The Creative Business Struggle


The concept of "Creative Business" is really an oxymoron. How are we creatives supposed to take something that we love dearly, that is informed by the depths of our souls, that is so personal and joyful and painful, and SELL IT?

And yet, that's the expectation for creative entrepreneurs. It's an expectation that I know we all struggle with.

Creative Whore or Creative Genius

If we do what other people really like, we feel like we are whoring ourselves to the highest bidder. If we do only what we like, well, people may not be interested in paying for it.

The elusive balance between "I had to just crank that design out to get my mortgage paid this month." and "This is what my creative soul really needs to do." is in constant flux and we are ever tormented by it.

We are rebels, after all

It's in our nature to go against the grain and to do and see things differently. That's really what makes us amazing artists. But when we want to do it for a profession (meaning: get paid), we don't always see that equation playing out. Let's be frank, sometimes we just don't want to do ANYTHING, especially when we are in a creative lull. How is that supposed to pay the bills?

I can only do what I want to do

We start out our creative business concepts with "this is what I think is awesome" and get confused when others don't comply with cash or affirmation. In truth, we would be better off asking ourselves, "What do people really want from me?" because that's where the dollars are. I can't tell you how many times I've heard creatives say, "I just don't understand why I can't make a living off my art." It's a mystery to us! But really, it's not a mystery, is it? That awesome rebel is just getting in the way of making money.

You get to choose

Right as you get caught in my whining (and I am whining), it's good to remember that you don't HAVE to be a creative entrepreneur. You always have the choice to do your creative stuff as a hobby and for nobody's appreciation but your own. That is very liberating and I've seen many of my creative friends breathe a sigh of relief when they let go of the "this needs to make money" ball and chain. You can get a regular paying job and relieve yourself of the torment.

You can also choose to exchange some of your talents and services for other who are in need for it and willing to pay you for your time. If that means that you have to put on your professional face and make that deadline or do what someone else things is fantastic (even if you don't), that is your choice. And remember, if you do that paid stuff while sitting at your computer in your yoga pants (showering optional) and take a little nap at 11:22 a.m. because you just feel the need, then remind yourself that it might be a fair exchange.

~Margot (currently unshowered and wearing yoga pants)

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