7 Reasons Creative People Don’t Talk about Money

This post is part of the Creativity and Money series.

Statue holding finger to its lips

Creative people have a love/hate relationship with money.

We love it, because – well, who wouldn’t want it?

But we also hate it, avoid dealing with it, and avoid even talking about it. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. We Think It’s Not Important

And of course we’re right. There are more important things in life than money – love, art, justice, world peace and coffee being just a few.

We live in a world obsessed with money, where human beings are treated according to their bank balance, not their intrinsic worth, and we instinctively revolt against this.

Creativity offers a window on a different world, with different values. Art exists in a different, more meaningful dimension. In a world gone mad, it can serve as a reminder that money is not the be-all and end-all.

2. We Don’t Know How to Get It

The starving artist cliche didn’t come from nowhere. It’s no secret that many creatives don’t earn as much as they’d like. And it’s not much fun talking about something you don’t have.

If we were better at selling than making, we’d be salespeople, not creatives. Sales and marketing can feel like impenetrable mysteries – we don’t understand what makes people buy, so it’s tempting to retreat back into our comfort zone, doing the best work we can and hoping that will be enough.

3. We Don’t Know What We’re Worth

One obvious barrier to earning a decent living is not charging enough for our artworks, products or services. That might sound like a no-brainer, but many creatives simply don’t realise the value of their work to potential buyers.

To us, it’s nothing special. It’s just what we do. Looking at it with a perfectionist’s eye, we see all kinds of flaws that are invisible to the untrained eye. That’s great for perfecting your craft, but not so great when it comes to closing a sale.

Because what may seem barely good enough to us may well look utterly fabulous to a potential buyer. But if we price ourselves or our work too low, it knocks buyers’ confidence, and makes them assume there’s something wrong with it.

Believe it or not, many people are happier paying more for quality than shopping around for the cheapest option. Who wants to have a knockdown painting on their wall? Or to give their loved one a cut-price ring? Or to do their big launch or party on the cheap?

4. We Don’t Want to Sell out

One of the reasons creative people have a reputation for eccentricity is our ambivalent attitude to money and success. The rest of the world would jump at the chance for fame and fortune, but even when it’s laid on a plate for us, we hesitate.

We hesitate because we are terrified of selling out – selling our artistic soul to the devil, earning piles of cash by churning out commercial crap. We know that all the money in the world won’t compensate us for the loss of our creative integrity.

5. We Don’t Want to Look Greedy

We’re sensitive souls aren’t we? And we have to be, it’s part of our job. If you’re not finely attuned to the subtleties of sounds, images, words, textures, movement and/or rhythm, you won’t go far in a creative career.

But this sensitivity has a flipside. We tend to be shy and diffident, easily pricked by barbed words or the merest hint of criticism. So we’re not always the best negotiators, and can shoot ourselves in the foot by avoiding discussing money issues for fear of looking ‘greedy’.

6. We Don’t Know How to Manage It

Spreadsheets, balance sheets, cashflow forecasts, profit and loss sheets, amortisation, appreciation, depreciation, fixed costs, variable costs, cash cows, averaging ratios …

Have your eyes glazed over yet?

The language of finance can be bamboozling – let alone the actual numbers. No wonder many creatives do the bare minimum of accounting, often at the last minute, when the tax deadline is due. It just seems too complex, too intimidating, or too plain boring for us to get our heads around it all.

7. We Wouldn’t Know How to Spend It

The whole process of earning, collecting and managing money – while at the same time preserving our creative integrity – can seem so difficult that we never seriously think about how we would spend the money if we did succeed. In other words, we don’t consider the purpose of money in our work and lives.

Sure, we may daydream from time to time about winning the lottery or landing the big contract, but we stop at daydreaming. We don’t articulate our financial goals, set ourselves targets and make concrete plans for using money to bring us security, stability, freedom – and even to support our creativity.

So we creatives have plenty of reasons for looking down our noses at money, or ignoring it and hoping it will go away.

But deep down, we know this is dangerous. Money is a fact of life, it’s not going away. Sooner or later, we have to deal with it.

Because money is important. Not the most important thing, but maybe more important than we care to admit, when we avoid thinking about it, talking about it or doing something about it.

Money stress is no fun. It poisons every aspect of life. That’s true for anyone, but if your passion is creativity, then one of the biggest dangers is that worrying about money will kill your creativity.

As a creative, your headspace is your workspace. If it’s taken up by worries of any kind, it’s hard to settle to the task in hand, and harder still to get into the creative zone where you do your best work.

Does that sound like a reason to take money a little more seriously?

“OK so what do I DO about this?”

I’m glad you asked that. 🙂

The first thing to do is to visit this page and claim your free copy of the audio seminar I’ve recorded with Sarah: 5 Essential Money Skills for Creative People. It’s packed with practical advice to help you get a grip on your business finances and use them to support your creativity.

And if you want even more help getting on top of the finances of your creative business, check out Money for Creative People, our new course for creative artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs, teaching you the mindset and money skills that will help you succeed commercially as well as creatively.

What do you think?

Which of these seven reasons do you relate to?

What would you add to the list?

Do you agree that creative people could benefit from taking money more seriously?

About the author: Mark McGuinness is a poet, creative coach, and the owner of Lateral Action.

The 21st Century Creative Podcast

The 21st Century Creative Podcast

Hosted by poet and creative coach Mark McGuinness, The 21st Century Creative podcast helps you succeed as a creative professional amid the demands, distractions, and opportunities of the 21st century.

Each episode features insights from Mark and interviews with outstanding creators – including artists, writers, performers, commercial creatives, directors, producers, entrepreneurs and other creative thought leaders.

Guests include Steven Pressfield, Scott Belsky, Jocenlyn K. Glei, Joanna Penn and Michael Bungay Stanier.

Responses to this Post


  1. I certainly relate to 3, 4, 5 & 6.

    3 is the biggest one for me. Some tell me that I’m not charging enough money, but then I get many people asking “why is it so expensive?” it’s half and half I think, so I try to fall somewhere in the middle.

    Re: 6 & 7 I was much better at managing money when I was younger and am trying to get back to that (the “toys” I would like to spend my money on now are a gazillion times more expensive than what I spent my money on back then!)

    In general I say that my artwork pays for more than itself but I am not at a point where I could live off of it, and I’m pretty happy being at that point.

    • Thanks Jenny.

      Some tell me that I’m not charging enough money, but then I get many people asking “why is it so expensive?” it’s half and half I think, so I try to fall somewhere in the middle.

      This is a really common situation – it can feel so hard to come up with an ‘objective’ way of pricing art. Another response would be to find as many as possible of the first kind of person. 😉

  2. I have no problem talking about money. Specific numbers, not so much.

    It’s embarrassing if you’re not making a lot, and obnoxious when someone shoves their earnings in your face.

    And it’s all very subjective. How much money do you need to be “rich?” Depends on who you talk to.

    Money is a tool of sorts. It gets things done. It makes groceries and electricity happen. There’s plenty of emotion tangled up in it when it comes to selling your work, because as an artist, it is very much part of you.

    Take money seriously? Yes. But understand where the emotion comes from.

    All seven items in your list have a ton of potential emotional baggage lurking in there. Once triggered, those fears or hangups can really have their way with us.

    “Your headspace is your workspace” is a perfect way to sum that up. And practice, as they say…

    • Money is a tool of sorts. It gets things done.

      I like that way of looking at it. Tools are neutral, they need to be handled with skill – and with care!

      There’s plenty of emotion tangled up in it when it comes to selling your work, because as an artist, it is very much part of you.

      Yes, very true, I love this quote from Flaubert on the subject:

      A book is essentially organic, part of ourselves. We tear a length of gut from our bellies and serve it up.

      No wonder it feels scary to name a price! 🙂

      • Precisely. You can learn a new tool or technique, so you can learn how to deal with money.

        The other side of that gut-wrenching fence, of course, is the sheer delight in the buyer’s eyes when they’re *happy* to pay for your work.

        • Indeed. Let’s not forget that bit. 🙂

          • This is a really interesting post and this thread here is great, Mark and Stacey. I love Stacey’s point about the emotional baggage that comes with money. Creatives want to have money, because, well, it’s useful. But it can really pollute the creative output if money is the focus, too.

            On that note, I’m interested to hear further what y’all think about #3, “We Don’t Know What We’re Worth.” That one hits home for me very much. I’m a fiction writer, and the money issues within literary fiction are difficult (advances against royalties, agent commissions, etc.); and I know a novelist who calculated the hours it took to write the book and the total amount of income she got from it, and her pay equaled ten cents an hour.

            But now, writers are pricing their books at 99 cents on Amazon Kindle, and they’re selling more just because people are willing to take a chance on a book for a buck. So, they’re devaluing their work on an individual level, sort of, but then they’re selling books at a higher volume. (I’m thinking of John Locke here; see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13854987)

            Not all writers who do that sell a million copies, but it’s an interesting development in this dilemma of creatives and money. Love to hear both of your takes on that.

            • Good to see you Baker.

              I’m tempted to say if you think there’s not much money in fiction, you should try writing poetry. But I won’t. 😉

              It’s pretty hard to strike it rich with a traditional publisher. Most of the business book authors make their money from consulting/speaking etc.

              As for fiction, I can see the attraction in trying to find readers on Kindle with lower prices. Amazon take a cut, but probably not as much as a conventional publisher would, so they’ll have better margins.

              But if they want to make real money they’ll have to either sell a lot of them, or raise your prices later. And to do either successfully, they’d need to do some creative marketing as well as creative writing.

              When a lot of people are excited to hear about the next book, it makes it a lot easier to name a higher price. 🙂

              • Ha! My old fiction professors said they envied poets because poets never had the delusion that they’d make any money from their writing. 🙂

                I agree with what you say, Mark. Great insights, and thanks for the links to those articles.

