Converting Fans Into Customers Lesson 1: Exposure

Black and white photo of musicians performing in front of big crowd in the street

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast I’ve started to frequently indulge in with my morning coffee (Made It In Music) and I came across a quote (which I will paraphrase below) from a man named Dean Diehl (his episode is linked here) that really drove home a point for me:

“Most failures look exactly alike, but the paths to success look completely different.”

Now, as usual, when I sat down to write this article on how to convert your fans into customers, I realized a few things when I started writing it.

First of all, I have way too much information to share on the subject, and I can’t fit all into one post… so I will be yet again doing a series of posts to hone in on specific strategies.

But perhaps more importantly, Dean’s quote applies here just as much as it does anywhere else – there is no one right way to do something and ensure it will be successful.

So, rather than tell you how you are going to turn your fans into customers… I am going to tell you what has worked and does work for other people… but it is up to YOU to take from, improvise, and implement these strategies in a way that works for you and your audience. (Side note: if you missed Fans vs. Customers: 3 Common Misconceptions, I highly recommend you check it out here).

That being said, let’s begin shall we?

The first lesson on how to turn your fans into customers is exposure.

Lesson 1: Exposure

This may come as no surprise, but if someone has never heard your music, seen your art, or watched your videos… it is tough for them to make a decision to purchase it.

Of course, though, in this instance, they have already done so – they’re already a fan – they’ve been exposed to your work, and they like it. That’s a great first step towards that fan becoming a customer too… so what’s the next step?

Expose them to it again.

It might seem obvious, but repetition is critical in any form of advertising or sales conversion (in any kind of business). It’s why jingles are written to repeat a slogan to stick in your head. It’s why McDonald’s ads are plastered on everything from benches to billboards. And it’s why Super Bowl commercials would cost you your right leg to air for 30 seconds, but big companies who can afford them run them again and again throughout the entire broadcast.

Billboards downtown in a city, lots of advertisements (Coke, Wicked, M&Ms, Budweiser)
Like it or not, we are being exposed to things everywhere, every day.

The point is: repetition = sales conversions. That is a proven strategy.

The good news for you as a creative type is that repetition is also the reason why people remember lyrics to the songs they listen to. Or why they can quote their favorite movies. Or why they can re-tell their favorite jokes word-for-word – all these things happen because those fans have consumed your work repeatedly. Being able to repeat and remember something like lyrics, or scenes, or quotes is almost always a sign of a higher than average level of fandom.

In marketing, this is called the Rule of 7: a theory that suggests people need to be exposed to something at least 7 times before they really start paying attention to it (and consider purchasing it). The more they are exposed to that something after those 7 times, the higher their likelihood of actually buying it will be.

How’s that relevant to you?

Well, the same rule applies to your fanbase – a casual fan who hears a song they like for the first time on the radio isn’t likely to rush off to purchase tickets to your concert – whereas a fan who knows all the words to your songs sure is. And all fans start the same way: they all begin as someone who was never aware of your very existence. How big of a fan they become after that… well…

That takes us to our next concept and lesson in exposure: the frequency escalator.

The frequency escalator is a sales/marketing theory first developed for use in the sports industry, which is where I first came across it (I studied Sport Management in university).

The frequency escalator theory builds upon the 80/20 rule known as Pareto’s Principle – a theory stating that 80% of a business’s sales come from 20% of its customers. Using Pareto’s Principle as a base, the frequency escalator theory suggests that by moving your fans “up the escalator” of fandom, your fans, with each step up, become closer to the “die-hard” level of fans who make up your top 20% of fans (and thus, 80% of your sales).

Frequency Escalator theory diagram
This is the frequency escalator (I do not own the rights to this image – linked here)

But is it true?

Let’s take a look at how the entertainment industry structures its revenue, and you can tell me.

You don’t need to look too hard or far to see how this is actively put into practice in every form of live entertainment – just compare front row ticket prices for any of your favorite acts to tickets for the sections further away from the stage. The type of fans who pay additional fees for “VIP sections,” “meet-and-greet packages” or even “pre-public access” (which is a fee paid for just the chance to spend tonnes of money if they actually land a front-row seat) are far and above in a different classification of fan level than those who decide to purchase a ticket in “whichever section is available” weeks after the tickets went on sale.

