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There Might Be A Good Argument For Selling Your Soul For $$$

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Navigating life as a creative freelancer is all about balancing what you love doing with what pays the bills.
It's often framed as “selling your soul”, but really, it's about making tough choices: do you follow your passion or chase the cash?
For creatives, this dilemma is pretty intense. You've got the classic ‘starving artist' on one side. They're rich in satisfaction but often struggle financially.
Then there's the other side – the freelancers who focus mainly on what brings in money. Sure, they might be doing better financially, but at what cost?
This week's episode explores each side in a search for finding a healthy balance between money and passion or the seasons of life that may be the right time to focus on money instead of passion.
Whether you're the classic “starving artist” or the money-focused freelancer, this episode is worth a listen.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • Hobbies vs businesses
  • Are you motivated by passion or profit?
  • The importance of focusing on what your clients want
  • Giving yourself more free time by being profit-driven
  • Reducing your stress by becoming a profit-driven creative
  • Why passion-driven creatives need to change

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[00:00:00] Brian: Hello and welcome to the Six Figure Creative Podcast. I'm your host, Brian Hood. If this is your first time ever listening to the show, so glad to have you here.

[00:00:05] Brian: This podcast is for you if you are a creative. You're trying to make more money from your creative skills without selling yourself. That sounds like you. You're in the right place and the wrong episode because this episode I'm going to actually be making the opposite case. Of maybe why you should be trying to sell your soul for more money.

[00:00:20] Brian: Every episode for like the last hundred and something episodes, I have started the show with that phrase of making more money without selling your soul. So I thought it would be kind of fun, maybe enlightening. And some food for thought for those creatives out there

[00:00:31] Brian: who want to make more money from their creative skills by following their passion. And so you might be surprised by some of the arguments I'm making today.

[00:00:39] Brian: as I play the devil's advocate calling out some of the creators out there that are simply just following their passion without taking any consideration.

[00:00:45] Brian: Some of the things we're going to discuss today and those creatives who just follow their passion,

[00:00:49] Brian: they tend to be constantly broke. They're probably searching podcasts like this for some sort of magic solution to their problems.

[00:00:55] Brian: and maybe the reality is, and this is Devil's Advocate Brian. This is a tough first episode if this is your first time listening to the show. [00:01:00] But Devil's Advocate Brian says, maybe the reality is, nobody wants what you're selling.

[00:01:04] Brian: In this episode, we're going to explore the path Of selling your soul. We're going to go down the dark road, AKA doing what makes you money instead of following your passion.

[00:01:12] Brian: So let's dive into this. this whole episode came up because I just had the thought,

[00:01:16] Brian: what is the argument of selling your soul as a freelancer? Is there any argument that can be made that feels valid? It feels like it's something, a path even worth taking. I

[00:01:23] Brian: And I see all the time and I've seen this in myself and I've seen this in many people that I've worked with and talked to and consulted we tend to let the emotions and the feelings and the creativity and the path of perfection and doing what we want get into the way of actually building a freelance business that makes money and is sustainable. and this brings up something called the passion paradox. The passion paradox is the paradox of choice. Essentially, if we go after the thing that we're really passionate about, the thing that's just the full creative route, we tend to be broke.

[00:01:50] Brian: the starving artist is the trope here. And then the other side is if we go straight after the money where we're just going after the thing that's going to be the most profit, we tend to be unfulfilled. Yeah. So I just want to say at the very beginning [00:02:00] of this, this is not a black and white.

[00:02:01] Brian: This is not a one or the other. This is a spectrum We all have a different place on the spectrum, but if we are too far on either extreme, we will likely not make it as a creative freelancer.

[00:02:10] Brian: so I want to take a minute to just compare the stark difference between the purely passion motivated freelancer and the purely profit motivated freelancer. So let's go to the passion motivated creative freelancer first, What is the passion motivated creative focus their time and attention and their energy on? It's just doing what lights you up. And when you're just doing what lights you up, you tend to ignore what the client or the customer actually wants. the result of that is, when we get to the money category is, you're always broke.

