How to go from making some money to making a living as a creative, with Matt Madden
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I’ve been thinking and talking a lot with creative people about how they make a living, how they struggle with money, and what they might do differently to bring in a reasonable income.
It comes up in virtually every coaching call.
I talk about it with friends.
I ask people rude questions about it on this podcast!
...and it’s a subject of conversation around the dinner table pretty often—my husband, Matt Madden, is ALSO a cartoonist, so yeah. We talk about it a lot!
So I invited Matt on the show today to talk about specifically what goes sideways when you try to lean on MORE — doing more, making more, working more — to fill the gap.
What’s the first thing that pops to mind when you’re paying bills, or contemplating a big household expense, or saying no to yet another fun outing with friends? Your brain goes, wow, I need to make more money!
If you’re like most creative people, it’s something like, “I need to find another income stream.” Get a gig, or another job, or more clients, or pitch a book, or post on social media and try to sell more, or...all of the above.
Sounds like a solid plan, basically. Any of those things could lead to some money.
But when all of them together don’t lead to enough money, it’s time to ask, why does all this activity lead to diminishing returns, and what can I do differently?
(I’ve also written a new blog post where I break down how income plateaus happen, and how to take a totally different approach to solving the income gap between “some money” and enough money...without just doing MORE. You can acccess it here: https://bit.ly/3fJpSNY)
About Matt Madden:
Matt Madden is a cartoonist, teacher, and translator known for his playful experiments with comics form, a practice that led Ed Park of The New York Times to dub him, “the stuntman-philosopher of American comics.” His most recent graphic novel, Ex Libris, came out from Uncivilized Books to rave reviews at the end of 2021.
His best-known book is 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style, his comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style. His other recent works include the comic books Drawn Onward and Bridge. He has been living in Philadelphia since 2016. Follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
More from the episode...
- Jessica shares two truths that can help creatives earn more money, while minimizing burn out and avoiding plateaus.
- Avoid the “make more” trap: "Doing more does not lead to more money. It might even lead to less."
- Some money vs. enough money and why understanding the difference is so important.
- What triggers Matt's "I need to make more money" moment?
- How do societal pressures box in creatives and limit their potential for success?
- "Every system is perfectly designed to get you the results it's currently getting" — Why many creatives struggle to reach their financial goals.
- “I was so burnt out and so sick of working the way I was working, I was ready to change how I was" - Jessica's first step toward coaching and escaping the endless grind.
- The first step to building a new system: "Start with reality.”
- Jessica and Matt share how they manage their time and money as a creative couple.
- Jessica introduces the Incubator, her new coaching program designed to help creatives build a business that meets their needs.
Connect with Matt Madden:
For full transcripts, show notes, and more episodes, head to https://jessicaabel.com/acpod/