And the artists/industries know that too – and so they utilize that information to pad their wallets – because those fans WILL pay if they want the level of access they desire.

Now, this article (and it’s follow-ups) is not meant to be a study guide on how to gouge your fans into spending more money –but I chose this easy example to demonstrate the different behaviors of fandom – and those behaviors shift with varying levels of exposure.

As stated earlier, every strategy for success works differently depending on the artist, their fanbase, demographics, etc. Still, here are a few examples of ways you can boost your exposure to both new fans and existing fans alike (as don’t forget, more exposure helps to move them up that escalator).

Exposure Through Association

Quite simply – associate yourself with other acts/things your fanbase might like and that they would come across. This is how sponsorship agreements work – one brand/artist forms a partnership with another so that they mutually expose their work to each other’s existing fans in the hopes of mutual appeal.  

Jagermeister, for example, sponsors and promotes loud, “party attitude” bands – because the values and attitudes that come with that type of music also align with their brand and customer base.

Jagermeister bottle and 4 shotglasses
Just the smell of this stuff takes me back to my days playing in a loud, party rock band – much of this product was consumed.

Or maybe you’ve noticed how Spotify playlists work. Certain artists get paired up with each other based on what Spotify has identified as a mutual appeal (that’s what the “fans also like” tab is for). Frequently, Spotify will play those artists automatically in each other’s fans’ rotations. Hint: you don’t need to be a major artist to start pairing your music with other artists in playlists on Spotify (more on that at another time).

This doesn’t just apply to corporate agreements either, or even other artists for that matter.

Take, for example, the artist Derek Riggs. Anyone who knows the band Iron Maiden is familiar with his artwork – and his name as an artist immediately is associated with the art he’s done for them. I can also think of my own personal example where I’ve liked one band’s artwork so much that I’ve looked to see who did it – and then reached out to hire that artist for my own projects.

As you can see, an association can be a powerful tool to act as a gateway to bring new fans to your work from somewhere you’re already likely to find them.

Which leads me to my next form of exposure:

Exposure Through Collaboration

This strategy is prevalent in hip-hop music, but it’s becoming much more commonplace in other music genres and types of artistic mediums than it ever was before.

Off the top of my head, here’s a couple examples:

Want a good example of how this works? I found this COUNTRY song when looking for music by Zakk Wylde… he guests on one song… and I really liked it.
  • When I type in “Chris Stapleton” (a country artist), “Bruno Mars” (a hip hop / R&B artist), or “Ed Sheeran” (a folk-pop artist) into Spotify, the song BLOW, which they all collaborated on appears on each artist’s profile. At the time of writing, this song has almost 72 million plays and is not yet a year old.
  • Ozzy Osbourne (heavy metal) on his latest album included collaborative songs with Elton John (rock, pop-rock) and Post Malone (rap).
  • Kid Rock, once a prominent rap artist, successfully transitioned to a new style of music (under the same artist name) with the success of the hit single “Picture” – a duet with Sheryl Crow.

I could list collaborations for days, but the point is – by featuring other artists on the same piece of work – they appear to each other’s already existing fanbases. With any luck, that will convert some of each other’s fans to become fans of their own work.

While I write about music examples a lot (it is my bread and butter), this can work in other mediums as well (i.e., joining writer’s circles, working in art groups/forums, etc.).

The options for collaboration are only as limited as your own creativity.

Exposure Through Different Channels

Cast a wide net, and you will catch more fish – that couldn’t be a more applicable statement, then when it comes to exposing your work to a broader audience.

For example, look at how many different types of social media exist. Each has its own specialty – twitter uses short sentences for quick messages, youtube is video-based, LinkedIn is for career connections… you get the idea. But with each medium delivering a different type of message to a different kind of person… the more you utilize, the more exposure you will receive.

Channels of exposure are not limited to social media either. Any successful publicist will give you a list that looks like it belongs to Santa Claus of all the different options and mediums of how you can exposure your creations/work more frequently and to a larger audience.