                There’s a balance of valuing the work, and I think good creatives who are good entrepreneurs aren’t always working to find the right price point. In the article, John Locke mentions that he started out higher priced, but his books took off at 99 cents, and he plans on keeping them there. (Amazon gets 70% commission at that price.) Locke DID write a book about how he achieved those sales, which is priced higher, $4.99, a price point where HE gets 70% commission. No accident, that.

                Thanks again! Great discussion, great comments, everybody.

                • Your professor was right! It’s actually very liberating to know I’ll always be writing poetry it for the pleasure of doing it. Keeps things simpler.

                  Sounds like John Locke has a good strategy worked out. There’s a world of difference between pricing low strategically to break into a new market and doing it out of fear or a lack of confidence.

                  And agreed, it’s a great discussion, hats off to everyone who has shared their opinions and experiences. 🙂

            • I think you’re right that the devaluing is only ‘sort of’ because it’s arguable that the work was equally if not more devalued under the old system where a writer would end up earning 10 cents an hour.
              I think what we’re seeing here is the beginning of a new value system where ‘reach’ is more important than price per unit. In fact, as we’ve begun to see, even free has a potential value as part of an overall sales strategy. According to what I’m hearing also, multiple products by the same author also have an impact on dales volume of individual items. It’s a whole new way of looking at things. Plus it seems ridiculous to try and maintain a price model that encompassed large material & distribution cost – and lots of middle-men – when the new product doesn’t involve those overheads.

              • “even free has a potential value as part of an overall sales strategy” – Oh yes, and sometimes it can be a hard sell. 😉

                And yes, your business model is critical to your pricing. The same price can be a very smart move or a disaster depending on the biz model…

    • I think number 3 is a hard one for me.

  3. Hey Mark,

    Spot on reasoning here. I can relate to 1,3,4, and 6.

    Money stress has been a problem for me in the past, and continues to flicker away in the back of my head like a faulty light-bulb.

    I have no desire to make a lot of money, so I generally just make enough to get by, and pour myself into my work. I’m building a portfolio of work to launch a career in the next few years, so once I have enough to pay the bills in the meantime, I’m fine with that.

    I will get to that light-bulb at some stage. 🙂


  4. I don’t think it’s only creative people who have these ambivalences — in fact, they are widespread. I was like this myself years ago but have also done a lot of coaching with women, in particular, who worked in fields that wouldn’t be considered creative at all who would completely fit with this list and would have similar resistances to ‘jumping at’ opportunities to make money. Often the reasons for this are buried deep and connected to self-esteem. The best approach, I find, is to apply the creative process – the same stages and steps and attitudes – to the making of money as we would to any other thing we wanted to create. After all, the same process that makes one thing makes everything. Once you give yourself permission to do that, everything changes.

    • Yes, creatives aren’t the only ones who struggle with this stuff. (Although it can feel like it at times!)

      I love this:

      The best approach, I find, is to apply the creative process – the same stages and steps and attitudes – to the making of money as we would to any other thing we wanted to create. After all, the same process that makes one thing makes everything.

  5. I mostly relate to 1, 3 and 4.

    It’s impossible for me to fathom someone paying a crazy amount of money for a painting of mine, or a dress I have made by hand. If I were to charge for my time, even at £5/hr, most people would not be able to afford it. And even if they could, it’s something I made… I can see its flaws… it is very imperfect… and I have a very very difficult time selling it for what it’s worth to _them_.

    I look down on Picasso, because I feel he painted whatever would sell. I may be wrong. The concept, however, still repulses me.

    And, ultimately, I seldom charge (enough or at all) for websites I build. Why? Because to me it’s very very easy and actually fun.

    I know I’m not being smart. What I don’t know is how to stop being self-deprecating and learn how to price my work.

    • Thanks Sophie.

      If I were to charge for my time, even at £5/hr, most people would not be able to afford it.

      I’d seriously suggest you don’t charge for art by the hour! And ‘most people’ don’t buy art (although a lot of them like to look at it). So instead of pricing it for ‘most people’, how about pricing it for the ones who like spending money on art, and can afford to do so?

      And, ultimately, I seldom charge (enough or at all) for websites I build. Why? Because to me it’s very very easy and actually fun.

      This is VERY common among artists. Because we love what we do, it feels like its own reward. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable enough for clients to pay us well!

      What I don’t know is how to stop being self-deprecating and learn how to price my work.

      Watch this space… 😉

    • I thought I’d respond to this one as I was sitting down with an artist just last night and working out prices for a portfolio of work. Just as background there is a mixture of 2 and 3d work in the portfolio and it overlaps between fine art, fashion and craft. I’ve introduced him to a pop-up boutique that’s getting a lot of press recently and would be the right sort of place so before he shows her the work we need to edit the portfolio and know what prices he would be happy with. He’s also pretty experienced as opposed to just starting out but it’s been a few years since he’s shown anyone the work so he’s not as well known as he might be. As he’s also in paid employment this is not his main income at the moment so he’s looking for the ‘right’ opportunity to some extent.

      Here’s the approach we took:
      – first we went through the whole body of work, agreed which the key pieces were and which were either just fun or giving context to the main event
      – we then asked what price would be at which he’d be happy to sell it vs. a price he’d regret selling it for.
      – we also discussed what the cost of production was … not the number of hours but the money spent on making each piece (some had gems in and were very expensive to make)
      – once we’d done this we could work out the prices of the key pieces first and then everything else was priced in relation to these
      – we also agreed what the absolute minimum was for the smallest/least important pieces and balanced this against having some ‘affordable’ things as well as some ‘aspirational’ things.
      – the artist recognised that the most expensive pieces might not sell but it was important that they were present as the smaller things needed contextualising

      So … it took about 3 hours all in all to work out prices on about 25 pieces of work. We’ll probably re-assess the pricing in the light of what sells and what doesn’t in a few months time.

      You can see from this summary that it was as much an art as a science (though it is DEFINITELY both), that we mixed emotional judgements with market judgements and business judgements

  6. All of the above reasons. I’ve known about them for a long time, dealt with them, done therapy–still deal with them DAILY.

    Part of the problem stems from family-of-origin and social environment. As Orna Ross notes above, women may have been conditioned to believe their work “should” be unpaid. Part stems from working in creative fields my entire adult life.

    Some parts of this, too, come from doing major projects where the payoff comes long after the completion of the work. Example: four years writing a book; another year or two waiting for the royalties to begin.

    All this seriously breaks the connection between work and payment to the extent that my ability to pay the bills (and I am responsible for the household) seems almost random and out of my control.

    Right now I have some freelance work that will be paying more regularly. I’m struggling with how to structure the payment plan. It’s not like I haven’t done this before. Each time, it feels new, in part because each time I’m asked to do a different type of work. I think I’ve got something devised that I can live with. Now I need to write an e-mail and hit “send” and see how the client reacts. Scary.

    • Thanks Deborah, interesting to hear both you and Orna bring in the female perspective, I hadn’t considered it from that angle.

      And you’re absolutely right about the connection between work and payment. The long (and unreliable) feedback loop + the subjective element in valuation means it’s really hard to identify a relationship between the time and effort we put in and the results that come out.

      Good luck with the client situation. 🙂

      • Thanks for the good luck wishes! I do this stuff and think, “WHY do I have to go through this process again? I did it before.” Of course, I do come up with better solutions each time. Creative process in action, indeed, for better or worse.

        Interesting book that I have read part of (haven’t had the fortitude for the whole thing yet) is Micki McGee’s Self-Help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life. It’s talking about our constant need to “improve” our “selves.” Some of the bits I’ve flagged are too long to quote here. But here’s a snippet: “In place of the traditional notion of the self-made man–a construct that is gendered in its basic formation, patriarchal in its assumptions of how individuals come into being, and self-congratulatory in its tone–the belabored self presents itself as overworked both as the subject and as the object of its own efforts at self-improvement.” (p. 16)

        (Definition of “belabored self” comes on previous pages, and has to do with the “self” as a site of “effort and exertion, of evaluation and management, of invention and reinvention,” i.e., “belabored.”

        Uh, no wonder I’m tired. Creating, earning, and fixing myself all the time. While single-parenting.

        • Yep, creativity is an iterative process. 😉

          Creating, earning, and fixing myself all the time. While single-parenting.

          Double-parenting is tiring enough, anyone who does the single variety should get a medal!

      • I hadn’t thought about that feedback loop thing. I think you’ve hit on something very important with that, Deborah.

        And, yes, the female thing is definitely very important.

  7. I’ve actually just been discussing related issues with someone – whether or not writing (as literature) is or can be a career. This is also something I’ve been thinking about myself.

    Here’s something I wrote on the subject three years back:


    Just today, as I was going about my business, shopping at Sainsbury’s and so on, I was thinking to myself, “Since the world could end at any moment, and a ‘career’ is basically just a way of avoiding thinking about this fact, if I take myself seriously as a writer, I should really be prepared to end up homeless. In fact, if I take myself seriously as a writer, I should stop writing, as the act of writing suggests that I have assumed that I am worthy and have something worth saying rather than acknowledging that the world could end at any moment. Therefore, I should really just stop writing completely. No serious writer can really do anything else. To actually write is to be caught up in a bourgeois personality cult. I must cease from all creative activity immediately, tie myself to a stake, and let the ants of moral necessity feast upon my bourgeois ego until nothing is left.”

    At this point, I began to wonder if there was some way I could possibly square making a comfortable living, and (or at least) continuing to write, with being a serious writer.

    Is there?

    I’m not sure.

