Turning your artistic hobby into a business

BlogHer Original Post

In 8 days, it will be exactly once year since my final day at work as a lawyer.  It is the day I officially decided to live a more creative life, and make my living from writing and photography.

I like to call it "Emancipation Day."

During the past year, since making my career change, some pretty amazing things have happened: I was on Oprah.  I've gotten a book deal, and an agent for a second book.  And while I'm not making nearly as much as I was making as a lawyer, I remind  myself: I practiced law for 15 years.  I've been living a creative life for 1.  Perhaps I should cut myself some slack.

Most importantly, however, I'm living a happier, much more authentic life than I ever have.  And so, in the event that you might be considering living a more creative, art-filled life, I thought I'd share with you some resources that I've come across along the way:

First, from the fabulous Gwen Bell, a thorough blog post on writing a personal manifesto -- a wonderful way to get clarity about what your goals for your new creative life will be.  When you're ready to devote some time to her exercises, then do -- you may be startled at what you learn about yourself.

Secondly, from the creative minds behind the wonderful blog The Boss of You, is their book with the same name -- and I found it incredibly helpful in helping me set up my own business, as well as some practical advice about what to expect when you're building a business.  The book was recommended to me by a creative entrepreneur, and I'm so glad I purchased it.

And finally, Meg Mateo Ilasco, the creator of the blog Designer's Library, is also the author of the book, Craft, Inc., which is all about turning your creative hobby into a business.  I haven't read this yet, but I've heard great things.

(And for what it's worth, here are a couple of blog posts that I wrote, where I talked about how I determined what I love, as well as how I use journaling as a way to achieve my own goals.)

So for those of you who are thinking about becoming a professional creative, the very best of luck to you!  And for those of you who have already made the leap, what tips and advice do you have?  I'd love to hear all about them.

Karen is a writer and a photographer in Houston, Texas.  You can read and see more of her work at Chookooloonks.


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