VLOG: Want to create your own art-based business? The importance of learning from real artrepreneurs cannot be overlooked. Caitlin McCarty, Founder and Artistic Director of contemporary dance company Collateral & Co., is here to share her top 3 tips for all artrepreneurs!
Don’t have time to watch? Here’s a RECAP:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
“The worst they can say, is no.” Ask others for what you want and need–you’ll be surprised at how willing they might be to help. But remember, don’t just think about WHAT you want–think about the HOW behind implementing what you want.
2. Use your contacts to make more contacts.
“Someone you know probably knows that person.” Take advantage of your network. Each member in your network has a network of their own. Your contacts will be able to help you make new contacts. Like #1, don’t be afraid to ask those in your network if they know anyone who… or if they know a contact at… You’ll be surprised at how quickly your network will grow when you use your existing contacts to make new contacts!
3. Be consistent.
#1 and #2 are more likely to work in your favor when you are consistent in what you do. Be consistent in: – Creating and delivering your product or service – Building and maintaining relationships – Branding yourself and your creative business
Caitlin writes about how to startup, market, and manage your own business. Check her website outhere: Creatively bringing your goals to life | https://caitlinmccarty.com/
If there are additional topics you’d like to hear about from real artrepreneurs, leave a comment below!
This is a blog about artrepreneurship–so why are we talking about ego?
Beowulf’s inability to control his ego and let go of his pride ultimately resulted in his death and the vulnerability of his people. Lucifer’s hubris and selfish viewpoints disconnected him from his heavenly people and caused suffering for the world below. King Oedipus’ prideful attempts to deny the prophecies of the Greek gods brought about the death of those he loved.
Our (real and imagined) relations with the phenomenon known as the “ego” are nothing new. For centuries, we’ve been intrigued by ego and its impacts, most likely because it affects each of us. Our fascination with ego is not unprecedented–when not monitored and dealt with strategically, our egos can cause problems for us that we never intended.
That’s why it’s important for us to talk about ego here at Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet. As an artrepreneur, you will be faced with many challenges related to your ego. After all, this is YOUR creative business, this is YOUR vision, and much of your success lies on YOUR decisions and actions. It’s hard not to overemphasize the importance of yourself.
However, there are some ways you can keep your ego in check during your artrepreneurial journey:
Listening to others As an artrepreneur, its important to ask others for their thoughts and opinions. We’ve talked before about the importance of others along your artrepreneurial journey: involving others can help you strengthen your weaknesses, come up with new ideas, and see things from different perspectives. Take the time to listen to what others have to say. You might find a gem in their advice one day.
Asking others for advice (and sometimes, taking it) This is similar to listening to others, but requires that you take the first step in initiating their involvement. When you do ask for advice from others, listen deeply and consider what they have to say. Remember: you don’t always have to follow their advice. But, if there seems to be potential in what they have to say, don’t be afraid to take their advice and give them credit for the benefit they’ve added to your creative company.
Trusting the ability of others Sometimes, we’ve added people to our team but still don’t fully trust their ability to execute. It’s easier to trust and rely on ourselves, because we’re confident that we won’t let ourselves down. But sometimes, you have to give others a chance to prove their ability and add to your vision. If they let you down, you can re-evaluate their position with your business–but at least give them a fair, fighting chance.
Evaluating yourself realistically We’ve talked many times about the importance of being able to evaluate yourself and your circumstances from a place of reality. Sometimes, our ego can cause us to overestimate our own abilities or underestimate the abilities of others. This can leave promises unfulfilled and opportunities undiscovered. Work with your ego by evaluating yourself realistically and acting accordingly.
When you don’t take the time to check your ego as an artrepreneur, you might face unnecessary problems, such as:
– Losing potential partners – Losing potential clients – Missing out on good opportunities – De-valuing your brand
Dealing with your ego might not be the first thing you think of when planning for your artrepreneurial journey, but it’s important. Keeping your ego in check will help you build a successful creative business that will last.
There are all kinds of character traits thought to make some entrepreneurs more successful than others. Taking on the role of the creator might be the most important.
About four years ago, my husband came home and showed me something that would change the way I thought of myself. He was in a personal development and leadership class; the professor talked about the role of the “creator.” He showed me the summary they had discussed:
I still keep this paper on our refrigerator, because it reminds me of a critical challenge that every artrepreneur, every person, is faced with: becoming a creator.
Taking on the role of the creator is all about accepting an internal locus of control: the idea that you have more control over your outcomes than do the circumstances you are presented with. When you lose this internal locus of control, you fall victim to your circumstances and to others–you lose control over your outcomes.
The creator role is critical because as an artrepreneur, you are solely responsible for the success of your creative business. Of course, you can attribute failures to poor market conditions, fierce competition, or something else, but remember: others are competing in similar conditions–someone will be successful… why not you? Oftentimes, its due to a victim mentality.
When you accept the role of the creator, its easier to “see life’s challenges as opportunities” and make strategic changes as a response to circumstances beyond your control. When you’re acting in the creator role, you’re using your energy to continue building your creative business, instead of acting passively. The role of the victim is for those who make excuses. The role of the creator is for those who make changes.
Stress and anxiety are major symptoms of being stuck in the victim role. When you are stuck in the victim role, you feel helpless and out of control. This causes fear of all kinds. But if you can shift to the role of the creator, you’ll be able to adjust your response to uncertainty by understanding that you have the power to affect your situation–you just have to strategically take action.
I’ll admit: this is all easier said than done, but being aware is the first step. So the next time you feel stuck or out of control, think about the creator role. Are your thoughts and actions in line with the behavior of a victim, or a creator? Accepting the role of the creator is one of the most important steps you can take in creating your very own art-based business.
