The words "starving" and "artist" are like peanut butter and jelly: they were meant to be together. Or were they?

To have a career as an artist requires an intense amount of discipline and commitment. A lot of people may think that channelling an artistic passion into a job will help make that job more pleasurable. But it doesn't come without its challenges. Having an artistic career can be a fulfilling and profitable endeavor if you stick to these tips.

1. Be creative in how you get your revenue.

You're already a creative person, right? So put that creativity to good business use. According to an article in Forbes Magazine, Artist and ArtBistro blogger Valerie Atkisson advises her readers that "in a profession that often lacks traditional benefits and job security, it's useful to rely on multiple sources of income, such as gallery showings, teaching positions, Web sales, commission projects and grants." Because you are taking a risk, you have to support yourself with these safety nets, to make sure you will continue to have the flexibility to keep doing your art. Being an "artist" will likely not be a livable income on its own, until you make it big.

2. Take advantage of the off hours.

As an artist, you many not be working 9 to 5. You may do a lot of your art early in the morning to catch the sunrise, or late at night during an insomniac creative binge. Part-time jobs are great to supplement your schedule, because you can work around them. Here is a great resource to find part-time jobs for artists.

3. Be unique in your branding.

Social media is huge resource for branding yourself. And it costs virtually nothing! Having a unique style and big social following will help get your work out there. Post photos of your work and engage with your community. Promote your blog or website and offer incentives to your followers. Learn the market you're trying to break into, and then come up with a totally different angle. Take your time and get it right. It also helps to befriend a graphic designer if you're not one yourself! Here are some tips about how to build your brand as an artist.

4. Take responsibility.

We know you're a free spirit and you just want to do your thing. But you still live in the real world. You'll still have to find a way to handle your accounting, budgeting, and saving. Ask friends for help and tips. You must be okay not having a paycheck every month, and being creative when money is short. Because being an artist is a job with little structure, you'll have to make some for yourself. Keep to a schedule and give yourself expectations for completing work. Planning now will help you out later.

5. Consider that art school may not be worth the expense.

Art school may seem idyllic, but think about it. What can you learn in art school that you can't learn on your own? You should weigh the amount of debt you will have versus the profit-building activities you'd be missing out on. You don't want to be using your art gains to pay off your debt, but instead, by putting it into your business. Check out these awesome DIY art sites for inspiration.

5. Network with those you aspire to be.

Make a business card and go out to gallery openings or shows of people you admire. Don't waste your time with no-name artists, because they likely will not have a lot to offer you. Reach for the stars, even if it sounds corny. Tell everyone you can about your art, and have a mini-portfolio on hand just in case anyone wants to see. Come prepared, and you will be rewarded.

6. Don't work for free.

It may be tempting to take an unpaid internship for the great learning experience, but consider the fact that the time you spend working for free is less time spent building your business. It may be more valuable to you to spend time in another industry that requires less brain space so that you can save all of your brain juices for your passion.

Being an artist is a brave endeavor, but you are not doomed to starve on the streets. With a little street smarts, you'll be able to indulge in your passion and build up a little nest egg too!

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.