Creativity can be a big concept. So big, in fact, that maybe it defies exact rules and definition.
But making a living from our creativity means conducting business. And business relies on rules and definition. Boiling it all down to black and white; yes or no. Will it sell. If you don’t create what people like, you don’t eat.
If we want a viable career from our creative endeavours, then we really have to find a way to make business and creativity fit together. Square pegs in round holes, etc. etc. You get me.
As I learn more about self-employment, mainly via books and YouTube, I’m starting to see recurring themes. Authors, rock stars, economists, entrepreneurs and creative success stories are all very honest about their thoughts and processes, and the obsessive passion for what they do is always the engine of their achievements. (See: Dave Grohl.) But there’s something more than that.
It’s this ability they share, a cultivated confidence and experience, that allows them to deal in fundamental principles. The basics, at work behind the scenes of business and success. But these fundamentals aren’t anything mind-blowing. If anything, it’s more like a minefield of clichés.
Do what you love. Work every hour. Work harder than everyone else. Practise. Put in your ten thousand hours. Get out there. First impressions count. A business exists to make money. You need to make more than you spend. Nothing sells like sales. Keep things simple. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
There’s no rocket science here – or is there? Even rocket science relies on first principles, (that which is basic, foundational or self-evident) to build upon first. You don’t get people into space without first acknowledging the law of gravity. Those poor people won’t last long up there if you don’t first recognise that we need air, water, food and warmth, before achieving incredible things like science experiments in zero gravity.
Whether in business, creativity or indeed rocket science, beneath all the expertise and complexity is a much more basic foundation. Our tendency to overthink everything and turn our backs on the mainstream, maaaan, would probably explain our lack of success in the creative business. It’s good to feel like the outsiders, of course… but people die in the wilderness. There’s a balance.
Success seems to rely on the ability to keep these basic truths in mind, as often as possible. And, crucially, the confidence to act on them in the world of business. But we overthink everything – and the basics get lost in the noise.
If you’ve ever wondered how some people get so inexplicably far ahead in life, then wonder no more. Maybe they’re just rich, or loud, or like, really really good looking. And yes, they seem to get everything just handed to them. It’s their unfailing ability to keep things exceedingly simple.
And/or, maybe they work their arses off, every day, to be extremely good at the things people like. Whatever people might call them, they’re not lazy.
I realise that this entire post has been stating the bloody obvious. But the obvious is often ignored, especially if we’re preoccupied with creativity.
But things really aren’t as complicated as we’d often like to think. As creative people, just trying to make a sale so we can eat, we have a tendency to reinvent the wheel. Produce art so fresh and edgy and out there, that no one actually wants to buy it.
Meanwhile, success stories just learn the rules of the game, and play it. Maybe we ignore the simple stuff, the fundamentals, at our professional peril.
Now buy my book, right here. Everyone’s reading it, so don’t miss out. Grab your copy today. Yours to own on Kindle. Tell your family, tell your friends. Yours to own right now. E-everyone’s er, talking about it. Yeah. It’s like, super hot right now. It’s lit, and it’s lit. Etc.
…I must wash now.