One for the Kitchen, One for the Soul
Whether you’re a novice artist/creator or experienced, you’ll probably bump into a dilemma often: differentiating between work that you do for money, and work that you do to put in your portfolio. There’s an overlap, but there are some differences.
We all need to eat, have a nice place to live/work, and if we’re able, have a bit left over to do fun stuff that we enjoy, too. At the same time, we also have to curate a collection of work to show future clients so we can get more work. Sometimes it can be a catch-22 deciding what jobs to take on and which are going to help us most.
When you get into the position of choosing what to work on, think about which will net you the biggest return on your investment. For example, if you do a project that’s mind numbing but brings in a lot of cash, that cash can give you some breath-room to not take on new clients and work on some of your own ideas or develop your skills.
Vice versa, maybe you find a client that doesn’t have a lot to spend, but you know that you’ll be able to produce some killer work and in turn, attract some bigger clients.
Ultimately it comes down to setting priorities. There’s a grey area and part of becoming a pro is learning to know when to pick A or B. Earmarking certain work as an investment in a specific thing can be a big help. Be clear to yourself what is a money gig vs. a portfolio gig, and be clear with the reasons for each. When you blindly just take on work to take on work, you run the risk of removing the value of that work to your future self.
When you take on work which is fulfilling without keeping your financial records in mind, you’re damaging yourself. You wont be able to deliver on it with financial pressure.
I think subconsciously we all do this, where we take on some projects for the money and some for the love and I’ve made so many mistakes by taking and or building passion projects wherein I’m not able meet my monthly targets and I screw up the project along the way as I’m worrying about finding more work.
My formula is 1:1, One for the Kitchen & One for the Soul. One gig pays for me while one gig liberates me creatively. It should always be a balance. We’re fortunate to do what we love but at all times we have to be practical about the work we take on, the work we do and the work we let go.
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I’m Aditya, I design brand identities and develop creative solutions to help businesses grow. You can get in touch with me at email@example.com.