    • I try not to think of myself as a ‘serious writer’. But I can’t help writing… and neither can you. 😉

      I began to wonder if there was some way I could possibly square making a comfortable living, and (or at least) continuing to write, with being a serious writer.

      Is there?

      Well, it’s never been easy, and it still isn’t. But I think there are at least more options these days. I think you saw my piece on How I became a professional writer (without signing a book contract).

      And your terrific work over at Chomu Press is another example that may not have been possible a few years ago…

  8. By the way, I think I’d say I relate to all the reasons except the last one.

    Generally, the fact that people understand so strongly and feel so passionately about the idea of ‘selling out’ with regard to the arts indicates that people feel there is something sacred about creativity. In which case, I wish this would translate a little more into a desire to nurture creativity rather than crucify it. But I do understand very much why people are wary of treating art of any kind as just another career.

  9. I can’t pick just one of the seven….sad to say they are all me!

  10. A really good blog entry and Mark and challenging for me.

    I have in the past avoided money at my peril, but impending fatherhood is changing all that. Money, the gathering and spending of it can be creative too. Saving also can be creative.

    Somewhere a long the way we decided that things to do with numbers, dollars, science etc was not creative and because we choose to define ourselves by our creativity we avoid those things. Well that’s my story anyway.

    In truth the whole of life and everything in it is creative don’t you think?

    Blogging and Commenting in seven sentences

    • Ah yes, parenthood is a great way of concentrating the mind. 🙂

      In truth the whole of life and everything in it is creative don’t you think?

      Funny you should ask that in relation to numbers/money. I’ve just finished reading The Ascent of Money – a Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson. He tells some riveting stories but it wasn’t just that that held my attention – it gradually dawned on me that the history of finance is a history of innovation – the invention of bonds, stocks, insurance etc. Now, clearly these things are not an unmixed blessing but it did give me an appreciation for the inventiveness of people who came up with things I find it hard to get my head around.

  11. Thank you for this post! Just yesterday I was apologizing for myself, for my lack of foresight, thought on money. It almost stunned me how little I had thought about these things in the way it seems everyone else has – and an injury just as I was interviewing to produce a doc series for national air, really showed the holes in my thinking. I just could not understand how I had not dealt with that side of life, been so absorbed in my work, and ‘not have anything financial to show for it.’

    I can’t change the past but I can change now. I have enjoyed your email course, and I am working with a small business counselor from the Business Development Center to rework my business plan in light of my current situation and physical limitations.

    I try to share my lessons with my teen who is interested in music. Culturally, for me, my family was not at all supportive of the arts (‘that’s for people with money’), so its also, embarrassingly, taken me all these years to stop hiding myself, state exactly what I want, and even face the isolation from my family after I chose to ‘come out.’ After that, was realizing that as much as I wanted attention for my work, when it came when I was younger, it freaked me out, scared me and I think ‘success,’ until now, scared me.

    I also really believe now the whole connection between money (energy) and self-esteem – whether its as a woman, being culturally diverse, whatever – I just have a real disconnect on this issue that I am seeking to overcome.

    In my meditations, I think about all the things I will do with the energy/cash.

    I pray I can overcome, but that doesn’t push me right now to check my business account balance when I don’t want to since I don’t know when the next commission is coming. I just finished a commission and one book cover photo assignment, but all I can think about are the many imperfections that still bother me. The self-criticism makes me push harder within to learn, do better, to grow more as an artist, to take my abilities to another level. Yet, when its in a vacuum, it can be too much.

    Thanks for this article today, great topic!

    • My pleasure, glad it touched a chord for you.

      I can’t change the past but I can change now.

      Very wise. Much easier to change the future than the past. 🙂

      I think ‘success,’ until now, scared me.

      Success is scary. It’s just not obvious until you get up close. Fortunately it gets better once you acclimatize to it. 😉

      And very good point about self-criticism – there’s definitely a positive side to the inner critic, as long as s/he doesn’t get out of hand! You might like to check out my piece on ways to assess your creative work.

  12. I think these 7 reasons are pretty darned insightful but I think, for me, #2 & #3 are probably the most true. When I am on a creative streak…it doesn’t feel like work. When I have to press on because I have a deadline, it’s a different thing altogether. The hard thing for me is that people just think I am always “on” and that I’m just so “good at those kinds of things” that I am asked for more and more. (It’s hard to figure out how to stop and charge for services sometimes!

    • Well it’s great to be in demand! And yes, charging is a good idea. As I said to Jenny, just because you enjoy it and it doesn’t feel like work, doesn’t mean people won’t be happy to pay for it. 😉

  13. Mark,

    A lot of arteestic types say they’re too busy or they can’t be bothered to learn about commerce. Some go so far as to say they’re not interested in material things. They act as though they enjoy starving.

    I call bollocks.

    The root of all evil—at least as far as creatives are concerned—isn’t money, it’s the negative tendencies and bad habits that we creatives hold on to that get in the way of our own success.

    How much more well-fed could every starving artist be if they read just two of your seven points and put serious effort into addressing their underlying concerns! As in… Worried about selling out? How could you attract monied people interested in your work in a way that maintains your creative integrity?

    Many thanks for shining a spotlight on these issues,

    • Nicely put!

      This is a great question:

      How could you attract monied people interested in your work in a way that maintains your creative integrity?

      • Yes. As Willie the Shake said, that is the question. I’d like to think that authenticity in creative integrity is attractive–that doing something that only you can do makes your work valuable to others who admire that. Sure, it doesn’t always pay that way. But selling out doesn’t guarantee a payout, either.

  14. Roberto S. says:

    Brilliant! Not only did this make me laugh as it hits very close to home but it also made me think a little about the various approaches I have taken in the past with regards to self worth, how to get more and how to manage it all. As always, your articles are insightful and always found just time!

  15. #2, #3, #4 are the closest to my case, for #7 I could tell opposite , I know perfectly well how to spend every euro/dollar ones when I earned it. It’s not hard to figure out how to invest in important things for life.
    Beside reasons you pointed out, the crucial thing in my case is motivation problem. When it comes to intristic motivation to create I hardly experienced eny problem but when it comes to motivation to create for earninig money just becouse I normaly need it I am wreally week. Beside that whats the moust interesting aboout is when it comes to negotiation and closing the deel of seling my artwork I know how to do it, but to know how to atrraced potentional custumers to make agreemats happened, this is a big problem, don’t know why but I am somehow blocked in that.
    Please sorry for my lousy English it not my native si it probabily dasnt sound nice when I try to use it.

    • OK firstly I love the icons and mosaics on your site! There’s an icon from Constantinople above my desk where I’m typing this. (Sadly not an original.)

      So you’re saying you’re pretty good at negotiating and closing the deal once you’re in discussion with a potential buyer, but it’s generating the leads that’s your biggest challenge?

      If so, then have a look at my pieces about why artists and creatives have an unfair advantage at internet marketing and how to find an audience for your creative work.

      In your case, I think you could do some great videos/photo articles about how you create your work – people interested in the creative process (like me) would be interested to see how it’s done, and it would be a good way to attract links and word of mouth that could get you noticed by people who would be in the market for your work.

  16. A brilliant post. It articulates the main reason I want to handle money well—so that it does not distract from the work I love to do.

  17. “Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed” by Vida Scudder.

    “Happiness and Money are just a by-product of the good service you have given” by Henry Ford.


    Creativity, Market and Commitment are linked!!

    You can work very hard from a creative point of view but the market plays a key role for your financial success!!

    As a consequence, nowadays a creative person must be a “Purple Cow” ( expression made up by Seth Godin ) in a very good market and in so doing, financial success will be just a by-product!

    But if you are a really, really creative person , you will be very, very happy to make just a decent living with your marvellous art !!

    Othewise, you are just a sort of creative person because in the end you are more materialist than creative!!!

    And if you are frustrated from a materialist point of view, you can’t be good at creating your art!!

    Ciao, greetings from Italy!

    • Ciao Fab, good to see you.

      “Happiness and Money are just a by-product of the good service you have given” by Henry Ford

      That’s a nice quote… AND Ford worked pretty hard at setting up his by-production line. 😉

  18. I realized years ago that I’d spent my entire life believing that I was simply not capable of making money. Other people were wired to make money, but (I believed, without realizing it was a belief) I was not.

    When I was faced with having to make a living, pronto, from my creative work, I unwittingly installed a glass ceiling over my head, setting a goal to “just get by.”

    Guess what happened? Yep: I made enough to just get by, and not one bit more.

    For the past few years, I’ve been buy deprogramming myself of my unhelpful beliefs, and dismantling that damned glass ceiling. I’ve a long way to go still, but the *psychological* transformation has already been astounding.

    I appreciate my value.
    I acknowledge that I am phenomenally capable – of making money, and of learning how to make money even more effectively.
    I have have updated goals to make much MORE than enough — not because I want or need stuff to proof my worth (though I confess I like stuff!), but because I know that the more prosperous I am, the more impact I’ll be able to make.

    Not only will greater profits give me greater freedom to do my greatest work, but it will allow me to do things like fund the organizations and people that mean the most to me. To give back.

    Along with eliminating money stress (a huge incentive, I agree), THAT’s a really good reason in my book to take money a little more seriously!

    • Thanks Melissa, you’re absolutely right that mindset is a critical factor here. We also need the hard calculations and concrete action – but if we haven’t noticed that glass ceiling, we don’t realise how much it’s cramping us…

      • Yes! Of course without concrete action, we won’t get anywhere. But I believe mindset is the biggest thing getting in the way of creative folks. (Or any folks, for that matter!)

    • Erika Block says:

      Very well put, Melissa. Exactly what I was getting at below, but you did a much better job of saying it. 🙂

  19. “That might sound like a no-brainer, but many creatives simply don’t realise the value of their work to potential buyers.

