I am a craftsman who trades magic for money.
This means I have to be two people in one: an artisan and an entrepreneur.
As an artisan, I want to make something wonderful. As a business man, I need to make something that fulfils an actual need for someone who has the money to pay for it. As an artisan, I want to surround myself with like minded makers who inspire me and with whom I can collaborate to create magnificent stuff. As a business, I want to find the brightest people in the world who can help me to multiply my time so we can get more work, make more stuff that people want and grow as a business.
The artisan wants to stay busy but small, so he can touch everything that goes out of the shop. The business man wants to grow, increase turnover, maximize profit and all that boring stuff. But since I am two people in one, and I want to avoid a civil war inside myself - somehow I have to please both of these guys - the artisan and the entrepreneur.
I convince the artisan that he cannot always and forever do the work. Someday, the eyes and the ears will go, the hands won't be steady and maybe I will forget stuff. I need to start passing on my legacy, my ways of doing things to young, bright folks who I can teach in the ways of my trade. We will multiply time and money. We will leave a legacy. And we will set some money aside for when it's time to step aside.
I tell the business guy that I've seen a lot of makers turn mundane when their only goal became to make money. They grow, sure. But gradually the work becomes uninspired, as the craftspeople brag about how much money they are bringing in instead of worrying about making delightful things. Then the company is sold to some dull giant who puts even more pressure on everyone to make money. Instead of making things with soul, you spend most of your time doing spreadsheets.
Artists run the biggest risk of losing their soul when money enters the picture. Oscar Wilde got it right when he said:
When bankers get together for dinner, they talk about art. When artists get together for dinner, they talk about money.
Money is necessary. No doubt about it. Let's make it. Let's make lots of it. But let's never chase it for its own sake. Money is a good slave, but a terrible master. A means, not an end.
The end is life. A life well lived. Productive, enterprising, useful, creative, full of adventure, full of love - full of people who make it all worthwhile.