What we arts entrepreneurs create, often becomes a central focus point in our lives.
Because of this, it is absolutely crucial that we:
- Believe in what we are doing. Belief in ones actions is everything. If we do not believe, there will always be a part of us outside of the equation. (I like to image someone sticking their toe out of a shower).
- Find meaning in its development. This will keep you slogging forward during times of considerable pushback.
- Plan well and have clear goals. During their careers, many entrepreneurs have face this, sometimes many times, myself included: If you happened to be faced with a riddle, the successful answer of which determines whether or not you can provide for your family, your best and constant efforts will increase your chances of success. If you have done your best, what more can you possibly do?
- Be Adaptable. The process of entrepreneurship is very much an adventure. Adventure is going into the unknown. Couple this with considerable personal risk and investment (time, emotional, possibly financial, sacrifice of time with friends and occasionally family) and you can very quickly have your plate very full, in all senses. Adventures have a way of changing the adventurer, or the hero of the tale. Those who cannot adapt are like individual dry sticks–easy to break. Fluidity is what serves entrepreneurs best–adapting to the circumstances at hand.
- Do only the necessary tasks at hand, one at a time. Many successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they focus first on what is most pressing. Then something else will take its place. Next, they focus on that. As Arts Entrepreneurs, we may not always have the luxury of focusing on only one thing at once.
- Engage the obstacles. All adventure stories are about heroes overcoming obstacles and seizing treasure (which is typically self-knowledge). The pushback most receive (volume and size of obstacles) is typically in proportion to the size of one’s ambition. If you want something trivial, your tests will not be so great. But if you want something truly grand–like to make a real impact in the world, expect to suffer. Everything of value in this world has a price tag. Know this and pay it (financially, emotionally, spiritually, financially), whatever the adventure demands, within reason. Do this and you increase your chances of success.
- Give credit. Most people want and deserve credit for their efforts and energy spent. If you do not desire great heaping amounts of credit and, instead, give focus to your collaborators and your stakeholders (those impacting the success of your business), you can accomplish very much. Everyone has an ego. Remember this.
- Divide the treasures. Every army survives on its stomach. People need to eat. More, if they contribute to something that is a success, by fairly distributing the fortunes amassed, one protects the entity. One’s employees and collaborators are one’s chief assets. Without them, what you create could, likely, not exist. If you want a strong reputation, a strong work ethic with your employees and collaborators, and loyalty, share the treasures.
- Sell yourself. In the process of developing and marketing our visions and concepts, if we have a fear of stepping into the light and speaking about what we believe in, we will not engage much in way of trust. Entrepreneurs need to inspire the imagination of others (collaborators, donors, investors and stakeholders). We must be able to excite the blood and put others into action. In order to engage this ability, one needs to be confident in what they do, which brings us back to belief.
- Decide. “I’m the decider!”, said President Bush during his tenure in the White House. Though this soundbite was often used on the comedy circuit, we must recognize the reality. In running a business (or a country), one must decide on a great number of things. If one is overly hesitant, reluctant to make decisions and choose, one decreases their chances of success. We must cultivate the ability to make decisions quickly, knowing full well that every action has its reaction. Every decision has an outcome.
With the development of these tools, one increases their chances of success and that is what this game is all about. One cannot separate Risk from Entrepreneurship.The goal is to, in every way possible, increase our chances of success. And when we do reach that point of the realization of our goals (success), we can taste its sweet victory, knowing that we have climbed mountains and we have, in some ways, touched the sky.
Jim Hart serves as Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University. Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway. Hart is a writer, director, actor, teacher, producer and arts entrepreneur.