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Artists and gallery owners making over $10,000 a month share how they turned their creative passion into a lucrative career

Liz Lidgett Gallery and Design. Rick Lozier Allison James is an artist who makes $10,000 to $15,000 a month from art and online course sales. …



liz lidgett credit Rick Lozier 1Liz Lidgett Gallery and Design.

Rick Lozier

  • Allison James is an artist who makes $10,000 to $15,000 a month from art and online course sales.
  • Liz Lidgett sold $20,000 to $50,000 worth of art a month during 2020.
  • These women and more shared with Insider how they started and grew their businesses in a tricky field.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As her mother tells it, Georgia-based artist Allison James, 31, was coloring at the table before she could even walk. But James told Insider it took years to believe her artistic talent could lead to any sort of career path.

“I had to find the confidence piece to believe I could do this as my job,” James said. “There is a stigma around that implies to be a creative you have to sacrifice money, but I want people to know that is not the case.”

While there are many art education resources available for aspiring creatives, she cited a lack in business resources.

“When I went to art school, I didn’t hear a peep about business until my last semester, and it was a five-year program,” she said. “The only social media tool around was Facebook, so the advice was, ‘Go work in a frame shop or get your work in a gallery,’ and that was the way to get your work in front of people’s eyes. You were left to your own devices.”

James worked retail at Anthropologie after graduating from Georgia Southern University, and first began experimenting with a full-time art career in 2018. That year, James accepted commissions from clients, many of whom discovered her work on Instagram – a platform that has since been a game-changer for her business.

A post shared by Allison James (

In 2018, James made $43,000 from art sales. Today, she’s averaging anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per month in earnings. James has set an earnings goal of $20,000 a month in 2021, which she believes she can achieve based on last year’s above-average earnings near the end of the year.

What’s more, 54% of James’ 2020 annual income was earned through education courses she launched. Currently, her website offers two modules, “Creative Money,” which costs $1,497 for 22 modules, and “Art Identity,” which has seven modules and costs $497, that teach enrolled students, among other topics, how to run an art business. The classes include video and audio trainings, downloadable PDFs, group forums, and suggested resources.

James came up with the idea of creating courses after meeting with curious parties who wanted to pick her brain on achieving success similar to hers. She found the amount of time she put into helping others for free took time away from her business, so she decided to do something about it.

“No one in my community was like, ‘Have you ever thought about coaching or courses?’ It was just these people that kept asking me to go and get coffee, and I was finally like, ‘I’m going to give these people what they need and don’t even know it,'” James said. “I’m very much in the space of empowering artists not to be ashamed of making money.”

Liz Lidgett, 35, CEO and founder of Liz Lidgett Gallery and Design, believes one of the reasons her Midwest gallery has found financial success in spite of COVID-19 is because the gallery features a selection of works that are financially accessible for most income levels – something Lidgett believes is needed more in the art world. Pieces at the gallery start at $150 and go up to $20,000.

LizHeadshotLiz Lidgett.

Liz Lidgett

“I know that there are some people who are just starting their art collection, and we need to recognize that from a financial standpoint,” she said. She’ll ask artists she signs to provide a wide variety of works at various price points.

“I don’t need everything you do to be $300, but I do want that from you because there are going to be people who are buying their very first artwork with us, and that money represents saving up, and that’s a big deal,” Lidgett tells them.

And though the company had been open only six months prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, Lidgett said the gallery managed to sell anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 worth of art a month during 2020. In January 2021, the company had its best month ever, she said.

liz lidgett credit Rick Lozier 3Liz Lidgett Gallery and Design.

Rick Lozier

Lidgett believes in championing fair representation in the art world, aiming for her gallery to feature at least 50% female artists.

“That’s not the norm in the gallery world – certainly not in museums and not in galleries,” she said. “Right now, we represent 70% women in the gallery.” She added that she also focuses on making sure there’s BIPOC representation, and that she has both diversity in the artist and also in medium and style. “Who they are as an artist is as important as the artwork itself,” Lidgett said.

Laura Goodson, 36, a Texas-born, Denver-based artist, has cultivated a following for painting solemn, black-and-white cowboys in shapely western hats. She started painting the cowboys three years ago as a romantic gesture for her fiancée, Magen Pastor, but today, her paintings are a collector’s item.