Here at Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of a strong business model based on a need that your potential customers have. But here’s something we haven’t talked enough about: YOU.
The probability that your business vision will actually become a successful business, without you, is 0%. Someone might do something similar, someone might even pursue the same model based on the same need, but they aren’t going to do it just like you. You’re the artrepreneur in artrepreneurship, so it’s important to evaluate yourself before, and as, you pursue your artrepreneurial journey.
Strengths and abilities
What are you good at? What are you not so good at? Understanding your strengths is important in using your abilities to their full potential. You must understand what you can do, so that you can decide what you will do. Look for fit between your strengths and abilities and your business vision.
Think about your weaknesses, too. Will you need to balance your weaknesses with others who have strengths in those areas? Will you work on improving those weaknesses so that you don’t need to? These are important things to think about as you develop a plan for moving forward with your artrepreneurial journey.
Your personal financial situation will affect your artrepreneurial journey. If you have a slow start, do you have emergency savings to back you up? If you decide you’ll need outside funding to start-up your business, are you in a good position to be lent money? (Good credit score, solid amount of personal capital, etc.)
In order to build a successful creative business, you’ll need to be able to handle the business’s finances in a strategic and responsible manner. Doing so with your personal finances is the best kind of practice.
When there are struggles with a business’s finances, the emotional side of being an artrepreneur is usually hit first. In fact, there are all kinds of things that are going to affect your emotional rationale: unexpected mishaps, uncertainty, rejection, failure. As many of have stated before, artrepreneurship often resembles a rollercoaster–good and bad times following each other over and over again. Do you feel prepared to deal with the emotional effects of building a successful art-based business?
Considering your network is an important step in preparing to build your own creative business. Think about who you know, and who they know. Think about who you don’t know that you should. Evaluate the strength of your current network and make a plan for how you can expand it. Who can you learn from? Who can help you test your business vision? Who might become a potential customer?
You may want to work on expanding your network appropriately before starting your business, or you might do so while starting up your business. Either way, networking is one of the most important ways to build your brand–and its centered around YOU and your ability to communicate your value to others. Don’t forget to focus on others, too–networking is most successful when you work on recognizing the value that other people bring.
Your dedication is going to be the driving force behind your success as an artrepreneur. However, the desire we’re discussing now is your desire for yourself and your future. What are your long-term goals with this creative business? What would your ideal future look like? What do you really want, really desire, for yourself? This vision for yourself will be what helps motivate your dedication. It’s also a way to measure your artrepreneurial success in the future. Write down or draw out your desire. Keep it with you as a “postcard” for the destination you’re trying to reach.
I’m dedicated to giving you straight-to-the-point information about how to be the best artrepreneur you can be. It wouldn’t be right to NOT bring YOU up in one of our discussions. I hope you’ll take some time to have honest dialogue about yourself, with yourself. Doing so will help you understand the fit between who you are and the creative business of your dreams. Finding this fit is one huge step toward becoming a successful artrepreneur.
Here are 3 easy ways to build contacts in your creative space, even during the time of the Coronavirus.
#1Take advantage of free resources in your community
Free? That’s right, free! In every state there are organizations that exist for the sole purpose of stimulating the local economy through small business growth. One of these organizations is very dear to my heart: the Small Business Development Center!
Small Business Development Centers are non-profit organizations that exist all over the country. There are 13 in Nevada alone! At the SBDC, business counselors are waiting to help you develop your business model, find funding, develop marketing strategies, assist in your research, and ultimately help you grow your creative business! All you have to do is sign up and make an appointment. Not only do counselors act as your business advisors, but they can help connect you with the rest of your local entrepreneurial community. So click here to locate an SBDC near you!
Another nationwide organization that provides business advising for free is SCORE. Their team consists of retired executives who have extensive experience in all kinds of industries. Check out this site to see if there is a SCORE counselor in your area who has the experience you need.
NOTE: Both organizations are offering virtual counseling through the time of the Coronavirus.
#2Find out who the leaders in your industry areand connect with them on social media
Social media offers a great way to stay in the loop on all things happening in your field. Find and follow your industry members and experts to start building relationships with them and learning from the content they post. Work hard to engage with them authentically.
But first, make sure that you are providing helpful content on your social media pages so to encourage others to follow you. If you’re a painter, maybe you post content about your process or mistakes/lessons you’ve learned that could be helpful for others. Give people a reason to remember you so that when you meet them in person, they’re already familiar with you and the value you bring.
Social media is a great way to learn about in-person events that are happening, especially in your area. If one of your favorite local artists is hosting a gallery, go and support them. If an expert in your field is hosting a webinar, join! Supporting your local network is the easiest way to get support back.
#3Go to local events in your creative space
Again, supporting your local artrepreneurial community is one of the best ways to gain trust with potential contacts in your field. When you support others, they’re more likely to support you. Try to maintain a benevolent spirit, meaning that you are there to truly support them. Keep a learning attitude–you never know what tidbit of advice might be a huge learning lesson for you in your artrepreneurial journey. One of the easiest ways to find local events is to search online for people and organizations in your field and stay up-to-date with the information they post. Often they will share information on events, meet-ups, and openings.
Connecting with potential customers, mentors, and partners is a huge part of developing your artrepreneurial network–but you must stay genuine! People are much more willing to work with others who they feel are benevolent, well-meaning, and honest. So try your best to support without a hidden agenda. Ego is not welcome here!
Remember: Building a network takes time and benefits are not always immediate. Stay with it. Becoming a recognized name in any community takes time and effort, so consider this a strategy for the long-haul.
Challenge! Visit your social media pages right now and start searching for local members of your creative field–they can be people or organizations. Then, think about the value you can offer them through your own social media page. These two steps are the core of starting to develop your artrepreneurial network and can be done now, even in the time of COVID-19.