103: Balancing Creativity and Business with Paul Jarvis

I used to think working for yourself meant spending all of your time only doing the things you loved. But now I realize there’s more to working for yourself than just doing what you love.


There’s a good tension you will face as a creative between balancing the business and creative side of working for yourself. This struggle will provide you with ongoing opportunities to grow as a professional. Whether you’re a freelance designer, consultant, or author, you must prepare yourself now for this challenge.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Paul Jarvis and I talk about how he handles the tension of creating great work with the business side of things, the importance of fighting fear while doing your best work, and how you can best master your skills and learn new one’s to prepare you for working full-time for yourself.

Listen in as Paul shares what he has learned working full-time as a freelancer and online entrepreneur for nearly 20 years. There’s a lot of wisdom in what he has to say that you don’t want to miss.

Listen to the podcast

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Show highlights

In this episode, Paul Jarvis and I discuss:

  • What you can learn from Paul’s experience navigating the tension between business and creativity
  • How fear can provide opportunities for personal and professional growth
  • How to fight the false belief that your best work is behind you
  • Why you should regularly create new challenges for yourself
  • Paul’s transition from providing freelance work to becoming an online entrepreneur
  • The biggest challenge creatives face in making a living for themselves
  • Why you may need to say no to good opportunities
  • Whether or not every creative should run a business
  • How taking on new projects will help you to grow as a professional

Quotes and takeaways

  • Fear and action can coexist
  • The only way to be something is to start doing it
  • You need to spend as much time connecting your work with people as you do making the work
  • No one is going to push you as hard as you’re going to push yourself


What action are you going to take today after listening to this podcast? Share in the comments.

9 thoughts on “103: Balancing Creativity and Business with Paul Jarvis

  1. Not only will no one push you as hard as you push yourself, I often feel the opposite. When something gets complicated, people often suggest to stop worrying about it, don’t do it at all, and many times advice focuses on playing it safe. People who truly care about you don’t want you to fail, so they often advise the easier path. It can be detrimental to your creativity.

  2. This was very helpful today. I tell myself every day that the world doesn’t need another writer – then I got write something because who cares? I write for me because I love to write. We all have things we tell ourselves that hold us back. For me I have to accept that I write for me and if nobody else reads it, I have to be comfortable with that. Paul and you have huge followings so your fears and comforts are different from mine. I was a system tester for many years. I get why Paul isn’t content to design websites and play with code all day.

  3. Really enjoyed this episode! A lot of great food for thought here, especially the insightful comments about work-life balance & how to handle the tension between one’s creative work & one’s business. Thank you, Jeff and Paul!

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