I’ve always been attracted to the idea of entrepreneurship. Like the word creative, it is one I am drawn to time and again. But those pesky career books. I never fit the profile of an entrepreneur: I’m an introvert, I don’t like asking anyone for money if I don’t have to and I don’t consider myself a huge risk-taker. In the coming months that is going to change though (more details coming soon!) and I have been gearing myself up for this, thanks to my coach Alex LeMay.
I get the sense that a lot of other filmmakers I know feel the same way. The moneymaking question of what we are doing is largely left out of the equation when we talk about our projects. The main goal is the relentless hunger to get the damn thing made and money is the enabling tool. Money feels dirty and it means catering to someone else’s vision, rather than our own. But it’s impossible to keep operating this way. I know that the next film I make will not be funded out of my own pocket. I have to think differently.
I am going to share some tips below on how you can reconcile being a creative with being an entrepreneur, but before I do I wanted to share this article from The Atlantic, which argues that the artist has given way to the creative entrepreneur. It also pessimistically states that artistic depth has given way to artistic commodity, where what succeeds is what sells. I don’t buy the latter part of that argument, as I think we are still early into the digital age and what we define as a “creative entrepreneur” is also evolving.
Anyway, without further ado, here are my tips for embracing the entrepreneurial mindset:
- You can be yourself. You don’t need to look like Kevin O’Leary or strut around in an expensive-looking suit. You don’t need to sound brash or become a social butterfly.
- You have value to bring to the world and that value is worthy of payment. People say they like free goods, but they will not respect those goods in the same way as when they fork over hard-earned cash.
- Cultivate an audience and/or following for yourself, so that you have a target market available for the next idea you want to launch, to prove that it is viable. It could be through a blog like this one, a YouTube channel, or an Instagram page. The internet democratizes the playing field for everyone to become their own spokesperson.
- Forget a business plan and focus on taking action instead. I am taking my own advice here, because my life motto is research, research, research, but as my coach has often told me, “you’ll have to start before you’re ready…and you’re never going to be ready” (more terrifying words have never been spoken).
Obviously all of the above only scratches the surface on how you can start thinking and acting like an entrepreneur, rather than just solely as a creative or an artist. Click in the comments below to share your thoughts, or feel free to drop me a line anytime!