Are you a true entrepreneur – or just a creative labourer?
This was the question posed in my article about the E-Myth.
Here’s a true story. Robert Altman was paid a cool $70,000 (US dollars) for directing the 1970 hit movie M*A*S*H. They needed a song for the movie so Robert Altman’s 14 year old son, Mike Altman, co-wrote the song ‘Suicide is Painless’ with his friend Johnny Mandel.
Robert Altman sold his labour as a film director for a fee. Mike Altman didn’t sell his copyright in the song. Instead, he kept ownership of the intellectual property he created and through licensing deals allowed the film-makers to use it. The song also became a hit separately, after it was used in the film. Over the years, Mike Altman made over a million dollars for co-writing the song. Much more than his father earned for directing the film!
The key to generating income in the long term – rather than being a creative labourer and working for wages – is to use our creativity to produce intellectual property that can generate income streams.
That’s what George Lucas did.
But this is not just about Hollywood. I advised Guilherme Marconi in Brazil, a commercial illustrator who licenses (rather than sells) his work to Nike, Coca Cola, Vodafone and other top brands using this business model. For more details about his work and business see my ‘Ideas in Action’ article ‘Don’t sell it; rent it’ featuring Guilherme.
It’s a different approach and a different business model. It’s about being a true Creative Entrepreneur rather than merely a creative labourer.