[00:02:37] Brian: You can't make a cent doing what you love. Or if you can make a cent, it's just this big peaks and valleys of the feast or famine cycle that freelancers go through. When they're trapped in creative world and ignoring entrepreneur world.

[00:02:46] Brian: So on the flip side, enjoyment, fulfillment, that category boxes are checked. You love what you do. You're fulfilled by what you do. However, you hate your business. So you don't have enjoyment or fulfillment in your business. Only in the things that you do day to day, AKA you [00:03:00] have a hobby

[00:03:00] Brian: and the hobby you love, but the business, the thing that you're trying to make money from, the thing you're listening to this podcast for in the first place, that's a point of stress, a point of contention, a thing that you're likely not fulfilled by. Now let's go to the time category. What is the passion motivated creative do with their time?

[00:03:14] Brian: You spend it doing whatever you want. That's basically the gist of it. You do what you want. That's the passion emotion driven person is they just gravitate towards the thing that they want and you have plenty of free time because you don't have gigs coming in

[00:03:25] Brian: and when we move to the family category, you have plenty of time to spend with your family, which is great on the flip side. You have no money to spend on your family. Right? So paying bills. Doing extra fun things like trips or experiences. Those things are few and far between.

[00:03:40] Brian: And then stress the final category. You are stressed over money problems. There's no way around it. Unless you have income coming from somewhere else,

[00:03:47] Brian: in which case I doubt that's a passion driven thing either. So either way, you're stressed about money and you have stresses over the business itself, your client acquisition issues, or your. Systems or fulfillment or whatever, you're [00:04:00] just stressed all the time because, and again, this is rooted in being passion led, just focusing on whatever you're passionate about.

[00:04:05] Brian: So if that felt like I was calling you out, this feels like your life, or somewhere on that lower spectrum of the purely passion led creative.

[00:04:14] Brian: I can promise you I'm not trying to shame you. I just want to paint another picture of, what a soul selling life could look like as a devil's advocate. Remember, This is Brian, the devil's advocate, a profit motivated entrepreneur, AKA the soul seller.

[00:04:25] Brian: They focus on what? Making money, not doing what they're passionate about, but the focus on making money and the less sketchy, the less uh, Gross way of saying that ironically is actually focusing on what the person wants the customer wants the client wants

[00:04:38] Brian: When we focus on just what we're passionate about and we ignore what the client or the customer wants We are hurting ourselves and we are not creating what the customer of the client wants. Whereas the profit driven soul selling freelancer They actually know what the client wants and they fulfill on that they give them what they want

[00:04:52] Brian: and when you put the two together Which one do you think is going to make more money? Just based on that. The person that is selling what they want or the person that is [00:05:00] selling what the customer wants. Easy answer.

[00:05:02] Brian: We move down to the money category now, the profit motivated freelancer makes bank. They make more money, but let's move to the time category. This is the interesting one. You would think, Oh, when they're profit motivated, they're just going to be working all the time. They're gonna have no free time.

[00:05:14] Brian: However, that's not really the case in this devil's advocate world where I'm making a great case for selling your soul

[00:05:19] Brian: in this world, the profit driven freelancer actually has tons of free time.

[00:05:24] Brian: because they can actually afford to hire help. There may have been a short time or a period of time or season where they had to spend their time focused on what makes money. So all their time is spent on money making activities. But at a certain point they hit threshold where they're able to hire help and delegate.

[00:05:40] Brian: And when they can delegate, there's less things that they have to do as the business owner, as the freelancer. This is how many agencies start.

[00:05:45] Brian: So in this case, the profit driven freelancer has plenty of free time because they have help. They can delegate. Now let's move to the enjoyment slash fulfillment. This is another area that you might be surprised by because if they're just profit driven, they're not going to have any fulfillment, any sense of joy in what they do.

