Meredith Chehardy is the founder and owner of “Live Life Like Audrey”, a website for college women that gives tips about style, inspiration for health and fitness, and general advice to live a classy lifestyle.
Scott Bolton: What role, if any, does a business plan play in building and launching an arts company (as a business pursuit)?
Meredith Chehardy: A plan is really important in building and launching any sort of project, especially a business. It’s important to remember your mission statement at all times, to keep the business going and fruitful. Having a business plan allows you to explore what can be accomplished, while still having structure.
SB: What three pieces of advice would you give aspiring artist entrepreneurs about planning?
MC: Plan early – there’s nothing worse than getting to a deadline and knowing you don’t have time to complete your task. Even though my business is just a blog, I feel personally responsible when I don’t complete a story when I wanted to have it finished by. Life does get in the way sometimes, but it’s important to realize that a plan is just a structure to keep you going and it can be altered at any time.
Continue to reevaluate needs – maybe you’re writing on something your readers aren’t interested in, so change what you’re writing but stick to your mission statement. Or maybe start to feature other writers to get interest up.
Keep going – sometimes it’s extremely difficult when you run into competitors and feel like you aren’t even in the same ballpark as them. Differentiate yourself, show your unique product, and make it known that you exist. At first it might seem like you’re just plugging yourself into anything that even remotely relates to your business. But ultimately, it will help your business grow.
SB: What do you believe are necessary qualities, if there are any, for artist entrepreneurs to possess or develop? An example might include a person speaking about focus, discipline, quality pitching skills, etc.
MC: Courage and creativity are two absolutely essential qualities for an artist entrepreneur to possess. They can be learned, but many successful entrepreneurs already have them hardwired in their brains. It takes courage to start up a new business in such a competitive market and to keep going when you hit bumps in the road. Creativity will never fail you. Coming up with creative ways to bring in new customers is always important.
SB: Do you believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur? Why or why not?
MC: Anyone can be an entrepreneur, absolutely. You just have to find something you’re extremely passionate about and let the ideas flow. The more ideas the better.
Interview by Scott Bolton, student at SMU.