Book Review: “My Creative (Side) Business” by Monika Kanokova

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I’ve met many creatives over the years who have tried to tackle their careers with an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Mantras such as; “This year, I’ll go for broke!” are not uncommon among struggling artists, aspiring toward fame and fortune in their field. I’ve been guilty of thinking this way myself sometimes, but after seeing many artists become broke and desperate after stubbornly sticking with this philosophy, only to abandon their art completely once they are unable to make ends meet, I’ve come to realize this is never a good way to live.

The reality is, that being able to sustain a living as a creative takes time and patience. That’s what I love about this book. Through her interviews with these fourteen amazing female creative entrepreneurs, author Monika Kanokova helps demystify the path to sustaining a living from your art. Now more than ever, with the internet playing such a huge role in the way people consume goods and services, it’s possible for artists to reach customers or fans that they never would have had the opportunity to connect with before. In this book each of the women interviewed share insider details and practical tips as to how they turned their creative passions into viable streams of income.

photo courtesy of instagram: @kathmo

photo courtesy of instagram: @kathmo

Reading this book is almost like getting to sit down over coffee and pick the brains of fourteen successful entrepreneurs. The best part is that Kanokova asks these women many of the questions that we may be too shy to ask, if we were actually the ones sitting opposite them. For example, one of the first questions she asks each interviewee is “What are your different income streams?” Getting honest about personal finances is a topic a lot of creatives don’t feel comfortable talking about, but that we so desperately need to.

Although many of the ways that the entrepreneurs in this book make their money are quite specific and unique (one woman makes her living selling photos of dogs and cats while another pays her bills designing fancy fonts) the advice is universal, and Kanokova prefaces each interview with her own carefully thought out ideas on how to turn your creative talents into a legitimate business.

So, not only does this book offer practical tips and advice, more importantly I think it helps to combat this ‘all or nothing’ philosophy that many artists have. The book really shows you that having a sustainable career as a creative is absolutely doable, by setting small manageable goals and building up multiple streams of income. This book also helps us to recognize that creative industries are changing, therefore we should re-define the idea of success and think outside the box when it comes to our careers. The ladies interviewed in this book certainly have and it has worked out for them.

photo courtesy of instagram: @kathmo

photo courtesy of instagram: @kathmo

Sophie Webb

About Sophie Webb

Sophie Webb is a filmmaker and performer from Sydney, Australia. She is passionate about microbudget filmmaking for its ability to open up the medium to a more diverse range of artists and storytellers. She now lives in LA and has directed several short films, music videos and most recently a microbudget feature. She is a proud member of Women In Film Los Angeles and her ultimate goal is to be a part of changing the way women and minorities are portrayed in mainstream media. Her all time favorite film directed by a woman is “Fish Tank” by Andrea Arnold.