Being an artist is tough — they don’t call it “starving artist” for nothing. Add the ideals of being involved in the artist community in Northeast Ohio and your job becomes even tougher. How can you maintain your dreams as a successful artist in a sports-loving, blue-collar town?
Well, you need to be creative and, above all things — focused.
The mind of an artist is quite different than others; we can have tons of ideas and the ability to execute, but there’s only 24 hours in a day. Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track — and productive.
PICK YOUR PASSION and stick to it!
I mention this first because it is the foundation to everything else. Once your passion is established, everything else falls into place and lays the groundwork for your business goals.
Think of it as picking your canvas for your work.
It’s good to be a ‘Jack of All Trades,” and good at a lot of different things, but when it comes to cultivating a creative business, pick something! Just not everything — and develop it. It helps you stay focused on the elements needed to help you grow your business. When the public thinks of you, your business and your services should be clear.
How can you truly focus on any one business if you are focusing on properly marketing separate “ventures”? Promoting three different Facebook Business pages for three different business ideas? What business are you truly giving all your attention to?
If the need to expand develops, think of things you can develop that fall under one business umbrella. For example: Primarily, I am a fashion designer, but I also teach sewing classes and style workshops, all things that still fall under the area of FASHION. Not fashion, then dog walking, then fitness. How many times have you looked at a friend and their business and wonder — what do you ACTUALLY do?
I learned this years ago and it never failed me. I remember working on a movie set years back and there was a reporter there capturing behind the scenes. An actor came by in a pinch, asking for help with his makeup. I told him to find the makeup artist on set — trying to STAY IN MY LANE. He insisted that it was a quick fix. As fast as I could reach over and remove the smudge, CLICK! Before I knew it, of all photos, the one with me appearing to adjust makeup made the paper. Not so good for my brand as a fashion designer. (I’m so glad it was before social media).
“Very Successful People Say NO to Almost Everything.”
This has to be a quote that’s on repeat in your brain as you are cultivating your business. It’s a great reminder to staying focused and devoting your attention to matters that will help your business venture in the long run.
Very Successful People Say No to Almost Everything.
Very Successful People Say No to Almost Everything.
As an entrepreneur, TIME is your most precious resource. There are a certain number of hours needed to RUN your business and as a creative, take time to create. Once time is wasted, it’s gone. Before considering participating in certain “opportunities” disguised as distractions, take a step back and think how it will help your overall business goals and growth in the long run. Really take a moment to weigh the pros and cons as it relates to your developing your business. Revenue, of course, is a huge factor, but there are other important elements to making a good decision as well. Learn to say YES to things that are the best use of your time.
Everyone isn’t going to support you — and that’s okay. The business of art is a funny thing. Everyone isn’t going to get it. Art is open to interpretation of the individual and when it comes to making money from your art, the base of potential customers is slim.
As we grow into entrepreneurship, the support base changes: initially, friends and family are the ones there cheering for your new venture. Fast forward a few months down the road, and those same friends and family may not be around as much. Not because they don’t support you, but maybe it’s because they have about 20 of those scarves you make or have three vending events per month. It’s a lot to keep up with. No worries! You’ll soon find yourself with new supporters that will shout you out, give referrals, share or like your social media posts or simply stop in just to say hi. (All are different forms of support and just as important and meaningful).
I’m not telling you folks won’t start hatin’ even a little, but it’s important to keep a clear mind always — pray for discernment when trying to figure out who’s in your corner.
If you go into business thinking you will have AUTOMATIC supporters with family and longtime friends, you may be a little disappointed. Wherever your support base comes from, it’s very important to have people around you that support your dreams and goals.
If anyone would have told me some of the things that I would have encountered on this road called Entrepreneurship, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’m learning daily and it’s a heck of a ride. Adding the element of being a creative makes this road a story within itself. Entrepreneurship is not easy, but gaining the skills to keep things going makes the days a little easier.
Happy Creating – and profiting,
Dru Thompson is a designer, writer and educator and currently owns and operates Dru Christine Fabrics and Design. Most days, you will find Thompson bustling in her fashion design studio and boutique, located at 15615 Waterloo Road in Cleveland, in between playing taxi to son Chase and dog walking her shih-tzu, Oscar. To learn more about Dru, go to druchristine.com or Facebook: Dru Christine Fabrics and Design, Instagram or Twitter @druchristine.