Be Your Own Patron



Remember those days of old when creative people did what they did because some guy with money paid them to do it, all for the privilege of calling themselves a patron? Well those days are over. Unless you get smart – and creative – with your money and become your own patron, in which case the time has never been better.

Like many creative people, I’ve had a difficult relationship with money, learning my lessons the hard way. But since I left college 20 years ago I’ve made my living entirely from my creativity, gone bankrupt, and started all over again. In the last 5 years I’ve seen Craft & Vision, the publishing company that I accidentally started, go from offering a $5 eBook, wondering if anyone would buy it, to a company that grosses 7 figures annually and helps me and 20 other photographers get closer to living our own dreams. Even writing that makes me nervous, because I don’t want to be seen as bragging. And I don’t want to make it sound easy.  It’s just that I’ve found the right teachers (including my own experiences) from whom to learn about this difficult subject, and I’ve been willing to unlearn the stuff that I learned over my first 30 years. And I want to share that with you. Today we’re launching How To Feed a Staving Artist, A Financial Field Guide for Creatives, Solopreneurs, and Other Anarchists.

How To Feed a Starving Artist is what I know about making and saving money. It’s a book about freedom, possibilities, and wisdom. It’s a book about money for people who don’t want to talk about money and feel like they have to take a shower when they do. I wrote it because experiencing financial freedom, even 5 years ago when my income was still so much less than it is now, has been one of the greatest freedoms of my life. I love that freedom and am deeply grateful for it. My relationship with money has completely changed, in part because I’ve stopped seeing it as a dirty thing and started seeing it as something that brings possibility. I can give my time and money to whom I choose, and generously. I can travel to places I want to see, and do the work I choose to do. I can share my life with the people I love in new and deeper ways, like taking my mother on safari. It’s not about money, it’s about freedom and I want others to experience that.

This is a book about money for people who don’t want to talk about money and feel like they have to take a shower when they do.

There are no secrets in this book. No incantations or self-affirmations. It’s simple, solid, financial wisdom, told through my own story and lessons learned, combined with creative ways we can, as creative people, be our own patrons. Sounds great, right? It is, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s simple, but it’s hard, and anyone that tells you otherwise is selling you snakeoil. I’m as honest as I can be in this book, and where others have more expertise than I, like my financial planner, or a CPA who specializes in working with creatives, or my manager, Corwin, and other creatives that have wrestled their way out of a hole or made a good living while doing what they love – I include discussions with them. There’s also a list of the books that I’ve found helpful on my own journey.

Download the first two chapters of How to Feed A Starving Artist, here.

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Between you and me, I love teaching photography, and find so much pleasure in seeing others create something beautiful. But I take greater pleasure in seeing people create something beautiful of their lives, and contributing in some small way to that. It’s why I wrote A Beautiful Anarchy, and why I’ve found the courage to write How To Feed a Starving Artist: A Financial Field Guide for Creatives, Solopreneurs, and Other Anarchists. Money’s not the point, not even remotely. But money makes things possible. If you want to get a better handle on your finances, stop stressing out about making ends meet, and want to get closer to “living the dream” by doing what you love, How To Feed A Starving Artist is available today for $10 as a downloadable PDF or for the Amazon Kindle for the same price (There are no plans to release How To Feed a Starving Artist as a printed book.). And if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of A Beautiful Anarchy, you can get both ebooks in a bundle for $16.00.

Buy How to Feed A Starving Artist at or

Apr 3rd


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CategoryPosted in: Freelance and Business, VisionMongers

Find an Itch

Since writing VisionMongers, I talk to a lot of photographers every year about business stuff. The frustrations, fears, and struggles are all similar. No one said this would be easy. As I recall, and it’s been a while since I wrote the book, I spent time trying to convince people not to go down this […]

Jan 13th


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CategoryPosted in: Books, Craft & Vision, e-books, Freelance and Business, VisionMongers

New eBook: Growing The VisionMonger 2

I’m in Kenya right now but before I left my elves hit the publish button on our latest eBook and they’re rolling it out today. Growing The VisionMonger 2, A Kick-Ass Guide For the Photographic Entrepreneur,  is the overdue follow-up to Corwin Hiebert’s first, and equally poetically-titled, Growing The VisionMonger. Anyone that’s been here long […]

Jul 24th


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CategoryPosted in: Life Is Short, Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons, VisionMongers

Stop Waiting.

Marshall Eagle, Kenya, 2012   Perhaps because I spend so much time with creatives I spend more time with frustrated people who feel like they were meant for something more. Perhaps if the default in this culture was to make a living in the arts, we’d be seeing plumbers that just wanted to quit their […]

Feb 8th


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CategoryPosted in: Life Is Short, Pep Talks, Rants and Sermons, VisionMongers

Work or Whine. A Rant.

Shooting sunset in the Maasai Mara, while a ranger keeps an eye out. Photo credit: Regis Vincent. When Nicole S. Young’s ebook on MicroStock came out last year on the Craft&Vision site, we caught some flack for “supporting the microstock model.” We were told how unfair the model is, how it’s going to put photographers […]

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