I read this post last week which claims you have to choose between being creative or making money.
I'm not going to argue with that article, because I think the author makes some good points (go, read it!), especially when it comes to applying good business sense to your creative business. But I do want to share my own opinion on the Money V. Creativity issue.
I believe it is completely possible (and desirable) to make money while staying true to your own creative vision. I think that giving up your own taste to serve the “market”, will result in mediocre, middle-of-the-road, could-find-this-anywhere work.
Your vision, your creativity and your taste is vital to making your product and your business a success.
Here's how to create + make money:
Make something no one else does.
Find and talk to your Right PeopleYour completely-you item is NOT going to appeal to everyone.
In fact, you'll probably turn a lot of people off.Put zombies on everything and you'll turn off Evangelicals. Put Jesus on the cross on your bracelets and you won't sell to the Jewish community. Make handspun, eco-friendly yarn and people who knit with $2 acrylic won't spend the money.But that's ok! Because there are a LOT of people who love what you love. THOSE are your Right People. Those are the people you should find, talk to, and work for. Fellow-zombie lovers, fellow Jesus-lovers, fellow yarn-obsessed.
(and, yeah, you can learn a lot more about turning on and tuning in to your Right People in my upcoming class)
Listen to the Right PeopleThis is very different from listening to “the market”.
This is listening to the feedback you get from the people who love and adore what you do.This is cultivating relationships and joining a community and then providing solutions for that community.
Solutions like zombie coffee mugs or cross necklaces or summer yarn.
Become obsessive over making it only and truly yours.
Infuse every aspect of it with you-ness. Your colors, your textures, your style, your beliefs.
It should be so amazingly, undeniably yours that your people know it when they see it.
Skip any of the above steps and you're going to either not make money or sacrificing your own style for “the market”.
What do you think? Do I have it all wrong?
Let me know in the comments!
PS. This is a super-simplified answer to a pretty complex issue of building a sustainable business. But it's a place to start thinking.
For all the gory details of finding and loving your Right People, register for the class.