Published: Aug 30, 2017 12:00:00 PM

tetris-block-art-falling-into-place.jpgWhether fresh out of college, five years out of college, or gathering that spoiled-fruit funk near the ten year-mark, it's a sure thing you've had your head kicked by some stubborn mule in corporate middle-management. Look, it wasn't entirely your fault an individual misunderstood what motivated you. You were probably missing the skills to communicate your more passionate, creative aspects, and they were probably tossed into a jackal-cackling rush to avoid something costly about you they didn't get.

That's the key ingredient to personal motivation in all generations of workers: people and businesses who NEED content aren't competent judges of content.

There's no better time than now to slam a bridle on what you're passionate about and ride that animal till it collapses, especially if it's creative- or content-focused. Here's what you need to know about making money off what jerks begrudgingly admit is important...

What's a good job title for a creative role?

Creativity means mastery over one's sense of self-expression. This type of person needs to breathe with what they've got inside. They're happiest when sharing creativity. It's more important than your building's coffee machines, foosball tables, happy hours, and corporate retreats combined. It means they're asked to focus on the bottom line and the sailors fighting in the dance hall.

They're often told to either take money, or stop prioritizing creativity.

It's likely our somehow still-living civilization hasn't nurtured, encouraged, or valued that priority.

When it comes to creatives, ask yourself: what job role titles do you see attached to them?

  • The girl who does social
  • Twitter, Facebook, (probably) Instagram
  • Free ebook and content and case study writer?
  • Video filmer
  • Copy editor

Why think forward when you can think diagonal-back and just call them copy editors? It'll just make Q4 assessments simpler.

Keeping things brief, the investment to channel the creative's passion either didn't fit or management couldn't hear their explanation.

Before moving on, please recognize the visible irony from those dispassionately serving a corporate structure: the psychos quietly pantomiming the true creativity they can't make themselves. Why do tech industry moguls adore musical artists? Why was Steve Jobs obsessed with Bob Dylan? They despise how important this craft is.

Dispite treasuring American craftsmanship and fondly recalling eras of rock & roll, lauding the accompanying raw style and personal confidence, the only measure of good taste in America is money. Or, so they say.

Why does the world force creative people to sell themselves?

Creatives are forced to tell the world, in the local language, what they've created and why it's vital. The world demands creatives market and sell themselves. A lot of people go to fancy, thousand-dollar schools to learn that lesson. And, yeah, they learn it.

Chances are, these creatives osmosed a great deal of business practicality during their full-time jobs. No, it's true. They felt it in every observed inefficiency, injustice, or annual review.

Lock onto that. This will be the rope that binds the creativity together.

If you love to paint with oils, to make garage music, to write novels or share free books to read online.

If the world will permit it so. Even as creatives build a cathedral around their work, a website, a social presence, a mission statement; there's a chance the world will choke them.

That's why if you're good at something, never do it for free. Don't shoot free videos. Don't manage free social feeds. Don't write free books. Be proud of the work to the proper standard and live up to those expectations.

Don't fear your creativity's less tangible marketability. Don't abandon your passion because it's a weirdo jigsaw puzzle piece. Learn to speak a language of business, it's far less difficult and much more universally-applicable than people would like you to believe. You must always infuse your creation with viability, no matter the craft. If this is your life, then it's your business. That is the first rule.

Run your creativity like a business. If those with money demand you give it a dollar-value, do it. If it requires a certain explanation to be economically viable, do it.

What can you do with your mysterious, creative skills?

Gather your brand.

You're not alone. People start businesses every day. They sell coffee, and management consulting, and vaporous software soaked in lies in a desperate hope to capture millions from VC investors. And maybe they derive self-worth from those efforts, so why not you, too?

Do not permit yourself to be exploited or taken advantage of. Your passion won't be redirected or misused for less than it's worth. Happiness won't be used as leverage against you ("Sorry, we can't pay you as much, but at least you enjoy it!").

Most important of all, this is the moment when you begin channeling your vision and speak to your audience. Maybe you need more thinking time to decide what that audience really is—that's okay. You'll build from there. Apply what you've learned. Ask for help. People are just people, and there's no rule that says you can't be your own boss. That's how you sell the dream. Because—like it or not—it's what everyone wishes they were doing, if they were brave enough.

Build something genuine. Bring it to the world and help them breathe how you breathe You know it's critical.

-- Alex Crumb
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