Often, when people hear the term “entrepreneur” their minds instantly envision someone sitting behind a corporate desk running a mega enterprise. Or perhaps you’re more of the tech-savvy type and envision a group of young passionate gen-y’ers on their pcs, laptops and yes, even their iphones running ecommerce ventures across the globe. While both visions equally portray the different types and styles of entrepreneurs today, there’s yet another brand of entrepreneurs out there who sometimes fail to be recognized for their true value and contributions to the world and to the diversification of entrepreneurship. Such individuals are most commonly called “artist” but should correctly be styled as “Creative Entrepreneurs.”
While the description of these brilliant minds is as mysterious and complex as the work they do, a summarized definition of a Creative Entrepreneur is one who undertakes the creation and or production of an original creative work and is able to establish a business structure in the delivery and distribution of such works. See, I told you this was going to be deep, allow me to explain.
Anyone with talent can be a singer. A singer simply uses his or her voice to perform or record a song and is paid performance fees or royalties for providing the service of singing – similar to that of a contractual worker. A Creative Entrepreneur on other hand is one who is able to establish a long term income-earning partnership and business relationship. Additionally as we’ve seen in recent times such relationships often evolve into book deals, movie deals, reality show gigs, fragrance lines, clothing lines, greeting card lines etc.
These innovative individuals are the ones who have found a way to display their talents (solve the problem of boredom), create a fan base (tap into a market) and use their celebrity (sell themselves as a brand name) to build an even bigger empire!
So in honor of all the mainstream and indie singers, professional and soul dancers, performing and published poets, freelance writers, underground and onstage rappers and musicians, fashion week and clothing models; from the mime artist on the street in New York City, New York to the professional and commercial actor/actress in Hollywood California, this post is dedicated as recognition and appreciation for all you do to keep us entertained and for your unorthodox and unconventional approaches to entrepreneurship;
For they are the ones who bring joy and laughter to the world
And arise emotions out of every man, woman, boy and girl
With the sounds of their voice or the rhythm of their beat
Or a dramatic scene in a thriller movie, they seek to ensure
That they take you to an enjoyable latitude
Earning your gratitude
Taking you on a journey through your own mental ocean
While giving you the notion
That their creations are real
And their sentiments you can surely feel
That on some level they had an affect
With the character in which they play
And you got to a place where you can say
That in some weird way
You were able to connect
And at the end you feel elation
Of a joyous sensation
Because of their action
You gained satisfaction
And you every supernatural command they were able to meet
Unto a place of delight, you, they were able to chauffeur
At your service, The Creative Entrepreneur
A-hem…got caught up in the moment there.
So, for my fellow Creative Entrepreneurs, here’s 5 key steps as to how you can improve both your creative business and life:
Think like a Entrepreneur!
Set up a personal life and business plan. Remember to keep a schedule of all of your performances and keep track of all finances i.e performance fees, product sales, freelance contracts. Don’t be afraid to plan ahead and make monthly and annual projections as well.
Connect with great people
Yes, just as a corporate entrepreneur need their Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Marketing, you too also want to establish a great relationship with your Manager and Publicist. If you’re in the early stages and simply performing a various indie gigs (work) then you want to develop a strong relationship between yourself and the person that’s getting you gigs or allowing you to perform. These often times lead to bigger and better opportunities. It is also important to network, respect and and make contact with other creative entrepreneurs as well – you know what they say about iron sharpening iron. As things progress, you might want to look into finding a good entertainment lawyer.
NOT drama or stories that go on the cover of tabloids, but rather, creative works. Never stop using those creative juices for you are your own manufacturer. Sure, you don’t create the CDs or the labels but you certainly provide the content, movement or sounds that will be heard and seen by many. Always seek to push yourself to perform at your very best and in doing so, you can be justly content.
Never give up on you
It’s a long and sometimes lonely road being a Creative Entrepreneur. Trust me I know…I walk it. Yes, there’s the “glitz and glamour” of having your picture on the front cover of a book, speaking at events, signing products etc. But there’s also the side where things don’t quite work out the way you want them to, especially when you’re operating independently. Gigs may not go as planned, events might be canceled at the last minute, or worst of all – your products may not be making any sales, or only selling at bare minimum. In those times, that’s where we as Creative Entrepreneurs must find our inner strength. One of the most profound moments for me came this year when I stumbled across a video of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, and Love) who spoke at TED on the topic of nurturing creativity. In short she talked about when she got started and how people asked her if she was afraid of failing or possibility of her not being successful as well as the fear of potentially not writing another book that achieves the level of success of Eat, Pray, Love. In conclusion she said “Don’t be afraid; don’t be daunted, just do your job….if your job is to dance, do your dance and OLEY to you for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.” Keep doing you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Serve and Give back to others
Many celebrities today have not only found ways to market themselves and to expand their businesses but have also done some amazing things in using their following to give back and create positive global change. Remember Entrepreneurs serve the needs of people for a Creative Entrepreneur your requirement is no different. Your end goal must not simply be making money, or attaining fame (those things, as Donald Trump put it ever so eloquently, are only “scorecards”), your ultimate goal must be to use your talents as a way to serve those who follow you and in some way or the another, bring value to their lives.
The life of a Creative Entrepreneur is one that’s filled with fun, excitement and contains its share of challenges as well, but through it all, remember the immortal words of world renown Creative Entrepreneur, Conan O’Brien “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen – I’m telling you, AMAZING thing will happen!” ”
Nathaniel Prince Lewis is a 21 year old Bahamian Social-Entrepreneur and author of the book “Triumph: Poetic Expressions of Success.”