    To us, it’s nothing special. It’s just what we do. ”

    This right here nails it. But for the person who can’t do what we do but enjoys it/wants to own it, there is definitely a $ value attached. Think of a car mechanic. They’re probably have a knack for it, they might even enjoy it. For someone who needs what they offer, they get paid handsomely for it. Artists have to realize that what they do does have value. If a creative goes into a situation feeling that what they do is ‘nothing special’, that will come across in their work and their attitude to potential clients. Then they wonder why no wants to pay them for their efforts.

    • I’ve come across this plenty of times – someone introduces themselves to me and downplays their ability. So when I see it for the first time, I’m expecting something poor or beginnerish – and then I’m blown away by the quality!

      The expectations you create have a big impact on a potential buyer’s perception of value.

  20. This all speaks to me. Money is a near impossible topic. At times I have, literally, lost my ability to speak when asked about money and prices. I’d almost rather not sell anything than deal with it. But I try. I try anyway.

  21. Erika Block says:

    Wow, as a successful creative professional, this post really offends me. Seven reasons? More like seven stereotypes.

    • It’s great to hear you’re successful Erika, but the response to the post suggests that others are still struggling with these issues.

      And it’s hard for me to offer solutions without first describing the problem. 🙂

      • Erika Block says:

        I worded myself very poorly, Mark. Please accept my apology. I should have been more clear that what offends me are these reasons — that they exist, that they are so commonplace, and that they are so accepted.

        I spent years in the corporate art world, with many awful bosses. One seemed to find joy in berating the artists and one day he made a wonderful woman burst into tears. Rather than being sorry in any way, he justified it by saying she was just a typical overly sensitive creative type that wasn’t cut out for business. I have a career full of stories like this one.

        My intent was to say what you and Melissa said (better) above — it’s all in your mindset. You can either accept that you have a downfall and blame it on being creative, or you can work your ass off until it no longer holds you back.

  22. Victor Reynolds says:

    I can relate to 1, 4, and 6.

    1. I don’t think money is all that important as far as it being a driver for my creativity. And with the old wealth paradigms dying out in the current economic crisis, we’re going to see a shift back to the intrinsic rather than the extrinsic value.

    4. I never believed in catering to the masses to make money. Yes, I had to do some “work” photography to make money, but that’s a whole different area as compared to the creativity. Plus, I do feel once money becomes a goal, creativity is put on the line.

    6. I am not a businessperson. It’s enough to manage the affairs of my house. And here in New Jersey (USA), state laws make it tough for one to be an entrepreneur. The nuts and bolts involved can be dizzying and can hurt creativity.

    Thanks for letting me share.

    • Thanks for sharing Victor, totally agree that the drivers of creativity and commerce are different.

      And a bit surprised to hear New Jersey makes it tough on entrepreneurs – I always imagine America as the land of entrepreneurship, I guess the grass isn’t always greener. 🙂

  23. It is great to read about successful creative people, like Ms. Block above, who don’t need this kind of post. I like to meet people who are comfortable talking about money and who can make money doing what they love. At the same time, I do have these problems. I guess I am a stereotype. I need help figuring out how to get over my issues with money and it helps to read that other people are working on similar issues. If some people are offended, well, I’m not. I want help. I don’t want you not to talk about it because the people who are comfortable think there is no need. So. One day, I hope that when I come across another post on this topic, I can say, “I’m so over that.” But instead of feeling insulted, I’ll offer some helpful suggestions for neurotic types like I am now.

    Really, I’ve had several shows, and I found deciding on the prices of things and sticking the price tags on the work to be very difficult. I keep feeling–who am I to ask for money for this? And worse is if a tag falls off or something and someone has to ask me directly.

    So thanks for the article. Glad I came across it.

    • Thanks Marta, you don’t sound like a stereotype to me. 🙂

      I hear about these issues so many times from coaching clients that I’ve realised they are just an occupational hazard for creatives. But when you’re struggling with the issues on your own, it can feel like you’re the only one. So I wrote this piece partly to show people that most of us are challenged by this at some point in our careers.

      I don’t want you not to talk about it because the people who are comfortable think there is no need.

      Message received. More on the way. 😉

      who am I to ask for money for this?

      That sounds to me like the wrong question. Supposing you stopped thinking about yourself, and focused on the potential buyer and their response to the work? Notice how their eyes light up when they see it. And start to think about all the different ways they could enjoy the work, both for themselves and sharing it with others…

      Btw your art is fabulous – but I had to hunt through your site a bit before I found it. Maybe make it a bit more prominent on the home page? No point hiding your light under a bushel. 😉

      • Thank you for taking the time to look at my work–especially since I haven’t made it easy. I need to work on that. I’ll see what I can do.

  24. Thanks Mark,
    Absolutely agree with all 7 reasons! Great article…you nailed it. In 25 years running my art practice money has always been the most problematic thing. Your clear layout of the key areas helps clarify things and remind me that it’s okay to want to make money from my art.

  25. Erika Block says:

    You can and will overcome anything you want to overcome, Marta. That is exactly what bothers me, that these reasons are generally considered acceptable. Society expects creatives to fail. Then, whether they realize it or not, creatives expect themselves to fail.

    If your child is a great artist but struggling in math, you foster the art while working on the math. You would never tell your child, “it’s okay to fail math, good artists are often bad at math.” Because you’re basically saying, your skill set is pre-determined, so feel free to stop trying when something’s hard for you.

    We all have things that come easily to us, and things that give us a hard time. I can certainly relate to all of these points myself. But the difference between successful artists and struggling artists is whether or not they allow themselves to be hindered.

    • I didn’t say the reasons are pre-determined, or that anyone should stop trying, or allow themselves to be hindered.

      If my child were struggling with maths, I wouldn’t be doing her any favours by pretending she was good at it, or that maths didn’t matter, or that she wasn’t frustrated by it.

      I’d help her acknowledge the problem and solve it. But it wouldn’t be as simple as saying she can overcome anything and shouldn’t allow herself to be hindered.

  26. It’s funny how you seemed to have felt my struggle. I am working full time for a boss, but that wasn’t satisfying enough so I started next to that my own business.

    Now last week I had my first paying customer. We talked the project over and we both have been exited. I am over the freedom given en he about the ideas just boiling out. Till we came to the tedious point of “and how much will this all cost me” and I fell silent and my stomach turned.

    I did prepare myself for this, market research, compared other prices and studied the guidelines for prices in my field, took the average – 20%, but I just couldn’t get the number over my lips. My mouth got dry and I think he saw panic in my eyes. “what if i am to expensive” “I am a beginner – though I work in my field now 3 years for my boss – but that’s different – why would he pay that much for a no name company” and other sentences like these raced like a steam-train through my mind, distracted me and my mouth just busted out a 3ed of the price my research told me my services are worth.

    In this case I am lucky enough that he informed himself as well and he advised me before on taxes and book keeping. He knows my difficulty with money and he gave me another chance to recalculate the price to “a more realistic amount” as he called it.

    End of the story is, I am still sitting with a stone in my stomach and haven’t relayed the price yet…I know what I have to do, but I can not find the confidence – or the switch in my head – to do it….

    • Thanks for sharing the situation Nadja – I know a lot of people who can relate to this one!

      1. It’s scary for EVERYONE the first time you name your price to a potential client. It’s not just you – this is something all freelancers and business owners have to go through.

      2. It sounds like you have found a wise client who values your knowledge and skills and who is giving you a golden opportunity to price your services appropriately. You should make it your goal to find more clients with this attitude!

      3. Never feel you have to quote a price on the spot. Any reasonable client will understand that you need time to assess the project and price it appropriately. So if you’re not sure, always ask for a day or two to think it over before submitting a quote – it looks like the professional thing to do.

      4. It’s a very common mistake to price yourself too low when you start out. You may be a beginner at working for yourself, but if you have 3 years’ experience of this kind of work, then you are not a beginner! So I don’t see why you should charge 20% below the average.

      5. It sounds from your comment as though you are conscientious and will do your very best for this client. Believe it or not, that kind of dedication is not something your client can easily get elsewhere! It sounds to me like he is getting a good deal and he knows it, so I’m not surprised he is happy to pay you the going rate.

      I know what I have to do, but I can not find the confidence – or the switch in my head – to do it….

      So you know the answer. 🙂

      In Japan there is a very old temple called Kiyomizu-dera with a big wooden platform on a hilltop. The Japanese have a saying that at some point in life, everyone has to jump off Kiyomizu-dera – i.e. make a leap of faith. Maybe this is one of those times for you…

      • Kiyomizu is an absolutely gorgeous temple. I hadn’t heard that saying. I do remember–more than 40 years later–how exquisite the building is, braced on the side of a hill. I took photos of the wooden structures holding it up.

        I think there’s also wisdom in focusing on the simplicity and grace of the infrastructure beneath the temple: maybe a way of envisioning the financial and practical supports for our artistic lives.

  27. Hi Mark,

    thank you for your response. That’s very kind of you!

    Anyway, I’ll write a comment later, in the meanwhile enjoy the folllowing points:

    1) Aristotle said “The hardest victory is the victory over self”, but it is a victory that enables you to win in all other aspects of life.

    2) Extracted from :


    ( very meaningful article!! )



  28. Recently reading The Power of Intention has helped me reframe money and abundance, though I admit I’m making baby steps towards sloughing off my own assumptions and misgivings about money and creativity.

    And this feels like just the beginning… like – I start valuing myself and putting myself out there, break the silence about money and creativity, but that doesn’t assure me financial success just because I’ve broken down some of my barriers.

    I still feel like there’s a missing key ingredient I haven’t landed on no matter how much work I do around this subject. Maybe it’s patience.

