On Treating Your Art Form As an Enterprise

I think we’ve all heard it now that we should treat our creative pursuits as businesses in order for them to grow. Or maybe we haven’t all heard about it but there’s an inevitable truth in that. There’s a story that goes, an entrepreneur went to a class and asked who can make a better burger than McDonald’s. Nearly everyone in the classroom raised their hands. Then they went on to ask “who can sell burgers better than McDonald’s?”. All the hands went down obviously. That’s the point, as creatives we buy into the lie that are art-form will sell itself of it’s good enough or a masterpiece when in reality the art-form will sell if we’re good enough at selling it.

That’s why as creative you’re not just a writer, artist, actor etc. You’re a creative entrepreneur. Your enterprise is your creative pursuit and you need to find a way to make it profitable and sustainable. And because it’s an enterprise the rules of enterprise apply to it. Most of us never figure this out which is why most of us inevitably fail to make a viable living from it.

The first thing to know about entrepreneurship is that for most businesses you need to invest alot of time and resources into it at first in order for it to grow. They say that you spend eighty percent of your time making twenty percent of the money. That’s why when you start your creative career things often move slowly at first as your getting your footing and building your foundation. Yes, there are stories out there about how people started making five figures in a month but that’s often an anomaly. If you try that and see that that does not work for you or that it’s taking more time than your mentor took you’ll feel like giving up. Statistically speaking majority of businesses take five years of good business practice before they become truly profitable and able to run themselves. That’s the same for creative pursuits. It probably will take significantly less time than five years but you need to be aware of the time and effort that you need to invest before you see a decent return on capital employed.

The first step of course to write down a business plan or at least a course of action that outline your goals. The biggest mistake that creatives make (which is surprisingly not defining your niche as many assume) is having no plan whatsoever and steps to achieve it. Goals define everything from how many hours you’ll work to achieve them, to strategies you can implement to attain them and how much you need to charge to make the sustainable. As long as you have goals then to be honest your niche won’t matter and inkling. You could go from trucking to food production to fine art as long as it aligns with your ultimate goals. When feeling like making goals and sticking to them is a drag remember the military mantra ” Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance,”

Which is a drag I know, but what’s an even bigger drag is the fact that eighty or ninety percent of creatives live in financial insecurity while the minority tell us time and again that we need to get planning in order to have financial security. It’s not the most glamourous thing particularly because we’ve been ingrained to do creative work out of passion but.

Currently I operate under my company “Lurk in Your Quirk” which carries a lot of respect rather than operating as an individual. There’s a difference when a company is working with “Tanatswa of Lurk in Your Quirk” rather than just Tanatswa the random freelance writer. And you need that respect behind your name.

Okay, this was just a starter-pack for beginning to think about your art-form as an enterprise. For the next days I’ll go deeper into it in the next two posts. Until then, ciao!

If you want to connect with me here’s my PayPal: paypal.me/tanatswaforever

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