Does entrepreneurship sound like a viable option for you? What will you create and who or what will you serve? Here are some tips towards discovering what that might be and how to begin amassing your personalized audience of choice, which has potential to become a long-term support base for you, specifically, as an artist and entrepreneur.
1. People generally like to work with their talents. I like to define talent as, “Complicated tasks done with the appearance of ease”. With this definition in mind, what talents do you have? Consider any and all.
2. Considering all of the jobs, travels, life experiences, challenges, artistry, relationships, mentors and all other stimuli you may have bumped up against that is part of you and of interest to you, imagine throwing all of those things into a mental funnel. The famed Swiss Psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, said that creative minds play with what they love (paraphrase). What do you love to think about? What thoughts cause you to lose all track of time? Play with them. Mythologist Joseph Campbell said that the key to finding one’s great vivifying meaning is to “Follow your bliss”. In brief, what makes you happy?
3. Who shares this happiness, these values and where are they located? Create a detailed analysis of your potential audience demographic and map (This may be global). No message resonates for everyone. Get specific. There is much to be gained in carving out a niche in the market. Find that place of shared passion and need between you and your audience. Blog for them. Your text will be picked up by Google, which will help your audience find you. Next, create in service of your audience. Create with their needs in mind. Create to their hopes, fears, joys, fantasies, desires, dreams and most importantly, appeal to their needs, as needs are needs and everyone has them. Create in response to the human condition, that which appears universal, and one’s potential for impact increases. Fulfilling others’ needs can lead to one’s own needs being met and can lead to profitability. Fulfilling others’ needs is service and service is the only way to ethically become necessary to others. Who or what do you presently serve? Who or what do you wish to serve? If you could serve a group, who would be in it?
4. Using your funneled information of your talents, interests, and skills and considering who your audience is and where they are located, begin communicating with them. I recommend social media, specifically Facebook. Facebook enables an artist to build a multinational audience, through which, they can engage, converse, test concepts and create for. This personalized audience of choice has potential to become part of the artist entrepreneur’s long-time support base. This audience of choice can then become the artist entrepreneur’s key arm of their marketing strategy, as their supporters communicate the entrepreneur’s value through word of mouth. This form of advertising is the most powerful, as it comes with a personal recommendation. If the artist launches a product, service, show, book, etc., this base is going to be the first to support it.
5. With this exercise in mind and any developing concepts you may have, re-filter and re-imagine. Have fun doing so.
6. Entrepreneurship is a process of risk-taking. Many fear risk. However, it is inevitable in creating anything new. One may “fail” or “succeed”. One thing is certain: There will be pushback. In change making, one will encounter the status quo. The status quo has worked hard to become such and has an interest in self-preservation. Consider gardening: If a seed is pushed by a finger into the earth, by default, the surface of the soil must break, must change, must alter, as the seed is now present. In order for the sprout to emerge from both seed casing and under soil surface, both the seed and earth must break. That process is, no doubt, a struggle for the sapling. If the status quo does not adjust, the plant will never be realized and will compost into existing earth. However, if the young sprout is strong and all conditions appropriate for growth, it will grow and the soil will move.
Summary: Synthesize your interests. Process and organize by using your imagination. Decide who or what you wish to serve. Begin attracting, communicating and engaging with that group. Build the group and pull them together (online or in person). This group will become your muse and base. Serve their needs. All new creation requires effort and risk. However, if conditions are right, innovation or “creation of the new” can occur.
Further exercise: If you could create anything, regardless of struggle or money, what would you create?
Jim Hart is the Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at SMU.
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Tomorrow’s Tip: Creating a Niche in the Market, an Outward/in Approach
This post was originally published on the TCG Conference website for participants at the 50th year conference of Theatre Communications Group.