    • Yes, changing our attitude to money is critical. If we don’t do that, all the financial advice in the world won’t make any difference.

      As I said to Melissa, we also need to do the calculations and take action. Maybe this is where you’ll find your missing ingredient, now that you’ve broken down the mental barriers.

      Rest assured, we’ll be covering both of these areas in more depth on Lateral Action… 😉

    • glad to hear that the Power of Intention is working well for you. As Mark says the attitude change is absolutely critical. Have you had the chance to listen to the audio seminar Mark released yesterday as that’s where we’re starting to talk about the solutions

  29. I can relate to every point made. Wow, well said! But, uh, have I missed any solution offered? I know I ought to read the comments, but would have to get back to those. 🙂

    Thanks so much! Just being AWARE that the way I feel and function is relatively normal for ‘creative types’ is good info to have. Awareness is empowering after all.

    • Thanks Guy. Glad to hear it had the desired ‘normalizing’ effect. 🙂

      And yes, more concrete solutions are in the pipeline, stay tuned

    • Guy, now that we’re a few days down the line from this blog post I thought I’d check and see if you’d had time to download the ebook and the audio seminar … we talk about solutions in the latter, best, Sarah

  30. Hi Mark,

    you are right 100%!!

    Anyway, here is another very meaningful link:


    They are pretty hard to put into practice all at once but little by little, as you say in English:

    “You never know…!!”



  31. Samy Cry says:

    Simple way to define a money value to your work is to count the time you worked on it.

    Then define a price for an hour.

    Being able to remember the time spent on it.

    Eg: You spent an afternoon working on a song, that’s x hours of work. On top of that you add a ratio of the time spend learning and developing the skills that gave you the ability to make that awesome song.

    You can add the time spent putting ideas together thinking about the lyrics at the coffee machine (break time is paid, Awesome !! ) and potentially a part of your sleeping time if you’re creative in your dreams, and the time you spent running around trying to get a buyer or what not.

    Creating a piece of art is much more than just the time spent making it happen, we can also value all the skills, thinking and hassle we’ve been developing to get there. Then in the end with a little accuracy, you can see it’s a realistic and reliable way to gauge the money worth.

    • That’s one way of doing it, and it can work pretty well in some contexts, e.g. some client projects. But as you point out, art is more than labour + time. And if you charge by the hour, there are only so many hours in the day, so there’s a ceiling on what you can earn.

      But supposing you own the rights to a song, and you either sell it yourself or license someone to sell it on your behalf – your income is only limited by the number of units you can sell. (Not to mention live shows, merchandise etc).

  32. Samy Cry says:


    Another way is to define

    1) how much money you need
    2) how much work you can produce
    3) divide the 2

    Maybe it’s not defining how much your work is worth,
    But it’s another realistic even simpler way to work it out

    • I like this model better, again depending on context. When defining how much you need, it’s critical to factor in all the costs of producing the work and running the business, not just the obvious ones.

      And it’s even better if you substitute ‘want’ for ‘need’. 😉

      • Samy Cry says:

        yeah that’s right, i spoted the need at the same time i posted but it was too late. Of course want !

  33. Thanks for this issue. Money is the number one important factor on averaging a creative success.

  34. How about creatives that makes much money in the industry? What is there secret? Are they real creatives or just genius on making money with the brain of others?

    • Samy Cry says:

      I think money people make money, and art people make art. Doesn’t mean they can’t learn from each others.

      • I like that way of looking at it. A lot of entrepreneurs are very creative, and a lot of artists/creatives can get pretty good at the money side of things if they apply themselves – and their creativity – to the task.

  35. I think creatives do need to take money more seriously. It is the method of exchange for goods and services. Its how we obtain basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, etc. Not having enough makes life very difficult. It also becomes hard to be creative. Money isn’t everything but we do need to know how to handle it.

    • Very good point – money is a way of facilitating exchange. If we didn’t have money we’d still have to figure out bartering or swapping sea shells or whatever.

      At the end of the day, any system of exchange is about relationships between people. And human nature isn’t going to change any time soon.

  36. your absolutely right. i found myself in all those points.
    So what should we do about it?

  37. Um… I know what I would spend it on:

    and a pet dragon.

  38. I think for me it would be mostly a lack of understanding on the business front and also a fear of failure/responsibility towards something when in my mind creating is a process that cannot be rushed, or pressured. I know I need to get out of that way of thinking and what angers me most about myself is that I am finding it very hard to consider what I do as work because it is so personal and FUN, so when I need money, I return to teaching which generally will never die for as long as people keep having sex. If I do teaching I get to be creative in other ways but lose my identity quickly. It’s a fine balance but I am working on convincing myself that what I do is a career choice and that I am worth it.

    • Separating the work you do for love and the work you do for money isn’t such a bad solution. We all do it to some extent. E.g. I like having poetry as a ‘money free space’ in my life. But I also have no problem earning money from doing work I love. I figure the more I enjoy it, the better I’ll do, and the more value I create for my clients and customers.

  39. The artists that make the most money from their art, also seem to be the ones that are not doing it for the money. I think that is important to keep in mind. The success of elite creatives encourages less dedicated artists to turn their art into a business. For the less talented, money becomes the driver, rather than the art.

    That is why there are all the long sales pages on the internet with false scarcity tactics, strong emotional triggers and a general claim that we are inferior for not being in the fashionable in-crowd. There is no art in getting us to consume.

    There is a delicate balance between creating value for others and extracting as much profit as we can. The prices we charge have little to do with the time or costs involved in providing the products or services and are more a function of the maximum price consumers will pay.

    We all need to make a living so money is a necessary part of life, but I believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with trying to extract as much profit out of others as we can. That is a very industrial age mindset that I hope will change.

    Real art changes the way we see the world. If that art allows us to earn a comfortable living, great. If not, that is still okay. Artists don’t create art because they expect it to make them rich, they do it because they have to.

    • I agree that real artists do it because they have to, but I’m not sure there’s such a black-and-white divide between art and business. Some people are good at art/creativity, some are good at business, and some are good at both.

      And I don’t think we can blame artists for all those long sales pages with yellow highlighter. 😉

  40. And it not that my parents didn’t nurture the arts side, in fact they paid for my design school, yet it’s interesting to note how my mother values what I do as a career, only when it is explained in terms she can understand will she accept it. She is a teacher too, and when I talk to her about a blend of teaching and art, she understands. I think she wants to see me have what I need and teaching is easier to calculate money wise to get what I need. But I am determined. I can’t remember who quoted this but they said:

    Finding motivation needs to be done daily, just like bathing. (I think it was Einstein).

    Same goes for courage, persistance and resilience.

    Very interesting topic.

  41. Mark, do you think it would be possible to set up network for everyone here so that there is a sense of community and support for all our creative needs. How amazing would it be to be able to outsource things that you done specialist in to someone who does thus fostering a fun business environment for people to connect with
    each other? I am just setting up an open Facebook group for creative networking. I am calling it Idea Bank – Creative Support and Networking. Look for it online and join so we can
    offer each other support on all levels.

  42. Good points Mark and all things I’ve dealt with personally over the years. It does seem.like not wanting to sell put and not really knowing the True value of ones work present a double-edged sword on top of everything else. Unspoken criticism from other artists who aren’t charging as much or doing as well can sometimes compound the guilt tool
    Thanks for bringing up these important things to think about because, yes, money is a very good and useful tool.

  43. Fritzie says:

    I am not sure where my two issues fit into your seven, but I don’t think they arise from being creative. First, I feel like in modern life, we are subjected to an ENDLESS barrage of selling to us. I often feel like one can’t go anywhere or do anything without someone or many recognizing it as a potential opportunity to sell whatever they are selling, however mundane in quality or unnecessary. I just get so tired of being pitched to all the time, seeing all the ads, seeing relentless self-promotion… that it makes me not even want to think about.
    A related issue that is harder for me to articulate is that I hold to a perhaps romantic notion that there are some things that should not be sold. Art and books should be sold to those who can enjoy them forever. Helping an old lady across the street, giving someone a shoulder to cry on, or providing encouragement and moral support to someone within ones community should not be sold. These last are certainly are of great value to those who receive the benefits, so my feeling does not have to do with value. It has more to do with my own values as to what people should just be willing to offer without charge.

    • Good point about the barrage of sales pitches. I guess none of us wants to be seen as adding to that.

      The issue of charging for helping services is another big topic – as a psychotherapy supervisor I’ve helped a lot of newly-qualified therapists wrestle with that one. Short version: it’s great to give freely with no expectation of reward. Whatever you do should be done in that spirit. But if the service (or art) is how you earn a living, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to also charge a professional fee for it. Otherwise the helping/creating enterprise is not sustainable.

      • I agree that professionals should be charging fees for services. But what makes someone a professional is her actual expertise rather than the desire to make money from providing that service. You should certainly charge for providing psychotherapy. I should not.

        • I disagree that what makes someone a professional is the actual expertise rather than a desire to make money from providing that service. Why then spend time, energy and wad loads of money on getting trained and gaining experience if you didn’t want to profit from being good at what you do? True, money isn’t the only reason for doing something but after reading this post/article, I have decided that my work is worth paying for. I even asked someone if they would like a price on something they liked (that is not a barrage of selling, if he is genuinely interested in having this particular artwork on his kid’s wall and there are printing costs related to getting it made). AND he is still keen on paying for my work. I have also met someone who is highly connected. I will be doing volunteer work for him possibly, but there will be something to come from gaining those connections (where I live, it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know). I like volunteering very much and I love helping people and it’s easy for me to just draw something (because I sleep and breath my craft), but somehow, I still can’t eat at the end of it. I agree with Mark about not expecting an exchange from offering to help someone. If you are going to give away services then do it without expectation. Just make sure you can do it without starving.

