“If you are good at something, never do it for free.” —The Joker, The Dark Knight
It sounds right that you should charge for the things you are good at. However, here, I am not talking about something you are good at. Instead, I am talking about the things you love to do. So, I am talking about creative work rather than professional work.
Let’s take an example. Suppose you are good at drawing and you love it. Would you stop doing it because nobody is paying you for it? Maybe you would. Or, perhaps you wouldn’t. But, most people feel like they cannot make enough money doing what they love. So they eventually stop doing it. Instead, they start doing something that makes them money.
Money is a controversial topic. I’m sure you have heard rich people say, “don’t chase money” or “follow your passion, and you can make money.” When you hear a wealthy person say it, you think, “that’s easy for you to say because you have the money.”
You can find many YouTube videos that show you different ways to make money. But most of these videos are good from a “content” point of view. Only a few of them tell you how actually to do it.
Here’s what I have experienced and has worked for me: Do things for free. Now, I am not saying to quit your job and start doing what you love for no money. That would be stupid. Instead, you must do something that you love—for free—while you are also doing something that makes you money. Think of it as a side hustle.
Why do it for free?
- Firstly, you will learn more about the work that you are doing.
- Secondly, you will be good at it if you do it consistently. And when you become good at it, you can do many things with your skills later.
- Last but not least, you can always monetize it.
Share your work
But, here’s the catch: you have to share your work. You can’t just do the work and keep it to yourself. You have to show it to others. Why? For starters, you will know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. So, even if your work is for yourself, you have to put it out for others to see. Maybe not everything you do, but at least some of it.
The secret to creative success is to produce a massive amount of work and do it consistently. As the CEO of Patreon, Jack Conte, says, “You don’t choose what you are famous for.” So just put out your work and let your audience decide whether it is good or bad. Then, you will be able to find yourself and your actual worth.
If you are good at what you do and can produce a massive amount of work, you can monetize it. But, don’t think about money from the very beginning. It will mess with your head and affect your work.
Also, once you monetize it, things can seem different. When money is involved, humans act weird. Even though you have to monetize your work, do not let money drive your motivation, inspiration, and work outcome.
You should always think of your work as something you would do for free even if you weren’t paid for it.
I started my blog when I didn’t know how to write, design a website, and monetize it. I learned everything along the way. And, now, having been blogging for so long, I can genuinely say that I would do it for free. Why? Because I love to write. I love to inspire people and make an impact on their lives. That’s my ultimate goal.
Money is the outcome of doing something you love. But, you have to keep doing it with persistence and passion. As I said, if you do it repeatedly, you will find opportunities and places that you didn’t know existed before.
So, if you love something, do it for free and do it in front of others. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Do everything with others watching you. Eventually, you will have an audience. You will build a personal brand. And then, you can monetize it or just keep doing it for free. That’s up to you.