Shedding My Money Taboos

Lately, I’ve been questioning whether or not we should start charging for the Olive Tree Writing Club. Initially, I was strongly against the idea, but I started wondering why. After all, this has been a passion project for the past year and a half, something I do for fun. Charging for it feels like it would transform it from art into a business. But that means that art and business are mutually exclusive which isn’t true either.

I was re-reading this blog post by Derek Sivers on this topic and it’s worth sharing in full:

Everyone has weird mental associations with money.

They think the only way to make money is to take it away from others. They think that charging for your art means it was insincere, and only for profit.

But after knowing thousands of musicians for over twenty years, I’ve learned this:

The unhappiest musicians are the ones who avoided the subject of money, and are now broke or need a draining day job. It may sound cool to say money doesn’t matter — to say don’t worry about it!” — but it leads to a really hard life. Then ultimately your music suffers, because you can’t give it the time it needs, and you haven’t found an audience that values it.

The happiest musicians are the ones who develop their value, and confidently charge a high price. There’s a deep satisfaction when you know how valuable you are, and the world agrees. Then it reinforces itself, because you can focus on being the best artist you can be, since you’ve found an audience that rewards you for it.

So never underestimate the importance of making money. Let go of any taboos you have about it.

Money is nothing more than a neutral exchange of value. If people give you money, it’s proof that you’re giving them something valuable in return.

By focusing on making money with your music, you’re making sure it’s valuable to others, not only to you.

My two takeaways from this post are that there’s deep satisfaction in knowing how valuable you are and people agreeing and money as proof that you’re giving something valuable in return.

January 16, 2024

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