Laura GoodsonLaura Goodson.

Laura Goodson

While she sells through a variety of outlets, including galleries and social media, Goodson also has an exclusive “Cowboy Country Club.” The members-only group, which launched in August 2020, allows subscribers to have early access to Goodson’s releases online before the general public, among other perks. The $500 annual membership has attracted nearly 30 subscribers so far. Like Lidgett, she also reported her best month in January when she brought in an estimated $27,000.

Laura GoodsonLaura Goodson.

Laura Goodson

“I didn’t think it would work, and sure enough, immediately, we got people to buy the membership,” Goodson said. “We’re finding the art sells out even quicker because of the country club.”

In addition to supporting Goodson’s work, Pastor, whose mother was a ceramics artist and who previously worked as a PR rep in the hospitality industry, has also ventured into the art world by creating an exhibit pop-up and business marketing entity called Inside Her Studio, where she serves as founder and consultant. The entity hosted its first art show in Houston last year.

According to Pastor, the idea of doing the gender-centric art show came about because of the lack of representation she sees in the industry.

“I started realizing the disparity for femxle artists in the art industry and womxn having less director, curator, and management positions,” Pastor said. “Then I got really heated.”

Magen PastorMagen Pastor.

Magen Pastor

Inside Her Studio’s Houston show made approximately $54,000 during its limited tenure, and Pastor plans to do an upcoming show in Denver and continue the series in other cities. “This is going to be a part of my business model, where I offer exhibition space and opportunity, and that will be my way of connecting with femxle artists and creating a community of support for each other,” she said.

Perhaps most rewarding, Pastor has also helped Inside Her Studio’s exhibiting artists confidently raise prices.

“I found they were undervaluing themselves,” she said. “They would come in and be like, ‘Whatever you want to price it at, and I was thinking this,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, so we’re going to tack on 40% more than what you normally do,’ and then I would talk them through my thought process on pricing.”

When their artwork started flying off the walls, Pastor said, the artists were surprised and motivated to maintain higher prices.

“It comes back to that whole concept of when you start valuing yourself, others will value you even more,” she said.

  • These women and more shared with Insider how they started and grew their businesses in a tricky field.
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    Business insider

    Two new Florida cruises have cabins for solo travelers – see inside the ships

    The Solo Suite available in 2022. Atlas Ocean Voyages Over the last month, Oceania Cruises and Atlas Ocean Voyages have unveiled ships with si…



    The cruise industry is gradually resuming operations, and at the same time, some cruise lines are tapping into a specific segment of customers: solo travelers.

    volunteer employees boarding a cruise ship carrying luggageVolunteer Royal Caribbean employees for the Freedom of the Seas sailing at PortMiami on June 20.

    Marta Lavandier/AP Photo

    Over the past month, two Florida-based cruise lines – including a newcomer to the industry – have unveiled new ships with cabins designed for lone travelers.

    top view of the World NavigatorThe World Navigator.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    But solo cruising isn’t a new trend: Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, and Norwegian have already successfully rolled out single-person accommodations.

    a bed next to a desk, tv, and mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages

    Source: Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, Norwegian Cruise Line

    And so far, it’s been a success. For brands like Virgin, these solo rooms “perform really well,” John Diorio, the cruise line’s associate vice president of sales, told Johanna Jainchill for Travel Weekly.

    a bathroom with a shower, sink, mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages

    Source: Travel Weekly

    Staying in solo suites allows independent travelers to bypass paying single supplements, the fees that come with staying in a room designed for more than one occupant.

    a bed besides a balcony with views of the oceanThe Anthem of the Seas’ Studio Ocean View Stateroom with a balcony.

    Royal Caribbean International

    Some solo travelers see this single supplement as a “major obstacle” and a “penalization” for solitary vacations, Alberto Aliberti, president of Atlas Ocean Voyages, told Insider in an email statement.

    a bed besides a balcony with views of the oceanThe Quantum of the Sea’ Superior Studio Ocean View with a balcony.

