Entrepreneurship Plays a Critical Role in Creative Success

Here are 2 lessons I learned from ignoring it


Jonas Ressem

3 years ago | 4 min read

The art is not enough. If you want to make a living creating your art, you have to have entrepreneurial talent.

Coming to terms with statement is a challenge. You want it to be enough. The art comes naturally to you, but the entrepreneurial does not. You’re an artist, not some sleazy businessperson. It’s not who you are.

Besides, you don’t want to take away time from what really matters. Why spend energy learning entrepreneurship, when the art gives you plenty to struggle with?

As a writer, I’ve more or less ignored this statement in the past. I’ve wanted to spend my time working on my art, not anything else, because that’s what I’ve always loved to do.

So, when I decided to go self-employed last year, I downplayed entrepreneurship’s importance. I figured, as long as I created good art, it would be fine.

But that’s not how it played out.

Although I wrote a book, my lacking entrepreneurial focus resulted in no one buying it. I didn’t market my product, sell it in to possible buyers, or networked with other professionals — at least not to a significant degree.

The result, after five months of trying to make it work, was ruin. By then I had burned all my money, had to borrow more from my family, and was forced to take any part-time job available.

I learned, the hard way, that the art is not enough.

Today, I work part-time at a nursing home. I still hope to succeed as a writer, but contrary to previous self, I’ve gained an immense respect for the entrepreneurial aspect. And it’s something I try to work on.

I’ve also learned some valuable lessons from my experience. So if you want to achieve creative success as well, here are 2 lessons I learned about entrepreneurship’s role in making that happen:

1. To the Market, Entrepreneurial Skills Are of Equal Importance

While the art might be the most important thing to you, the market is affected by your entrepreneurial skills as well. It’s affected by your ability to manage your creation, sell it as a product, and network with other professionals.

Don't get me wrong. The art is super important. But as long as no one knows about it, no one will ever buy it. You can have the most stunning piece of art, but as long as it exists in a vacuum, no one will be affected. You need to get in in front of people.

Therefore, I would say the two are of equal importance. You have to have an awesome thing, but you also have to get people to notice that thing. In a study on the careers of freelance musicians, a musician commented on this issue:

“I have several examples of people that have quit the music business…They seemed to have the natural talent, but did not have the skills to communicate it and manage it… musical talent alone is not enough… YY is not so good at it. He is creative as hell and should have got at least as great a career going as XX. His work is absolutely stunning, but since he is not good at managing his talent, and keeping focus on that bit, he falls short. I simply think that it lies there. You have to have the combination of musical talent and the skills to manage it in a professional manner.”

The study also revealed the best in the industry focused on the entrepreneurial aspect. It was more or less ignored by the newcomers, but the long-time industry giants respected the hell out of it. Perhaps they had learned to see themselves as entrepreneurs, understanding its role in getting to do what they love.

2. If You’re Thinking About Self-Employment, Build Your Entrepreneurial Skills First

Self-employment is hard. But thinking you can just jump right in makes it even harder. Trust me. Before you quit your job, aim to build your skill set first. Then test them out. See if they work in a safe capacity.

  • If you learn to market, first, you will know how to share your amazing art once you’ve made it.
  • If you build an audience, first, you will know you’ve got some potential buyers.
  • If you gain a professional network, first, you will have someone to support you — both in ensuring success and managing failure.

While it takes time to learn these skills, realize it’s a critical aspect to creative success. Besides, it doesn’t have to take away too much time from your art. Just think about it.

If you only work on your art and fail to make an income that way, you might have to take another job to sustain yourself. And with that, less freedom to operate as you want.

But if you work on entrepreneurship as well, it improves your chances of making a living creating your art. And with that, comes the freedom to spend your time how you want; the freedom of self-employment.

The Take Away

If you want creative success, the art is not enough. But neither is entrepreneurship on its own. To make a living creating your art, you need both: an amazing thing and means to share it.

“I simply think that it lies there. You have to have the combination of [artistic] talent and the skills to manage it in a professional manner.”


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Jonas Ressem

From Norway. Building Exploring life through psychology, philosophy and entrepreneurship. Come explore with me:







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