Why You Shouldn’t Make Stuff Because You Want to Make Money

I am a big fan of John Green. I love the way he answers questions and explains things. It is always a bit frantic and high energy, but it is often brilliant and spot on.

In this video someone just sent me from a few years ago, John gets into the importance of the internet, making, and gifting.

I think it is pretty special.

  • At :55  John discusses why he loves the internet, which I agree with.
  • At 1:42 is the amazing Gary Busey Family Portrait.
  • At 2:08 is the sweet spot, where John breaks it down like this:

Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.

Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.

That is it right there, folks. If you get that, if you agree with that, if you can internalize THAT, then you are doing it right.

– A


  1. I found your site today and Love it! My blog is based upon giving people uplifting messages, and easily digestible thoughts fo everyday application. My site is free and my goal isn’t to make money but to help others. Reading your blog makes me think of extending this to future business practices. Delivering a service based completely upon donations. I love the idea of putting out great energy without defined expectations of the return, just hoping for a balance. It’s even better to hear that you have cultivated this practice and have reached an equilibrium – provide a service that you’re proud of, and able to feed your children because of this.

    One question I have : do you screen the clients you decide to work with? Have you had the problem of zero, or close-to-zero compensation for something in which you dedicated signficant time and energy?

    Wish you the best of luck!!

    – Zachary

  2. So true.
    And I wish people would also understand that every moment that they spend not using the gifts (talents) that Life has given them, not following their passion because they can’t figure out how to cash in on it, they die a little inside. And therefore it would just be better if they started using them anyway and believes that as long as they use them (that is, appreciate the gift they have been given by Life, and therefore give back to Life), they will receive gifts in return.

    “We have all been given a gift, the gift of life.
    What we do with our lives is our gift back.”

  3. I agree. Life should be about creating and living in ways that inspire ourselves and maybe some others. I’m in the scheming phase of starting a business, and it gets a little scary, thinking about supporting my daughter and paying off debts while investing in myself. But I’m mentally exhausted, running in my wheel. So here’s to salvaging our dreams from the back burner!

    Thank you for being an example and inspiration. John Green as well.