How to Become a Six Figure Artist - Stefanie O'Connell

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    How to Become a Six Figure Artist

    1. Holly@ClubThrifty

      August 10th, 2015 at 8:12 am

      It seems like “six figures” is an income almost every aspires to. I agree with you 100% that it won’t always come from where you think – get creative! Also be willing to do work that is somewhat beyond what you would normally consider.

    2. Stefanie

      August 10th, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Exactly. It’s when you get creative with your income strategy that the big money opportunities start to arise – at least in my experience.

    3. Natalie @ Financegirl

      August 10th, 2015 at 8:16 am

      This is really inspiring, Stefanie! I think most people wouldn’t think it’s as reachable as you’re telling them, and I think that’s very valuable for them to hear. I can relate a little, as a theater and dance minor, but I never actually pursued it as a career. Makes me a little nostalgic. 🙂

    4. Stefanie

      August 10th, 2015 at 8:22 am

      I think it’s always inspiring to hear from people who’ve done it successfully – makes it all more attainable and real.

    5. Michelle

      August 10th, 2015 at 8:52 am

      Great post! One of the best parts about being an artist is being able to adapt your craft as you become more experienced. For you, your story telling is how you evolved, and by finding that niche, you can go back and focus on what moves you. It’s a great life once you figure out that key!

    6. Ali @ Anything You Want

      August 10th, 2015 at 9:09 am

      I had no idea that Broadway performers could earn so much, or that most earn so little. It is really too bad that all of the arts are substantially undervalued in today’s culture. I have a friend who is in a dance company, one of the best in the country, yet still can’t make ends meet without working other jobs and getting help from family.

    7. Kate @ Cashville Skyline

      August 10th, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Great post, Stefanie! Your advice really does apply to so many creative fields. And I definitely agree that artists need to think outside the box when it comes to generating more income. So many artists struggle with finding the right market for their work.

    8. Hannah

      August 10th, 2015 at 10:26 am

      One thing that artists and other creative entrepreneurs should consider is how they can create a “tribe” (to use Seth Godin’s term) of particularly dedicated followers. If you have just 500 devoted fans who will spend $200 a year on you, then you have achieved six figures of gross income plus a large group of social influencers who can continue to drive your income up. I regularly re-facebook my wedding photographers work even though I’ll never use his services again. I just like to look at his sweet work.

    9. Erik

      August 10th, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      That’s a very interesting way to put it. In a year, make $200 dollars 500 times. It is that simple! Now to go and put that into action, that is another task in itself.

    10. Kirsten

      August 10th, 2015 at 10:56 am

      I just wanted to stand up cheering after reading this!!! It’s a good reminder that anyone can turn a low paying field into something more. Stop living by the rules and make your own!

    11. Amanda @ My Life, I Guess

      August 10th, 2015 at 11:09 am

      I always love reading your posts because I too have a theatre background, and often forget how many sell-able skills I learned from it!

      I remember a few years back when I was still teaching theatre, some of my high-school aged students were asking about what sort of salaries actors actually achieved. So I had a candid conversation with one of the professional actors (based out of Toronto) about money, and what he told me was sooo shocking! I knew actors at this level didn’t make the big bucks, but I had no idea how little it actually was. This specific actor worked 50 weeks out of the year, and only made $21,000. How do you afford to live in Toronto on that sort of income?

    12. Mrs. Crackin' the Whip

      August 10th, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      It’s always interesting learning something you didn’t have a clue about! I love the idea of rethinking your approach. I know I get stuck in such a rut sometimes and never think to do anything different!

    13. Abigail @ipickuppennies

      August 10th, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Well, writers and speakers definitely make more money than unemployed actors waiting tables. So I think you chose the right direction. In and among acting gigs, anyway.

    14. Stefanie

      August 11th, 2015 at 6:50 am

      Haha, thanks Abigail. I’m doing a “traditional” theatrical project right now where I’m making less than ideal money, but it’s nice to be able to still do it without worrying about the income implications.

