Friday, February 11, 2011

Just For Money

"The love of money is the root of all evil" or so the saying goes. I learned this lesson when I was a kid. It was taught in schools and television and it was a fairly simple concept to grasp. I mean seriously, did you ever watch an episode of Batman where the bad guys ultimately got away with the cash? I didn't.

That said if we weigh how often we heard "money is important" compared to "money isn't everything" I think most of us would quickly agree on which side the scales would fall.

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So why is this an issue? Isn't financial planning a good thing. In short, yes it is. But there's a problem. When you start a business you're often advised to do something you love doing (i.e. don't just do it for the money) and you're also told to plan carefully (i.e. think about all the boring stuff esp. the money!). Quickly the planning turns into obsessing and the next thing you know money has become the most important aspect of your business and your primary measure of success. It's around this time you may start to understand why people say the one sure way to hate doing what you love is to get paid to do it.

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From personal experience I think this happens because at the beginning of a business (love affair stage) you're doing what you love doing but in many cases you aren't seeing a lot of action from paying customers. After a while the doubts creep in … am I really any good at this? My friends and family seem to think  so … but if I was really good … wouldn't I be making some money? And if you're not careful you may end up thinking about making money more than thinking about ways to take your craft to the next level.

It's necessary to have a balance. Money is important and I'm not advocating giving everything away free of charge. Business plans are good, as is having food on the table and a roof over our heads. But perhaps success cannot or should not be measured by how much money you make. Perhaps a better measure is the people you reach and the lives you might change for the better through genuine interactions. (i.e. come from the heart)

I think it's better to put your craft first, keep doing what you're doing because you love to do it and preserve the passion and inspiration that are at the core of successful businesses. People who can do this are often amongst the most successful, because they're in it for others just as much as themselves. If you must judge your work then don't use money as a measure (often leads to damaging compromises). Keep in mind it's possible you're not making anything because you're still making a name for yourself rather than it having something to do with your potential for success.

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