Commencement Part 4: I Never Do a Project for the Money

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In fact, I have learned that – at least for our studio – chasing the money is ultimately very bad for business.

To date, this year we have walked away from two projects that together would have meant at least $350,000 dollars in revenue. Both of them easy choices to make.

We had no passion for either. (This is not a value judgement; we just weren’t the right firm for the job.)

Pursuing either commission, would have resulted in a good deal of cash flow for the studio, but I would have needed to spend hundreds of hours this year working hard in the midst of a project for which I had no passion. And to be fair – neither client had any passion for my priorities. Add to that hundreds more hours of staff time.

If given the choice between sitting through countless meetings in a hermetically sealed room under a cloud of white noise and acoustic tile, discussing tactics for delivering a product that adds little or no value to the world – or by contrast – driving a railroad spike through my face – I will run to the spike every time.

Worse yet, the studio will have spent an entire year creating work we will not want anyone to see, or even know we produced. We will have squandered our talent instead of working on projects that enriched our lives and others – and lost money by ignoring clients who want us to make the kind of contributions our gifts afford.

It is an old adage, but absolutely true: Chase the work, not the money. It has never, in all our years, paid to do otherwise.

Next installment posted Thursday, June 23:
Recognition Does Not Make Me Happy