When Creative Decisions Are Also Financial Ones - Part One

a photo of money and growth

I love creativity. I really mean that. It runs in my veins like an unbridled horse, wild and free. When I was very young a pencil or a crayon was just as much fun as toys tapping into a boy’s youthful imagination as any to be found. As I grew I used them and words to therapeutically help as best they could with my parents' divorce.

By high school, they helped me find my way, form opinions and express myself with a freedom only creativity can offer. As I became a young man, I began gaining a financial understanding of how creativity and anything needed to express my thoughts were instruments of good use, resumé-worthy, and fundamentally important.

By the time I was 25 I had already made all that I have mentioned here and more, the tools of my trade. In doing so, I had possibly unknowingly formed an inner alliance between creativity and money. The two had been internally linked, and because of this, a natural third player was developing. This was the now need to understand business.

Often creative types seem to take a path of thinking there is some form of creative purity by seemingly ignoring business. What is fascinating to me is it’s as if they’ve learned to dance and waltz their way onto a dance floor at a business convention. In other words, if you want to be paid for your creativity, you are in business whether you like it or not. So just as you might have an unquenchable thirst for creativity, you should not only have to be parched for business knowledge but how to use your creativity to invigorate your support business.

Weaving creativity and business is not a cop-out, it’s a form of survival. Understanding business allows you to, at the very least, understand that the world views your creativity as a service, your art as a product, and your experience as an asset.

It pains me in knowing that throughout my lengthy art career, a bunch of creative types before me paved the way in having many assume I was not only likely a starving artist, but unbusinesslike. In only one way did this possibly help. As when they found out just the opposite, they treated me with greater respect and certainly in business to business cases were saying - finally! Finally here’s a creative person that understands the importance of listening to my needs and wishes, verbalizes their process and plan forward, knows how to properly price their work, feels compelled to follow through in a timely manner, communicate through the process, and deliver on what they had promised.

It is amazing to me, and I mean as alien as a little green man landing in a space ship in front of me right now, to think as an example, an artist could be commissioned to do a painting and not expect all that I said above to be as important as doing the painting itself. But it happens and it happens a lot. Why? Well, often this is the untold story because often it’s not blatant ignorance. Rather it is in many cases it is fear. It’s the fear that creativity, which comes easy to them, is simply more comfortable than business, which does not. That fear means not wanting to get in over their heads in the deep running water of a business current. They choose to barely stick their toe in to get wet. Unfortunately, not learning to swim in this environment means they will drown in often the simplest of cases. This fear also has a way of transferring to the potential clients themselves. Fear creates fear, and I have had to work with clients who because of bad experiences, I first have to regain their confidence in working with artists in general.

Come with me next week as I take those interested into a world where creativity and business are best friends. Until then …

 Live an artful life,

Tom

 

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