May 31, 2022

Should Your Art Also Be Your Business?

This week, I managed to catch up with a friend visiting from the U.S.A. We caught up over the drive home too, mulling over our ‘creator’ plans and various side-hustles. And through it all, I think I may have concluded a solution to a year-long problem.

My Problem

Since the inception of my Youtube channel, I’ve been going back and forth with my intention of making content.

One day, I would convince myself that I should only work on passion projects. To push the limits on every aspect of the video. Storytelling.  Cinematography. Editing. Writing. Colour grading. You name it, I’d work on it.

The next day, I’d level with myself. These passion projects take time. The algorithm won’t favour me if I’m uploading once a month. So, I try and churn out a more consistent series, something that can get the audience growing. Something that can bring in a bit of income to make this hobby sustainable in the long run. But I hate putting out ‘content’ as opposed to something I’d consider art.

The reality is, that my mind’s always been fractured between these polar opposite ways of thinking. On both days, I genuinely believe that I’m doing the right thing. The result is inconsistency in content, outcomes and mindset. For so long I tried to find the middle ground, but now I’m starting to think that it might not exist for me.

Fast forward back to our chat, and I accidentally stumbled on a solution, one that I hoped will settle things once and for all.

My Solution

I explained to my friend that I was planning a business. A business that involved a lot of content marketing. I use ‘content’ purposefully here because I don’t see it being created for the sole sake of artistic expression or self-fulfilment. The intent behind this business is to execute an idea well, grow an audience and monetise.

This ‘business’ would be my true sandbox. One that hopefully would allow me to exercise my knowledge, skills and experience. One that has one overarching aim: results.

So, what does that mean for my Youtube channel? Well, it may have just relieved me of applying the lens of business to a passion.

My Reasoning

Some of the best artists aren’t great at sharing their work, nor do they particularly enjoy it. They just want to create.

Conversely, businesses suffer when they try to make products too ‘polished’. There’s this saying in business that goes something like: “If you’re proud of the first version of your product, you launched too late.”

Business and art do have a middle ground, but it’s an average of two incredibly different realities.

Business is consistent. Art is spontaneous, inspired.

Business is results. Art is process.

Business is problem-solving. Art, is an answer, in and of itself.

So, when I explained to my friend why I was so inconsistent on Youtube, I may have rumbled my thoughts enough to find the missing piece of the puzzle.

My ‘business’ had freed my art from the shackles of results and numbers, in turn volunteering itself as tribute.

So perhaps, making your art a business isn’t your only solution.

Instead, consider creating a business that you see only as a business. Let your ‘business mind’ go crazy so that your ‘creative mind’ can enjoy its art, and keep them apart.

Every week, I write about philosophy, self-fulfilment and creativity.
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