Useful Advice for Arts Entrepreneurs:

The following are fifteen pieces of advice for aspiring and current Arts Entrepreneurs.Arts Entrepreneurship students Meadows School of the Arts

  1. Never sacrifice quality in your artistic work and keep your skills sharp. Quality must be priority for the sake of value. Unused skills rust like farm tools in the rain.
  2. You can both profit and commit a social good. This is social entrepreneurship.
  3. Don’t do everything. Inspire collaborators. Lead them and learn to effectively delegate.
  4. Don’t be afraid because of what you don’t know. You will either assume the learning curve or find others who will fill your skill deficiencies. 
  5. Explore being for-profit before nonprofit. Fiscal Sponsorship, through organizations like Fractured Atlas, enable for-profits to compete for nonprofit-only available grants.
  6. As an artist, find your voice. It is the greatest tool you can posses. Blogging can help. Very quickly, one learns what they can and want to post about.
  7. Know your company revenue drivers. How does cash flow into, through and out of your business?
  8. Competition is part of the market game. Don’t let this compromise your art, but work with it. Find a balance between artistic integrity and the realities of commerce and the market.
  9. As often as possible, ask of yourself, “What if….?” The question “What if….?” opens our minds to possibility, to potential. “What if?” is a key to unlock insight and creative vision.
  10. Engage your pursuits heroically. You can do this by serving others and willfully sacrificing on occasion to serve their needs. Get comfortable with risk and obstacles. They are inevitable.
  11. Remember that if something’s been done before, it can be done again.
  12. If something has never been done before, know that everything starts at some point.
  13. Learn from your failures. Failure is inevitable and a primary learning tool. Glean what you can from such hard experience, as this is a path towards greater wisdom, insight and ability.
  14. Don’t forget those who help you. Repay them as you can. Take care of your people and they will take care of you. Business is a give and take. Drop those that only take.
  15. Entrepreneurship is a game–one that is experientially-based. It’s one that hurts, but can also feel great, as the entrepreneur’s impact is a felt one. This is due to arts entrepreneurship being a lifestyle, rather than mere career pursuit. It is a lifestyle that can yield treasure, personal insight and new-found meaning. Play the game and commit to realizing both your needs and those of others and if you fail, try again.

Jim Hart

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