13 – Money is a tool. Not a goal.

money is a tool. not a goal. 

money is a tool. not a goal. 

What is money for? Should you write ‘make money’ on your list of goals for your creative project? What is my favourite quote on the topic of money and creativity? I’d tell you here but there isn’t enough room. You may as well listen to this week’s episode to learn why Money is a tool. Not a goal. 

Hi and welcome to the 13 episode of The Spark & The Art podcast. I’m your host Tucker. 

In last week’s episode [TheSparkAndTheArt.com/12] we talked with Chris Seth Jackson about his changing direction away from his 4 year project HowToRunABand.com. He said among his reasons for moving on from the project was that it wasn’t generating enough income for him. He enjoys the topic and appreciated the clout it gave him in the music marketing community. In the long run though that didn’t satisfy him enough since one of the reasons for How To Run A Band  was to generate income for himself. 

It takes a lot of time and energy to generate content, create art or whatever your creative outlet is. If you aren’t getting the right kind of satisfaction or the right amount of satisfaction it’s going to get tough. 

During the episode with Joe Harley [TheSparkAndTheArt.com/8] (the one that didn’t get recorded unfortunately) I asked if he considered the fact that the he was selling some of his first framed prints an indication of success. Was it an indication of reaching a next level of sorts. He said that he didn’t expect his pursuits to replace the income he left when he retired. While validation of his creativity through purchase was nice it wasn’t the sole reason he did it. 

The first interview I did was with Spencer Goldade [TheSparkAndTheArt.com/2] we talked about money as well and how it relates to art and design and he said:

“When I first started out freelancing I was just hungry and I took, basically everything that was thrown at me and since then I’ve realized, that’s an easy way to burn out because not every project is going to be fulfilling to me.”

One of my favourite quotes on the subject of money and creativity is from Eddie Izzard. Eddie is a standup comedian, actor and writer who has a long and successful career. 

Eddie said:

"I'm not a capitalist. I'm a creativist. I didn’t make things to make money. I make money to make things." 

Money is important, no doubt. It’s so important I’ll say that again. Money is important, no doubt. Artists have been working for patrons since money was invented. The Sistine Chapel is considered one of the greatest historical works of art we have. It was a commissioned piece. I’m sure if you talked to Michelangelo he’d tell stories of people offering input and asking why it was taking so long. 

When I say 'money isn’t a goal' does that mean you shouldn’t write down ‘Make a profit’ on your list of goals for the project? No not at all but remember that money is simply a tool. If you need a hammer to build a fence you’re going to find a way to get that hammer. If you need money to continue producing your work you will find a way to get that money. If you sit down and think “How can I make money? I know I’ll make something and sell it.” chances are good you are going to be disappointed. You’ll be disappointed because your heart wasn’t in what you were creating. You weren’t creating something for yourself to enjoy or for someone else to enjoy you were creating something simply to make money.

Let’s bookend this with another quote from the Chris Seth Jackson about shifting your mindset to look at money as a tool instead of a goal.

“If you embrace money as not something evil or counter to your creativity but something to manipulate to achieve your lifestyle, then things change.” 


Here’s where you get to do some thinking. 

Have you put off creating something because you didn’t think it had a chance at making money? 

Have you sold something you created but were still disappointed? Was it because you didn’t think you did a good enough job?
Was it because you felt like “Great I have money. Now what?"

What do you think you can do to shift your mind set from 'money is a goal' to 'money as a tool'? 


I’d love to hear the answers to any of those questions if you’re up for sharing you can either tweet me at @sh_tucker or leave me a voicemail at my toll-free number 1-877-966-4886. 

Do you know someone who’s struggling with the fact that money should be a tool and not a goal? Please share this with them, the share address is TheSparkAndTheArt.com/13

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