Some examples include:

Wall of band posters - KISS, AC/DC, Ramones, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Jimi Hendrix, Dire Straits
  • podcasts
  • placement in video games, film, & TV
  • magazines
  • blogs
  • newspapers
  • news broadcasts
  • charity
  • signs
  • banners
  • email campaigns
  • direct mail
  • merchandise (think walking down the street and seeing someone wearing a band t-shirt)
  • word of mouth
  • posters

…like I said, the list goes on for a long time. Once again – you are only limited to your own creativity when it comes to finding ways to expose your work.

Lesson 1: Exposure – Conclusion

By now, I think I’ve hammered the lesson home: the more you expose your work to your fans, the more likely it is they will pay more attention to it. The more attention they give your work, the more likely they are to purchase it.

Now, you don’t want to become so over-saturated and in their face and annoy them to the point that they get sick of you… but in today’s world, where information and content is posted so rapidly frequently, the likelihood of your stardom level ever coming to that point would be an excellent problem to have.

Remember, you are ALWAYS competing with millions of other artists for fan attention – don’t be shy in making sure some of it goes to you.

Next time, we’ll continue to look at how you can turn your fans into customers – by engaging with them.

Be sure to like and follow The Creative Wealth Project (and share it with your creative friends and colleagues) for more artist interviews and articles to help grow your creative career! 

Evergreen Content For Artists: How to Use It To Secure Your Creative Livelihood

Pencil drawing word "Create"

There’s never been a better time to be a creative person in the history of the world. Digital technology has allowed creative types of all kinds to have their own voice; artists can expose their art to anyone anywhere with or without the backing of significant corporate support.

One of the reasons why artists don’t necessarily need corporate support anymore is because if done properly, they can live comfortably from the income generated for them by their evergreen content.

In this last special post in the Evergreen Content Series, I look at how artists, writers, musicians – creative people – specifically can leverage their talents to ensure their evergreen content will secure their creative livelihood for a long time.

If you haven’t done so already, I’d suggest you start by checking out the other posts in the Evergreen Content Series listed below:

That being said, here are the 3 lessons that will help you ensure your evergreen content funds the creative lifestyle you deserve for years to come.

Create Quality Things

This one’s kind of a no brainer, but it needs to be said: if you want your creative income to last, you need to create quality work. Things of quality, whether they be kitchen knives, leather boots, songs, films, novels, cars, recipes, whatever… they all have one thing in common: they hold up to the test of time because they’re made better than things that don’t.

Have you ever wondered why people still listen to music by artists like Led Zeppelin? Hank Williams? Muddy Waters? Mozart? Do you ever wonder why those artists still get played and listened to regularly today? And why so many other bands from just 10 years ago (that were once super popular, but then seemed to disappear overnight as soon as the next trendy group came along) don’t?

I don’t wonder why at all because I know: the first artists I listed (and actually know the names of) are better. Simply put, their songs are better, and they’re better artists, at least when considered from an originality perspective.

The same can be said of film, novels, art, etc.: True quality always lasts and stands out regardless of whatever industry it happens to be a part of.

This is good news though, because if quality lasts, so do the results it produces – quality content always stays relevant in some capacity.

Let me demonstrate:

Ozzy Osbourne's Spotify page

Here’s a picture I took of Ozzy Osbourne’s Spotify page (and those numbers have likely changed since I took this photo). Ozzy’s music is definitely not for everybody, but most people can probably say they’ve heard the song Crazy Train once before (or at least know someone who has). Look at how many times it’s been played on Spotify: almost a quarter billion.

Now, sure, there are plenty of artists who have many more songs with many more plays than Ozzy’s Crazy Train… but let’s do some math here:

  • Ozzy Osbourne (at the time of writing this article) is 71 years old
  • The song Crazy Train was released on the album Blizzard of Oz, which came out in the year 1980
  • Ozzy Osbourne’s “prime” years of his career AFTER departing Black Sabbath came through this period up until about 1991
  • The internet wasn’t publicly available until 1991 (and it has come a long way since then in terms of how it operates and how the public uses it)
  • Spotify didn’t officially launch until the year 2008, nor did it become as popular as it is today for nearly another decade

I’m not a mathematician, but I’d venture to guess that there have been exponentially more plays of the song Crazy Train since it’s release than the ones recorded on Spotify.

