Money is important. It is crucial towards providing the firmament of a balanced life—in the form of basic universal essentials, such as: food, clothing, shelter and access to health and child care. Money and access to capital are equally important for entrepreneurs—particularly for artists and creatives—towards realizing their work and creative vision, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle free of financial limitations.
At the outset of their careers, most artists and creatives hold varied motivations towards realizing financial freedom and security through their art. Some aspire to simply be able to spend without feeling the expense—acquiring a form of sustainable independence. Others work to gain a financial status that enables mobility and power in their respective industry and the marketplace. Regardless of the individual end goal, however, when income and sales become the sole focus of an artist’s agenda, it can work to undermine the very freedom and power they aspire to achieve. In a competitive marketplace where money is an essential towards realizing and maintaining artistic vision and lifestyle, how can artists and creatives achieve wealth without becoming consumed by the pursuit of it?
One of the keys towards realizing financial freedom as an artist lies in the redefining of wealth as a state of abundance, beyond material income. When artists and creatives adopt a wealth mindset in their career pursuits, they are able to achieve a resulting lifestyle marked by an ability to produce and strategize from an abundant creativity—which becomes unlimited, when sourced from an acknowledgement of the Creator as the absolute source of creative wealth and intelligence. Conversely, when artists fixate solely on the fiscal dynamics and benefits of their career, the desire for money can breed a consumer mindset, resulting in nearsighted decisions, where artists effectively trade down the potential of their talent in exchange for the illusion of wealth and short term gain, in the form of easy fame or money—sometimes at the expense of their gift.
The Apostle Paul wrote extensively on the importance of acquiring a wealth mindset and the danger of a money-centric lifestyle in his letter to his protégé Timothy, in which he warned Timothy to remain vigilant in adhering to the teachings of Christ, in order to avoid being drawn away by empty doctrines based in pride, which touted religion as a way to become rich—as seen in the following passage:
“Well, religion does make us very rich, if we are satisfied with what we have. What did we bring into the world? Nothing! What can we take out of the world? Nothing! So then, if we have food and clothes, that should be enough for us. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and are caught in the trap of many foolish and harmful desires, which pull them down to ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows.”
When wealth is solely associated with acquiring an excess of money, the love of money—not money itself—becomes a major block to the creative innovation and ingenuity necessary not only towards producing effective art, but also in effectively building an artist’s platform in support of their work. The love of money, when left unchecked, can derail artists and creatives from sound decision-making that can result in the financial freedom that they desire—while blocking the inner well of creativity that engineers their talent and hampering thoughtful, creative strategy needed to support their careers.
This type of creative strategy rooted in creative abundance is vital to acquire and maintain career longevity for artists and creative entrepreneurs in support of their content and product. In the case of entrepreneur and perfumer, Jo Malone, creativity was critical at the initial launch of her brand in New York. With no marketing budget or advertising plan, she successfully executed a strategy termed as “walking the dogs”, which involved the enlisting of fifty friends and associates to walk around upscale parts of the city, carrying her empty branded customer bags to create a buzz around her product.
Oscar winner, actor, entertainer and master comedian, Jamie Foxx, also deployed the same level of creative strategy during the nineties, in the early stages of his stand-up career. In order to build his following and ensure attendance of his shows, he distributed cue cards to his audiences post-performance with the goal of aggregating their names and pager numbers to alert them to his future shows—a form of “pre-social media, before social media”, resulting in a list of 800 followers. Retrospectively, his efforts can be considered as a precursor to SuperPhone, a text messaging platform, co-founded by R&B singer, producer and entrepreneur, Ryan Leslie, that allows for immediate conversation between artists (and entrepreneurs) and their client base—a communications tool that effectively bypasses the encumberance and expense generated in the creation of traditional email or costly paper collateral.
For artists and creatives, a wealth mindset is essential in achieving impactful creativity, career longevity, financial goals and desired lifestyle. The difference between "securing the bag" and acquiring wealth lies in cultivating an abundant creativity and state of mind.