Dispassion

My mom used to say she’d be just as happy selling pots and pans as fashion. 
 
That never made sense to me until fairly recently. (I can be a little slow on the uptake) Looking back I fully believe that’s why she was so good at what she did. While she obviously liked and appreciated what she was selling – and was a pretty mean stylist at that – she was never so invested in the clothes that she hesitated for a second to mark it down and get it out the door if it wasn’t performing. The woman was hell on wheels with a red pen.
 
And that’s why she was so good. 
 
There was a dispassionate separation between WHAT she was selling and the business of selling itself. 
 
It truly wouldn’t have mattered to her if the items on the floor had been steel and copper rather than silk and linen. The game would have been much the same.
 
Which brings me to you and I. 
 
Artists.
 
“DIspassionate” isn’t usually in our vocabulary. Especially when it comes to our own work.
 
Well baby, if you really want to make a go of this paying-the-mortgage-with-what-you-make game, you’d better make friends with it fast. Because while passion is a necessary part of art, and even a necessary part of business, you have to be able to turn it off cold when it comes to dollars and cents.
 
If the yak hair line isn’t selling, you have to ditch it –
No matter how much you love raising yaks. 
 
If you do high modern and it’s not moving on the RenFair circuit, you probably need to look into alternate venues –
No matter how much Mondrian and turkey legs rock your boat.
 
You may adore vintage bottle caps, but it may be time to admit that the market for $1,000+ pieces in this market is pretty slim.
 
… or you may simply hate earrings and are tired of everyone asking you for earrings. Go ahead. Make a few earrings. Call them “ear pendants” if it helps….
 
Here’s the bottom line:
 
When you declare yourself a business – especially if you’re trying to support yourself with that business – you lose a LOT of luxuries that hobbyists have. A hobbyist can indulge the whim of the moment, follow whatever creative urge strikes, follow the muse and all that romantic stuff. 
 
A business can’t.
 
A business has to serve the bottom line. A creative business has to serve two masters – the muse AND the balance sheet. 
 
It’s a tricky dance.
 
If there’s sadness in your bottom line, maybe your passions have dripped into it a little too much.
 
Corral that beast and keep it in the studio where it belongs. 
 
 
 

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