>I would still like to crunch this into a causal model and see what variable best explains success. My guess is that it would be tied to $$$, in start up capital and financial support for living expenses while you are building the business to a point where it will support you.<
What explains success in having a pottery business that can support you? Here's what I think.
1- TALENT - There is no getting away from the fact that you have to have talent. Not just talent in making but talent in editing your work, finding your flaws, working to improve a form, years of finding new ways to express the forms you make. You cannot just flog work that looks like the last workshop you took ... you have to have your own voice that brings a piece to life then you have to keep it fresh and alive for years.
.... BUT ... I bet a lot of people on this forum know someone more talented than themselves who gave up, left pottery behind for a hundred different reasons. It was too hard to keep working at it, they heard too many "No's", they were rejected from a show, they made and sold but could never make money ..... so talent alone does not take you very far down the road.
2 - STAYING POWER - Again I put this before money because there is no substitute for the kind of determination and stubborness that leads to success. These people pop back up like punching dolls every time life throws a curve. Maybe not right away, but even after their studios burn to the ground or blow away in a hurricane, they get back up and start again. They know they might get knocked down again but they get back to work. There is nothing else they want to be doing so they keep their focus and do it.
3 - FOCUS - Yes, they know what they want and will do whatever it takes. Gotta teach? Done. Gotta re-build? Done. Gotta make it in blue? Done. Gotta call galleries for re-orders? Done. Gotta work a second job to keep the bills paid? Done and Done. These are flexible people who are not so set on a certain idea that they cannot change or grow in order to pay the bills.
4 - I don't know quite what to call this because it goes beyond multi tasking. In today's North American studio environment we expect that same potter to be able to do it all ... bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, sales, billing, etc ... all in addition to producing the wares.
I know many of these people but sadly for us they don't spend much time in forums and share their experience. They lurk when they have time but you don't often see them posting except perhaps to their own blogs or facebook pages or websites.
Whether working alone, with a partner, in a group studio ... whatever ... I admire them. They make me proud to be a potter.