What It's About
A designer spins jealousy into opportunity sharing the work of others!
Words of Wisdom
Each time Danielle shared someone’s work, they’d share her write up with their own audience. And then some of those people would subscribe and become regular readers of The Jealous Curator. For many, it was a great way to get exposure to interesting up and comers in the art scene.
In this way, she started to grow quite a following, and it's a great method for growing a community!
There are lots of successful blogs out there that have built a huge following by curating lists of things they’ve found online, and it doesn’t have to be art. Sites like ThisIsWhyImBroke have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers posting about cool gadgets for example.
Notes from Chris
Episode 818No doubt you’ve heard the story of "the starving artist". When someone loves the work so much, they’ll do it despite financial hardship. Well, Danielle Krysa of British Columbia wasn’t starving in the traditional sense, but she was eager to do something more with art. She’d always had a creative streak and hoped that one day she’d be able to craft a career around her talents. But it can be tough to make money as a creative. On top of that, art is often quite subjective. The outside world determines if what you’ve built is valuable or not, and some of the most famous artists in history were only appreciated after their time. So, like many before her, Danielle hung up her smock and took the “professional route” of the freelance graphic designer. Instead of creating art for art’s sake, she began helping others realize their dreams. But she didn’t always enjoy it. Although it paid the bills for many years, her heart had an artistic void that no amount of invoicing clients could fill. The worst thing was that Danielle began to get bitter. She’d look at an artist’s success and be overcome with jealousy. She’d pour so much time into comparing herself to other artists that she had no energy left for her own work. Not wanting to paint herself into a corner, she decided to turn her jealousy into something positive. In the throws of her artistic pining, Danielle had started following some rather successful blogs on art. While some were posting artwork that was unique to them, many were actually passing the easel off to others, highlighting their work instead. This concept appealed to Danielle! After some initial reluctance, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work. In the beginning, the blog was merely a blank canvas—there was no creative plan or grand vision for it. Her goal was to showcase the work of other artists—the ones who braved the unpredictability of the art world. The ones she was jealous of. Just like that, the name of the blog wrote itself: “The Jealous Curator”. And since envy was the topic of the day, she even added a fun little tagline to go with it: “I Wish I’d Thought Of That.” In no time at all, the blank canvas began to fill with color. If she stumbled across an artist’s work she admired, she’d write a few words about it and publish it on the blog. Afterward, she’d reach out to the artist to let them know that they’d been featured. Although she didn’t realize it at the time, this small piece of outreach enabled her to build a community. Each time she shared someone’s work, they’d share her writeup with their own audience. And then some of those people would subscribe and become regular readers of The Jealous Curator. In this way, she started to grow quite a following. This community building technique worked well, and her readership grew by leaps and bounds, eventually reaching more than 250,000 Facebook fans and 180,000 on Instagram. At that stage, only one thing was missing: monetization. Danielle was now an artist in her own unique way, but she was still a struggling artist since she wasn’t getting paid for it. She didn’t want to run ads on the website even after building enough traffic to make it worthwhile. She felt that it would take away from the aesthetic that she had created. Although Danielle was still working as a freelance graphic designer, several opportunities came her way because of the blog and the huge community of envious art lovers she had grown. She was offered a book deal to write about the dreaded “creative block” that often keeps artists from creating. True to form, she interviewed 50 other artists to weigh in on their tips and tricks for conquering it as well. That book led to two others through the same publisher, and she began receiving speaking opportunities to share her unique insights with others. She was featured on podcasts like Being Boss and even landed a spot on Oprah’s show and magazine. Through the books and speaking opportunities, she was beginning to get paid. The money was still such a by-product of enjoying herself that she didn’t even keep track of it. In fact, it wasn’t until Danielle and her husband were doing their taxes in 2016 that she realized that she’d made $40,000 from things related to The Jealous Curator that year. That number was all the proof she needed to go full-time. Since making that decision three years ago, Danielle has written another book and significantly increased the number of speaking engagements she makes. There have been so many opportunities that she’s managed to triple her income and has no plans to slow down. For Danielle, 2019 is all about two things. She’s pitching a kids book and focusing on her own collage-based artwork with a solo show coming up in Toronto. And of course, through all of that, she’ll still be posting daily to The Jealous Curator.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The Jealous Curator: Learn more about the work Danielle has been highlighting over on her website!
- ThisIsWhyImBroke, Brain Pickings, Swissmiss & Kottke: Four other websites that use a similar curation process for sourcing their content
- Designer Earns Extra $5,000/Month Posting Logos on Instagram: After first rejecting Instagram as being “only for selfies,” a Sri Lankan designer starts a popular account that earns steady affiliate commissions
- Art School Model Starts Sexually Stimulating Side Hustle: This biology student-turned model had a penchant for writing about sexual wellness. She just had to find a way to make money with it—and she did
- Marathon Runner Earns Full-Time Income Trying on Shoes: A decade-long “marathon distance” project earns six-figures in affiliate commissions for this patient runner
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