I listened to a podcast this week that really got me thinking. The podcast was an episode of Founders Talk with Drew Wilson. There was a ton of great content in there, but one thing in particular that stood out was Drew’s approach to entrepreneurialism, which was not at all about chasing after money, but about making something he really needed, then selling it to others.

I think this reflects really well with what I’m doing with my pixel art app. What I’ve found is that I keep thinking about how much I really want to use the app right now, but it doesn’t exist yet, so instead that drives me on in creating it. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that I’ve only been working in it for a month so far, as progress has been pretty decent given my full time job and other commitments. I think a lot of the reason for that has to do with the motivation of getting the app done so I can use it. Here’s a look at the latest mock-up.

Pixel app mock-up

Obviously the hope and expectation that the app might make some money is motivating me too, but it’s very secondary. I have a theory — which I have no way of proving — that in the long run, the financial rewards from of creating what you need the most and are most passionate about will be greater than if you are constantly trying to chase after money making ideas. It’s about creating value, not chasing cash. When you create something of value, that fills a need you have, you’ll be creating value for other people too.

Maybe my theory about the financial rewards being greater isn’t accurate; but even if that is the case, the rewards will still be greater. If you create something valuable to you, the worst case scenario is that you end up with that tool at the end. Even if no-one else buys what you’ve made, the project was not a total waste of time, and you’ll be proud of what you’ve made, because you will have done the best job you could possibly do. I find that this constant reminder that I’m going to be using my app a lot, means that I’m even more of a perfectionist than usual. But if you make something you don’t care about, hoping to make money from it, and the idea flops, then you’ve done nothing but waste your time, effort and money.

I also think it means I’ll actually finish this project. I’ve tried the projects where I’m just chasing after money, trying to get rich quick, and I’ve never actually finished one of those projects because they’re just so draining, and never fun. Chasing money is no way to build a business either, as far as I can see. If you build something of value, sure it might take longer to get off the ground, but it’s then that you’re building to last.

My final thought on this subject is that I want to love what I do, and do what I love. The dream right now is to go full time with Rizer (ok, the dream’s way bigger, but you’d think I’m crazy!), and when I reach that point, I want to be able to leap out of bed in the mornings, pumped about what I get to create in the day ahead. But if I’ve reached this point by making apps just because I think they might make a quick buck, with no passion invested and no desire fulfilled, then what’s the point? I may as well still be working for “the man”, because money will have become my boss. Screw that!

Make the app you want to use. Make the game you’d love to play. Create value, don’t chase money.