    Royal Caribbean International

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Atlas Ocean Voyages just debuted this month, and it’s the first luxury cruise line to join the market in over 20 years, according to the company.

    the exterior of the World NavigatorThe World Navigator.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Source: Insider

    To cater to this solo traveler segment, Atlas Ocean Voyages decided to include single-person suites aboard its first and and only vessel.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    The brand’s World Navigator cruise ship has 98 guest rooms that can accommodate just under 200 travelers.

    a bed besides a armchair, lights, and a nightstandThe Veranda Stateroom.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Beginning March 2022, the World Navigator will also have six 183-square-foot suites designated for solo travelers.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    These single rooms – which Aliberti says have prompted “very positive responses” – will come with the same perks as the ship’s other suites. This includes binoculars and in-room Nespresso coffee, a stocked mini-refrigerator, and bar and butler services.

    a rendering of a bed facing a TV with a window in the backThe Solo Suite available in 2022.

    Atlas Ocean Voyages

    Similarly, in July, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Oceania Cruises brand announced plans for its Vista cruise ship, which will officially debut in 2023.

    a living room with a couch, coffee table, and deskThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    Source: Oceania Cruises

    The Miami-based cruise line’s upcoming ship will have “concierge level solo veranda staterooms” created for lone travelers, a first for the cruise line.

    a bed tucked away in the corner of the suite with the living room in the backgroundThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    Like Atlas Ocean Voyages, solo guests sailing with Oceania will have the same luxury amenities as other concierge level passengers, such as free laundry and access to the Concierge Lounge.

    a living room with a couch, coffee table, desk, and bed in the backgroundThe Concierge Level Solo Veranda stateroom.

    Oceania Cruises

    And according to Aliberti, that’s the point. Many of these “underserved” solo travelers want the suite amenities, just not the single supplement payments.

    a table with seats and a mirrorThe Solo Insider.

    Virgin Voyages


    two-new-florida-cruises-have-cabins-for-solo-travelers-- see-inside-the-ships

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    Business insider

    Blackstone’s betting $6 billion on the rental market – here’s why private-equity loves real estate right now

    Jonathan Gray, Blackstone president and chief operating officer Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal via Getty Images Blackstone is all-in on rent resets…



    Jonathan GrayJonathan Gray, Blackstone president and chief operating officer

    Heidi Gutman/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    • Blackstone is all-in on rent resets and long-term property assets to combat potential inflation.
    • Private equity firms have trillions of dollars in cash to put to work on acquisitions.
    • Blackstone’s share price ticked over $100 for the first time this month.
    • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

    It’s been quite the month for Blackstone.

    The private-equity behemoth is part of a consortium of investors that bought Medline for about $34 billion, its share price ticked over $100 for the first time, and it’s doubling down on residential real estate with a $6 billion Home Partners of America buy.

    It’s a bet on scorching demand for housing continuing, and also a defensive move as inflation worries start to seep into investors’ minds. The average price of a home topped $350,000 for the first time inn May, according to the National Association of Realtors, logging the largest-ever increase in prices since the NAR began tracking data.

    “Whether it’s apartments, storage facilities for warehouse distribution, or single-family homes, private-equity is getting into this as an inflation hedge,” Nicholas Tsafos, a partner with accounting firm EisnerAmper, told Insider.

    Home Partners, which owns more than 17,000 homes in the US, rents out these properties, but tenants have an opportunity to someday buy the home.

    In the single-family rental arena, private-equity firms can hike rents, while also holding onto profitable, tangible assets.

    “Because interest rates are low, and with the potential for a pick-up in inflation, private-equity also feels the need to be long on hard assets,” Tsafos said. “In real estate, you buy it today and then flip it for a higher price.”

    Jon Gray, Blackstone’s president and COO, alluded to it during the firm’s earnings call in April when he said multi-family apartments that come with the ability to reset rents were key for Blackstone.

    The firm bought many houses at remarkable discounts after the housing market crashed in 2007. It accumulated a number of single-family homes through a former portfolio company Invitation Homes. Blackstone sold its final block of shares in the company in 2019.

    The private-equity shop also favors logistics spaces, such as warehousing, life sciences offices, and media and studio businesses with offices, according to a June 22 research note from UBS.

