Imagine being able to live off your creative work...

Introducing Otagai: a laboratory for creators.
Run experiments, share knowledge, and use the lessons learned to make more money.

Ask experienced business owners anything

All creators who make money from their work are business owners.
 
All have experimented, struggled, learned lessons the hard way… but the knowledge gained too often stays with individual creators.
 
Otagai is a laboratory for creators, where members have the space and structure to run scientific experiments, share the results, and use the lessons learned to make more money.

Share knowledge

Regularly run structured experiments using the scientific method. Discuss the results and learn from others doing the same.

Compile it

Build a library of our findings, and other resources. Share key takeaways outside Otagai so our wider community benefits.

Keep talking

Post about new tools, tips, and tactics as we come across them, so there's always inspiration for new experiments to run.

Discover best practices to make your business more profitable

The secret to making more money from creative work is… there is no secret. Creative businesses are still businesses. Best practice is established, recorded, and constantly developed by entrepreneurs across the world.
 
 
Independent creators don’t necessarily have the same priorities as, say, an entrepreneur aiming for Silicon Valley venture capital. However, by studying what has worked for them, each of us can cherry-pick what we’re comfortable with and find out what works for us.
A Venn diagram between "What we want to do" and "What we can paid to do" showing "Learn to do this better", between "What we can be paid to do" and "What we do well" showing "Learn to say no", and between "What we want to do" and "What we do well" showing "Learn to monetize". The spot in the middle where all converge just says "Hurray!"
Diagram by Bud Caddell, What Consumes Me
A strong and profitable business is: 
 
Effective
It provides something people are willing to pay for at the price point and in the quantities the creator needs.
 
Efficient
The creator gets as much value as possible out of the time, energy, and resources they put into it. 
 
Experimental
The creator regularly and rigorously tests elements of their work to ensure their business is always as effective and efficient as possible.

 

Otagai provides the space and structure for creators to run robust experiments and share the results. By learning not only from your experiments but from those of every creator around you, you’ll find ways to make more money more quickly.

Make it easier for anyone to live off creative work

The first rule of Art Club? Don’t talk about how you run Art Club – that is, don’t talk about your risks, your losses and definitely don’t discuss your eccentric shortcuts or the expenditures that ultimately win you a customer base. You probably want to avoid even calling them “customers”, even though that’s precisely what your fans are at the point of sale. Even though they may – if you’ve developed a friendly relationship with them – take pride in their role as buyers of your art.

The mostly-unspoken rule that artists aren’t supposed to talk about their businesses reveals plenty about how we tend to think of “art” and “business” as mutually exclusive – and have double (or even triple) standards about what artists are and are not allowed to say about their money and still be considered artists.

– “Art is a business – and yes, artists have to make difficult, honest business decisions“, Amanda Palmer, 2014

The narrative that “creators should work for the love of it” makes it a financial risk to be seen treating creative projects like a business.

Instead of customers, we have ‘supporters’. You can tell supporters they’re helping you pay rent… but you can’t tell them they’re funding your beach holiday.

You can survive like this, but it’s hard to flourish.

This artificial barrier to financial wellbeing is unhealthy for our community. Treating our businesses the way other entrepreneurs do will, over time, change our culture, making it easier for anyone to live off creative work.

Make society a better place in difficult times

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Flexible, creative work can be the only option for people whose earning capacity is restricted by their caring responsibilities, disability, neurodivergence, mental health, or other challenging circumstances.
 
For the majority of creators right now, this kind of work just doesn’t pay enough to relieve financial stress. 
 
We want to live in a world where any creator can make a living from creative work. We hope Otagai will play a part in making this happen, both directly, by providing the resources a marginalized creator needs to make their business a success, and indirectly, by helping to normalize the concept of all creators making a living from creative work.

Coming soon... Otagai

 ‘Otagai’ is a Japanese word – お互い – roughly meaning ‘mutual’. It’s often used in the context of “Let’s do our best!”, meaning “Let’s support each other to get the positive outcomes we want!”. It can be collaborative, but it can also be an expression of support between two people facing individual challenges.
 
It’s a fitting name for Otagai, which will be full of individual creators wanting the best for each other and providing concrete support to achieve it.

Sign up to join Otagai: a laboratory for creators.
Run experiments, share knowledge, and use the lessons learned to make more money.

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