And guess what?

Ozzy was paid for them then, and he still gets paid today every single time Crazy Train is played.

Not a bad deal for something he created more than half his lifetime ago.

The lesson here is: if you create quality content that lasts, it won’t stop producing for you even when it’s not new, fresh, or exciting anymore.

Create More Things

Do you know what’s better than having one big hit like Crazy Train?

If your answer is having several more of them, you’re onto something, my friend. If you’re a creator, chances are you’re already creating things regularly… but ensuring you are regularly releasing more creations and new things to your audience means you have more potential of those things producing excellent results for you.

Girl holding red balloon dressed as Stephen King's Pennywise the dancing clown
Recognize that face paint?

Let’s get away from the music example for this one, and instead, let’s look at the author Stephen King.

I’m sure he doesn’t need an introduction, but for anyone who doesn’t know, Stephen King is considered the modern master of writing horror fiction novels. In fact, he’s got over 60 books (not including shorter works) published in his name. Many of his books and short stories have become hugely successful film adaptations as well, which have only further cemented King’s status in the horror genre while also padding his wallet at the same time.

Now, it’s important to note, though, that like any artist’s collective works, not all things are created equal: some of them are better than others. If you look up ranked lists of King’s best novels, you’ll find that despite a few fluctuations, most critics and fans agree on which of them are his best, and which of them could be much better.

See for yourself:

However, King’s novels have collectively sold over 350 million copies, and even the ones ranked far from his greatest have sold in excessive quantities and continue to do so. That’s enough to pretty much keep him cemented as a permanent best-selling author on the charts.

So how did that happen?

Simply put, he wrote some excellent stuff, which in turn, developed an audience who became interested in his other existing work, including those which were deemed not as great.

When people are interested in something, they will always decide for themselves what they like… and great work merely serves as the gateway drug to the rest of the creator’s creations (no matter how long ago they were created).

Image of the 8 novels in Andrei Sapokowski's Witcher series
My collection of the Witcher book series. Author Andrej Sapkowski wrote the first novel in 1993; Netflix just released a Witcher series based on these books in 2019. Fans have since flocked in droves to the source of inspiration.

Take this photo from my bookshelf as another example: perhaps you’ve heard of Andrej Sapowski’s “Witcher” novels.

The novels center around the adventures of primary character “Geralt of Rivia,” and the first of his tales was published in 1993… in Polish. The books were not even translated into English until 2007! However, if you fast forward to 2020… you’ll see that the Witcher series has since spawned multiple television adaptations (the most recent being released worldwide on Netflix), 3 award-winning video games, and a graphic novel (in addition to more books in the series).

Since their original publication date, Sapkowski’s novels have now sold over 33 million copies worldwide. Perhaps most interesting is that most of his success came several years after the books were initially released thanks to CD Project Red’s video game adaptation taking the world by storm.

The lesson here is: not everything you create is going to be a home-run, but if you’re constantly at the bat, the numbers suggest you’re going to hit at least a few of them. When (or if) you do eventually hit one… those home-runs will score you plenty of attention, some of which will spark interest in your other work too.

Create Specific Things

If you want people to find your creations… you need to make sure they are “findable” in the first place. What I mean by that is that people only actively search for things that they are looking for (as simple as that sounds). Therefore, especially when starting out, create specific things.

Let me demonstrate yet again with a real-world example.

Suppose you’re driving along the highway one day, and your car breaks down in a place you’ve never been before. You need to get it fixed to get back on the road. Up until that moment, you had no awareness of your potential need for auto-service… but now, stuck on the side of the highway, you find yourself using your cellphone for a Google search of an “auto-service near me.” Chances are that whatever highly rated auto-service shows up near the top of your list just acquired themselves a new customer solely based on being searchable and appearing first.

Flat tire close up
We’ve all been there and it’s never planned.

While that example might be for a common auto problem… how about we switch it to a search for a graphic designer? If someone looking for a graphic designer (who doesn’t already know one) needs to find one… chances are the process they go about for finding for one is exactly the same as the auto example: with a Google search.

