In our commercial society, it’s the money in the bank – not the satisfaction in the soul – that counts. So, doing what you love isn’t always easy and it doesn’t always pay well.
Yet, we all want to do what we love and we would very much like to make money doing it. So how do you go about achieving both?
Interestingly enough, it is now more possible than ever to do what you love. The Internet has leveled the playing field. It has opened the doors to action. There is no one standing between you and the Internet. There are no publishers who can reject the book that you put so much work into. There are no record industry types to tell you that you have no talent. And there are no galleries that refuse to sell your artwork.
On the other hand, just putting something up on the Internet doesn’t mean that you will make a gazillion dollars. And it doesn’t even guarantee that anyone will like what you do. Also, there’s the problem of bastardizing your talents. Are you willing to write junk, if that’s what sells? Do you want to apply your graphic arts talent prettying up web pages that sell get rich quick schemes and bogus weight loss products?
Before you jump on the Internet to “do what you love to do” it’s important to decide if you really want to use your talents to make money, or just to express yourself. Is it totally for your enjoyment, or do you want cash in hand?
How To Do Both.
The key to doing what you love, and making money at it, lies in finding balance. That’s not easy at the start. No one knows who you are when you’re only starting out. I once had a friend who had written a short story and submitted it to a prestigious magazine. He thought big. Surprisingly, the editor offered to publish the story if my friend would make a few changes to better fit the theme of the magazine. Bear in mind, my friend had never had a story published before in his life. Did my friend make the changes? No. Instead, he wrote the editor a scathing letter about “artistic integrity” and how he would never compromise one word that he wrote. Did my friend go on to become a famous author? No. Instead, he became a nurse, a worthwhile job but one I’m sure he hated, and died at the young age of forty-three. Did he die of a broken heart? Maybe.
Remember that you are not in a power position when you are just beginning. You need to get past the point of getting started and climb up to a position of power. So, how do you get there? The key is to deliver more than expected of you. Don’t just give people what they want, give them better than what they want. Build a reputation for excellence. The faster that you build that reputation, the quicker you will reach the point where you can create what you want to create and people will still line up to buy it.
Learn To Compromise.
Does this mean that you will have to bastardize your talents now and then? Unfortunately, yes it does. Just don’t make a habit of it. Strike a balance by being continuously on the lookout for ways to use you talents better and in ways that satisfy you. When you find, or create, one of those ways, do it! Even if you don’t make money every time.
Of course, you can forget about the money and just follow your heart. All you need is a steady job that pays the bills and some free time. You can go either way, it’s up to you.