  44. Mark:

    Great post. Just finished reading it and many of the comments – there’s so much depth and texture in them.

    A recurring theme seems to be perceived worth. Two very useful (and hugely divergent!) perspectives on this broad topic come to mind: 1) Brene Brown’s TED talk, which explores worthiness from a psychological perspective; and 2) Derek Sivers’ book, which touches on worth from a business perspective (he had no idea to what to charge for his work, so he looked to the most analogous thing he could find and charged the same amount). Sivers’ take on the issue isn’t nearly as probing as Brown’s, but both are good to know about.

    I was especially drawn to Melissa’s comment on mindset. I agree with her – it’s exactly the thing from which all else flows, including our work, the quality of it, how we present it and ourselves, and, perhaps most important, whether we do it at all. I think Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, is essential for anyone struggling with the issues you’ve written about here.

    One last thing: I especially like something you wrote in one of your replies: “Supposing you stopped thinking about yourself, and focused on the potential buyer and their response to the work?” What a game changer that could be – I’ll bet most people have never even thought of trying to get to the point of perceiving what we do, whatever it is, as less about us and more about the people we create it for. Awesome thought. Good of you to share it.

    Well done!

    • Thanks Susan, very good point about self-worth. I need to read Derek’s book soon! I’ve not heard of Brene Brown’s talk but I’ll check it out…

  45. Hi
    Great article and commments, its all very close to home for us, I’ve been working through this creative v commerce stuff for years!

  46. Is it not possible to search for specific comment right here on your website. I mean previous comments. I just want to jump down to a specific comment of interest without having to scrollllll down. I love all the comment here, but I should be able to search base on name or….. this will be good.

  47. Oh man, they are all familiar. As are everyone’s responses. One of the interesting (and yes, terribly frustrating) aspects about talking money over creative work is that so many lay people also buy into this “it’s just what you do” argument…that creative work is not quantifiable, not like their work and training are, they touch on that long history of misunderstanding the “work” part of “creative work”. Aside from the fact that this is what I do for a living, I also have very real expenses (as do they). And that what makes my work different than anyone else’s is a product of years of practice (regardless of what that practice is, I think). It’s not just creatives that find it difficult to discuss money…perhaps it’s that lay people cherish this romantic notion that at least creatives are “untainted”?

  48. I like the point made that money stress will kill creative energy. I truly believe that many people in general let financial stress kill the joy in their lives. Even if individuals are not creative for a living, the enjoyment of planting a garden or creating a new recipe can lose effect when stress has overtaken one’s life.

  49. Hi Mark,

    just a final consideration!!

    Emotional intelligence is fundamental to boost creativity!

    Financial intelligence is crucial to deal with money in a wiser way!

    Here is a link which might be useful to increase the Financial Intelligence!!


    The most meaningful review:

    “File this book under NO EXCUSES” by Seth Godin, author of “Linchpin”



  50. I think this is usually attributed to Picasso (I got it from my friend Trish)….in those conversations where someone is evaluating your price for the perceived effort…q-“How long did it take you to do that?”; a-“My whole life.” I find this helpful for everyone involved, including as a reminder to myself…my work is a product of the many different things I’ve done, while the technical aspects should be familiar to anyone else in the trade, what I do with that is mine. This realization made a huge difference for me to command a more respectful rate.

  51. This is AMAZING and absolutely describes my experience. I’ve “done” each of the 7, and i suspect my clients (multi-taltented creative types) will resonate with the love/hate money relationship, especially those who are actively trying to make a living using their creative talents in an entrepreneurial way. Oddly, I didn’t have these worries as much when i was employed by an ad agency — but I guess that would be because a. It was Official that my talents were worth it and b. I wasn’t the only one “selling out”

    Thanks for a thought provoking article. I may have to write about it on my blog — with attribution of course, and a link back here.


  52. This is pretty much why all “creative people” ala artists need management. Rich people don’t get rich by paying their bills on time. In fact, I remember a writer I know who was still owed from a National Magazine for writing over 2 years ago. While he was a fantastic writer, he lacked the skills to chase a debt and feared not being used in the future. Choosing the right Management should really be a talking point.

    If an artist needs to worry about finances and everything related then their art will suffer for it, they could also potentially burn bridges. Where as if they had management chasing work/’bills for them they can disassociate themselves with that part of their business (to an extent) . Like it or not if you want any remuneration from your art then you are a business and therefore need to run yourself and your affairs like a business.

    Bigspin Artist Management

  53. wolvercat says:

    I think your 5 reasons are a bunch of bull! Anyone with even a bit of commonsense would never make such mistakes. And I don’t like U categorizing creative people as being lousy business people, too! How dare you?! Any business person in any type of business, making your ill-commonsense mistakes would suffer – whether they’re a creative person or not!

    If a creative freelancer just keeps their studio’s business practices simple and direct they’d avoid every single problem you illustrated. And as far as ‘crappy clients’ is concerned, artists (creatives0 only have to do 2 things to avoid problems. 1st they need to create (maybe w/ the help of a lawyer, if necessary) – a standard “Iron Clad” fair work contract for the type of creating they do….and not do any work until a client signs it. And have a generalized sheet included into the contract that has the specific procedural aspects / specific terms of the project that the client is hiring the artist (creative) to do. The client discusses it with the [creative] person and signs it along with the creative, if both parties are in agreement. The 2nd thing a [creative] person needs to do, is set up they’re standard work procedure(s)…and again place those in writing for themselves and or also to be able to provide potential clients w/ a copy of them, if need…and then stick to that laid out procedure! I work on a either an up-front-pre-paid terms, (for new clients that I’m doing a 1st time project for); after which if the project goes well, those terms then change into an only half of the owed money up-front….legitimate clients have never had a problem with this; only the deadbeats, loser clients have ever complained; and those I then tell simply that, this is the way I work – especially with new clients and if they can’t see working with me under these terms, then we can’t work together. Period! I’ve avoided all sorts of deadbeat clients this way. It’s simple and it works! If a client reneges on the other half of the owed monies I either sue them; and or inform them that I’ll never work with them again – placing them and or their company too, into my “non-workable clients file”. I also inform said client that I’ll be keeping the created artwork and all rights to it; for possible resale & use by whatever client and that their (as laid out in the work contract), that I’ll be keeping their deposit money for the work that I completed before they breached the contract. Simple, it works, and I think its SMART, and is according to your 5 mistakes statement not at all becoming of a creative person – cause if I’m creative, according to U, I must be business stupid – like all creative people(s) – right?!

    This whole article of yours is just to get creative people to sign up for your seminar(s) isn’t that the actual bottom line here?

    • Just because something is easy for you, it doesn’t mean it’s common sense to others.

      If you bothered to read the other comments, you’d see there are plenty of people who relate to these issues. So please don’t insult my readers by saying “Anyone with even a bit of commonsense” would know how to avoid them.

      You may know plenty about business, and good for you if so. But to judge from your writing you don’t know much about explaining it to others. And yet this skill is ‘common sense’ to some people.

      Also, I’d find it easier to take you seriously if you owned up and put your name to your comment.

  54. @wolvercat—whoa, that certainly is an aggressive post. Interestingly, I understand a similar message from you both, that clarity helps everyone involved. And I think that here creatives don’t differ greatly from other small business owners….we’re really concerned with our work/product, and the business end can be a challenge.

  55. i have worked three years AGAIN full-time painting, selling my oirginals, commissions, selling prints wholesale, developing new avenues. it is impossible for me to do both the creations and the marketeering. i need a sales rep!! the business takes so much time!!! and i need the time to be painting. I also have learned to take a partial-payment up front. the one time i did not recently the folks, renigged on the deal, but they also lost their restaurant business. just desserts. planned for a nice sports bar with planned paintings, actually went with sports posters on the wall. maybe their food went down too. i am going back to teaching art, so i can finance my next phase. i do not want to take out a business loan. I also sell other artists’ work, as an artist in res. at a healthplex. i have had to be diverse in ways to make money so i can keep on making art. i am single, thus no second income coming in. but i am learning! just keeping up paperwork for taxes is daunting.

  56. too add to my previous posts. i went out and got over 20 stores in short time to purchase prints, cards, bags and/or T shirts from my original art. then i never can get the get-with-it to keep on contacting for re-orders. in fact, i have developed an aversion to doing all that. i need a sales rep that is already going to stores, give a percentage of the sales. i have learned that much. there are lots of pages to my website, i know i need another kind with the little shopping carts, now anyone has to call or email me. and i need to get a site on facebook. but i am getting off this computer to paint!

  57. wolvercat says:

    Sorry I didn’t sign my name to my post, Mark; so as U said in your email to me ‘that you could take me seriously’. My name is Wolvercat. Apparently U failed to look at the top of my post where it clearly says in its tile: “Wolvercat says”. But U did make my point by not noticing that. Being a freelancer for many years, I do have a great deal of business knowledge; U were correct in stating the obvious, and if other people as u pointed out don’t have the same simple commonsense knowledge then maybe their not ready too freelance!

    Anyone, ANYONE, can easily set up a freelance studio! And if they can’t do their own quarterly tax preparations or accounting, it easy (especially for those on a limited budget to do so). You call up a full service accounting firm to handle it; or for short-of-cash money freelancers – they just go to the closest business college and contact either an either about to grad. top accounting student to handle it, or even one of the accounting Profs. who does that kind of work as an added sideline to their teaching duties, (that’s what I did, way back when I 1st started freelancing). The accounting teacher(s) at whatever college could recommend their top student – who would prolly do the artist’s accounting for little money, because it would give them something good to put onto their lacking resume & would start them on the road of experience. My point w/ my post was 1, that you were insulting artists (and other creatives) w/ your statements of how inept creatives are when it comes to business. (Only people who haven’t bothered to do their homework about freelancing are inept in business).