However, “”graphic designer”” is a pretty broad search category, and people usually don’t search for something like art in such general terms (for example, most people don’t just type “”rock music”” in a Google search when looking for new artists).

That’s why specifics become essential: if you’re a “gothic death metal style” graphic designer who’s tagged his work and built a client base in that niche… you’re going to be the one who people find over “John Smith: general graphic designer” because you will have specific clients looking for exactly what you are providing. I won’t get into the algorithms of how Google or other websites determine their results… but specifics and keywords are a crucial part of the process.

Traditional tattoo art of skull, rose, ace of hearts, and a heart with an arrow through it
Just like picking a tattoo artist… you’re going to search for someone who does the kind of work you’re interested in.

Getting back to my point, the best part of being specific is that once your work starts getting “found” within your particular niche, it’s going to start to generate referrals from people who like it to other people who like it or would want it. This, in turn, boosts your search results and thus also generates more business and demand for your stuff.

It’s important to note here that I’m not suggesting that you only create one type of art… but whatever you do create… make sure you know who would want to find it and make it easier for them to do so.

The lesson here is: today, the digital world allows anyone anywhere at any time to access your creative works… so make sure to be specific about what they actually are and who they might interest. This will ensure that when people actually start looking for what you offer… they will find it.

Your Creative Livelihood Is Like A Lake

I’d like to conclude this Evergreen Content Series and specifically this post geared toward creatives with an analogy.

I like to look at the prosperous livelihood of any creator very much like a placid lake way up in the mountains.

For one, the more streams that feed a lake, the bigger the lake will likely be.

Multiple streams trickling into a river

Secondly, for anyone who actually wants to enjoy the lake, they have to know it exists and they have to know how to get there. Furthermore, the better-painted picture of the lake people are presented (when shown to the right people), the stronger the interest levels will be for those who actually want to go there and experience it for themselves.

Finally, better efforts to take care of the lake in the first place will ensure it’s preservation – if it’s pristine qualities remain pristine – it will likely be appreciated not only by the current generation but by many more that follow as well.  

How To Beat Writer’s Block: 7 Tips To Overcome It

Crumpled paper in front of blank pages
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

If you’re someone who creates things regularly, you’ve likely gone through a bout of writer’s block. For the sake of this article, writer’s block will be the term I use (as it’s most commonly referred to), but what I’m really referring to is “creator’s block,” because whether writing music, novels, articles… or drawing or painting or filming (and so forth) … it’s all pretty much the same feeling. You know the one I’m talking about: a complete creative shutdown.

Here are 7 tips to get you out of your creative rut and show writer’s block the door.

#1: Read Something

Person reading sitting on stack of books
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

This one’s some advice I once received from a supervising professor when I was stuck writing my thesis: if you’re stuck writing, start reading. Now, in that particular instance, the content I was referred to be reading about was material directly related to the research I was conducting, but you don’t necessarily have to read about what it is you’re trying to create to be inspired.

For example: how often is it that you see songs inspired by writers? Books inspired by art? Art inspired by history? Films inspired by books?  You can see where I’m going with this. You might not be inspired to write about the same subject you were working on, but once the creative juices are flowing again, you can quickly return back to your main project with a possible new one to work on as well.

There’s always a new source of inspiration right around the bend if you pick up a book and start reading.

#2: Try Writing Something Out Of Your Regular Niche   

Maybe you’re regularly a writer. If you’ve hit a creative wall in your writing, try drawing something instead. Not too handy with visual arts (like yours truly)? Maybe try writing a song, even if just giving some lyrics a shot. Still too far for comfort? Try writing non-fiction if you regularly write fiction, or try writing fiction if you usually write non-fiction.

The point is, mix it up.

Girl sitting outside on a rock writing in a notebook
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Personally, as a musician, I have very diverse musical tastes, so when I’m working on a heavy metal project, and I get stuck… I go pick up my acoustic guitar and start working on something lighter and more mellow. As I’m also a writer, I’m currently doing my best to write a novel, but it’s a big project, so whenever I get caught staring blankly at an empty screen, I switch things up. Usually, that means I go and write some short poetry (also in a notebook instead of on my computer) to keep my writing tools sharp and my creative mind active.

