A Business of One

Entrepreneur is a word that can trip some actors up. I am an artist myself and I never used the word “entrepreneur”, until I was already well into my first business venture. I wish, however, that I had been exposed to the concepts of business and entrepreneurship in my formal education process, as it would have enabled me to more effectively compete, to stand out from the flock and to more specifically identify my audience and build a niche.

If one is considering Arts Entrepreneurship as a modality, but they do not necessarily want to build a formal business, one can think of themselves as a “business of one”. In doing so, one can structure their professional pursuits accordingly. The artist or creative professional, who does so, increases their odds of making a living with their craft.

Why? Because such practice gives greater structure to one’s limited daily energy and enables them to more effectively reach specific goals, (large and small).

Many artists give almost all ability to work over to others (This is the standard path). They give their authority and power away to casting directors, agents, producers, directors, gallery owners, etc. and anyone else who holds up the job carrot and opportunity they desire. (No doubt we all know the cliché image of the actor waiting by the phone).

As a creative professional, we increase our odds of success, if we are the principle drivers of our opportunities. Wait for others and that is exactly what you will likely do…indefinitely.

Work begets work. The more you are working; the more work you have.

Thus, we must always be working.

Entrepreneurial Arts Training can teach one how to always be working, as individuals with such skills, have the knowledge of how to create opportunities for themselves.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to ask the following questions of yourself:

1.    What makes you different from your competition?
2.    What makes what you do necessary?

If you struggle with either of these questions, I urge you to consider retooling your skill set. SMU is now offering 2 new minors in Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship (AMAE).


Jim Hart currently serves as the Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at SMU. Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway

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