When she finished graduate school, Mary Gilkerson had a portfolio and an MFA — but not the experience, skills, or tools to support herself as a working artist. She spent the next 20 years teaching painting to women all over the world, but also found herself at a crossroads: she could either stay in academia or become more active as her art career picked up momentum.

She then started teaching painting online, but found herself challenged by launching multiple times per year. Now, at MaryGilkerson.com she takes a more holistic approach to teaching aspiring and working artists, including the skills you need to grow and run your artistic business.

Today, Mary joins the podcast to share her journey from aspiring fine artist in New York to where she is today, how her great grandfather taught her about entrepreneurship, and how the membership model allows her to offer more than just painting classes while giving her the freedom she needs to create.

Key Takeaways

  • The challenges aspiring artists face as they enter the working world for the first time — and why so many of them feel limited by their job options.
  • How Mary’s great grandfather’s diary helped her become the entrepreneur she is today.
  • The often perpetuated myths about being a working artist and making money — and why they should never hold you back.
  • How moving to a membership model helped Mary take away the stress brought on by launching multiple online courses several times a year.
  • Why artists have to create — and how to find the entrepreneurial model that will allow you to pursue your creative work without starving.

Free Give

TRIBE membership guideFREE Guide – Launch & Grow a Profitable Membership Site

Ready to reclaim your time and attract more monthly paying customers? Our step-by-step guide will show you how to build a membership site that turns your passion into recurring profit. Click here to download!

Memorable Quote

This is not an impossible dream. This is something that people do. They’ve been doing it. It’s something that is achievable for anyone. You have to define what success is for you and then go out and do it.” – Mary Gilkerson

Episode Resources


Mary Gilkerson on Facebook

Mary Gilkerson on Instagram


Read The Transcript
Shelli Varela

When you reframe your inner story, you reframe what’s possible. This is the mantra of our host, Shelli Varela who achieved incredible success, blazing a trail to become a fire captain, author, TED speaker, and host of The Yes Effect on Entrepreneur's list of 48 Best Podcasts for Entrepreneurs. Today, she uses the same approach to show people how to magnetize their message to achieve their dreams, and discover how they can make a BIGGER impact.

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