Creativindie Manifesto (The 6 Stages)


I’ve been working on a manifesto or guide to Creativindie since I started this blog, over three years ago. It was meant to be a short introduction, but it keeps growing. It’s become something of a history and philosophy of art and the creative process; with a focus on helping you build a profitable creative business so you have the time and resources to do great things.

Recently I decided to publish the content I’ve already written as a separate, mini-ebook, under the title, “You Are F#cking Awesome: Do Something That Matters.” It’s available on Amazon here.

There’s a lot of swearing, so if swear words make you uncomfortable, I made a clean version of it for you: click here to download for free.

It’s basically a boiled-down version of my creative philosophy, without all the fascinating research and history: after a long period of incubation I’ve decided to publish the rest separately, with a focus on creating a profitable business, under the title “Paid to Create: How to be a Creative Genius Without Becoming a Starving Artist.”


It may or may not look something like this.








If you want to get it for free, sign up to the email list below and I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Go ahead. It’s free, and you can unsubscribe if I get annoying.


Paid to Create will be structured around the six stages that are the core of Creativindie. They are important steps that will take you from nobody to icon of creative output; I’ve put a brief intro to the six stages are below. Soon each of these stages will get a long, in-depth blog post and then become a chapter in my Manifesto.

The basic idea behind the Six Stages is that “Creativindie” includes more than learning to be creatively independent and supporting yourself solely through income related to your own creative output; it is also about something deeper and more meaningful.

I’ve added links to the “notes and quotes” I’ve been collecting for research.


letting your imagination run wild

What is creativity, really, and what is it good for? I don’t think “being creative” is a value to aspire towards: everybody can “be creative” and learn to increase their lateral thinking. But only a certain type of focused creativity can solve problems and help others. For some people, creativity might be a self-help therapy – and it can be. I’m just not that interested in improving myself and making myself happier: I want to leave a legacy that helps others.


producing quality work, faster

If you’ve had your Big Idea you need to actually do the work. This is where 90% of projects fail. But at least you won’t be spending years making something nobody wants. Focus on developing and shipping a “minimal viable product” to make sure there’s a market/demand. Then create; persist; perspire. Figure out the best use of your time; maybe outsource the inconsequential stuff. Don’t let yourself get stuck in the knowledge/skill-development stage. If you don’t know how to do something, hire or partner.


adding value to your work that results in creativity-sustaining income

Publicity means getting in front of the people who should be interested in supporting you (either potential clients, supporters, fans or sharers). This usually consists of some solid useful content along with some zany fun content that people will love. The people who share your content may not be buyers, but they will be necessary to build a platform that gets traffic. Although you will be networking and partnering at this stage, I think it’s important not to ask for help (whenever you’re networking, make sure you are offering something of value to others, not asking them to support you).


dreaming big, leaping before you look, and exposing yourself to new challenges and foreign environments

If you’ve done the first three stages well, at this point you should have something that earns more money than the time and money you’re spending on it. At first, that won’t be the case: When you’re starting out, expect to spend a lot of time and money. The difference is, you should be building assets – and once you set them up, they should be able to run efficiently and make you a very good income for your time. The more you tweak your website or funnel; or marketing efforts we’ve discussed under publicity; the easier it will be to make money. That makes your time much more valuable. I consider my time-value to be worth at least $100; so no matter what I’m doing, I can stop and say “I could be earning $100, right now.” Which translates as a more impactful question: “Would I pay $100 to be doing this right now?” If no – then why are you wasting your time? Liberty doesn’t mean you can take it easy and coast; it means you can free up your time to work on much more valuable projects. Projects that nobody is paying your for; that may not make ‘business sense’ but need to happen anyway.


creating a tribe of exceptional people

Community is critical for successful, big-vision, world-changing projects. You don’t really need a community if you’re just trying to start a location independent business, but that’s thinking small. So what if you can make money online and live wherever you want? So what if you can make money from your laptop while sipping daiquiris on a tropical beach? What’s next? To develop a community, you need to have a positive vision that people can get behind. You need content that resonates with people, and a goal that’s so exciting people will want to get behind it.


filling yourself with passion and joy so that you can give back to the world more than you take from it

Luminosity is where a lot of people want to start: it’s the visionary, world-changing, passionate pet project. The problem is this: if you can’t make money online, if you can’t get traffic, if you can’t build a community and free your time from having to make a living, most projects are going to fail. You need to learn how to make people care. You need to free to devote time and resources. When I was young I wanted to do great big things. Sometimes, passion alone is enough – if you have an enormously amazing mission. But more often, people are using “passion” as an excuse to launch a one-person small business. Using passion as the foundation of an online business is a bad idea. Learn about business and entrepreneurship first. Focus on providing something of value to people who want it. Save the passion for the really big, amazing stuff that you’ll be able to do once you’ve seen some success. I realize this probably seems like backwards-thinking: but that’s also why I think my system is different, and better. I don’t want to see creative people asking for handouts or grants or scholarships to fuel their brilliant ideas: I want them to do it right, by building up their own profitable platform that they can leverage without begging for help.


  • marieseltenrych

    Bar codes and price codes

  • marieseltenrych

    What do other authors think about this issue? With certain online publishers such as CreateSpace, Lulu and Xlibris, the price code is left blank (90000), however, I notice that B & N require a readable price tag next to bar code. What should Indie authors do for printed books?

  • Drew Overholser

    Fantastic words. Practical. Inspiring. Thank you Derek!

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