Who out there has a burning desire to take a leap and try something entrepreneurial, but you’re SCARED TO DEATH? What is “that thing” you’ve always had deep inside that BURNS to escape but you are crippled by the what ifs, what thens and what nows? I’ll be the first to admit those sentences describe me in more ways than you know. I’ve got some pretty strong entrepreneurial dreams and desires itching in my soul. For about 7 years, I’ve dabbled around a bit, but have always been afraid to take the big leap. You too? Then let me tell you WHY you to need to run out RIGHT NOW and get Jeff Goins’ new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve. (Let it also be noted one of Jeff’s early books, Wrecked, opened my eyes to a broken and hurting world and quite literally altered my life view. So when Jeff releases ANY new material, I know without a doubt it will be life changing. Therefore, I get my hands on it as quickly as possible.)
In his new book, Jeff debunks the myth of the starving artist. He provides historical and modern examples of successful artists who beat the overwhelming odds to follow their dream. And interestingly enough, I didn’t read ONE THING you and I couldn’t also begin to immediately apply.
Did you know it’s perfectly fine to be a copycat? Chances are someone has followed the exact same dream (or one very similar) that’s burning inside you. Want to be a writer? READ and study the style of the author you love the most. How about an artist or photographer? Study the technique of your greatest influence and allow him or her to impact your work. What about that business you want to start? Find your local SCORE organization and soak in knowledge from those who’ve been successful. Point being, someone has walked BEFORE you, blazed the trail and you should tune in closely. Just to clarify, Jeff doesn’t advocate taking someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. He simply encourages the reader to carefully mimic the creative process followed by your heroes.
Most successful entrepreneurs have one trait in common: They. Are. Stubborn. Stubborn enough to succeed (Goins 64). Michelangelo learned to channel his stubbornness into grit (Goins 62). Donald Miller’s bestseller, Blue Like Jazz, made it to the big screen all because of the sheer determination from a loyal fan who launched the largest and most successful Kickstarter campaign (at the time) to see the movie to full production. This same fan later left his day job and started his own film production company. Jeff Bezos launched Amazon despite multiple failures and millions of dollars lost. These are just a few examples Jeff provides to inspire you to KEEP GOING and not to give up at the first inkling of failure.
It’s essential to collaborate with others. Did you know if it wasn’t for C.S. Lewis having a candid conversation with J.R.R. Tolkien at the height of his discouragement, we would not have been blessed with The Lord of the Rings trilogy?
Who pours into you? In education we often say “it takes a village to raise a child” and for the entrepreneur, it is no different. It takes a village to perfect our craft. Jeff mentions that creativity is not a solitary invention, but a collaborative creation (Goins 112). Don’t chase your dreams in isolation. Surround yourself with a mastermind to grow you and your entrepreneurial interests.
Confucius say, “If you always work for free, you will always starve.” (Not really, but you get the point.) Jeff spends a great deal of time on the financial aspect of chasing your dreams. Your time and your craft are valuable so don’t give either away! Sure, definitely take time to practice. Jeff strongly encourages you to step out in public and show your stuff! It’s crucial you have an audience. But it’s essential you charge for your work because THAT gives your work dignity (Goins 140). Jeff provides some extremely interesting stats on students who got paid for internships v. students who worked an internship for free. In a nutshell, the students who got paid for working fared FAR better with job offers AND salaries. Working for free sets a bad precedent that’s hard to break later (Goins 141). You HAVE to believe in yourself and believe YOUR work is worth charging for (Goins 142). These are the same principles I’ve heard both Michael Hyatt and Jon Acuff preach. Both are also extremely successful entrepreneurs.
Your art is never beholden to a single form (Goins 171). It’s crucial you diversify your entrepreneurial portfolio, just as you work with your financial advisor to diversity your stock market portfolio. Remember when I told you I had some pretty strong entrepreneurial desires? Well, what I didn’t tell you is that I have about 3-4 different entrepreneurial desires. Some related, some not. BUT, they all can work in tandem underneath a brand that’s unique to me! In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Your art is never beholden to a single form. You can always change and evolve, and the best artists do this regularly (Goins 172). I love the story Jeff tells about Michael Jackson buying the Beatles catalog for $47.5 million. Most people thought Jackson was crazy. They questioned his motives as he was already on the rise to fame. Why spend money on the Beatles? But Jackson knew it was an important piece of history. To date, his investment has grown over 1000% and is worth half a BILLION dollars! So not only did Jackson perfect the craft of music, he also was an extremely smart businessman with great instincts. He diversified his portfolio and focused on the bigger picture in front of him.
If your entrepreneurial dreams scare you, you will be greatly encouraged as you read Real Artists Don’t Starve. It is a roadmap you can follow to create a significant and fulfilling life doing work you love! It is packed full of similar vignettes (and it’s obvious Jeff spent an enormous amount of time in research) that will inspire you to debunk the myth of the starving artist. You, too, can join in on the new renaissance, embracing the dreams in your heart and thriving, while creating meaningful art!
Once you’ve had a chance to read Real Artists Don’t Starve, I’d LOVE for you to circle back and leave a comment, telling me about the impact on your creative genius. And stay tuned to see how my story unfolds!
(Follow Jeff on social media @jeffgoins and join in on the conversation by interacting with the hashtag #dontstarvebook.)