Creative? Where’s the money?
Yes, I’m creative. But I have to make a living, too. How?
When I was running The Leonhardt Group and waxing fancifully about some new opportunity, our CFO Tracy Wald used to say, “show me the money.” That always jerked me back into the reality that we were a cash flow business. If the cash didn’t flow, no one would get paid.
Tracy’s admonition was nothing new for me. My dad always questioned my earnings from odd jobs, worried that I wasn’t being fairly paid. Worried that I was afraid to ask.
So, creatives: Where’s the money coming from?
As creativity and intelligence expert Scott Barry Kaufman says, “Imaginative people have messier minds.” That’s sure true for me, and I imagine it’s true for most of you.
I love to tell stories, write, draw, explore new concepts, read, learn and help people. I love to do the work I do and see the effect it has on those around me.
Notice that nowhere on that love-list are the systematic activities required to sell and market my services. I get easily distracted. Love going down the rabbit hole of my creative process. Hate systems. Fear the confrontations surrounding setting a price. And find all kinds of ways to avoid hustling new work.
Why don’t we ask?
Are we afraid we’ll get rejected?
Certain we’re not worth it?
Just want to avoid the issue and get on with the work?
What holds you back?
The deck really is stacked against creatives, no matter our training, our portfolio or how well developed our expertise is. Worse, we live in a hierarchical system, where we’ve been trained from birth to respect those who are in charge. To be deferential. To respect authority. To do as the authority tells us to do.
Think about it.