When it comes to graphic design, there’s a big debate about whether passion vs. profit is more important. Some people believe that you can’t have both, while others feel that passion is key in order to achieve success. Personally, I think both are important – you need to have a passion for what you’re doing in order to stay motivated, but you also need to make money in order to sustain your business. In this blog post, I want to share my thoughts on the topic after reaching a million dollars in sales in one year.
Passion vs. Profit: Do Motivations Matter?
Today I want to talk to you about something that’s been weighing heavily on me, something I want to share with you guys. I think it will help you gain a different perspective than what I’m used to talking about in this article. I want to talk to you guys about passion or profit. What do you go for in your career? I’ve spent a lot of time focused on profit, now because I love doing graphic design so much. I have put a lot into it with my passion, and it’s grown the way it has because of my passion.
I’ve also pursued profit for many years as part of my passion. One of my heart’s fondest dreams and one of my passions is being a designer; that’s never going to change. Once a creative, always a creative. So, in this article, I want to share with you three things that I think are really important things that you need to be thinking about if you want to focus on having passion or you want to focus on profit. Here’s my question: what is most important, passion vs. profit? Is it passion, is it the fact that you just get to do graphic design, web design, motion design or is it profit that you just want to make as much money as possible? Do you want to have profit? Do you want to build a team? Do you want to build a graphics company or do you want to build a brand?
These are two completely different dualities. I’m the kind of person that loves to surround myself with other people. So, for me, I went towards the profit side because if I’m going to have people come onto my team and be part of my company, I need to generate more revenue to be able to pay those people and pay them well. I don’t want anybody working for me and being struck and having to struggle or not get paid what they’re worth. This is really important to me so I pick the path of going after profit now. If you’re on the other side of the fence and you’re focused more on the PASSION side, there are three things that you need to know, which I’ll get into a little further down.
Passion vs. Profit in My Career
I look back at my career and think about my design career at the very beginning. When I first started doing graphic design, I just wanted to prove myself and show people what I could do. It wasn’t about the money, and because of that, I was furiously pursuing my growth in design skills and everything else that I wanted in my life. To become the best graphic designer possible, I had to consider my creative growth, education, and fulfillment.
I knew that at the beginning, I was going to suck, but all I needed to do was find people who would see the value in me as a person and know that I was going to do my best. Because of that, my graphic design skills got better and I continued to grow those skills. Through that, I focused on my passion vs. profit, which fueled me to become better and better. I wanted to continue to give my clients the best result possible. Now I’m not saying that if you pursue profit, you can’t give clients a great result; because if you charge a lot of money, you can go hire the best in the world and have them do the design. But if you take pride in being a designer and this is something that you love to do, this is something I want you to focus on.
The second thing I think is really important is when I was at the very beginning of my career as a brand new designer, I’d never done graphic design full time. When I moved into that world, I started focusing on watching tutorials and watching training videos, reading Photoshop books and design books, and learning about it. I surrounded myself with other designers and modeled other designers. I was consumed by it; I was obsessed. I couldn’t do anything but learn about design. I wasn’t learning how to grow a business. I wasn’t learning how to grow a team or how to be a leader, how to do SEO, or how to make YouTube videos, right?
All of my energy and time went in to becoming the best graphic designer possible. This is important because it’s what took me from a level two or level one designer to a level-eight or level-nine designer in a very short period of time. I moved quickly, so this is the second point: if you focus as much of your energy as possible on becoming the best designer possible, you’re going to move really fast. Because if you’re not obsessed, you’re just going to be average.
So for me, I was obsessed with learning design. I wanted to learn the tricks, the little techniques that I could use to help my artwork stand out from everybody else’s and get that client with the best outcome – something that I would be proud of when I designed. I designed with my client in mind, but I also wanted to design something that I would be proud of basically. Long story short, when I designed, I was designing for myself – something that I was proud to show to the client. And 99 out of 100 times, the client always loved what I did and they were so impressed.
The third point I want you to think about is your mindset. I talk a lot about the things between your ears – your brain. I want you to have a good mindset, one that is creative and fulfilling. I was so fulfilled that I was just getting to be able to do art all day long. I spent 12, 16, 18, sometimes even 24 hours doing design and I was just so happy that I had to get paid even though it wasn’t a lot of money or even good money. I had to be paid to use my artistic and creative abilities.
So that you can find creative fulfillment, there’s something to be said for becoming the best designer possible. I want to advocate that if you’re not focused on making $100,000 a year or $80,000 a year and you just want to be a designer and make decent money, focus on becoming the best designer possible. You’re going to find fulfillment in that after a certain amount of time – I think it was about four or five years into my journey. I started to get that itch. I wanted more; I had reached a certain level of my career as a designer. I had won design awards and I had hundreds, actually thousands, of clients at that point.
Final Thoughts on Passion vs. Profit in Graphic Design
I had a lot of success, and I wanted to reach that next tier in my career, and that’s where the passion vs. profit decision came into play. You might not be at that tier yet, but this article is intended for the person who is new to design and has never been a professional graphic designer in their life. They just want to get started and they want to do design and art for a living, regardless of how much money they make. That’s who this article is designed for. If you’re already an experienced designer and you’re trying to level up and make more money or get more clients, then this article isn’t for you.
I have lots of other articles for that, but this one is to help my fellow creatives that are just starting out in their careers move a lot more quickly learn how to become very skilled as a creative, learn how to move at the speed of light as I did. I mean, I was working crazy hours learning and honing my skills, and thirdly they want to be fulfilled; they want to find fulfillment in being a designer and being creative. I’d love to hear from you, and until next time, I’m Adrian Boysel. As always, keep looking up.