[00:05:58] Brian: Because they spend so little time on [00:06:00] fulfillment on the actual work being done, the thing that brings in money, but they're not passionate about it because they spend so little time doing that.

[00:06:05] Brian: They actually have joy and fulfillment and other things. Maybe they love having a team. They love being somebody that can pour into their team and actually build up culture in their business that is fun to be around.

[00:06:15] Brian: It provides employment for other people. maybe that's where the enjoyment or fulfillment comes in for this person. Or maybe money can buy happiness to an extent. Because of the experiences and because of the things that they get to do with the money that comes in, maybe they have fulfillment in their own way.

[00:06:29] Brian: It can be easy to say that money doesn't buy happiness, but when you're broke, and I can tell you from someone who was broke most of my young adult life and teenage life, I can tell you that Being broke sucks. I never want to be broke again. It is not fulfilling. It's not fun to have somebody show up to your house to repossess your car.

[00:06:46] Brian: It's not fun. so let's move to the family category for this profit driven freelancer. area obviously depends on the personal boundaries of the person involved. I've seen plenty of really successful entrepreneurs that spend all their time working on their business.

[00:06:58] Brian: They have little time to [00:07:00] no time for their families. they're a full sellout, they're full profit motivated, they sacrifice their family time. But then on the other side, I've seen plenty of people who have wildly successful businesses and still spend tons of time with their families.

[00:07:10] Brian: So because this is my devil's advocate, and I get to make the case for selling your soul here,

[00:07:15] Brian: this specific person has tons of free time to spend with their family because they've actually delegated The tasks and their business to some other people, small team or one other freelancer and beyond just spending more time with their family, they actually have monetary resources to do cool shit with their family,

[00:07:29] Brian: to live in the better school district, to go on the vacations, to have those unique life experiences that many families don't get to do because of financial restrictions.

[00:07:38] Brian: and so when we go to the final category here of stress, how do you feel the stresses of this person compared to the creative freelancer who just is passion focused, just Floating through life, just on what I care about, what I'm passionate about as a freelancer, the profit driven freelancer has less stress.

[00:07:53] Brian: In this case, at least they don't stress over monetary problems, don't stress over time problems. Their only stress really comes [00:08:00] from, people issues. So when you have a team, you have team problems and capacity issues because when you have a successful business, you will always run up against whatever your capacity is, whatever your, constraint is.

[00:08:09] Brian: It might be that you don't have a big enough team to fulfill the amount of work that you have to do. It might be that you have. A bottleneck in sales, like you can't get enough sales calls done. You don't have open enough calendar to do that. there's plenty of stuff to be stressed about.

[00:08:21] Brian: Your problems don't just magically disappear whenever you make more money or whenever you are financially stable. the only thing that changes is your monetary problems start to go away.

[00:08:28] Brian: Now the truth here, like I said earlier, is it's a spectrum. And. Truth be told, there's seasons for both. I've seen people that start as the pure creative and they slowly come over the dark side and they spend a little more time in the profit driven mindset to get into a stable income, to build stable career.

[00:08:45] Brian: several clients of mine have done this where they're into an area that they're not wholly passionate about, but it's a viable business. And that viable business gets their careers over six figures. And they're able to pay off debt or bring their spouse home to stay with their families.

[00:08:57] Brian: And get rid of the financial stress of life. And [00:09:00] then they can spend their free time starting to go back towards that more creatively fulfilling side of things.

[00:09:05] Brian: The sad reality of a lot of this is. The passion driven freelancer fails to look at the alternative here. If you just focus on your art and just creating the things you're passionate about and ignoring what the client wants, and you just refuse to be a sellout, your next alternative, if you can't make this work for some reason, which you will likely struggle.

[00:09:25] Brian: If you can't make this work. Your alternative is to go get a day job, I don't know about you, but I will never ever go back to a day job. I would rather start a landscaping business where I have no passion for landscaping, but I can build a team.

