3 - Why I’m building a body of work rather than building a business

Why I’m building a body of work rather than building a  business.

Why I’m building a body of work rather than building a business.

This episode is about how I was becoming paralyzed by the notion that I had to turn all of my projects into businesses and how I found a way to simplify so I could get unstuck and start making things again.

Last week’s episode was an interview with Spencer Goldade, if you listened you know he works with me at my day job. Quite a while ago when my CD Born To The World was finished I was working on learning some online marketing techniques to sell it. I was talking to him about how this one completed thing seemed to be taking up all my time and I felt like I was never going to get to the other creative projects I wanted to do. He said “Just keep creating”. I said “No. I have to learn to sell what I’ve already made.”

We were both right, Spencer more than I though. I was right because I did need to learn to sell but where I was wrong was that I didn’t need to learn to sell what I’d already made I just needed to learn how to sell. I don’t regret the time I spent learning, researching and exploring Facebook and Youtube ads. Squeeze pages and email autoresponders I learned a lot. Most of what I learned positively impacted my day job as well. Wins all around! 

Where Spencer was right was that I should have kept creating. I could have learned new selling techniques for each new song, book or product I decided to put out. Then I would have the knowledge and a body of work. Late last year, a month or so before I decided to start doing a podcast, I had decided that one of the things that was holding me back was I kept thinking about how to turn each project idea I had into a full-on business. That turns fun ideas into huge commitments and then I don’t want to them. Now, if my passion was building businesses I would have chosen any of them and started. Failed. Chosen a new idea and started again. I would have repeated that over and over until one stuck and I could build my business from there. I’ve come to realize that my passion isn’t in building businesses, it’s in the seeing of the problem or opportunity and creating a clever solution or product. It’s in telling stories in different ways. Since I’m lucky enough to have a job that pays the bills I don’t have the monetary/survival drive to make one of my ideas flourish I just want the creative fulfillment that comes from finishing. 

I decided that I would just create the products. The books. The songs. And rather than try to create a company based on one of them I would create a series of compelling (and completed) works. If people bought them, great. If people didn’t, fine. That decision really helped me move forward. 

This is where you get to do some thinking. What is it you like most about your creative endeavours? Do you create things just to sell them or give them away? Where it’s the act of parting with your work that’s the most enjoyable. The act of earning the money or seeing the joy on someone’s face that is the reward. Or do you do the work just for you where the completed work is simply a byproduct of enjoying the process and the world can take it or leave it? 

Both ways are perfectly acceptable as long as they align with your purpose in doing the work. And in both ways you are creating a Body Of Work and I think that’s more important than money or admiration.  

Thanks for listening and remember, you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark.