How this dancing violinist created a $6 million career

Lindsey Stirling Tells How She Got Through Tough Times
Lindsey Stirling Tells How She Got Through Tough Times

The world never heard of a dancing violinist before Lindsay Stirling. Now she brings in $6M annually.

Do you remember what you wanted to be as a kid? An astronaut? A teacher? A fireman? How about a dancing violinist?

Never heard of a dancing violinist? Neither had the world before Lindsey Stirling.

That can't be said any more.

That's because this Internet sensation has more than 8 million YouTube subscribers, hundreds of millions of video views, and according to Forbes Magazine a cool $6 million in earnings for 2015.

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All from dancing while playing the violin.

And, as it turns out, her success didn't happen by chance. Lindsey intended all along to be a successful dancing violinist.

But to accomplish that goal, she had to learn a few hard lessons along the way that any entrepreneur would be wise to take note of.

1. Have Unstoppable Passion For What You Do

From an early age - 5 years old to be exact - Lindsey loved dancing and playing the violin. Add to that, at some point in her formative years she picked up a love for hip-hop and electronic dance music.

In her mind, all three belonged together. Performed together. Enjoyed together. What's more, she decided one love was never to be sacrificed for another.

And thus began her passion that would eventually fuel a $6 million career.

2. Be Absolutely Committed To Your End Goal

No doubt there was more than one detractor to young Stirling's aspirations of being a dancing violinist. After all, there were no successful predecessors she could point to. And there certainly were no proven business models to serve as proof it would work.

But Lindsey was determined to play, dance and perform - all at the same time. She felt the world needed her talent, and she would not wait until someone said she was good enough, or the market was mature enough, for it's first dancing violinist.

3. Don't Quit... Just Get Better

Stirling's big break came as a contestant on Season 5 of America's Got Talent.

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At the conclusion of her quarter-final performance, she was told her performance sounded like rats being strangled. That her talent was good, but not world class - and definitely not marketable enough to fill a Las Vegas auditorium.

Hearing this in front of millions of television viewers, Stirling took the feedback in stride. Holding back the tears as she left the competition, she resolved not to quit, but to get better.

4. Create Your Own Path If You Must

Absent of a record contract or a performance agreement, Stirling went back to what got her on America's Got Talent in the first place - YouTube.

This time she set out to be a student of successful YouTube channels. She paid attention to what was working. She looked for patterns and formulas.

But she didn't just learn. She applied what was successful in other industries to her own fledgling enterprise, allowing her to forge her own unique path.

5. Turn Your Fear Into Motivation

Many of us are paralyzed with the fear that life gives us just one chance, one break, one moment to shine.

But according to Stirling, your next biggest moment is always just ahead of you. There's never just one big break.

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Her view: no single event can ever demolish you, so long as you turn fear into motivation and not let it stop you from trying.


And that's really what being a successful entrepreneur - and dancing violinist - is all about.

It's about creating your own path if you must, but being passionate enough, committed enough, thick-skinned enough, and motivated enough - to never accept defeat.

It's not a guarantee, but it's certainly working for a $6 million dancing violinist, and can surely work for you too.

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Originally published