[00:09:38] Brian: It's scalable. It's systemizable. I would rather do that than go get a real job somewhere where I am you. Answering to a boss, and I have to come into the office when they tell me to come into the office, and I have to do what they tell me to do, and I have to take vacation when they allow it, and I can only have so much vacation because that's the policy of the company.

[00:09:55] Brian: I don't know about you, but that sounds like more like selling my soul than starting a [00:10:00] business that I have no passion in. So there is a season for building a freelance business that is not Stoking the fires of your passions right now. If it means that you're getting in a better financial place and many freelancers who are struggling, the starving artists need to hear this message more and more and more, because that is the thing that is holding you back from getting to a stable place in life where you can actually honestly create better art.

[00:10:21] Brian: So there may be a season of focusing more on profit and then a shift, a gradual shift back to a season of focusing more on fulfillment,

[00:10:28] Brian: but keep in mind that everyone's place on the spectrum is different. So I'm not trying to dictate which area you fall into as a freelancer, I'm just trying to challenge your assumptions that you can just make this work based purely on passion. That the art itself should speak for the work that you provide.

[00:10:43] Brian: There's a phrase that stuck with me by Alex Ramosi. He says, create flow, monetize flow, optimize flow. And he's talking about something in lead generation at that point where it's like, Create a flow of leads. Then you can worry about monetizing those leads. And then you can worry about optimizing all the metrics to work for your business.

[00:10:59] Brian: [00:11:00] Wonderful advice. But I still think that sort of approach rings true in this instance as well, where you are trying to create a skill set that people actually want. That's a big part, something that people actually want, and then you can learn to monetize that skill set to where you're actually bringing in money and you could optimize the business a bit more to get to the point of sustainability as a creative.

[00:11:19] Brian: And then stage four, this isn't Alex Mosley, but this is Brian. Then we can start to

[00:11:24] Brian: find fulfillment. And what we've built and I used to joke about this all the time early in my studio days is I would rather run recording studio in a genre that I despise like country music. Because my background is in heavy metal that's like the opposite of heavy metal is country music or maybe CCM But country music for sure I'd rather run a successful studio in the country music genre than a absolute broke studio in the metal genre something I love and there's some truth to that.

[00:11:47] Brian: You can learn to love something that's successful. You can find momentum You can find enjoyment You can find passion in many places above and beyond what we think we have the capacity to have passion for But we never learn to get there if it's not [00:12:00] sustainable So there's a very strong argument as a creative, as a freelancer to Maybe moving up the spectrum towards the profit driven freelancer you have a sustainable freelance career, And then start to find passion in other ways or make changes in your business to be a little more passion focused, finding that balance. so a good followup to this episode, cause we're wrapping this up is episode 269. It's called the creative versus the entrepreneur, which side wins. It's really good followup to this episode.

[00:12:24] Brian: I think it has a lot more stuff in the episode for those creatives out there who are looking to move to the entrepreneur side, a lot more tactical advice. So I would go back to that episode if I were you. It's in our show notes at sixfigurecreative. com slash three zero five. If you just go to that URL,

[00:12:36] Brian: there will be the link somewhere in that show notes page. But that's all I have for you today. hope I didn't ruffle too many feathers, but sometimes it's just nice to be the devil's advocate. Sometimes it's nice to have the counter argument of what does it look like to have a business that has no passion?

[00:12:48] Brian: Is there any fulfillment in that? And my answer is yes, I see this all the time. Plenty of entrepreneurs, not in the creative space, but other entrepreneurs that have no real passion for what they're doing, but they build something that proud of, they're fulfilled by, [00:13:00] something that they become passionate about.

[00:13:01] Brian: As success comes, but again, it's a spectrum. We got to find our own balance as creatives. So that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. Feel free to send me your feedback. Just email Podcast at six figure creative. com.

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