Trying something new will allow you to separate your work while still stimulating your creative mind. The best part is, by being something new, it will always feel fresh… and fresh is useful for getting those creative sparks to fly again.

#3: Clear Your Head

This one’s a matter of personal tastes, but go do something that clears your head. For reasons unknown to me, whenever I need to loosen up my creative side, I find moving water creatively stimulating. I can’t tell you how many songs I wrote while sitting in a hot tub, staring up at the stars, but it’s a lot. Now, as I don’t have regular access to a hot tub anymore, I find those hot tub moments have been replaced with a nice hot shower (where I often catch myself frequently jumping out to jot down new ideas).

Whether it be a walk in the woods, meditation, some quiet time with candles/incense / the Necronomicon… inspiration often strikes us when we’re relaxed and clear-headed, so go do something that lets you loosen up and wind down.

Young woman sitting in yoga pose on the edge of a rock in the mountains
Photo by Noelle Otto from Pexels

#4: Change Your Setting

Many of us have a go-to creative workspace. We write at the same desk. We paint/draw in our art studio. We write music in our jam space. Often times, we do these things in such routines that we create at the same time of day every day and the same days of the week every week.

While consistency is definitely vital in forming productive habits (and creating things is no exception), sometimes a little change of scenery can do us some good and bring us out of monotony.

Try shaking things up a bit and write at a coffee shop for awhile, go outside with the acoustic guitar, or take your sketchbook to the park. Sometimes a little change is all we need to get us back to normal.

#5: Try Writing Out Of Sequence

Scrabble pieces forming a block to read Rearrange
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Perhaps it’s because we regularly perceive things as linear, but frequently we assume that our work has to be linear too. Stories aren’t told in jumbles; they start at the beginning, end at the end, and the middle fills the space between the two.  But do we have to write them that way?

Absolutely not.

Got a great idea for an ending? Good, write it down! Got a sweet guitar riff for a bridge that doesn’t fit in with the song you’re working on? Cool! Save it or build around it and see what happens!

Art might be composed of many lines… but nobody ever said it has to be created in one.

#6: Just Do It

The Nike slogan might just be the key to beating writer’s block: sometimes, you just have to do it. Just start writing. It doesn’t matter what you write, but sit down and put whatever comes out down on the page. It doesn’t even matter if it’s crap… because you can always come back and edit later.

Don’t even an idea? Well… that itself is an idea, so why not write about nothing then, just to get something down?

Here’s an example of what I mean:

One of my absolute favorite songs by my favorite band (Nightwish) is a song called “Dead Gardens.” You know what it’s about? Writer’s block.

Tuomas Holopainen, the band’s primary songwriter, was going through a severe period of writer’s block. When fresh out of ideas, he decided to write a song in which he poetically describes the feeling of going through writer’s block. Pure genius? I personally think so.

For those who are interested, you can find the song with lyrics here: Dead Gardens (Nightwish)

There is always something to write about because even nothing itself is something.

#7: Take A Break

If all efforts of shaking writer’s block have failed, you might just need to take a break. Give yourself some rest and go do something else. Catch up on sleep and forget about creating anything for the day. Going through a bit of writer’s block is not anything to beat yourself up over or feel bad about; we as creators all go through it eventually.

Close up of two feet at the end of a bed

Remember: you can always try again tomorrow. Sometimes the best remedy for lack of productivity is taking some time to do nothing at all.

COVID-19 Coronavirus: 5 Things Creative People Can Do During Isolation

Silhouette of a man in front of a white window
Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

How quickly things can change. A week ago, I wrote an article that briefly discussed the increasing rates of remote work opportunities. Today, many governments and corporations worldwide are making remote work mandatory for many employees, while the world deals with the rising severity of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you’re like many in the entertainment/hospitality industries, you’ve likely found yourself suddenly without a job. While I won’t make any generalized recommendations in that regard (because everyone’s financial and life situations are unique), this article will highlight 5 things that people with creative talents can do while in isolation as the world fights and recovers from COVID-19.