    In October, Blackstone made a handsome investment when it sold life sciences real-estate company BioMed Realty for $14.6 billion, after acquiring it for about $8 billion in January 2016.

    And it’s not just Blackstone. Fellow private-equity investor KKR is investing in My Community Homes, a platform that buys and manages single-family rental properties, according to Bloomberg.

    KKR will invest in My Community Homes through its real-estate and private-credit vehicles.

    A spokesperson for KKR was not immediately available to comment.

    The Carlyle Group said in May that it provided up to $300 million to Four Springs Capital Trust, a private REIT that acquires and manages single-tenant properties with long-term net leases.

    Four Springs will use the money to build its portfolio, which encompasses 122 properties across 29 states, Carlyle said in a press release.

    The move on real estate comes while private investment firms sit on more than $1 trillion in cash. Borrowing costs, too, remain subdued as the Fed keeps interest rates at all-time lows.

    Given the sheer amount of dry powder available, coupled with accommodative credit markets, private-equity is keen to conduct a surfeit of acquisitions, and isn’t shy about injecting large sums of equity into prospective investments.

    Medline, for example, is expected to raise roughly $17 billion from the debt markets, while the private investors are providing a similar amount in equity.

    “Big leveraged buyouts are back in vogue,” said Christopher Zook, chairman and CIO of alternative investment manager CAZ Investments. “Whether it’s KKR or Blackstone, they have large capital to put to work. So they’ve got to do a ton of deals.”

    Disclaimer: KKR holds a majority stake in Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer.

    It’s been quite the month for Blackstone.



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    Business insider

    Trading the Fed, plus insights from a 99th-percentile fund manager

    Hello and welcome to Insider Investing. I'm Joe Ciolli, and I'm here to guide you through the current market and investing landscape. Here…



    Hello and welcome to Insider Investing. I’m Joe Ciolli, and I’m here to guide you through the current market and investing landscape. Here’s what’s on the docket:

    If you aren’t yet a subscriber to Insider Investing, you can sign up here.

    Have thoughts on the newsletter? Just want to talk markets? Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or on Twitter @JoeCiolli.

    Fed-driven portfolio adjustments GettyImages 1228670990

    Pool/Getty Images

    The Federal Reserve left interest rates steady this past week while setting the stage for two hikes by year-end 2023. Traders, who took a wait-and-see approach before the Fed meeting, quickly sprung into action. Insider spoke with Wall Street and crypto investors to gauge how to position for the hawkish shift.

    Read the full story here:

    The Fed has left rates steady while signaling 2 potential hikes by the end of 2023. Here is what to do with your stocks, bonds, and digital assets, according to top Wall Street and crypto investors.99th-percentile insights and stock picks Dave Ellison

    Hennessy Funds

    Financial-sector stocks have outperformed the rest of the market over the last several months. Hennessy Funds’ Dave Ellison – who’s in the 99th percentile compared to peers over the past year – told Insider he expects their strong performance to continue. He shared 5 financial stocks to buy now in order to take advantage of the remaining upside.

    Read the full stories here:

    Dave Ellison has beaten 99% of his peers over the last year managing the Hennessy Small-Cap Financial Fund. He breaks down why he thinks financial stocks still have room to run – and shares 5 names to bet onSPAC shorts SPACs and hedge funds 2x1

    Brian Snyder/Reuters; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider

    Short interest in SPACs stood at $3.2 billion in mid-June, up from $2.7 billion. The uptick in SPAC shorts comes as the market works to recover from a weeks-long slowdown, and one ETF manager expects recently “de-SPACed” companies to see short activity surge soon. Exclusive data shows the 20 most-shorted blank-check companies right now.

    Read the full stories here:

    Bets against SPACs are revving back up as the market attempts a comeback. Here are the 20 most-shorted blank-check companies now.YOU’RE INVITED: A Millennial Guide to Home Ownership

    Join us and learn how to navigate the complicated process of buying a home in today’s hot market on Tuesday, June 22 at 12 p.m. ET – during a free, hour-long virtual event presented by Fidelity.

    Register here.

    Stock pick central

    Seeking experts who are willing to name names? Look no further:

    Have thoughts on the newsletter? Just want to talk markets? Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] or on Twitter @JoeCiolli.



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