Why sometimes I think about giving up on my art career.
I just sat down at the table on our the back deck and opened my Macbook Pro to start a new blog. I committed to myself to write a new one each week and I can’t push this off much longer.
It’s a beautiful spring day here in New Jersey and as my kids are playing on the swings, I begin typing with the intention of coming up with something inspirational. After all, I’m supposed to be “The inspiring Artist guy.“
The cold hard truth is, I don’t feel like being inspirational today.
About 20 years ago, I left the only real job that I ever had. And I only had that job for about three or four months.
You know the expression, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life“. Well I bought into that…big time.
Other than this very brief experiment in a cubicle, I’ve been working for myself as a creative professional in one capacity or another since I was a teenager.
My motivation for pursuing a career in art was simple enough.
1. I wanted to make my life decisions based on what brought me closer to happiness.
2. I didn’t want a dull life.
3. I have this inner need to see where this creative thing takes me.
This seemed to me the most direct and obvious path to bliss.
If you’re someone who’s ever wondered what life is like on the other side of a steady pay check, this is one a few things that I can speak on with some authority.
The Perks of Creative Entrepreneurialism
I know the job statistics will tell us otherwise, but it is very possible to make a decent living from being a creative professional. You really can make it, but you have to really, really want it, because it’s the not the easiest path.
I really wanted it.
It took many, many, many years, but I eventually found my niche and built a bit of a following of good people (thank you person reading this)…This path has a given me a lot of fringe benefits…
- I make my own schedule.
- I follow my own rules.
- Deadlines? I mostly invent them for myself with the exception being when I’m doing freelance work.
- Authority figure to answer to? This guy.
- My income isn’t capped at the same amount every week. Boring. I’d rather have the chance to make more than the previous week.
- Need a day off? You got it dude.
- Mingling with rock stars…Check.
- Travel to exotic destinations for inspiration just because? Yup.
- Exhibiting my art around the world? Yeah, been there, done that.
These are the types of things that pulled me in and what once felt like a wet dream is now fairly normalized to me.
Sounds pretty sweet right?
Well…It can be. The main course is delightful…but, before you get the idea that it’s all fun and games, let me offer you a taste of reality for dessert…
Fairly frequently, I actually catch myself thinking, “Is it time to scrap all of this art stuff and just get a real job“
Am I insane ?
Doing what you love for work at some point, becomes just that…work.
Before you dismiss me as being an entitled prick who doesn’t know how good I have it, let me point out that this love/hate relationship with my art career is more common than you’d think. I talk to a lot of authors, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and athletes on our Podcast and it’s something that a lot of us have some version of.
Before you take that big leap and try to stick the landing with creative entrepreneurialism, realize that it changes things.
Here’s the part that didn’t enter my fantasy when I was mentally masturbating to the fantasy of achieving my dream job.
Some days, it feels like all I can think about is, “So…When do I actually get to paint anymore?”
I never signed up for this so I could become more proficient at Sales Funnels, Accounting and PPC campaigns. I don’t particularly get hot and heavy learning about the new GDPR policies or trying to figure out how to use my new Audio Interface for our Podcast.
Oprah Winfrey said, “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.“
In order to make a living for my family, I have to learn and do a lot of things that aren’t very sexy. These things all take a massive amount of time and they’re very necessary.
If you want to succeed, it takes more than just passion.
You can’t just do art and ignore the rest unless you’re Banksy or have enough savings or other income to release the pressure valve or hire a team. For most people, including me, this means I still have to wear every hat in the business.
As your career grows, so do the expectations and demands. The stress multiplies, the responsibilities become overwhelming and the kicker of all this is that this doesn’t mean that you get a pay raise for working harder.
Oprah is right. If you want to do what you want to do, it’s going to require doing a lot of things that you don’t necessarily love to do.
“I don’t particularly feel like writing this blog”, I thought. So I started there, with honesty.
A funny thing happened as I surrendered to the moment and decided to just do it. I felt the warm sun on my face and heard my children’s laughter. I acknowledged in that moment how lucky I am that I get to work from home and see them as much as I do.
When I started to enjoy the process, I reconnected to gratitude. And as Tony Robbins says, I turned my “have to do‘s”, into “Get to do‘s”.
So, this is what I have for you this week. A bit of vulnerability and honesty.
This Blog contains some affiliate links. If you choose to buy any of the products I recommend, I get a tiny commission. This comes at no additional cost to you.