I nodded agreement... and gave the series away. Why?
(You know what I'm about to say, right? All together now: "The Three Micahs Explain!")
I know a lot of really creative and magnificent people in a variety of fields who are suffering, often because they don't have ideas on how to manage their business. They might not be able to afford the cost of an e-book or book; they might not even think to pick one up. By posting "Many Roles" for free I gave them the opportunity to consume my observations on making money as an artist and maybe put some of the principles into practice. If even one of those people was helped by my advice, not only does the net suffering of the universe decrease a little... but chances are, they'll be able to continue to create their work, which means I'll increase the net awesome available in the universe for other people to consume.
I like awesome. I dislike suffering. Score! Twice!
In short, I like helping people. This was a chance to do so, so I did.
...but I also knew that if I gave away "Many Roles," I would get paid for it. My experience with writing for the internet has demonstrated that if I give away content and then ask for funding, enough people will tip me to make it worth my time. The moment I conceived the three-part series, I was planning on that coffee mug tip button at the end and betting that I'd make as much per hour giving it away as I used to make working full-time. I kept track of how many hours it took. I kept track of the money that came in.
I was right. Writing the series, giving it away and then soliciting money for it more than paid for my effort.
Did I just say that I had two reasons for doing something? One altrusitic and one monetary? Why yes, I did. And no, I don't believe the one cancels the other out. In fact, rather the opposite. I believe if you're doing something you love in a way that contents you, there is no friction between the you that asks for money and the you that makes things. It feels natural to ask for and accept money in return for what you're doing, and patrons feel natural (and often happy) paying you.
When you reach that place, there's no dichotomy between "making wages" and "doing what you love." The weirdest thing about it is how not-weird it'll feel. Some part of you will wonder: "Wow, people are paying me for this?? I'm the luckiest daughter of Eve|son of Adam in the world!"
This is the happy-place that I pray everyone can reach at least once in their lives, because there's no boon to society quite like the right person working in the right field, doing something they love. That person will give more to the rest of us than twenty, forty, a hundred out-of-place, out-of-context people ever will.
...But a Caveat
Some of you may read into this that if you do what you love, you will make money at it. And that if you are trying to do what you love and aren't, you're a failure, or I'm indicting you, or I'm wrong. I ask you to go back and re-read the "But Wait" section. Nowhere do I say that doing what you love will necessarily make you six figures... or four. Or even two. My only point is that if you're doing something you love in the right way, in a way that focuses on the joy of doing it rather than flogging it for what it "should" be doing for you... it won't make you feel guilty or strained or like you're taking advantage of people when you receive money for it.
Not all endeavors make money. Not all endeavors make the amount of money you wish they did; or need them to. Sometimes it's a right-time thing. Sometimes it's a right-place or right-product thing.
...but sometimes, it's a right-approach thing. And that's why I'm going to make the Three Micahs a monthly column. Because if there's even a small chance that I can help you find the right approach (Personal), and maybe make a little money of my own doing it (Professional), then I'm going to give it a go. So join me here on the 15th of every month and let's see what we can do together to make all of us a little more successful, a little more content... and a lot more cartooned. Because if you don't love business cartoons yet... I'm going to do my best to change your mind!