If you do what you love, will the money follow?

Secretly, Eva Gonzales, 1877-1878, oil on canvas. Public Domain.

In 1987, when Marsha Sinetar’s book, Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow, came out, I grabbed it off the shelf. I desperately wanted that title to be true.

Thirty years later, if I had to rewrite that title, it would be: “Do what you love and at least you will be doing what you love; the money might follow but maybe not in the way that you thought it would.”

I’ve learned that making money from what you love is not always the best idea. If you love to bake, you might not need to open a bakery. Adding money to an exchange alters everything, including your relationship to your creations.

I’ve also learned that if you do what you love in hiding and there’s no way for anyone to find it, then it’s unlikely you’re going to make money. There’s nothing wrong with making art in secret. In fact, at some stages of every art project I’ve ever made, some steps are made in secret, as they should be.

But eventually, it’s time to come out of the closet and let the world know what you’re doing. I find this step scary and sometimes upsetting. What was “all mine” must be set free for others to experience.

For the past four years, I’ve been working on my memoir, mostly in secret, sharing it with trusted advisors along the way. But this year the memoir morphed into a one-woman show. It might still become a book, but for now it’s a solo performance that I’ll be presenting in January at the Fertile Ground Festival of New Work in Portland.

It helps me to take baby steps as I guide a new project into the world. So, in September, to warm up my voice for this performance, I joined the Reed College Chorus which will be performing our winter concert this Sunday. To warm-up my body and voice, I’m telling one of the stories from my show at Portland Story Theater this Friday, December 1. Details for both these events can be found at gigirosenberg.com/events.

What have you been making in secret that needs to be set free? What baby steps could you take to edge it further into the world?

If you were to do what you love and let the money follow, how might that change your creative practice or how you run your business? Let these questions guide you into your plans for 2018. If you’d like to join the conversation, comment at https://gigirosenberg.com/blog/if-you-do-what-you-love-will-the-money-follow. I’d love to hear what this inspires in you.

Gigi Rosenberg is an author, artist coach and editor of Professional Artist. She wrote The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing (Watson-Guptill) and coaches artists to help them find funding, blast through creative blocks and launch vibrant marketing plans. To download her free “5 Steps to Your Elevator Speech,” visit www.gigirosenberg.com