    15. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank

      August 11th, 2015 at 5:45 am

      Congrats on becoming a six-figure artist. I know you truly deserve it because you have proven your worth and honed your skills really well. And, I know it required you to have determination, commitment, and creativity.

    16. Stefanie

      August 11th, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      I’m not there yet Jayson, but the progress in the right direction is refreshing.

    17. LeisureFreak Tommy

      August 11th, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Your Post and details about actor’s pay and less than steady income reminds me of my uncle. He had gone into the make-up side of show business in the mid-60s through early 70s and worked in Hollywood and Broadway. He told me that he probably made more money than a lot of the actors he worked on because his work was steady. I was a young teenager and he was telling me that sometimes the less glamorous and behind the scenes jobs win because steady wins the race. Anyhow, thanks for giving me a great memory this morning, he was a character and I miss him in our lives. Nice job making your chosen path work for you so well.

    18. Stefanie

      August 11th, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Oh yeah, the actors definitely get paid the least out of just about anyone working on a show. Tech theater is a six figure job, become an actor though, and you’re generally struggling.

    19. Joe

      August 11th, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Yikes, $7,500 per year is dismal. It’s great that you found some ways to increase your income. Sometime you have to get creative and branch out. Following the beaten path doesn’t work out for everyone. Good luck with your journey!

    20. Is Entertaining for a Living Worth It?

      August 13th, 2015 at 8:00 am

      […] this week, I shared my thoughts on how to become a six-figure artist. Fellow entertainer, Jesse Gergin, is on the blog today to share […]

    21. mobilehomegurl

      August 18th, 2015 at 9:25 am

      I think the most difficult part about becoming an artist is being able to make a living financially. Unfortunately, most artists (myself included) want to just focus on our craft. The business side comes later when we’re forced to try to make things work. Finding a balance between the artist side and the business side is a constant. Though, it definitely helps in the end.

      I remember reading somewhere that every time Madonna finishes a concert, the first thing she does is count her receipts making sure she gets paid what she’s owed. Guess that’s when her business side takes over! 🙂

    22. Stefanie

      August 18th, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      Gotta take care, nurture and learn to love the business side as much as anything else. It’s what affords us the freedom to continue the artistic pursuits.

    23. The Starving Artist Myth

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    24. Christina Garofalo

      September 3rd, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      Another great post! really needed this one. I find that as a freelance writer with hopes of publishing more fiction and screenplays, I am constantly at the whim of other people’s approval. Even my travel writing is that way. I’ve just started to become more active in finding other types of gigs but certainly taking control and determining the value of my own work is worth it.

    25. Hez

      April 15th, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      This is so inspiring! I feel so excited as I am creating my dream life and chnaging my perception of the value I have to offer. I still have a ways to go with selling my art but I am enjoying working on my blog and,YouTube channel as well. Thank you!

    26. Stefanie

      April 15th, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      The blog and youtube channels are GREAT tools for leveraging your presence and sharing your art on a broader scale. Best of luck!!

    27. Stage Hands trying to figure out life outside of the show Topics you never knew you needed or wanted to know. College Admission Scandal and How it Effects Us Backstage

      March 17th, 2019 at 11:14 am

      […] How to Become a Six Figure Artist – Stefanie O’Connell […]

    28. Mike Laman

      May 9th, 2019 at 12:38 am

      Great column, but remember the more you make the more your tax bill is. You must be very good at managing tax and insurance costs as an artist/performer. Try to live in a state with no income tax if you can ie. Florida, TX, Nevada are three I know of. Medical insurance is a real pain–one way around it is marry someone who has a plan you can join. The only way to get rich is to have Multiple streams of income. Study Steve Harvey on this one–books, lectures, radio, TV etc. can get you ahead of the pack. Finally your net worth is not who you are–aim for fin. security and enjoy your climb to the top.

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