#1: Build Your Portfolio

If you read my previous post about how creative people can earn new incomes in 2020 (you can read it here if you haven’t), you’ll know that remote freelance work is an excellent opportunity for those with creative skill sets and talents to earn some money. In most cases, however, to be able to find new work and clients, you’ll need to showcase your abilities in a portfolio.

What better time to put one together than right now?

Chances are you’ve completed tonnes of projects (be they publicly available or not) that show off your talents, but maybe you just haven’t put them all together in one place yet. By building a portfolio, you’d accomplish just that, so that with only the click of a button, your next potential employer can see the best of what you have to offer and why they should hire you over someone else.

There are many platforms available on the internet (several of which are free) that you can use to upload your work and showcase your talents and skills in your own unique way. If you don’t know where to start, click on the link below for a list of 9 free websites that you can use to build a great digital portfolio.

Read: The 9 Best Free Portfolio Websites for Creating an Impressive Digital Portfolio

#2: Learn Something New

If you’re anything like myself, any large block of time that frees up in your schedule becomes a great opportunity to learn something new. Whether it be picking up my guitar to learn a new song / technique, scouring the web for information on how to write and develop fictional characters, or taking an online marketing course to boost my credentials, I’m always on the hunt to learn something.

Close up of book labelled Graphic Design
Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

There are a lot of free courses on the internet that can teach you new skills or improve upon existing ones that can help you turn your passion into profits. While the coronavirus has thrown the world into a state of uncertainty, we can still choose to do something positive with the extra time we may or may not have wanted. Why not use that spare time to do something productive?

#3: Share Some of Your Work

Great art is meant to be shared. In times like these, I’m sure, like many others, you could use a break from the constant flood of panic posts and #coronavirus updates taking place on an hourly basis. Instead, why not flood the world with some of your creative work and give others a break too?

The simple act of just sharing a painting you painted, a video or clip of the song you’re working on, or a few pictures you took can be a bright spot on someone’s news feed that is likely otherwise a bombardment of end of the world talk.

Many of us turn to art and music already, so why not pass the buck a little and share some of it?

#4: Find New Inspiration

If there’s one thing I can say about my own creative works, it’s that the inspiration to create them can come from anywhere.

For example, whenever I’m going through a rough patch in life, I typically find a way to write poems or fiction or songs about dark and gloomy things. It’s just my way of processing those events and turning them into something else that’s not so bad. On the flip side, whenever I’m happy, it just seems more natural for me to notice all of the intricate and beautiful details that make living life so great. As a result, during those times, I write about nature or fantasy or other happy stuff.

Two acoustic guitars next to each other
Hello again my friends.

I don’t think I need to state that a lot is going on in the world right now, but it’s not all gloom, death, and disaster… even though there is a lot of that going around too. I’m not going to tell anyone what type of art they should make, how they should feel about COVID-19, or how people and society are acting because of it, nor how they should interpret and internalize everything that’s taking place across the globe. But maybe what’s happening right now inspires you to do something about it in your own creative way, and if it does, that’s never a bad thing.

Creating things is a great way to express one’s self healthily; almost as if it were therapy for our souls.

#5: Create Something

Best used in combination with all of the suggestions above, creating new work is always a good use of your time. The joy that one gets from the process of creating something is worth performing the process itself, let alone all of the other benefits that come from having made something awesome.  

Plain and simply put, the world is a better place when people are creating new things within it. Art, music, technology… all of these things started as ideas in someone’s head, and it’s creative people like yourself that get to shape new ideas into something the rest of us can see, experience, or use.

Man in front of several graffiti paintings painting one of them
Photo by Ari He on Unsplash

That being said, if you’ve got the time, go create something. There’s never a better time than now to do anything… as isn’t now the only time we ever really have?

Kurt Vonnegut once said, “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” 

Well put, Mr. Vonnegut. If not now, then when?

Creative isolation isn’t all bad

At the time of writing, we don’t know how long or how severe the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic will continue across the world. However, we as a species, as a society, and as communities will get through this together. Light has and always will shine through the darkness.

In the meantime, don’t let your life stop or fall victim to panic or depression. These are tough times, but there’s still a lot you can do from home while being a socially responsible person and doing your diligence in keeping the spread of the virus to a minimum.

Go create something awesome, simply because you can. You’ll be glad you did.