    2ndly my post was to point out that you, Mark; put up the article too snare creatives into attending your seminar, utilizing your coaching services, and getting people to download your E-book, for I assume educating these lost non-business savvy creatives. Now there’s nothing wrong with pulling people to use your services, don’t get me wrong, but to do it by insulting the minds of creatives to do it – IS WRONG! And that’s what pissed me off! Sorry, but it did.

    I notice you didn’t knock down any of the business methods I stated in my earlier post – why not? Maybe because their solid practices?

    I’m tired of online creative people’s, so called: ‘advice coaches’ – always telling us, creatives, that just because were creative artists, etc, that automatically were dumbfounded when it comes to the business side of freelancing.

    The only ‘starving artists’ out there today (w/ all the contact connectivity of the internet), are the one’s that deserve to be starving, because of their lazy-ness to set up their freelance studio correctly.

    And btw, there’s no such thing as ‘selling out’…that’s a myth, an excuse, conjured up and used by creatives that don’t have the understanding that their creative endeavors are supposed to lead to financial results. What modern dedicated creative doesn’t want to be rewarded for their efforts in money gain, exposure gain, fame, etc? Certainly not professionals! Only hobbyists freelancers would ever not be working for those gains. And I seriously doubt that most hobbyist freelancers would gripe about gaining those results either.

    Creative want-to-be successful people just need to do their research, homework about the way freelancing is done, the way one sets up a freelance studio proper, before they start freelancing. The trouble is young-up-and-coming creatives keep putting the cart-before-the-horse and that’s why they get into trouble! If they’d just stop use their head’s logically, commonsensical, most of them wouldn’t need ‘coaches’! Any good art college, business college, can provide the necessary education to creatives, who actually want to learn to be freelancers. Or the starting out freelancer should just contact any number of successful freelancers, in their chosen field of creativeness, over the web, (in their own town, is best) and become an apprentice too learn. I have 2 apprentices at the moment, one in town and the other out in Nebraska, (whom I apprentice over the web). It’s not hard…

    Instead, of pointing out the obvious mistakes any idiot could avoid with even low commonsense, Mark..maybe you should write some articles actually listing what procedures, etc…that freelancers should do for success; that would help your article/blogger subscribers out a lot more. people, creatives, especially in this economy today, don’t need anyone telling us that we need to take money seriously ether, trust me – everyone these days takes it serious!

    I meant no disrespect, to you McGuinness, or to anyone else…u just pissed me off, with your insulting article to us, creatives. Maybe that’s not how u intended to come off – but for me and others I sent the article link to – it did insult us.

    Btw, I’m a successful Cartoonist and successful novelist, as well. I work in the comic book industry, and write novels, I also illustrate childrens books. I’ve been a freelancer for many years, so I know from whence I speak.

    Oh and look, you can now take this post seriously, Mark, for I signed it.

    ~John Wolvercat

    • Hey John,

      Since you’re so preoccupied by insults, here’s a fascinating fact for you:

      Most bloggers will be more likely to respond to your comments if you DON’T use insulting and aggressive language.

      Amazing but true. 😉

      For an example of how to disagree while retaining some manners, have a look at Tony Caroselli’s comment below.

  58. You know… I debated whether or not to post this as a comment to this article, and I wasn’t going to, because you describe yourself as a “poet and creative coach,” and that tells me this is your business, and I don’t want to damage anyone’s business. But since wolvercat and others are piling on you and making some really rude claims, I figure it might actually be a benefit to respond point by point, but respectfully.

    Before I posted this comment, I posted a link to my Facebook page asking people what they thought I’d have to say about it. Two people – one of whom is my mother – replied, and they both thought I’d agree with it. I don’t. In fact, I agree with five words in it and nothing else. We’ll get to those five words in a bit.

    But to begin with, the premise is faulty. Maybe the “creative people” you know – or many of them, at any rate, don’t talk about money. For me? Most of the creative people I know talk about it incessantly – how they have it, how they don’t, how they got screwed on this deal, how they hated taking that one because it didn’t pay enough, but hey. Rent’s due. And I’ve known a lot of creative people in my day, mind you. I grew up the son of an art teacher, went to a liberal arts college and now live in North Hollywood, where most of my friends either are or want to be in the film and TV industries in some capacity or another. Plus, I’v worked in publishing, am friends with cartoonists and singers and dancers and the whole spectrum of the arts.

    And it’s a premise which is provably inaccurate even to a casual observer. As wolvercat has so rightfully pointed out, there are any number of creative people who are excellent businesspeople. When I was reading your article, Paul McCartney came immediately to mind. It’s true John and George were much more squeamish about money, but Paul is undeniably talented and undeniably a businessman. Steven Spielberg wears both hats, as well. I’d sit and think of a list of other examples, but you get my point.

    But to the extent MANY “creative” people feel about money the way John and George do – which is a very broad generalization, but assuming it for now – do your reasons hold water? I’m afraid to say the answer is no. On a point-by-point basis, points 1 and 2 are mutually contradictory. Those who truly do not have money would NEVER call it unimportant, and those who would have it. Even – perhaps especially – if they inherited, none consider money so much a curse as those who never want for it.

    Numbers 3 and 6, again, false assumption. One of the most creative men I know found a highly lucrative day job in marketing, and one of the most creative women is an accountant. I, myself, worked five years in accounting – hated every minute of it, but much of why I hated it was I found it so pathetically simple. Indeed, to say “creative” and good at marketing or good at accounting are mutually exclusive is provably false. TV commercials are created by ad execs, and some of them are quite creative, and if the 20-aughts taught us nothing, it’s that some accountants can spin fictional tales to put the Brothers Grimm to shame.

    Numbers 4 and 5, I know some people certainly worry about, but there’s a very simple solution to both of them. Don’t want to sell out? Don’t sell out. Don’t want to look greedy? Don’t be greedy. It’s not hard. You can say no to some offers and still be a good business person. In fact, if you’re a truly good business person in any field, you WILL say no to MOST offers. Because the short-term gain doesn’t off-set the long-term loss. Again, we’re in the midst of a financial crisis caused by people who stood to gain a lot of money really quickly and didn’t much care what would happen down the road. I worked in the music industry for two years. Most of my former coworkers are out of a job or in a new career due to the collapse of the industry because the record companies didn’t take hold of the MP3 phenomenon when it first began. They made money from 2003 to 2007, yeah. Look how that worked out.

    (Also, on a completely personal note, I find your implication that creative people are overly sensitive to criticism insulting and counter-productive. Not to tell you your business, but if you’re a creative coach, I think it behooves you more than any role you will play to knock THAT out of your clients’ heads, not to reinforce or excuse it. But that’s just me.)

    And 7 is just patently ludicrous. I can’t name a single person who doesn’t know by the age of 18 what they’d do with money. I’m 34, and I can tell you exactly what I’d do with it: Blow it on strippers, booze and Vegas, and give the rest of it away. My younger brother would buy a house. We know what we’d do with it. What I’d do with it might not be as wise as what my brother would, but I know what it is.

    Now, understand, I’m not putting you down. I completely see what you’re doing is a service to many people who DON’T know how to handle money but who want to, and I don’t fault anybody for making a living. But c’mon, man. Don’t be so disingenuous. Creative people don’t know how to market? Please. What do you call this blog post? Marketing 101: Present people with a problem they may not even know they have in their lives (“Why are you so bad with money?”), present answers to your question (seven of them), offer a solution (“Take my seminar and download my book, and if you want to delve deeper, well… I AM a creative coach.”) I don’t think you’re a charlatan, because charlatans are false prophets, and except for the one point I mentioned above, I don’t think you’re a false prophet. You clearly do know and can help people manage their money better. But you do remind me of that old joke about the man who buys the guaranteed-or-your-money back course, “How to Be a Millionaire in Three Months,” gets the book and reads, “Chapter 1: Create a Course Called ‘How to Be a Millionaire in Three Months.'”

    As for the one point on which I personally agree for me? It’s these five words: “But we also hate it.” I DO hate money. Despise it. I consider it every dollar in my bank account or my pocket a link in a slave’s chains. There’s no love/hate relationship here. I think it’s the vilest system ever created by man, and if I could, I’d pile all the money in the world in a big heap and light it on fire, just to see how civilization copes with that. But until the day I can do that, we’re all in this galley together, and I ain’t trying to stop you from rowing.

    I just wanted to address your post like an adult is all.

    • I suppose this just shows people are different.

      I’m a writer and know a great many writers and other creative people, and, especially amongst writers, money is a real problem because clients very often act surprised if you even want to be paid, and many writers don’t know how to deal with this.

      I have my own experiences of this. In one case, I took on an editing job without discussing money – because I don’t like to discuss money – and when I finally managed to bring the question up, it turned out the client had no intention of paying me and thought because I’m a writer I’d just do it as some kind of favour. Call me an idiot for not getting that point clarified before starting the task, but there is an actual money issue amongst the creative people that I know.

      • Yeah. Well, don’t reply to the Craigslist ads which say “no pay” at the bottom.

        I mean, don’t get me wrong: This is why I say what Marc’s doing is absolutely not harmful, and is in fact a benefit. It’s totally true. Especially with young writers (or artists or what have you), they simply don’t know how to save themselves a lot of time and effort, and what he’s doing is completely a service.

        But the fact of the matter is unless it’s stated up front that what you’re doing is a favor, yeah. You get paid to work on this planet. If strangers don’t want to pay you, don’t work for them. But it’s not because you’re a sensitive little flower. It’s because you haven’t learned basic business skills. Which is fine. You’re much better off learning it the easy and cheap way (Marc’s) than the difficult and expensive way, but you will learn it eventually or find another profession.

