This is a very artistic town. It was wonderful seeing so many artists and musicians at our recent SCORE workshop on how to turn your creative talents into a business.

The beauty of our lakes and landscapes attracts the artistically minded. It draws in those who value aesthetics as part of their lifestyle. Like other places in the U.S. where natural beauty abounds, I believe there is a higher than average number of creatively gifted people among us.

That is why it is so gratifying for me as a SCORE mentor to help artistic entrepreneurs explore ways to turn their art into a source of revenue. Even if that revenue stream only serves to support an artistic habit, setting up a business is worth a try.

But let’s face it, many artistic and musically talented individual functions largely in the right brain. This is the cerebral center from which creativity, spontaneity, emotion, feelings and the longing for beauty emerge. In order to make it in business, a person must learn to function well in the left side of the brain. This is where logic, number crunching, analytical thinking, strategic planning and mathematical processing occur.

I always tell someone who wants to monetize their creativity to do some serious soul searching, expanding awareness on how well they can travel between each side of the brain. Some people have more connectors between the two sides and can shift back and forth with ease. Some people get locked in one side and have difficulty transitioning to the other side. Some bilateral thinkers can actually reach into both sides of the brain simultaneously. These varying abilities depend largely upon how you are innately wired.

So, the key to success as an artist/business person is getting to know one’s self. If you are a bilateral thinker, you may not need to rely on as much assistance. The predominantly right-brained individual should consider bringing on helping resources like a bookkeeper, web designer, sound technician, art studio organizer, booking agent or other such service providers.

If you do not recognize and honor your own unique abilities, you will set up an endless loop of frustration. Sadly, this loop often can kill creativity.

Here are a two starting suggestions for those who want to make money with their creative talents.

First, set up two separate physical spaces — one for creativity and one for business management. This provides a healthy separation, enabling you to make the necessary shift in your brain.

Second, daily time management and “to do” lists are important. For example, from 9 a.m. to noon, I will be in my creative space and let my talents flow. Then, from 1-3 p.m., I will go to my business space and do financial spreadsheets, manage social media, make calls, pay bills, order supplies, etc.

An hour with a SCORE mentor could be the start of turning your art or music into a side hustle. Let us help you. Visit

Donna Probes, MBA, spent 10 years as a small business owner. She is retired from the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and is active as a SCORE mentor as well as a professional musical performer. For information on SCORE visit

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