a good return on investment…”

I simply turn to him and with a straight face informed him “Yeah, but look how much faster it crashes now!” He stopped dead in his tracks, deer in headlights look and then busted out laughing.

We found the problem in the next 20 minutes. Lesson learned? No sense in getting upset about a mistake. Take a few moments to realize that getting angry is not solving a problem and it would be a good idea to mull over what just happened. I’ve found that can devise a solid solution that way.

Probably 6-8 years ago, I had a GB guy who had a pile of problems with his network. Repeatedly tried to get him to isolate the problem to 1 component on the machine. He was halfway across the US from me. We did various things, but I never could get him to try what I asked. He had several firms come in and look at the machine. Finally the last guy took the troubled machine off the network and all their network problems instantly disappeared. He replaced the NIC and put it back on the network, all good. Dude called me up and apologized – 2 years after our initial conversation. That was cool.

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