Stay Focused and Stop Chasing Money

by Carolyn Edlund


You are the only one who can determine the future of your creative business. Don’t allow others to distract you from your purpose.



At a recent conference, a seasoned speaker imparted valuable advice to a gathering of nonprofit executives regarding the pursuit of grants. Her words were profound: “Never compromise your mission for the purpose of getting grant money.”

This statement holds true not only for nonprofits, but also for individual artists seeking funding. The act of pursuing funding at any cost, even if it means altering one’s artistic vision or compromising the core values of an organization, can lead to a phenomenon known as “mission creep” in the nonprofit world.

When applying for grants or funding, or even agreeing to collaborate on a project, realize that sacrificing your artistic vision is counterproductive. Instead, wait for opportunities that align with your inspirations and your aspirations. Seek those that allow you to undertake the meaningful work you envision.

Chasing money frequently involves diverting your artistic direction to cater to the demands of those holding the cash. This is a distraction which can impede your progress and leave you frustrated. As an artist, you should prioritize your time, using it for your highest value work. If it matches the opportunity, that’s great. If not, saying No is probably your best decision.

As an artist, you might have been offered opportunities that did not truly resonate with you. Or you may have accepted a commission that didn’t align with your abilities or skills. It’s not uncommon for artists to compromise their artistic integrity merely to secure a paycheck, taking on less desirable work. But making this a regular practice can severely derail your career trajectory.

Establish a clear vision and set specific goals for your small business’ it’s crucial for staying on track. By remaining focused on your goals, you can discern which projects are compatible with your abilities and interests. Conversely, without a clear sense of purpose, you may find yourself swayed by various opportunities that come your way solely because you are pursuing financial stability or employment.

Have you ever declined funding or projects because they didn’t align with the vision you have as an artist? If so, what were the outcomes of those decisions? While it may seem daunting to turn down potential funding or projects, the long-term effects can be transformative. Stay true to your artistic vision and rejecting opportunities that deviate from it. When you maintain the integrity of your work, you ensure that your artistic journey remains focused and purposeful.



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