These are the five things you must posses or master in order to become an entrepreneur or successful artist. The laws of entrepreneurship apply to artists as well because when you are engaged in some form of art (singing, dancing, writing, etc.) in a serious manner, you are your own business. You are an entrepreneur.
- Time Management. Many of us are running a one-woman or one-man show. This means that we are the bookkeeper, the entire marketing dept., the sales person and the correspondence/communication person for our brand. If you are not a planner, become one, or find someone to do it for you. Make yourself a schedule and stick to it. You must be efficient when you have that many hats on. I recommend breaking up your day into time slots that are devoted to your different types of tasks. For example: in the morning you can respond to all e-mails and phone calls. You can then do any social networking you need to (blog, facebook, myspace). Work on your marketing plan after that or actually go out and do some marketing. In the afternoon you can make sales calls, fulfill all other duties and then schedule your next work day. Make your schedule plausibly full and have an accountability partner if you are new to entrepreneurship. Always know when to take a break and when to ask for help.
- Positive amp; Objective Thinker. At times you will have to be your own encouragement, your own cheerleader. Thinking positively about yourself and your business will help you with your confidence and will generally transfer to the people you talk to about your business. Shield yourself from lies and doubts in business or you will see what you’ve built slowly start to conform to your negative attitude. In being positive, make sure to remain objective. Is there a market for what you are doing? Are you going to work hard enough to stand out? Is what you are doing of the quality that will draw people to you instead of the next person? Conduct regular reviews of yourself, your schedule and your success.
- Confidence. Let me say it again, CONFIDENCE. Through my business I work with artists and new business owners. I’ve noticed a funny connection between success and confidence when you are first stepping out into the world. Let’s make a singer/songwriter the example. You are talented; beginning to find your way around the industry and meet people. There are approximately 3.4 billion other people in the world who would love to have a singing career. When you approach someone and tell them about your work (or sing for them, send them a track, direct them to your website, etc.) you must believe in what you are giving. You must speak with authority and power about what you believe. If someone can read the low self-esteem and/or fear off of you, why would they want to work with you? Business owners must believe in what they are selling. You should be the biggest fan of your work, ready to explain and sell it at a moment’s notice.
- Humility. Perhaps this doesn’t seem to fit at first, especially directly following confidence. The reasons entrepreneurs need humility: (a) you’ll probably see a lot of rejection, you need to realize that there may be others better fitted for certain opportunities, or that life is just “unfair” sometimes, and move on. Don’t be “that guy” who is still complaining two years later because “they shoulda picked” you. (b) no one likes someone who is to full of themselves and is always bragging about what they have or what they can do. Your work should speak for itself, but when you do speak, do so with confidence and tell the truth when trying to sell yourself. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate … it’s never worth it. (c) humility draws better responses and interactions with others than flamed up pride.
- MacGyver Mentality. If you grew up around the time I did or before you may be an extreme fan of one of my all time favorite shows, MacGyver. The tagline of the show, “His mind is the ultimate weapon,” must be what you live by. MacGyver was an action kind of guy. He never sat still (unless a villain had temporarily captured him). In business you must keep moving and inventing new ways to do things. Take the few resources you have (your time, $50, a blog, a friend who does websites, etc.) and make what you can out of them (an extremely searchable web presence, marketing material, etc.). The important thing in business is to keep moving, keep changing and progressing with the times, get back up immediately when you fail miserably, and celebrate your failures while learning from them.