How to Increase Your Income

Through Understanding Your Roles

by:  Mike Veny

​Even the most successful artists see a limit on their income, and rightfully so. There are only a certain number of hours you can work in a day, a maximum number of gigs you can play each week, a maximum number of paintings you finish in a month, etc.

Like many of these artists, I believed for many years that there was a limit on my income. Parents, teachers, and mentors would constantly remind me that making a living as an artist was tough. Just being able to survive was a standard for success that I was taught. Deep down inside, I wanted to not only survive, but thrive.

I was fortunate to have connections with a few artists that were making a great living and enjoying comfortable lifestyles. They regularly took vacation time, had nice homes, cars, and a good balance between work and play. I wanted that for myself to.

One of these artists recommended a book that forever changed my career, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber. This book should be essential reading for any entrepreneur. Unlike most business books, the E-Myth is a short story about a creative person who went into business for herself.

Through reading this book, I learned that you must wear one of 3 different hats at any given point in your workday: the entrepreneur hat, the manager hat, and the technician hat. Let’s take a closer look at these hats:

  • Entrepreneur: As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for creating the vision for your career, writing a business plan, setting goals, establishing a budget, and leading.

  • Manager: As a manager, you organize and establish systems for your business, and administrate the day-to-day duties of your business through delegation.

  • Technician: As a technician, you get to be the artist and the person who delivers your art to your customers.

I’ve learned the hard way that neglecting any of these roles will lead to frustration and failure. However, when you are committed to excellence in each of these roles, your business has no choice but to thrive.

While it was very difficult to embrace each of these roles at first, I made a conscious effort to become stronger in each role. This led to my income increasing every year. To better understand your role in your business, I suggest you do the following:

  • Read The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It  by Michael Gerber. Your bank account will thank you.

  • Set two small goals in each role every week: This forces you to keep your focus balanced.

  • Create a personalized learning plan for each role: Learning can be accomplished through books, magazines, courses, online videos, blogs, etc.

If you are feeling uncomfortable by all of this, then I promise you that you are on the right track. As a fellow self-employed artist, I encourage you to think deeply about the roles you must play in your business and pursue excellence in each role.


What role do you spend the most time in now?