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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Q: I created a small artistic business 3.5 years ago. I hired an incredible business manager, and I provide him provide partial health-care benefits. The manager has helped me to take some big steps to advance my company.

Although I've incurred a good deal more in overhead as of late, I won't give up. I'm singularly focused and have even considered moving in with my parents for a bit, in order to cut costs. I write to you not so much for business advice, but because I like how you respect the individual voice. Please tell me I'm not crazy to believe in my artistic self! Thanks.


You are not crazy.

It is essential that a small-business owner authentically believe in what he or she is selling.

You also have to recognize that your company has a dual purpose. Both having a creative vision reflected in your product and running a profitable organization go hand in hand.

Your vision is somewhat valueless if you can't pay your rent, feed yourself, cover your health-care costs and generally support your lifestyle.

You will be an artistic visionary with no outlet for expression!

In understanding and making the initial steps to address this, you have already distinguished yourself amongst the numerous "artistic" businesses that fail due to a faulty sense of reality and an inability to properly assess your personal needs.

Always remember that the more successful your business is, the stronger your platform for expression will be.

I admire your commitment and maturity reflected in the recognition that you are willing to make sacrifices in order to achieve long-term success.

Temporarily moving in with your parents may strengthen the foundation and future of your business:

It will likely lessen the financial pressure of your business over the short term.

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This will also sharpen your artistic and company's financial focus.

In turn, you will probably make more productive and effective short- and intermediate-term decisions.

One additional idea you might consider is to give your business manager equity in your company in exchange for a reduced salary. This would serve to not only motivate your business manager but it could further reduce your financial pressures and might result in your business turning a profit sooner.

We all love ownership!

Here are some final observations:

I admire your tenacity and work ethic. If this is a reflection of your business product you will be very successful.

As you grow more successful in this business, feel free to take more artistic risks!

Finally, set realistic goals, meet them and then set your sights even higher.

Success means taking risk.

However, as we have discussed, success is usually achieved only through a balance of passion and pragmatism.

Thanks for the question, and email if you need any additional help. Everyone can reach me at "ASK NOAH" at


Have a profitable and peaceful week,