      • Thanks Quentin. Ouch re your client! Yes, as Tony says, we end up learning the easy way or the hard way. 🙂

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment Tony.

      I appreciate you have strong feelings about the issues – and the fact that you made an effort to be respectful in your response.

      You make some excellent points and I agree with a lot of what you say.

      The bit that surprised me is that you seem to have read my title (and article) as meaning that ALL creative people don’t talk about money, and that they are ALL bad at managing it, and can never learn to be good at it.

      Whereas what I intended – and the way most people seem to have taken it – was:

      When many (but not all) creative people don’t talk about money, these are some of the reasons why (but not every reason applies to every person)

      But I don’t think that would have been a very elegant solution. 🙂

      So yes, I agree that creative people can be good at financial management, marketing and other business disciplines.

      (I’d even go further than that and say that a lot of business people are very creative at what they do – you can probably imagine I get objections to that point of view as well!)

      Re the ‘sensitive to criticism’ issue – I have to say it crops up a LOT in coaching sessions, and whenever I teach giving (and receiving) feedback on creative work, it’s always an emotive session. But I don’t actually think sensitivity is a bad thing (within reason).

      I ain’t trying to stop you from rowing.

      Thanks, more power to your paddle too. 🙂

      • Well, to be fair, you say you meant this to apply to many but not all, but the word “many” does not appear in your title nor opening paragraphs. So if I mistook your comments as a broad generalization, I do apologize, but you will hopefully forgive me for reading the article at face value. And again, I think teaching most creative people-slash-artists how to manage the business end is a fantastic service, and a LOT of them need it. So I’m not putting you down.

        As for criticism (or feedback), this is certainly an article of itself, but I’ve had all too much experience – as an editor, director, teacher, mentor, producer, etc. – with artists who were over-sensitive to ANY kind of feedback, and I think it’s the ultimate enemy for artists. I take a very Samuel Goldwyn approach: “Don’t pay any attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them.” But as for EDITORS? That’s a different story. And the trick is always telling the difference between the two. And part of this may be that I started writing and submitting when I was about 14 or 15 years old, and when you can wallpaper your room with rejection letters by your junior year of high school, you get a bit thick-skinned about it.

        Still and all, there are any number of anecdotes about almost any artist you can name who soldiered on in the face of outright rejection OR – conversely but equally important – recognized for themselves or on wise advice what wasn’t working and came up with much better ideas. I think a thick skin coupled with an honestly critical eye – putting aside how much effort has been exerted and asking simply, “But does it WORK?” – is the key which separates the great artists from the skilled craftsmen. But again, that’s an article unto itself.

        • No worries re ‘many’, these things are always open to interpretation and maybe I could have been clearer.

          I think a thick skin coupled with an honestly critical eye – putting aside how much effort has been exerted and asking simply, “But does it WORK?” – is the key which separates the great artists from the skilled craftsmen.

          Nail on head. The thick skin has to be grown. When I teach feedback, I always teach the art of receiving it as well as giving it. And yes, that’s a topic for another day…

    • Tony? That was a brilliant comment. Also, if you didn’t take Critical Thinking in your education years somewhere along the way, I’d be *real* surprised. You brought me back to my own fond time with premises, false assumptions and tsking generalizations. Fun stuff!

      Mark? Thanks for taking up the topic of money here at Lateral Action. As I’ve often noted to Peter Shallard: “Write about money. It ALWAYS causes a reaction.” Thus proving how important it is to talk about it, n’est pas?

      John? *cracks open a beer and kicks up feet* Chill. Relax. It’s Friday. Enjoy.


  59. The relationship between money and creative people is like a negative feedback circle that keeps getting worse. They associate money with negative feelings and mindset – they don’t understand it, they don’t think it’s important, they think its greedy – and this outputs in not wanting to deal with it -> prevents them from taking steps to manage their money -> money decreases -> which negatively feeds back again into the way they think about money. It’s no wonder we have this starving artist stigma!

  60. wolvercat says:

    I didn’t realize I had to sugar coat my comments to make my point(s). Nor did I realize I had to agree with the article….to not be branded as rude! I’ll keep quite now…so as not to upset the sensitivities here.

    And no one should feel obliged to enact any of the suggestions I posted in my comments; I’ll just keep taking assignments away from freelancers who don’t have a clue as to how too set up a freelance business…or run one. I’ll always find uses for the money. Shrugs.

    Keeping my branded rudeness to myself now, so I don’t make y’all cry.

  61. I think I identify with Money Stress most. The way it pervades every aspect of my craft and robs my creativity of innocent enjoyment…. I would be happiest giving my work away to people who love it. Short of finding a patron ala the Medicis, I’m stuck with the current situation.

    I’ve discovered facing the fears head on the best method. The absolute worst thing to happen with money for my art is not life threatening. So I grit my teeth and go on.

    • This is why I wonder (just thinking aloud) whether it doesn’t make sense for a lot of people to have a reliable source of income as a safety net so that the art work isn’t under so much money pressure. Maybe it is still like this, but when I lived in New York a long time ago, lots of the young creative people had jobs like waiting tables or whatever alongside their art. That way they could take risks with their art rather than looking at their art as their sole potential source of rent money.

    • Yes, it’s hard when your creativity is bound up with the business. What can make it easier, or at least more rewarding, is if you can draw a kind of magic circle around yourself while you’re actually working, and focus 100% on the job in hand. You still need to deal with the money/business stuff afterwards, but it makes a big difference if you can recapture some of that innocent enjoyment.

  62. Sorry to come here and poke a sleeping post :-), but I don’t often find this discussed, and I’m happy to see it here. I’ve seen a lot of blithe casualness about money in the world of creative work, and it often strikes me that it’s a dangerous attitude. Left on its own, it pretty much reserves creativity for what I will bluntly call trust-fund kids of all ages. People who have safety nets that bankroll their experimental lives. The rest of us don’t have that and need to find a way to keep body and soul together while we do what we are meant to do.

    I often say that “don’t quit your day job” is actually a great piece of advice for artists. Like you said, money fears kill creativity like nothing else, sometimes especially for those of us who grew up with very little. I never had the upbringing that allowed me to falsely imagine that money problems will just naturally sort themselves out. They don’t. There are CONSEQUENCES to not having enough money.

    The fact is, if you are writing or writing music (my two things, with music in the #1 spot), you need less time in front of your chosen keyboard than you think. While I’m at work or on the freeway getting back and forth, I’m babbling and humming to myself. While I take my lunchtime walk at work, I’m thinking about music. I’ve done the same with words. It’s just something my brain does all the time, like a card sharp walking around fiddling with a deck of cards in the background all day long.

    What this means is that all day long, my “idea tank” is filling, and thus I only need about an hour a night to “empty out” what’s welled up in the tank into the piano (or the laptop). One simply doesn’t NEED to be in one’s studio to get creative work done. In fact, sometimes the piano can be a crutch if you only go looking for ideas when you’re sitting at it. So, a day job is not irreconcilable with a creative vocation — and it’s NICE to have a decent apartment, good food, and a good instrument while one creates. Starvation does very little to get the creative juices flowing, especially after a certain age.

    • ” I’ve seen a lot of blithe casualness about money in the world of creative work, and it often strikes me that it’s a dangerous attitude. Left on its own, it pretty much reserves creativity for what I will bluntly call trust-fund kids of all ages.”

      I completely agree with this.

      Sadly, in my own case (which may not be isolated), every time I’ve had a day job, creativity has dried up, and I’ve had to quit. I’ve yet to find an easy solution, or any lasting solution at all, to this dilemma. Anyway, I certainly hope more people are able to find creative fulfilment with or without financial security.

  63. Definitely a topic worth keeping alive, thanks @Janis for bringing it back up. It’s tough, I think it’s that simple, but financial security shouldn’t be dismissed.

    Much of my problem solving does not happen at the bench, in fact my most brilliant insight seems to happen as I drop off to sleep or awake (I understand this is not uncommon) but my work itself requires space, machinery, and time, and therefore money to finance that..I build furniture. So perhaps the opposite end of the spectrum from Janis in terms of infrastructure. At times my day job is too exhausting, or is too similar that I have no interest in going into the shop. Finding that balance is the most difficult part, and that balance is not static but rather very fluid. But they also fuel one another, even when unbalanced….my contract work provides the cash to keep up the more interesting and experimental projects, which in turn provide the more rounded background that provides those more brilliant solutions.

  64. Please, this article is just cliche after cliche. We don’t want to “sell out”, we’re “sensitive souls” who love “art and world peace”? Bleh.

    Personally, I think it’s pretty self-important to think of yourself as “a creative”, whether you work in a creative industry or not. But for the article’s overall generalization I guess it’s fine.

    And who says creatives don’t talk about money?

    Thanks though, for reinforcing the stereotype that “creatives” are stupid, pretentious and oblivious and then invite everyone to state how they fall into one of these categories.

    As a side-note, I hope “creatives” have at least a fundamental grasp of marketing and selling–after all isn’t “making art” about moving and inspiring the people? You need a basic understanding of the outside world in order to create for them.

    • Thanks though, for reinforcing the stereotype that “creatives” are stupid, pretentious and oblivious and then invite everyone to state how they fall into one of these categories.

      Read it again and you’ll see I’m challenging the stereotype, not reinforcing it.

      As a side-note, I hope “creatives” have at least a fundamental grasp of marketing and selling–

      You might hope that, but it doesn’t make it generally true.

      after all isn’t “making art” about moving and inspiring the people? You need a basic understanding of the outside world in order to create for them.

      No, that’s not typically where the impulse comes from. It’s a nice effect, but usually not the cause.

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