How Much is Enough?

I had lunch the other day with a friend. He has a has a reasonably high paying job in consulting which he sort of enjoys but would rather be an artist. So the question he posed was “How much is enough?” – meaning how much money does he need to become an artist. We spent the rest of the lunch talking about different options for approaching this.

Here’s a recap of what we have come up with so far:

1. Don’t wait, just start trying to sell some art right now on the side while going full steam with his work. We concluded this was hard given the demands of his job, which involves a fair bit of travel and dinners with clients. So this makes it difficult for him to carve out time consistently to work on art. We agreed though that with a high degree of will power this might still be possible. There are some examples of people having succeeded this way, notably singer John Legend who was at BCG while also launching his music career.

2. Dial back work a lot but keep some income going. This will require him going freelance and losing health benefits. Definitely felt more doable than option #1 but also somewhat riskier. Two conditions seemed important here. First, making sure his expenses were low enough / his income high enough to not require digging into savings (see next option for that). Second, having fairly reliable repeat clients so that there isn’t a (Read more...)