Creatively independent: Will doing what you love get you what you need?

“Follow your bliss.” That’s the mantra that led me through the first two thirds of my life.

It seems unimpeachable.

Life is to short too waste time doing something you don’t enjoy, so you need to tune into your passion. Find out what makes you happy, what excites you, and don’t do anything else.

Forge your own path! Never give up, never surrender!

Because of that ideology, I had some pretty incredible adventures.

I traveled South America, Europe and the Middle East. I didn’t know where I would wake up the next day or what I would be doing.

I made incredible friendships, had romantic love affairs, and lived a dream lifestyle.

But I was poor.

Too many times I got stuck in a foreign country with no way to pay rent (or eat) and had to ask my parents to bail me out.

Then I moved to Taiwan and worked just enough to pay the bills, but spent all of my time writing and painting.

I had some big successes. But I was still pretty poor.

Here’s what I finally figured out:

“Follow your Bliss” is a nice idea, but a bad business model.

Of course, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t follow your bliss – it may be a happy way to live life. And it’s also very possible (in some cases) to turn your passion into a profitable business, so that you can make money doing what you love – but only if you focus on the money!

There’s a damaging belief system that says, “Just keep doing what you love, and don’t worry about the money. If you do what you love, the money will come!”

Frankly, I no longer believe that.

I think the vast majority of successful writers, artists and entrepreneurs these days learned how to turn their passion into a business.
Here’s the secret:

1. To make money,  you have to sell something other people want or need.
2. Then you have to price it, and let them know about it.

Writing your book is not your business, it’s product development. Finding the people who want to read it and selling it to them (or building up the demand for it) is your business.

Painting is not your business. Selling paintings, routinely, repetitively, to an ever-hungry body of collectors, is.

Writing and painting will never let you quit your day job if you don’t know where the money is coming from, and you just sell things haphazardly, with no real plan.

It has to be sustainable.

It takes thought, effort, and planning.

Hence, Creativindie

And that in a nutshell is what this site is all about.

Doing what you love won’t get you what you need.

Doing what you love won’t let you quit your day job.

It isn’t until you treat your passion as a business, and you think about what service or benefit people are willing to pay for that you can create, and you connect with your buyers, and you streamline everything so that you can produce and sell enough to have a steady income, that you can finally think about quitting your job.

Is it worth it? Sure.

It takes work. It takes time and money.

But you’re investing in yourself.

And once everything is running smoothly, suddenly it gets easy.

Once you’ve built your business, your online presence, your platform, and connected with your fanbase, suddenly (finally) you can go back to doing what you wanted in the first place: Follow your Bliss.

What’s your passion? How are you planning on turning it into a profitable business?

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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