22 rules for as a blue print for success

“Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age” is another book on how to achieve success and not to die from hunger.

Gig economy

In the new gig economy, we are all artist. Starting with deciding to be an artist or entrepreneur. After that choice, the trick is not to starve. Jeff Goins gives you blueprint how to make sure that does not happen. They are all open doors:

  1. You will not starve if you realise that art is an ongoing process of deliberate practice.
  2. You will not starve if you borrow and steal from others to become better.
  3. You will not starve if you strive for mastery, including learning from one as an apprentice.
  4. You will not starve if you do not act like a prima donna
  5. You will not starve if you market yourself
  6. You will not starve if you cultivate networks and relationships
  7. You will not starve if you go where the work is
  8. You will not starve if you collaborate with others
  9. You will not starve if you do not work for free
  10. You will not starve if you are careful about your business model.
  11. You will not starve if you are multidimensional
  12. You will not starve if you make money

The book has some interesting perspectives, which as an artist or entrepreneur, you will recognise. Apologies for the long list of bullet points (and the ten rules at the end)


  • It is difficult to be creative in certain settings, particularly schools.
  • Creative kids have no patience with ridiculous rules. They don’t see any purpose in it
  • Before you can create great art, you first have to create yourself.
  • Creativity is more likely in places where new ideas require less effort to be perceived.
  • A wandering mind can be an asset if you learn how to use it.
  • Creativity needs collaboration.
  • The most creative minds in the world are not especially creative; they’re just better at rearrangement.

Caution is good

  • In the end, the more cautious entrepreneurs ended up being, the more successful ones


  • We are far too impatient, too eager to show the world what we have to offer, too unwilling to take the time to learn the fundamentals of a craft.
  • The way you establish your authority in a certain field is by mastering the techniques of those who are already authorities. What eventually emerges over time is your own style.
  • Before we become masters, we must first become apprentices.
  • Apprenticeship requires three important traits: patience, perseverance, and humility.
  • You are never done becoming yourself


  • Opportunity may come and go, but it, in the end, hard work is all that we can measure.
  • Grit matters.
  • You can do extraordinary things when you are patiently persistent.


  • The most important factor in the success of your career is where you decide to live.
  • Go where the magic is.


  • All my great opportunities have come from friends. You really only need one or two good friends, because it’s really about having someone who’s going to advocate for you. That’s the formula for success.
  • Creative work spreads through a network. Not through the efforts of a lone genius.
  • Genius happens in groups.
  • Find your fellow misfits.

I am a Tolkien fan

Diana Glyer’s theory is that 92% of The Lord of the Rings was written on Wednesday nights because J. R. R. Tolkien knew on Thursdays he’d have to face his friend C. S. Lewis and account for his work. C. S. Lewis did influence Tolkien in some powerful ways, and he wasn’t the only one. “There was a group of them,” Diana Glyer said, “nineteen men and they got together once or twice a week for about seventeen years.

The lesson

“And it’s that expectation,” Professor Glyer said, “there’s a ferocious aspect to it. But there’s also the compassionate expectation that says, ‘You have this great idea. You told me about this project. You said you were going to drive this. How’s that going for you?’ And knowing that other people are out there, I think, makes all the difference.”


  • It is s the duty of all artists “to find an adequate expression to convey their art to as many souls as possible.” Or to put it more succinctly: art needs an audience.  Promotion is an essential part of the job.
  • Charging brings dignity to the work. Money is part of the process of becoming an artist, if for no other reason than it affirms you are a professional, but the decision to be taken seriously is yours alone.
  • Always work for something.
  • You must believe your work is worth charging for. Don’t make a habit of working for free. Without money, you don’t get to make more art. Try to always work for something, even if that something is the chance to do work that pays.


  • Even the most generous of audiences will not tolerate an amateur.
  • The chief goal of every artist is to make the work great.

And last but not least

Don’t sell out too soon. Remember George Luca. Ownership buys freedom.

Applying the rules of business

A long time ago Brian O’Kane and I wrote “Applying the rules of business”. We had 10 of them:

  1. You gotta know who you’re selling to
  2. You’re not alone
  3. You can only charge what the customer thinks it’s worth.
  4. You gotta get the sales.
  5. You gotta sell within capacity.
  6. You gotta get a margin.
  7. You gotta have money to make money.
  8. You gotta make a profit to stay in business.
  9. You gotta have something to sell.
  10. You gotta be true to yourself

Combine them with “Real Artists Don’t Starve” and you might have the blueprint for success.

sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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