1000 True Fans
The basic idea behind it is really simple. In this day of advanced communications and powerful online distribution, all you need is a 1000 loyal fans to make a living. If you can come up with a loyal core that supports what you do, you can be a creator for a living. Since I believe very strongly that, if you work hard to provide something people want, you should be able to make a living off of it, this idea has a great appeal.
Spiderweb Software stays successful because it had built, over the years, a core of loyal fans. These fans are enormously important to me, and I'm hugely grateful to them.
However, the article plays awful fast and loose with the practical details of the thing.
The article suggests that, if you get 1000 fans and they each give you $100 a year for your work, you can make a living. This is true. However, my god, $100 a year from a given person is an ENORMOUS hurdle to jump over. I don't know what you're doing to get $100/year from people, but you won't be getting it from me. That's like, what, 4-5 Indie games or 5 books or 6-8 albums of music a year? Not happening.
No, I will give my own, much more practical rule:
You should try to get 4000 fans who pay you $25 a year for your work. Then you can make a living doing what you love.
I can see why the authors of the article didn't phrase it this way. It's because getting 4000 fans sounds much, much more daunting than getting 1000. And it is. But, practically, to make a decent living, that is your goal. And, if you're good and dedicated, it's an attainable one.
But remember, there's one other rule.
It's very difficult to get even one fan. Besides your mom.
The hard part is making a product that anyone will give you money for at all. There are very few people who enjoy blowing twenty bucks for nothing.
Four thousand people is a huge goal. But it is attainable. So get to work.